[Owasp-leaders] HTML Security Annotations

psiinon psiinon at gmail.com
Thu Jan 5 09:20:41 UTC 2017

I agree that annotations could become out of date.
However I think that in this case they just show more value - they are
essentially documented assumptions which you can easily search for.

The whole idea of proposing them to OWASP was to standardize them.
Otherwise I'd have just created a custom ZAP add-on and used that
internally within Mozilla :)

So based on the feedback so far it looks like there is some level of
support for them.
I think its time to take it off the leaders list - whats the best forum for
exploring this in more detail?
Is it a new OWASP project, a wiki page, a github repo, a mailing group or ??

I'd be happy to co-lead a new OWASP project - would anyone else be
interested in co-leading it with me?
But if people think thats too heavy weight we could just document the
proposals on the wiki and pilot it in Mozilla with ZAP...



On Thu, Jan 5, 2017 at 3:02 AM, Steve Springett <Steve.Springett at owasp.org>

> I like the idea of HTML security annotations, however, one of the reasons
> why I’m in this field is the dynamic nature of it. What is safe today, may
> not be safe tomorrow. Reflected XSS was a thing, then persisted XSS, then
> just when we thought we knew it all, along came DOM XSS. Tomorrow it could
> be something else, and what we deem as safe today, may not be true tomorrow.
> If the behavior of HTML5 does one thing today, and behaves slightly
> different with an updated spec, then what benefit are the annotations? They
> will be outdated; correct in their analysis at the time they were
> introduced, but could very well become obsolete (or worse, inaccurate)
> within the lifetime of the application.
> The example was provided of @SuppressWarnings, which is good, and it’s
> universally supported due to being included in the Java language itself.
> All static analysis tools (SonarQube, FindBugs, PMD, etc) respect these.
> However, security-specific annotations such as @FortifyXSSValidate, are
> very much tool specific. So, if HTML security annotations are introduced,
> there should be plans on standardizing them so that they are not specific
> to a vendor or scanning technology.
> IMO, I’m less concerned about the amount of false positives, as I am about
> making tools smarter and more capable of finding issues that normally would
> require human testing. I would love to see HTML security annotations take
> into consideration business logic and workflow scenarios. For example,
> being able to annotate a site which tells ZAP (or some other tool) that you
> must add items to the cart before you can hack the checkout. If there was a
> universally accepted annotation for that, I’d be using them today.
> —Steve
> On January 4, 2017 at 5:20:44 PM, dan cornell (dan.cornell at owasp.org)
> wrote:
> I mentioned this on the Twitter discussion but wanted to echo here:
> Annotations like this would be a good option for security-savvy developers
> to mark up their code/HTML to get by checks like you would find in a CI/CD
> pipeline. Full assessments and penetration tests will likely want to ignore
> these annotations (or use them for targeting like they would a robots.txt
> file) But - especially in situations where you might have application
> security testing breaking a CI/CD build - it should be possible for
> developers to communicate to the testing system that a finding is a false
> positive so that they can keep the build moving without intervention from
> the security team.
> This would only work for situations where a representative from the
> development team has the security savvy to make this call - and where you
> trust the developer to use the annotations where appropriate and not just
> to bypass checks. BUT - for teams at that level of maturity this could be
> an effective mechanism.
> Thanks,
> Dan
> On Wed, Jan 4, 2017 at 4:26 PM, Bjoern Kimminich <
> bjoern.kimminich at owasp.org> wrote:
>> Hi Simon,
>> I like this idea. To make the life of the tools-people easier, a fixed
>> unique prefix would be good, so they can basically ignore all,
>> data-nosec-*
>> or
>> data-ignoresec-*
>> And if "*" would share a set of terms for vulns with the __vulns.json
>> idea for scanner result assessment on intentionally vulnerable apps (1st
>> draft see VWAD repo), that would be even more consistent!
>> Cheers,
>> Bjoern
>> Am 4. Januar 2017 14:53:06 MEZ schrieb psiinon <psiinon at gmail.com>:
>>> Leaders,
>>> All security tools suffer from false positives (FP’s), and good tools
>>> allow these FPs to be flagged in the tool. SAST tools also typically allow
>>> the source code to be annotated to prevent FPs from being flagged, eg the
>>> @SuppressWarnings annotation in Java.
>>> I've discussed this with Mozilla web developers and we have decided to
>>> start using what I've dubbed 'HTML security annotations'.
>>> The first one we will be using is to allow forms to be flagged as not
>>> requiring (anti) CSRF tokens, eg
>>> <form action="/my-handling-form-page" method="post" data-no-csrf>
>>>     <div>
>>>         <label for="search">Search:</label>
>>>         <input type="text" id=”search" />
>>>     </div>
>>> </form>
>>> The 'data-no-csrf' attribute is an indication that the developers know
>>> all about CSRF tokens and have decided that this form doesnt require one.
>>> Security tools _can_ choose to not flag such forms as being insecure
>>> because they dont have a CSRF token. They can also make it easier for their
>>> users to find all forms that so have such tokens:)
>>> Theres no guarantee that the developers are right, so a sensible
>>> pentester would not place too much faith in this attributes use.
>>> However its an easy and effective way to reduce FPs in DAST tools and
>>> also an easy way to indicate to bug bounty participants that they should
>>> only report these forms if they are _really_ sure they can be usefully
>>> exploited.
>>> There are other alternative solutions to this particular problem,
>>> including:
>>>    1. Adding CSRF tokens to all forms whether they need it or not. That
>>>    feels nasty to me and I'm not going to suggest it to our devs ;)
>>>    2. Having tool specific configurations for flagging FPs. Many tools
>>>    support this but personally I like the annotation approach that can be
>>>    adopted by all tools
>>> So thats the first one we're trying out, and I can see the potential for
>>> more of them.
>>> What do you think?
>>> If everyone else hates this idea then we can keep as Mozilla specific.
>>> However if there is broad support for this them maybe it could be mentioned
>>> on the relevant pages of the OWASP wiki.
>>> In any case I'll be adding the option to ignore forms flagged in this
>>> way to ZAP ;)
>>> All constructive feedback appreciated, including suggestions for other
>>> annotations that could be useful.
>>> Cheers,
>>> Simon
>>> --
>>> OWASP ZAP <https://www.owasp.org/index.php/ZAP> Project leader
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