Missing HttpOnly and Secure Cookie flags for CA SSO Cookies

Document ID:  TEC1407794
Last Modified Date:  08/09/2017
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Products

  • CA Single Sign-On

Releases

  • CA Single Sign-On:Release:12.52 SP1
  • CA Single Sign-On:Release:12.5
  • CA Single Sign-On:Release:12.51
  • CA Single Sign-On:Release:12.51 CA SiteMinder
  • CA Single Sign-On:Release:12.52
  • CA Single Sign-On:Release:12.52 CA SiteMinder

Components

  • SITEMINDER -WEB AGENT FOR IIS:SMIIS
Introduction:

How to configure CA SSO to set HttpOnly and secure cookie flags

Background:

HttpOnly is an additional flag included in a Set-Cookie HTTP response header. Using the HttpOnly flag when generating a cookie helps mitigate the risk of client side script accessing the protected cookie (if the browser supports it).

  • The example below shows the syntax used within the HTTP response header:
Set-Cookie: <name>=<value>[; <Max-Age>=<age>] [; expires=<date>][; domain=<domain_name>] [; path=<some_path>][; secure][; HttpOnly]

If the HttpOnly flag (optional) is included in the HTTP response header, the cookie cannot be accessed through client side script (again if the browser supports this flag). As a result, even if a cross-site scripting (XSS)flaw exists, and a user accidentally accesses a link that exploits this flaw, the browser (primarily Internet Explorer) will not reveal the cookie to a third party

 

The secure flag is an option that can be set by the application server when sending a new cookie to the user within an HTTP Response. The purpose of the secure flag is to prevent cookies from being observed by unauthorized parties due to the transmission of a the cookie in clear text.

To accomplish this goal, browsers which support the secure flag will only send cookies with the secure flag when the request is going to a HTTPS page. Said in another way, the browser will not send a cookie with the secure flag set over an unencrypted HTTP request.

By setting the secure flag, the browser will prevent the transmission of a cookie over an unencrypted channel.

Environment:
Web Agent :r12.5 and above
Instructions:

This can be mitigated by setting following ACO parameter to YES:

 

 

UseHTTPOnlyCookies

Instructs the Web Agent to set the HTTP-only attribute on the cookies it creates. When a Web Agent returns a cookie with this attribute to a user's browser, the contents of the cookie cannot be read by a script, even a script from the web site which originally set the cookie. This helps prevent any sensitive information in the cookie from being sent to an unauthorized third party through a script.

Default: No

To safeguard the information in cookies, set the value of the UseHTTPOnlyCookies parameter to yes.

 

UseSecureCookies

Sends cookies to web servers using secure (HTTPS) connections. Enable this parameter to increase security between browsers and web servers.

When this setting is enabled, users in single sign-on environments who move from an SSL web server to a non-SSL web server will have to reauthenticate. Secure cookies cannot be passed over traditional HTTP connections.

Default: No

To send cookies over SSL connections, set the UseSecureCookies parameter to yes.

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