A bit of GREASE keeps the web moving

For the first few years of the web, developers pretty much coded whatever they thought was cool and shipped it. Specifications, if written at all, were an afterthought. Then, for the next two decades, spec authors drafted increasingly elaborate specifications with optional features and extensibility points meant to be used to enable future work. Unfortunately,Continue reading “A bit of GREASE keeps the web moving”

Client Certificate Authentication

While most HTTPS sites only authenticate the server (using a certificate sent by the website), HTTPS also supports a mutual authentication mode, whereby the client supplies a certificate that authenticates the visiting user’s identity. Such a certificate might be stored on a SmartCard, or used as a part of an OS identity feature like WindowsContinue reading “Client Certificate Authentication”

“Can I… in the new Edge?”

This post is intended to collect a random set of questions I’ve been asked multiple times about the new Chromium-based Edge. I’ll add to it over time. I wouldn’t call this a FAQ because these questions, while repeated, are not frequently asked. Last Update: May 7, 2020 Can I get a list of all ofContinue reading ““Can I… in the new Edge?””

Disabling TLS/1.0 and TLS/1.1 in the new Edge Browser

UPDATE: Timelines in this post were updated on March 31, 2020 to reflect the best available information. Timelines remain somewhat in flux due to world events. HTTPS traffic is encrypted and protected from snooping and modification by an underlying protocol called Transport Layer Security (TLS). Disabling outdated versions of the TLS security protocol will helpContinue reading “Disabling TLS/1.0 and TLS/1.1 in the new Edge Browser”

SSLVersionMin Policy returns to Chrome 66

Chrome 66, releasing to stable this week, again supports the SSLVersionMin policy that enables administrators to control the minimum version of TLS that Chrome is willing to negotiate with a server. If this policy is in effect and configured to permit, say, only TLS/1.2+ connections, attempting to connect to a site that only supports TLS/1.0Continue reading “SSLVersionMin Policy returns to Chrome 66”

Understanding the Limitations of HTTPS

A colleague recently forwarded me an article about the hazards of browsing on public WiFi with the question: “Doesn’t HTTPS fix this?” And the answer is, “Yes, generally.” As with most interesting questions, however, the complete answer is a bit more complicated. HTTPS is a powerful technology for helping secure the web; all websites should beContinue reading “Understanding the Limitations of HTTPS”

Certificates Matter

Recently, my web host stopped supporting the FrontPage Server Extensions used by Microsoft Expression Web 4 for website publishing (FPSE is now out-of-support). FPSE allowed me to publish to my site over a HTTPS connection, helping keep my password safe and my uploaded files unmodified. Unfortunately, the alternative FTP transport is completely insecure–passwords and dataContinue reading “Certificates Matter”