HTTPAuth Working Group                               R. Shekh-Yusef, Ed.
Internet-Draft                                                 D. Ahrens, Ed. Ahrens
Obsoletes: 2617 (if approved)                                      Avaya
Intended Status: Standards Track                         October 7, 2013                               S. Bremer
Expires: April 10, July 5, 2014                                        Netzkonform
                                                         January 1, 2014

                   HTTP Digest Access Authentication


   HTTP provides a simple challenge-response authentication mechanism
   that may be used by a server to challenge a client request and by a
   client to provide authentication information. This document defines
   the HTTP Digest Authentication scheme that may be used with the
   authentication mechanism.

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Table of Contents

   1 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  4
     1.1 Terminology  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  6
   2 Syntax Convention  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  6
   3 Digest Access Authentication Scheme  . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  6
     3.1 Overall Operation  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  6
     3.2 Representation of Digest Values  . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  6
     3.3 The WWW-Authenticate Response Header . . . . . . . . . . . .  7
     3.4 The Authorization Request Header . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
       3.4.1 Request-Digest . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
       3.4.2 A1 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
       3.4.3 A2 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 14
       3.4.4 Username Hashing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
       3.4.5 Directive Values and Quoted-String . . . . . . . . . . . 13
       3.4.5 14
       3.4.6 Various Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 15
     3.5 The Authentication-Info Header . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16
     3.6 Digest Operation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 17
     3.7 Security Protocol Negotiation  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 19
     3.8 Proxy-Authentication and Proxy-Authorization . . . . . . . . 18 19
     3.9 Example  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 20
   4 Internationalization . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 22
   5 Security Considerations  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 22
     5.1 Limitations  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 22
     5.2 Authentication of Clients using Digest Authentication  . . . 21 22
     5.3 Limited Use Nonce Values . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 23
     5.4 Replay Attacks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 24
     5.5 Weakness Created by Multiple Authentication Schemes  . . . . 23 24
     5.6 Online dictionary attacks  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 25
     5.7 Man in the Middle  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 25
     5.8 Chosen plaintext attacks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 26
     5.9 Precomputed dictionary attacks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 26
     5.10 Batch brute force attacks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 27
     5.11 Spoofing by Counterfeit Servers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 27
     5.12 Storing passwords . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 27
     5.13 Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27 28

   6 IANA Considerations  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27 28
   7 Acknowledgments  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29
   8 References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27
     7.1 29
     8.1 Normative References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27
     7.2 29
     8.2 Informative References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27 29
   Authors' Addresses . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27 30

1 Introduction

   HTTP provides a simple challenge-response authentication mechanism
   that MAY be used by a server to challenge a client request and by a
   client to provide authentication information. It uses an extensible,
   case-insensitive token to identify the authentication scheme,
   followed by a comma-separated list of attribute-value pairs which
   carry the parameters necessary for achieving authentication via that

         auth-scheme    = token
         auth-param     = token "=" ( token | quoted-string )

   The 401 (Unauthorized) response message is used by an origin server
   to challenge the authorization of a user agent. This response MUST
   include a WWW-Authenticate header field containing at least one
   challenge applicable to the requested resource. The 407 (Proxy
   Authentication Required) response message is used by a proxy to
   challenge the authorization of a client and MUST include a Proxy-
   Authenticate header field containing at least one challenge
   applicable to the proxy for the requested resource.

         challenge   = auth-scheme 1*SP 1#auth-param

   Note: User agents will need to take special care in parsing the WWW-
   Authenticate or Proxy-Authenticate header field value if it contains
   more than one challenge, or if more than one WWW-Authenticate header
   field is provided, since the contents of a challenge may itself
   contain a comma-separated list of authentication parameters.

   The authentication parameter realm is defined for all authentication

         realm       = "realm" "=" realm-value
         realm-value = quoted-string

   The realm directive (case-insensitive) is required for all
   authentication schemes that issue a challenge. The realm value (case-
   sensitive), in combination with the canonical root URL (the
   absoluteURI for the server whose abs_path is empty; see section 5.1.2
   of [RFC2616]) of the server being accessed, defines the protection
   space. These realms allow the protected resources on a server to be
   partitioned into a set of protection spaces, each with its own
   authentication scheme and/or authorization database. The realm value
   is a string, generally assigned by the origin server, which may have
   additional semantics specific to the authentication scheme. Note that
   there may be multiple challenges with the same auth-scheme but
   different realms.

   A user agent that wishes to authenticate itself with an origin
   server--usually, but not necessarily, after receiving a 401
   (Unauthorized)--MAY do so by including an Authorization header field
   with the request. A client that wishes to authenticate itself with a
   proxy--usually, but not necessarily, after receiving a 407 (Proxy
   Authentication Required)--MAY do so by including a Proxy-
   Authorization header field with the request. Both the Authorization
   field value and the Proxy-Authorization field value consist of
   credentials containing the authentication information of the client
   for the realm of the resource being requested. The user agent MUST
   choose to use one of the challenges with the strongest auth-scheme it
   understands and request credentials from the user based upon that

      credentials = auth-scheme #auth-param

      Note that many browsers will only recognize Basic and will require
      that it be the first auth-scheme presented. Servers should only
      include Basic if it is minimally acceptable.

   The protection space determines the domain over which credentials can
   be automatically applied. If a prior request has been authorized, the
   same credentials MAY be reused for all other requests within that
   protection space for a period of time determined by the
   authentication scheme, parameters, and/or user preference. Unless
   otherwise defined by the authentication scheme, a single protection
   space cannot extend outside the scope of its server.

   If the origin server does not wish to accept the credentials sent
   with a request, it SHOULD return a 401 (Unauthorized) response. The
   response MUST include a WWW-Authenticate header field containing at
   least one (possibly new) challenge applicable to the requested
   resource. If a proxy does not accept the credentials sent with a
   request, it SHOULD return a 407 (Proxy Authentication Required). The
   response MUST include a Proxy-Authenticate header field containing a
   (possibly new) challenge applicable to the proxy for the requested

   The HTTP protocol does not restrict applications to this simple
   challenge-response mechanism for access authentication. Additional
   mechanisms MAY be used, such as encryption at the transport level or
   via message encapsulation, and with additional header fields
   specifying authentication information. However, these additional
   mechanisms are not defined by this specification.

   Proxies MUST be completely transparent regarding user agent
   authentication by origin servers. That is, they must forward the WWW-
   Authenticate and Authorization headers untouched, and follow the
   rules found in section 14.8 of [RFC2616]. Both the Proxy-Authenticate
   and the Proxy-Authorization header fields are hop-by-hop headers (see
   section 13.5.1 of [RFC2616]).

1.1 Terminology

   The key words "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED", "SHALL", "SHALL NOT",
   document are to be interpreted as described in RFC 2119 [RFC2119].

2 Syntax Convention

   In the interest of clarity and readability, the extended parameters
   or the headers and parameters in the examples in this document might
   be broken into multiple lines. Any line that is indented in this
   document is a continuation of the preceding line.

3 Digest Access Authentication Scheme

3.1 Overall Operation

   The Digest scheme is based on a simple challenge-response paradigm.
   The Digest scheme challenges using a nonce value. A valid response
   contains a checksum of the username, the password, the given nonce
   value, the HTTP method, and the requested URI. In this way, the
   password is never sent in the clear. The username and password must
   be prearranged in some fashion not addressed by this document.

3.2 Representation of Digest Values

   An optional header allows the server to specify the algorithm used to
   create the checksum or digest.  By default the SHA2-256 algorithm is
   used, with SHA2-512/256 being used as a backup algorithm.  To
   maintain backwards compatibility, the MD5 algorithm is still
   supported but not recommended.

   The size of the digest depends on the algorithm used.  The bits in
   the digest are converted from the most significant to the least
   significant bit, four bits at a time to the ASCII representation as
   follows. Each four bits is represented by its familiar hexadecimal
   notation from the characters 0123456789abcdef, that is binary 0000 is
   represented by the character '0', 0001 by '1' and so on up to the
   representation of 1111 as 'f'. If the MD5 algorithm is used to
   calculate the digest, then the digest will be represented as 32
   hexadecimal characters, SHA2-256 and SHA2-512/256 by 64 hexadecimal

3.3 The WWW-Authenticate Response Header

   If a server receives a request for an access-protected object, and an
   acceptable Authorization header is not sent, the server responds with
   a "401 Unauthorized" status code, and a WWW-Authenticate header as
   per the framework defined above, which for the digest scheme is
   utilized as follows:

         challenge         =  "Digest" digest-challenge

         digest-challenge  = 1#( realm | [ domain ] | nonce |
                             [ opaque ] |[ stale ] | [ algorithm ] |
                             [ qop-options ] | [charset] | [userhash] |

         domain            = "domain" "=" <"> URI ( 1*SP URI ) <">
         URI               = absoluteURI | abs_path
         nonce             = "nonce" "=" nonce-value
         nonce-value       = quoted-string
         opaque            = "opaque" "=" quoted-string
         stale             = "stale" "=" ( "true" | "false" )
         algorithm         = "algorithm" "=" (
                             "MD5" | "MD5-sess" |
                             "SHA2-256" | "SHA2-256-sess" |
                             "SHA2-512-256" | "SHA2-512-256-sess" |
         qop-options       = "qop" "=" <"> 1#qop-value <">
         qop-value         = "auth" | "auth-int" | token
         charset           = "charset" "=" ("UTF-8" | token)
         userhash          = "userhash" "=" ( "true" | "false" )

   The meanings of the values of the directives used above are as

      A string to be displayed to users so they know which username and
      password to use. This string should contain at least the name of
      the host performing the authentication and might additionally
      indicate the collection of users who might have access. An example
      might be "".

      A quoted, space-separated list of URIs, as specified in RFC XURI
      [7], that define the protection space.  If a URI is an abs_path,
      it is relative to the canonical root URL of the server being
      accessed. An absoluteURI in this list may refer to a different
      server than the one being accessed. The client can use this list
      to determine the set of URIs for which the same authentication
      information may be sent: any URI that has a URI in this list as a
      prefix (after both have been made absolute) may be assumed to be
      in the same protection space. If this directive is omitted or its
      value is empty, the client should assume that the protection space
      consists of all URIs on the responding server.

      This directive is not meaningful in Proxy-Authenticate headers,
      for which the protection space is always the entire proxy; if
      present it should be ignored.

      A server-specified data string which should be uniquely generated
      each time a 401 response is made. It is recommended that this
      string be base64 or hexadecimal data. Specifically, since the
      string is passed in the header lines as a quoted string, the
      double-quote character is not allowed.

      The contents of the nonce are implementation dependent. The
      quality  of the implementation depends on a good choice. A nonce
      might, for example, be constructed as the base 64 encoding of

            time-stamp H(time-stamp ":" ETag ":" private-key)

      where time-stamp is a server-generated time or other non-repeating
      value, ETag is the value of the HTTP ETag header associated with
      the requested entity, and private-key is data known only to the
      server.  With a nonce of this form a server would recalculate the
      hash portion after receiving the client authentication header and
      reject the request if it did not match the nonce from that header
      or if the time-stamp value is not recent enough. In this way the
      server can limit the time of the nonce's validity. The inclusion
      of the ETag prevents a replay request for an updated version of
      the resource. (Note: including the IP address of the client in the
      nonce would appear to offer the server the ability to limit the
      reuse of the nonce to the same client that originally got it.
      However, that would break proxy farms, where requests from a
      single user often go through different proxies in the farm. Also,
      IP address spoofing is not that hard.)

      An implementation might choose not to accept a previously used
      nonce or a previously used digest, in order to protect against a
      replay attack. Or, an implementation might choose to use one-time
      nonces or digests for POST or PUT requests and a time-stamp for
      GET requests.  For more details on the issues involved see section
      5 of this document.

      The nonce is opaque to the client.

      A string of data, specified by the server, which should be
      returned  by the client unchanged in the Authorization header of
      subsequent requests with URIs in the same protection space. It is
      recommended that this string be base64 or hexadecimal data.

      A case-insensitive flag, indicating that the previous request from
      the client was rejected because the nonce value was stale. If
      stale is TRUE
      (case-insensitive), TRUE, the client may wish to simply retry the request
      with a new encrypted response, without reprompting the user for a
      new username and password. The server should only set stale to
      TRUE if it receives a request for which the nonce is invalid but
      with a valid digest for that nonce (indicating that the client
      knows the correct username/password). If stale is FALSE, or
      anything other than TRUE, or the stale directive is not present,
      the username and/or password are invalid, and new values must be

      A string indicating a pair of algorithms used to produce the
      digest and a checksum. If this is not present it is assumed to be
      "MD5". If the algorithm is not understood, the challenge should be
      ignored (and a different one used, if there is more than one).

      In this document the string obtained by applying the digest
      algorithm to the data "data" with secret "secret" will be denoted
      by KD(secret, data), and the string obtained by applying the
      checksum algorithm to the data "data" will be denoted H(data). The
      notation unq(X) means the value of the quoted-string X without the
      surrounding quotes.

           For the "MD5" and "MD5-sess" algorithms

               H(data) = MD5(data)

           For the "SHA2-256" and "SHA2-256-sess" algorithms

               H(data) = SHA2-256(data)

           For the "SHA2-512-256" and "SHA2-512-256-sess" algorithms

               H(data) = SHA2-512-256(data)


               KD(secret, data) = H(concat(secret, ":", data))

         i.e., the digest is the MD5 of the secret concatenated with a
         colon concatenated with the data. The "MD5-sess" algorithm is
         intended to allow efficient 3rd party authentication servers;
         for the difference in usage, see the description in section

      This directive is optional, but is made so only for backward
      compatibility with RFC 2069 [RFC2069]; it SHOULD be used by all
      implementations compliant with this version of the Digest scheme.
      If present, it is a quoted string of one or more tokens indicating
      the "quality of protection" values supported by the server.  The
      value "auth" indicates authentication; the value "auth-int"
      indicates authentication with integrity protection; see the
      descriptions below for calculating the response directive value
      for the application of this choice. Unrecognized options MUST be

      This is an optional parameter that could be used by the server to
      indicate the encoding scheme it supports.

      This is an optional parameter that could be used by the server to
      indicate that it supports username hashing.

      This directive allows for future extensions. Any unrecognized
      directive MUST be ignored.

3.4 The Authorization Request Header

   The client is expected to retry the request, passing an Authorization
   header line, which is defined according to the framework above,
   utilized as follows.

          credentials      = "Digest" digest-response
          digest-response  = 1#( username | realm | nonce | digest-uri |
                             response | [ algorithm ] | [cnonce] |
                             [opaque] | [message-qop] |
                             [nonce-count]  | [charset] | [userhash] |
                             [auth-param] )
          username         = "username" "=" username-value
          username-value   = quoted-string
          digest-uri       = "uri" "=" digest-uri-value
          digest-uri-value = request-uri   ; As specified by HTTP/1.1
          message-qop      = "qop" "=" qop-value
          cnonce           = "cnonce" "=" cnonce-value
          cnonce-value     = nonce-value
          nonce-count      = "nc" "=" nc-value
          nc-value         = 8LHEX
          response         = "response" "=" request-digest
          request-digest = <"> digest-size LHEX <">
          digest-size       = "32" | "64"
          LHEX             =  "0" | "1" | "2" | "3" |
                              "4" | "5" | "6" | "7" |
                              "8" | "9" | "a" | "b" |
                              "c" | "d" | "e" | "f"
          charset           = "charset" "=" ("UTF-8" | token)
          userhash          = "userhash" "=" ( "true" | "false" )

   The values of the opaque and algorithm fields must be those supplied
   in the WWW-Authenticate response header for the entity being

      A string of digest-size hex digits computed as defined below,
      which proves that the user knows a password

      The user's name in the specified realm.

      The URI from Request-URI of the Request-Line; duplicated here
      because proxies are allowed to change the Request-Line in transit.

      Indicates what "quality of protection" the client has applied to
      the message. If present, its value MUST be one of the alternatives
      the server indicated it supports in the WWW-Authenticate header.
      These values affect the computation of the request-digest. Note
      that this is a single token, not a quoted list of alternatives as
      in WWW- Authenticate.  This directive is optional in order to
      preserve backward compatibility with a minimal implementation of
      RFC 2069 [RFC2069], but SHOULD be used if the server indicated
      that qop is supported by providing a qop directive in the WWW-
      Authenticate header field.

      This MUST be specified if a qop directive is sent (see above), and
      MUST NOT be specified if the server did not send a qop directive
      in the WWW-Authenticate header field. The cnonce-value is an
      opaque quoted string value provided by the client and used by both
      client and server to avoid chosen plaintext attacks, to provide
      mutual authentication, and to provide some message integrity
      protection. See the descriptions below of the calculation of the
      response- digest and request-digest values.

      This MUST be specified if a qop directive is sent (see above), and
      MUST NOT be specified if the server did not send a qop directive
      in the WWW-Authenticate header field.  The nc-value is the
      hexadecimal count of the number of requests (including the current
      request) that the client has sent with the nonce value in this
      request.  For example, in the first request sent in response to a
      given nonce value, the client sends "nc=00000001".  The purpose of
      this directive is to allow the server to detect request replays by
      maintaining its own copy of this count - if the same nc-value is
      seen twice, then the request is a replay.   See the description
      below of the construction of the request-digest value.

      This is an optional parameter that could be used by the client to
      indicate the encoding scheme it supports.

      This is an optional parameter that could be used by the client to
      indicate that it supports username hashing.

      This directive allows for future extensions. Any unrecognized
      directive MUST be ignored.

   If a directive or its value is improper, or required directives are
   missing, the proper response is 400 Bad Request. If the request-
   digest is invalid, then a login failure should be logged, since
   repeated login failures from a single client may indicate an attacker
   attempting to guess passwords.

   The definition of request-digest above indicates the encoding for its
   value. The following definitions show how the value is computed.

3.4.1 Request-Digest

   If the "qop" value is "auth" or "auth-int":

         request-digest  = <"> < KD ( H(A1), unq(nonce-value)
                                             ":" nc-value
                                             ":" unq(cnonce-value)
                                             ":" unq(qop-value)
                                             ":" H(A2)
                                     ) <">

   If the "qop" directive is not present (this construction is for
   compatibility with RFC 2069):

         request-digest =
            <"> < KD ( H(A1), unq(nonce-value) ":" H(A2) ) > <">

   See below for the definitions for A1 and A2.

3.4.2 A1

   If the "algorithm" directive's value is "MD5", "SHA2-256", or "SHA2-
   512-256", then A1 is:

         A1       = unq(username-value) ":" unq(realm-value) ":" passwd


         passwd   = < user's password >

   If the "algorithm" directive's value is "MD5-sess", "SHA2-256", "SHA2-256-sess",
   "SHA2-512-256", "SHA2-512-256-sess", then A1 is calculated only once - on the
   first request by the client following receipt of a WWW-Authenticate
   challenge from the server.  It uses the server nonce from that
   challenge, and the first client nonce value to construct A1 as

         A1       = H( unq(username-value) ":" unq(realm-value)
                        ":" passwd )
                        ":" unq(nonce-value) ":" unq(cnonce-value)

   This creates a 'session key' for the authentication of subsequent
   requests and responses which is different for each "authentication
   session", thus limiting the amount of material hashed with any one
   key.  (Note: see further discussion of the authentication session in
   section 3.6.) Because the server need only use the hash of the user
   credentials in order to create the A1 value, this construction could
   be used in conjunction with a third party authentication service so
   that the web server would not need the actual password value.  The
   specification of such a protocol is beyond the scope of this

3.4.3 A2

   If the "qop" directive's value is "auth" or is unspecified, then A2

         A2       = Method ":" digest-uri-value

      If the "qop" value is "auth-int", then A2 is:

         A2       = Method ":" digest-uri-value ":" H(entity-body)

3.4.4 Username Hashing

   To protect the transport of the username from the client to the
   server, the server SHOULD set the "userhash" parameter with the value
   of "true" in the WWW-Authentication header.

   If the client supports the "userhash" parameter, and the "userhash"
   parameter value in the WWW-Authentication header is set to "true",
   then the client SHOULD calculate a hash of the username after any
   other hash calculation and include the "userhash" parameter with the
   value of "true" in the Authorization Request Header. If the client
   does not provide the "username" as a hash value or the "userhash"
   parameter with the value of "true", the server MAY reject the

   The server may change the nonce value, so the client should be ready
   to recalculate the hashed username.

   The following is the operation that the client will take to hash the

           username = H( H( username ":" realm ) ":" nonce)

3.4.5 Directive Values and Quoted-String

   Note that the value of many of the directives, such as "username-
   value", are defined as a "quoted-string". However, the "unq" notation
   indicates that surrounding quotation marks are removed in forming the
   string A1. Thus if the Authorization header includes the fields


   and the user Mufasa has password "Circle Of Life" then H(A1) would be
   H( Of Life) with no quotation marks
   in the digested string.

   No white space is allowed in any of the strings to which the digest
   function H() is applied unless that white space exists in the quoted
   strings or entity body whose contents make up the string to be
   digested. For example, the string A1 illustrated above must be

 Of Life

   with no white space on either side of the colons, but with the white
   space between the words used in the password value.  Likewise, the
   other strings digested by H() must not have white space on either
   side of the colons which delimit their fields unless that white space
   was in the quoted strings or entity body being digested.

   Also note that if integrity protection is applied (qop=auth-int), the
   H(entity-body) is the hash of the entity body, not the message body -
   it is computed before any transfer encoding is applied by the sender
   and after it has been removed by the recipient. Note that this
   includes multipart boundaries and embedded headers in each part of
   any multipart content-type.


3.4.6 Various Considerations

   The "Method" value is the HTTP request method as specified in section
   5.1.1 of [RFC2616]. The "request-uri" value is the Request-URI from
   the request line as specified in section 5.1.2 of [RFC2616]. This may
   be "*", an "absoluteURL" or an "abs_path" as specified in section
   5.1.2 of [RFC2616], but it MUST agree with the Request-URI. In
   particular, it MUST be an "absoluteURL" if the Request-URI is an
   "absoluteURL". The "cnonce-value" is an optional  client-chosen value
   whose purpose is to foil chosen plaintext attacks.

   The authenticating server must assure that the resource designated by
   the "uri" directive is the same as the resource specified in the
   Request-Line; if they are not, the server SHOULD return a 400 Bad
   Request error. (Since this may be a symptom of an attack, server
   implementers may want to consider logging such errors.) The purpose
   of duplicating information from the request URL in this field is to
   deal with the possibility that an intermediate proxy may alter the
   client's Request-Line. This altered (but presumably semantically
   equivalent) request would not result in the same digest as that
   calculated by the client.

   Implementers should be aware of how authenticated transactions
   interact with shared caches. The HTTP/1.1 protocol specifies that
   when a shared cache (see section 13.7 of [RFC2616]) has received a
   request containing an Authorization header and a response from
   relaying that request, it MUST NOT return that response as a reply to
   any other request, unless one of two Cache-Control (see section 14.9
   of [RFC2616]) directives was present in the response. If the original
   response included the "must-revalidate" Cache-Control directive, the
   cache MAY use the entity of that response in replying to a subsequent
   request, but MUST first revalidate it with the origin server, using
   the request headers from the new request to allow the origin server
   to authenticate the new request. Alternatively, if the original
   response included the "public" Cache-Control directive, the response
   entity MAY be returned in reply to any subsequent request.

3.5 The Authentication-Info Header

   The Authentication-Info header is used by the server to communicate
   some information regarding the successful authentication in the

           AuthenticationInfo = "Authentication-Info" ":" auth-info
           auth-info          = 1#(nextnonce | [ message-qop ]
                                  | [ response-auth ] | [ cnonce ]
                                  | [nonce-count] )
           nextnonce          = "nextnonce" "=" nonce-value
           response-auth      = "rspauth" "=" response-digest
           response-digest    = <"> *LHEX digest-size LHEX <">
           digest-size        = "32" | "64"

   The value of the nextnonce directive is the nonce the server wishes
   the client to use for a future authentication response.  The server
   may send the Authentication-Info header with a nextnonce field as a
   means of implementing one-time or otherwise changing  nonces. If the
   nextnonce field is present the client SHOULD use it when constructing
   the Authorization header for its next request. Failure of the client
   to do so may result in a request to re-authenticate from the server
   with the "stale=TRUE".

      Server implementations should carefully consider the performance
      implications of the use of this mechanism; pipelined requests will
      not be possible if every response includes a nextnonce directive
      that must be used on the next request received by the server.
      Consideration should be given to the performance vs. security
      tradeoffs of allowing an old nonce value to be used for a limited
      time to permit request pipelining. Use of the nonce-count can
      retain most of the security advantages of a new server nonce
      without the deleterious affects on pipelining.

      Indicates the "quality of protection" options applied to the
      response by the server.  The value "auth" indicates
      authentication; the value "auth-int" indicates authentication with
      integrity protection. The server SHOULD use the same value for the
      message- qop directive in the response as was sent by the client
      in the corresponding request.

   The optional response digest in the "response-auth" directive
   supports mutual authentication -- the server proves that it knows the
   user's secret, and with qop=auth-int also provides limited integrity
   protection of the response. The "response-digest" value is calculated
   as for the "request-digest" in the Authorization header, except that
   if "qop=auth" or is not specified in the Authorization header for the
   request, A2 is

         A2       = ":" digest-uri-value

      and if "qop=auth-int", then A2 is

         A2       = ":" digest-uri-value ":" H(entity-body)

   where "digest-uri-value" is the value of the "uri" directive on the
   Authorization header in the request. The "cnonce-value" and "nc-
   value" MUST be the ones for the client request to which this message
   is the response. The "response-auth", "cnonce", and "nonce-count"
   directives MUST BE present if "qop=auth" or "qop=auth-int" is

   The Authentication-Info header is allowed in the trailer of an HTTP
   message transferred via chunked transfer-coding.

3.6 Digest Operation

   Upon receiving the Authorization header, the server may check its
   validity by looking up the password that corresponds to the submitted
   username. Then, the server must perform the same digest operation
   (e.g., MD5) performed by the client, and compare the result to the
   given request-digest value.

   Note that the HTTP server does not actually need to know the user's
   cleartext password. As long as H(A1) is available to the server, the
   validity of an Authorization header may be verified.

   The client response to a WWW-Authenticate challenge for a protection
   space starts an authentication session with that protection space.
   The authentication session lasts until the client receives another
   WWW-Authenticate challenge from any server in the protection space. A
   client should remember the username, password, nonce, nonce count and
   opaque values associated with an authentication session to use to
   construct the Authorization header in future requests within that
   protection space. The Authorization header may be included
   preemptively; doing so improves server efficiency and avoids extra
   round trips for authentication challenges. The server may choose to
   accept the old Authorization header information, even though the
   nonce value included might not be fresh. Alternatively, the server
   may return a 401 response with a new nonce value, causing the client
   to retry the request; by specifying stale=TRUE with this response,
   the server tells the client to retry with the new nonce, but without
   prompting for a new username and password.

   Because the client is required to return the value of the opaque
   directive given to it by the server for the duration of a session,
   the opaque data may be used to transport authentication session state
   information. (Note that any such use can also be accomplished more
   easily and safely by including the state in the nonce.) For example,
   a server could be responsible for authenticating content that
   actually sits on another server. It would achieve this by having the
   first 401 response include a domain directive whose value includes a
   URI on the second server, and an opaque directive whose value
   contains the state information. The client will retry the request, at
   which time the server might respond with a 301/302 redirection,
   pointing to the URI on the second server. The client will follow the
   redirection, and pass an Authorization header , including the
   <opaque> data.

   As with the basic scheme, proxies must be completely transparent in
   the Digest access authentication scheme. That is, they must forward
   the WWW-Authenticate, Authentication-Info and Authorization headers
   untouched. If a proxy wants to authenticate a client before a request
   is forwarded to the server, it can be done using the Proxy-
   Authenticate and Proxy-Authorization headers described in section 3.6

3.7 Security Protocol Negotiation

   It is useful for a server to be able to know which security schemes a
   client is capable of handling.

   It is possible that a server may want to require Digest as its
   authentication method, even if the server does not know that the
   client supports it. A client is encouraged to fail gracefully if the
   server specifies only authentication schemes it cannot handle.

   When a server receives a request to access a resource, the server
   might challenge the client by responding with "401 Unauthorized"
   status code, and include one or more WWW-Authenticate headers. If the
   server challenges with multiple Digest headers, then each one of
   these headers MUST use a different digest algorithm. The server MUST
   add these Digest headers to the response in order of preference,
   starting with the most preferred header, followed by the less
   preferred headers.

   This specification defines the following preference list, starting
   with the most preferred algorithm:

        * SHA2-256 as the default algorithm.
        * SHA2-512/256 as a backup algorithm.
        * MD5 for backward compatibility.

   A future version of this document might add SHA3 [SHA3] as a backup
   algorithm, once its definition has been finalized and published.

   When the client receives the response it SHOULD use the topmost
   header that it supports, unless a local policy dictates otherwise.
   The client should ignore any challenge it does not understand.

3.8 Proxy-Authentication and Proxy-Authorization

   The digest authentication scheme may also be used for authenticating
   users to proxies, proxies to proxies, or proxies to origin servers by
   use of the Proxy-Authenticate and Proxy-Authorization headers. These
   headers are instances of the Proxy-Authenticate and Proxy-
   Authorization headers specified in sections 10.33 and 10.34 of the
   HTTP/1.1 specification [RFC2616] and their behavior is subject to
   restrictions described there. The transactions for proxy
   authentication are very similar to those already described. Upon
   receiving a request which requires authentication, the proxy/server
   must issue the "407 Proxy Authentication Required" response with a
   "Proxy-Authenticate" header.  The digest-challenge used in the Proxy-
   Authenticate header is the same as that for the WWW- Authenticate
   header as defined above in section 3.2.1.

   The client/proxy must then re-issue the request with a Proxy-
   Authorization header, with directives as specified for the
   Authorization header in section 3.4 above.

   On subsequent responses, the server sends Proxy-Authentication-Info
   with directives the same as those for the Authentication-Info header

   Note that in principle a client could be asked to authenticate itself
   to both a proxy and an end-server, but never in the same response.

3.9 Example

   The following example is borrowed from RFC2617 and assumes that an access protected document is
   being requested from the server via a GET request.  The URI of the
   document is". Both client and
   server know that the username for this document is "Mufasa" and the
   password is "Circle of Life" ( with one space between each of the
   three words).

   The first time the client requests the document, no Authorization
   header is sent, so the server responds with:

        HTTP/1.1 401 Unauthorized
        WWW-Authenticate: Digest
                realm = "",
                qop="auth, auth-int",
        WWW-Authenticate: Digest
                qop="auth, auth-int",

   The client may prompt the user for their username and password, after
   which it will respond with a new request, including the following
   Authorization header if the client chooses MD5 digest:

        Authorization:Digest username="Mufasa",

   If the client chooses to use the SHA2-256 algorithm for calculating
   the response, the client responds with a new request including the
   following Authorization header:

        Authorization:Digest username="Mufasa",

4 Internationalization

   In challenges, servers SHOULD use the "charset" authentication
   parameter (case-insensitive) to express the character encoding they
   expect the user agent to use.

   The only allowed value is "UTF-8", to be matched case-insensitively,
   indicating that the server expects the UTF-8 character encoding to be
   used ([RFC3629]).

   If the user agent supports the encoding indicated by the server, it
   MAY add the "charset" parameter, with the value it received from the
   server, to the Proxy-Authenticate or WWW-Authenticate header fields
   it sends back to the server.

   If the user agent does not support the encoding indicated by the
   server, it MAY add the "charset" parameter to the Proxy-Authenticate
   or WWW-Authenticate header fields it sends back to the server, but
   the value in the parameter should be preceded by an exclamation point

5 Security Considerations

5.1 Limitations

   HTTP Digest authentication, when used with human-memorable passwords,
   is vulnerable to dictionary attacks. Such attacks are much easier
   than cryptographic attacks on any widely used algorithm, including
   those that are no longer considered secure. In other words, algorithm
   agility does not make this usage any more secure.

   As a result, Digest authentication SHOULD be used only with passwords
   that have a reasonable amount of entropy, e.g. 128-bit or more. Such
   passwords typically cannot be memorized by humans but can be used for
   automated web services.

   It is recommended that Digest authentication be used over a secure
   channel like HTTPS.

5.2 Authentication of Clients using Digest Authentication

   Digest Authentication does not provide a strong authentication
   mechanism, when compared to public key based mechanisms, for example.

   However, it is significantly stronger than (e.g.) CRAM-MD5, which has
   been proposed for use with LDAP [10], POP and IMAP (see RFC 2195

   [9]).  It is intended to replace the much weaker and even more
   dangerous Basic mechanism.

   Digest Authentication offers no confidentiality protection beyond
   protecting the actual password. All of the rest of the request and
   response are available to an eavesdropper.

   Digest Authentication offers only limited integrity protection for
   the messages in either direction. If qop=auth-int mechanism is used,
   those parts of the message used in the calculation of the WWW-
   Authenticate and Authorization header field response directive values
   (see section 3.2 above) are  protected.  Most header fields and their
   values could be modified as a part of a man-in-the-middle attack.

   Many needs for secure HTTP transactions cannot be met by Digest
   Authentication. For those needs TLS or SHTTP are more appropriate
   protocols. In particular Digest authentication cannot be used for any
   transaction requiring confidentiality protection.  Nevertheless many
   functions remain for which Digest authentication is both useful and
   appropriate.  Any service in present use that uses Basic should be
   switched to Digest as soon as practical.

5.3 Limited Use Nonce Values

   The Digest scheme uses a server-specified nonce to seed the
   generation of the request-digest value (as specified in section above).  As shown in the example nonce in section 3.2.1, the
   server is free to construct the nonce such that it may only be used
   from a particular client, for a particular resource, for a limited
   period of time or number of uses, or any other restrictions.  Doing
   so strengthens the protection provided against, for example, replay
   attacks (see 4.5).  However, it should be noted that the method
   chosen for generating and checking the nonce also has performance and
   resource implications.  For example, a server may choose to allow
   each nonce value to be used only once by maintaining a record of
   whether or not each recently issued nonce has been returned and
   sending a next-nonce directive in the Authentication-Info header
   field of every response. This protects against even an immediate
   replay attack, but has a high cost checking nonce values, and perhaps
   more important will cause authentication failures for any pipelined
   requests (presumably returning a stale nonce indication).  Similarly,
   incorporating a request-specific element such as the Etag value for a
   resource limits the use of the nonce to that version of the resource
   and also defeats pipelining. Thus it may be useful to do so for
   methods with side effects but have unacceptable performance for those
   that do not.

5.4 Replay Attacks

   A replay attack against Digest authentication would usually be
   pointless for a simple GET request since an eavesdropper would
   already have seen the only document he could obtain with a replay.
   This is because the URI of the requested document is digested in the
   client request and the server will only deliver that document. By
   contrast under Basic Authentication once the eavesdropper has the
   user's password, any document protected by that password is open to

   Thus, for some purposes, it is necessary to protect against replay
   attacks. A good Digest implementation can do this in various ways.
   The server created "nonce" value is implementation dependent, but if
   it contains a digest of the client IP, a time-stamp, the resource
   ETag, and a private server key (as recommended above) then a replay
   attack is not simple. An attacker must convince the server that the
   request is coming from a false IP address and must cause the server
   to deliver the document to an IP address different from the address
   to which it believes it is sending the document. An attack can only
   succeed in the period before the time-stamp expires. Digesting the
   client IP and time-stamp in the nonce permits an implementation which
   does not maintain state between transactions.

   For applications where no possibility of replay attack can be
   tolerated the server can use one-time nonce values which will not be
   honored for a second use. This requires the overhead of the server

   remembering which nonce values have been used until the nonce time-
   stamp (and hence the digest built with it) has expired, but it
   effectively protects against replay attacks.

   An implementation must give special attention to the possibility of
   replay attacks with POST and PUT requests. Unless the server employs
   one-time or otherwise limited-use nonces and/or insists on the use of
   the integrity protection of qop=auth-int, an attacker could replay
   valid credentials from a successful request with counterfeit form
   data or other message body. Even with the use of integrity protection
   most metadata in header fields is not protected. Proper nonce
   generation and checking provides some protection against replay of
   previously used valid credentials, but see 4.8.

5.5 Weakness Created by Multiple Authentication Schemes

   An HTTP/1.1 server may return multiple challenges with a 401
   (Authenticate) response, and each challenge may use a different auth-
   scheme. A user agent MUST choose to use the strongest auth- scheme it
   understands and request credentials from the user based upon that

      Note that many browsers will only recognize Basic and will require
      that it be the first auth-scheme presented. Servers should only
      include Basic if it is minimally acceptable.

   When the server offers choices of authentication schemes using the
   WWW-Authenticate header, the strength of the resulting authentication
   is only as good as that of the of the weakest of the authentication
   schemes. See section 4.8 5.7 below for discussion of particular attack
   scenarios that exploit multiple authentication schemes.

5.6 Online dictionary attacks

   If the attacker can eavesdrop, then it can test any overheard
   nonce/response pairs against a list of common words. Such a list is
   usually much smaller than the total number of possible passwords. The
   cost of computing the response for each password on the list is paid
   once for each challenge.

   The server can mitigate this attack by not allowing users to select
   passwords that are in a dictionary.

5.7 Man in the Middle

   Both Basic and Digest authentication are vulnerable to "man in the
   middle" (MITM) attacks, for example, from a hostile or compromised
   proxy. Clearly, this would present all the problems of eavesdropping.
   But it also offers some additional opportunities to the attacker.

   A possible man-in-the-middle attack would be to add a weak
   authentication scheme to the set of choices, hoping that the client
   will use one that exposes the user's credentials (e.g. password). For
   this reason, the client should always use the strongest scheme that
   it understands from the choices offered.

   An even better MITM attack would be to remove all offered choices,
   replacing them with a challenge that requests only Basic
   authentication, then uses the cleartext credentials from the Basic
   authentication to authenticate to the origin server using the
   stronger scheme it requested. A particularly insidious way to mount
   such a MITM attack would be to offer a "free" proxy caching service
   to gullible users.

   User agents should consider measures such as presenting a visual
   indication at the time of the credentials request of what
   authentication scheme is to be used, or remembering the strongest
   authentication scheme ever requested by a server and produce a
   warning message before using a weaker one. It might also be a good
   idea for the user agent to be configured to demand Digest
   authentication in general, or from specific sites.

   Or, a hostile proxy might spoof the client into making a request the
   attacker wanted rather than one the client wanted. Of course, this is
   still much harder than a comparable attack against Basic

5.8 Chosen plaintext attacks

   With Digest authentication, a MITM or a malicious server can
   arbitrarily choose the nonce that the client will use to compute the
   response. This is called a "chosen plaintext" attack. The ability to
   choose the nonce is known to make cryptanalysis much easier [8].

   However, no way to analyze the MD5 one-way function used by Digest
   using chosen plaintext is currently known.

   The countermeasure against this attack is for clients to be
   configured to require the use of the optional "cnonce" directive;
   this allows the client to vary the input to the hash in a way not
   chosen by the attacker.

5.9 Precomputed dictionary attacks

   With Digest authentication, if the attacker can execute a chosen
   plaintext attack, the attacker can precompute the response for many
   common words to a nonce of its choice, and store a dictionary of
   (response, password) pairs. Such precomputation can often be done in
   parallel on many machines. It can then use the chosen plaintext
   attack to acquire a response corresponding to that challenge, and
   just look up the password in the dictionary. Even if most passwords
   are not in the dictionary, some might be. Since the attacker gets to
   pick the challenge, the cost of computing the response for each
   password on the list can be amortized over finding many passwords. A
   dictionary with 100 million password/response pairs would take about
   3.2 gigabytes of disk storage.

   The countermeasure against this attack is to for clients to be
   configured to require the use of the optional "cnonce" directive.

5.10 Batch brute force attacks

   With Digest authentication, a MITM can execute a chosen plaintext
   attack, and can gather responses from many users to the same nonce.
   It can then find all the passwords within any subset of password
   space that would generate one of the nonce/response pairs in a single
   pass over that space. It also reduces the time to find the first
   password by a factor equal to the number of nonce/response pairs
   gathered. This search of the password space can often be done in
   parallel on many machines, and even a single machine can search large
   subsets of the password space very quickly -- reports exist of
   searching all passwords with six or fewer letters in a few hours.

   The countermeasure against this attack is to for clients to be
   configured to require the use of the optional "cnonce" directive.

5.11 Spoofing by Counterfeit Servers

   Basic Authentication is vulnerable to spoofing by counterfeit
   servers.  If a user can be led to believe that she is connecting to a
   host containing information protected by a password she knows, when
   in fact she is connecting to a hostile server, then the hostile
   server can request a password, store it away for later use, and feign
   an error.  This type of attack is more difficult with Digest
   Authentication -- but the client must know to demand that Digest
   authentication be used, perhaps using some of the techniques
   described above to counter "man-in-the-middle" attacks.  Again, the
   user can be helped in detecting this attack by a visual indication of
   the authentication mechanism in use with appropriate guidance in
   interpreting the implications of each scheme.

5.12 Storing passwords

   Digest authentication requires that the authenticating agent (usually
   the server) store some data derived from the user's name and password
   in a "password file" associated with a given realm. Normally this
   might contain pairs consisting of username and H(A1), where H(A1) is
   the digested value of the username, realm, and password as described

   The security implications of this are that if this password file is
   compromised, then an attacker gains immediate access to documents on
   the server using this realm. Unlike, say a standard UNIX password
   file, this information need not be decrypted in order to access
   documents in the server realm associated with this file. On the other
   hand, decryption, or more likely a brute force attack, would be
   necessary to obtain the user's password. This is the reason that the
   realm is part of the digested data stored in the password file. It
   means that if one Digest authentication password file is compromised,
   it does not automatically compromise others with the same username
   and password (though it does expose them to brute force attack).

   There are two important security consequences of this. First the
   password file must be protected as if it contained unencrypted
   passwords, because for the purpose of accessing documents in its
   realm, it effectively does.

   A second consequence of this is that the realm string should be
   unique among all realms which any single user is likely to use. In
   particular a realm string should include the name of the host doing
   the authentication. The inability of the client to authenticate the
   server is a weakness of Digest Authentication.

5.13 Summary

   By modern cryptographic standards Digest Authentication is weak. But
   for a large range of purposes it is valuable as a replacement for
   Basic Authentication. It remedies some, but not all, weaknesses of
   Basic Authentication. Its strength may vary depending on the
   implementation.  In particular the structure of the nonce (which is
   dependent on the server implementation) may affect the ease of
   mounting a replay attack.  A range of server options is appropriate
   since, for example, some implementations may be willing to accept the
   server overhead of one-time nonces or digests to eliminate the
   possibility of replay. Others may satisfied with a nonce like the one
   recommended above restricted to a single IP address and a single ETag
   or with a limited lifetime.

   The bottom line is that *any* compliant implementation will be
   relatively weak by cryptographic standards, but *any* compliant
   implementation will be far superior to Basic Authentication.

6 IANA Considerations

   <IANA considerations text>

   This specification creates a new IANA registry named "HTTP Digest
   Hash Algorithms". When registering a new hash algorithm, the
   following information MUST be provided:

   o  The textual name of the hash algorithm.
   o  A reference to the specification that describes the new algorithm.

   The update policy for this registry shall be Specification Required.

   The initial registry will contain the following entries:

      Hash Algorithm         Reference
      ------------------     ---------
      "MD5"                  RFC XXXX
      "MD5-sess"             RFC XXXX
      "SHA2-256"             RFC XXXX
      "SHA2-256-sess"        RFC XXXX
      "SHA2-512-256"         RFC XXXX
      "SHA2-512-256-sess"    RFC XXXX

7 Acknowledgments


8 References


8.1 Normative References


   [KEYWORDS] Bradner, S., "Key words for use in RFCs to Indicate
              Requirement Levels", BCP 14, RFC 2119, March 1997.

   [RFC1776]  Crocker, S., "The Address is the Message", RFC 1776, April
              1 1995.

   [TRUTHS]   Callon, R., "The Twelve Networking Truths", RFC 1925,
              April 1 1996.

8.2 Informative References

   [EVILBIT]  Bellovin, S., "The Security Flag in the IPv4 Header",
              RFC 3514, April 1 2003.

   [RFC5513]  Farrel, A., "IANA Considerations for Three Letter
              Acronyms", RFC 5513, April 1 2009.

   [RFC5514]  Vyncke, E., "IPv6 over Social Networks", RFC 5514, April 1

Authors' Addresses

   Rifaat Shekh-Yusef (Editor)
   250 Sydney Street
   Belleville, Ontario

   Phone: +1-613-967-5267

   David Ahrens


   Sophie Bremer