Chrome is making some changes… Are you Ready?

Posted by on February 10, 2020

Last year, Chrome announced that it was making a change to default cookies to SameSite:Lax if there is no SameSite setting explicitly set. I wrote about this change last year (https://www.jardinesoftware.net/2019/10/28/samesite-by-default-in-2020/). This change could have an impact on some sites, so it is important that you test this out. The changes are supposed to start rolling out in February (this month). The linked post shows how to force these defaults in both FireFox and Chrome.

In addition to this, Chrome has announced that it is going to start blocking mixed-content downloads (https://blog.chromium.org/2020/02/protecting-users-from-insecure.html). In this case, they are starting in Chrome 83 (June 2020) with blocking executable file downloads (.exe, .apk) that are over HTTP but requested from an HTTPS site.

The issue at hand is that users are mislead into thinking the download is secure due to the requesting page indicating it is over HTTPS. There isn’t a way for them to clearly see that the request is insecure. The linked Chrome blog describes a timeline of how they will slowly block all mixed-content types.

For many sites this might not be a huge concern, but this is a good time to check your sites to determine if you have any type of mixed content and ways to mitigate this.

You can identify mixed content on your site by using the Javascript Console. It can be found under the Developer Tools in your browser. This will prompt a warning when it identifies mixed content. There may also be some scanners you can use that will crawl your site looking for mixed content.

To help mitigate this from a high level, you could implement CSP to upgrade insecure requests:

Content-Security-Policy: upgrade-insecure-requests

This can help by upgrading insecure requests, but it is not supported in all browsers. The following post goes into a lot of detail on mixed content and some ways to resolve it: https://developers.google.com/web/fundamentals/security/prevent-mixed-content/fixing-mixed-content

The increase in protections of the browsers can help reduce the overall threats, but always remember that it is the developer’s responsibility to implement the proper design and protections. Not all browsers are the same and you can’t rely on the browser to provide all the protections.

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