Year Of Security for Java – Week 9 – X-Frame-Options

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What is it and why should I care?
X-Frame-Options (moving towards just Frame-Options in a draft spec – dropping the X-) is a new technology that allows an application to specify whether or not specific pages of the site can be framed. This is meant to help deal with the clickjacking problem.

The technology is implemented as an HTTP response header specified per-page. Browsers supporting the (X-)Frame-Options header will respect the declaration of the page and either allow or disallow the page to be framed depending upon the specification.

What should I do about it?
Yet again, this is a very low-risk item that only adds additional assurance. There are some limitations that may prevent the header from offering protection in some instances, but it does NOT make you less safe. It is an additional layer of protection.

A page can specify 3 different options for how it wants to be framed.

Option 1: DENY
This option means this page can never be framed by any page, including a page with the same origin. A sample code snippet is below:

HttpServletResponse response ...;
response.addHeader("X-FRAME-OPTIONS", "DENY");

Option 2: SAMEORIGIN
This option means this page can be framed, but only by another page within the same origin. A sample code snippet is below:

HttpServletResponse response ...;
response.addHeader("X-FRAME-OPTIONS", "SAMEORIGIN");

Option 3: Allow-From
This option means the page can be framed, but only by the specified origin. A sample code snippet is below:

HttpServletResponse response ...;
response.addHeader("X-FRAME-OPTIONS", "Allow-From https://some.othersite.com");

As an additional help, the good folks at owasp have put together a simple example J2EE filter for X-Frame-Options.

(X-)Frame-Options is a good additional layer of protection to add to your site to prevent clickjacking. While it won’t stop everything, it costs very little, and can help protect your users.

References
———–
https://developer.mozilla.org/en/The_X-FRAME-OPTIONS_response_header
https://www.owasp.org/index.php/Clickjacking#Defending_with_response_headers
http://blogs.msdn.com/b/ieinternals/archive/2010/03/30/combating-clickjacking-with-x-frame-options.aspx
http://blog.mozilla.com/security/2010/09/08/x-frame-options/
http://lcamtuf.blogspot.com/2011/12/x-frame-options-or-solving-wrong.html
http://www.jtmelton.com/2012/02/03/year-of-security-for-java-week-5-clickjacking-prevention/
http://tools.ietf.org/html/draft-gondrom-frame-options

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