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README

                        Firefox Sync Support in Epiphany

  Overview
  --------

  Firefox Sync [0] is a browser synchronization feature developed by Mozilla
  and is currently used to synchronize data between desktop and mobile Firefox
  browsers. The way it is designed ensures data security in such a manner that
  not even Mozilla can read the user data on the storage servers.

  To synchronize data via Firefox Sync, users must own a Firefox account.

  Behind the Scenes
  -----------------

  Firefox Sync relies on the existence of a server to store the synchronized
  records. This server is called the Sync Storage Server [1] and the current
  version of its API is 1.5 [2], which is being used since 2014. Each record
  that is synchronized (a.k.a. BSO - Basic Storage Object) is grouped with
  other related records into collections. Besides the default collections
  (i.e. bookmarks, history, passwords, tabs), there are additional collections
  (clients, crypto, meta) used for management purposes.

  After a quick glance at the API, you may notice that clients access the stored
  records on the server relatively easy, via HTTP requests. However, there are a
  couple of aspects that need to be taken into consideration before being able
  to communicate with the Sync Storage Server:

  1) What is the URL of the Sync Storage Server and how do you obtain it?
     Moreover, since every request sent to the Sync Storage Server needs to
     be authenticated with Hawk [3], how do you obtain the Hawk id and key?

  2) How do you decrypt the response so that you can actually "see" the stored
     record? As mentioned in the Mozilla docs, the only job of the Sync Storage
     Server is to store the records (it does not alter or delete them).
     So it falls into the responsibility of the clients to encrypt the records
     that are uploaded to the server.

  These aspects will be covered in the following chapters.

  Obtaining the Storage Credentials
  ---------------------------------

  To obtain the storage credentials (i.e. the URL of the Sync Storage Server and
  the Hawk id and key), the sync clients have to interact with the Token Server
  [4][5]. In the context of Firefox Sync, the role of the Token Server is to
  share the URL of the Sync Storage Server together with a pair of Hawk id and
  key in exchange for a BrowserID assertion [6]. However, the Hawk id and key
  have a limited expiry time, so clients need to take that into consideration
  and request new credentials when the previous ones have expired.

  So the next question that raises is: how do you make the BrowserID assertion?
  More exactly, since every BrowserID assertion requires a signed identity
  certificate, where do you get the certificate from?

  The certificate is obtained from the Firefox Accounts Server [7][8], more
  specifically from the /certificate/sign endpoint. As you can see in the API,
  requests to this endpoint have to be Hawk-authenticated based on a so-called
  sessionToken (a 32 bytes token) that is obtained from the /account/login
  endpoint (this endpoint does not require Hawk authentication). Details about
  how the email and the password of the user's Firefox account are stretched to
  obtain the request body of the login request can be found here [9], however it
  is of no big interest since this is made automatically by the Firefox Accounts
  Content Server [10] (how Epiphany uses the Firefox Accounts Content Server to
  do the login will be explained later). What is important to know is how the
  sessionToken is derived to obtain the Hawk id and key that will be used to
  authenticate the request to the certificate endpoint. The process is explained
  here [11] and it involves the sessionToken being fed into HKDF [12] to obtain
  the Hawk id and key.

  To summarize, the steps of obtaining the storage credentials are:

  1. Login with the Firefox account and obtain a sessionToken. This is a one
     time step since the sessionToken lasts forever until revoked by a password
     change or explicit revocation command (via the /session/destroy endpoint of
     the Firefox Accounts Server) and can be used an unlimited number of times.

  2. Based on the sessionToken, obtain a signed identity certificate from the
     /certificate/sign endpoint of the Firefox Accounts Server. The certificate
     has a limited lifetime of 24 hours.

  3. Create the BrowserID assertion from the previously obtained certificate.

  4. Send a request to the Token Server with the Authorization HTTP header set
     to the BrowserID assertion. The Token Server will respond with the URL of
     the Sync Storage Server and the Hawk id and key together with the validity
     duration.

  5. When the validity duration has expired, repeat from step 2.

  Encrypting and Decrypting Records
  ---------------------------------

  Every collection on the Sync Storage Server has a key bundle associated
  formed of two keys: a symmetric encryption key and an HMAC key. The former
  is used to encrypt and decrypt the records with AES-256, while the latter
  is used to verify the records using HMAC hashing. Both keys are 32 bytes.
  The hashing algorithm used is SHA-256. Besides the bundles associated with
  each collection, there is also a default key bundle which is supposed to be
  used when handling records belonging to a collection that has no key bundle
  associated.

  All the key bundles (including the default one) are stored in the crypto/keys
  record [13] on the Sync Storage Server. This is a normal record, but with a
  special meaning: being a record that holds information about the keys used to
  encrypt/decrypt all the other records, it cannot be encrypted with any of
  those keys for obvious reasons. Therefore it is encrypted and verified with a
  different key bundle derived from the Sync Key or the Master Sync Key.

  The Master Sync Key is a 32 bytes token available only to sync clients and
  is obtained from the Firefox Accounts Server via the /account/keys endpoint.
  This endpoint enforces the requests to be Hawk-authenticated based on a
  keyFetchToken. The keyFetchToken is also a 32 bytes token and is obtained at
  login along with the sessionToken. The process of deriving the keyFetchToken
  into the Hawk id and key used to authenticate the request and the process of
  extracting the Master Sync Key from response bundle are thoroughly explained
  here [14]. Note that the Master Sync Key is referred there as kB. In short,
  the keyFetchToken is used to derive four other tokens through two HKDF
  processes. The first HKDF process derives the Hawk id and key together with
  a new keying material that serves as input for the second HKDF process.
  The second HKDF process derives a response HMAC key and a response XOR key.
  In response to the Hawk request, the server sends in return a bundle which
  holds a ciphertext and a pre-calculated HMAC value. Clients use the response
  HMAC key to compute the HMAC value of the ciphertext to validate it. After
  that, the ciphertext is XORed with the response XOR key to obtain a 64 bytes
  token. The first 32 bytes represent kA which is left unused. The last 32 bytes
  are XORed with unwrapBKey to obtain kB (a.k.a the Master Sync Key). unwrapBKey
  is yet another 32 bytes token returned at login together with sessionToken
  and keyFetchToken). The hashing algorithm used is SHA-256.

  Note that the Master Sync Key is an immutable token which is generated when
  the Firefox account is created. Therefore, it should be considered a secret
  and not ever be displayed in plain text as it could lead to the account's
  data on the Sync Storage Server being compromised.

  Having the Master Sync Key, deriving the key bundle that is used to encrypt
  and verify the crypto/keys record is rather trivial: just perform a two-step
  HKDF with an all-zeros salt. T(1) will represent the AES encryption key and
  T(2) will represent the HMAC key. Having this key bundle, the crypto/keys
  record can be decrypted to extract the default key bundle together with the
  per-collection key bundles.

  After that, clients are ready to upload/download records to/from the Sync
  Storage Server. The flow when uploading a record is:

  1. Serialize the object representing a bookmark/history/password/tab into
     a JSON object. The stringified JSON object will represent the cleartext.

  2. Encrypt the cleartext with AES-256 using the encryption key from the
     corresponding collection's key bundle or from the default key bundle if
     the collection does not have a key bundle associated. As an initialization
     vector (IV) for AES-256, a random 16 bytes token will be used. AES-256
     will output the ciphertext which will be base64 encoded afterward.

  3. Compute the HMAC value of the base64 encoded ciphertext using the HMAC
     key from the corresponding collection's key bundle or from the default
     key bundle if the collection does not have a key bundle associated.
     The hashing algorithm used is SHA-256.

  4. Create a JSON object containing the base64 encoded ciphertext, the
     base64 encoded initialization vector and the hex encoded HMAC value.
     The stringified JSON object will represent the payload of the BSO
     that will be uploaded to the Sync Storage Server.

  5. Create a JSON object containing the id of the record and the previously
     computed payload. The id of the record is a base64 URL-safe string that
     is randomly generated (however when updating a record the id must be
     preserved) and is usually 12 characters long. The stringified JSON object
     will represent the body of the request sent to the Sync Storage Server.
     Of course, the request will be Hawk-authenticated with the Hawk id and key
     obtained from the Token Server.

  The flow is reversed when downloading a record.

  More details about the cryptography of the Sync Storage Server can be found
  here [15].

  Firefox Objects Formats
  -----------------------

  The Firefox format of the objects uploaded to the Sync Storage Server is
  described here [16]. You will notice there are multiple versions described
  for each collection, however, all collections currently use version 1, except
  for bookmarks which use version 2. All formats are JSON objects.

  In Epiphany, these formats are described by the GObject properties of the
  objects that are synchronized:

    * EphyBookmark for bookmarks
    * EphyPasswordRecord for passwords
    * EphyHistoryRecord for history
    * EphyOpenTabsRecord for tabs

  All these objects implement the JsonSerializable interface which allows
  GObjects to be serialized into JSON strings and to be constructed from JSON
  strings based on the properties of the object. They also implement the
  EphySynchronizable interface which describes an object viable to become a BSO.

  Signing in to Firefox Sync in Epiphany
  --------------------------------------

  As mentioned in the previous chapters, a vital part of Firefox Sync is
  signing in with the email and password of the Firefox account and obtaining
  a sessionToken, a keyFetchToken and an unwrapBKey that are further used to
  access data on the Sync Storage Server.

  In Epiphany, users can sign in with an existing Firefox account or create
  a new one via the Sync tab in the preferences dialog. After the sign in has
  completed successfully, users can customize their sync experience by choosing
  what collections to sync (bookmarks, history, password and open tabs), whether
  to sync or not with Firefox and the sync frequency.

  However, it is important to understand what happens behind the scenes when
  users sign in. The preferences dialog displays a Firefox iframe where users
  type their email and password of their Firefox account and click Sign In.
  The Firefox iframe is actually the web interface of the Firefox Accounts
  Server, called the Firefox Accounts Content Server. This is the preferred
  way of communicating sync related information from the Firefox Accounts
  Server to Firefox Sync clients (the other way is by direct requests to the
  login endpoint of the Firefox Accounts Server but that has been pretty much
  restricted from public access). Communication with the Firefox Accounts
  Content Server is made via the WebChannels flow [17] which is briefly
  described further.

  The Firefox iframe is loaded in a WebKitWebView inside the Sync tab of the
  preferences dialog. A JavaScript that listens to WebChannelMessageToChrome
  events is added to the WebKitUserContentManager of the WebKitWebView.
  WebChannelMessageToChrome events are messages that come from the Firefox
  Accounts Content Server to the web browser. When such an event is received,
  the JavaScript forwards it to the WebKitUserContentManager via the
  "script-message-received" signal. The callback connected to this signal in
  the preferences dialog will parse the message and respond with a
  WebChannelMessageToContent event through webkit_web_view_run_javascript()
  if necessary. WebChannelMessageToContent events are messages that go from
  the web browser to the Firefox Accounts Content Server.
  Both WebChannelMessageToChrome and WebChannelMessageToContent events have a
  "detail" JSON object that has the following members: the id of the WebChannel
  and a "message" JSON object.

  The "message" JSON object has the following members:

    * command: string, one of "fxaccounts:can_link_account", "fxaccounts:login",
      "fxaccounts:delete_account", "fxaccounts:change_password",
      "fxaccounts:loaded", "profile:change".

    * messageId: string, a unique identifier that should be kept the same when
      responding to a message.

    * data: JSON object, optional, carries the actual data of the message.

  The WebChannelMessageToChrome/WebChannelMessageToContent sign in flow is:

  1. "fxaccounts:loaded" command is received via WebChannelMessageToChrome when
     the Firefox iframe is loaded. No data is sent and no response is expected.

  2. "fxaccounts:can_link_account" command is received via
     WebChannelMessageToChrome when the user has entered the credentials and
     submitted the form. The data received contains the email of the user.
     A response with an "ok" field is expected.

  3. A WebChannelMessageToContent message is sent in response to the previous
     command. The fields detail.message.command, detail.message.messageId and
     detail.id are kept the same. The field detail.message.data is set to
     {ok: true}.

  4. "fxaccounts:login" command is received via WebChannelMessageToChrome.
     No response is expected. The data field contains the sessionToken,
     keyFetchToken and unwrapBKey tokens amongst other. Now the client has
     everything it needs and the sync can begin.

  After the sync tokens have been received via "fxaccounts:login" command in
  the preferences dialog, they are passed to EphySyncService via the _sign_in()
  function. After that, EphySyncService takes care of the rest:

    * It retrieves the Master Sync Key.

    * It verifies the version of the Sync Storage Server. EphySyncService only
      supports version 1.5 so the sign in will fail in case it detects a lower
      version. The version is kept on the Sync Storage Server in the meta/global
      record [18]. This is a special record that is not encrypted and contains
      general information about the state of the Sync Storage Server. In case
      the meta/global record is missing (this happens when the Firefox account
      is newly created), EphySyncService will generate and upload a new one.

    * It retrieves account's crypto keys from the Sync Storage Server. In case
      the crypto/keys record does not exist (this happens when the Firefox
      account is newly created), EphySyncService will generate and upload a new
      crypto/keys record that contains a randomly generated default key bundle.

    * It registers the current device in the clients collection on the Sync
      Storage Server.

    * It stores the sync secrets (sessionToken, uid, Master Sync Key, crypto
      keys) in the sync SecretSchema. They are kept there until sign out when
      the SecretSchema is cleared. At this point, the sign in is considered
      complete and the Firefox iframe is replaced with the panel that displays
      the sync configuration options.

  Note that the above steps are chronological. If any failure happens at any
  point, EphySyncService will abort and report a sign in error next to the
  Firefox iframe.

  Sync Modules in Epiphany
  ------------------------

  I. EphySyncService

  Synchronization in Epiphany is made via EphySyncService, which is a
  singleton object residing in EphyShell, being accessible anywhere in
  src/ via ephy_shell_get_sync_service(). However, EphySyncService is designed
  to operate mostly on its own so you probably won't have to deal with it in
  newly written code. EphySyncService handles all aspects of the communication
  with the Sync Storage Server (uploads and downloads records), Token Server
  (gets the storage credentials) and Firefox Accounts Server (gets account keys,
  gets certificates, destroys the session). It also schedules and does
  periodical synchronizations via every collection's manager.

  The requests to the Sync Storage Server are sent internally via
  ephy_sync_service_queue_storage_request(). This checks whether the storage
  credentials are expired or not. If not expired, the request is sent directly
  via ephy_sync_service_send_storage_request(), otherwise, the request is put
  in a message queue and new storage credentials are obtained. When the new
  storage credentials have been obtained, the queue will be emptied and all
  requests will be sent.

  The API of EphySyncService is rather simple. It contains functions to sign in,
  sign out, start periodical synchronization and do a synchronization. Besides
  these, there are four other functions:

    * _new(). This is the constructor. It receives a boolean that says whether
      this sync service should do periodical synchronizations. This is needed
      because passwords are saved from EphyWebExtension which runs in another
      process (the web process). For that, EphyWebExtension needs to have its
      own EphySyncService that will upload/update/delete passwords once they are
      saved/modified/deleted but will not do any periodical synchronizations.
      Periodical synchronizations (which synchronize all records from all
      collections) will only be made by the EphySyncService that belongs to the
      UI process.

    * _register_device(). This function adds the current device with the given
      name to the clients collection on the Sync Storage Server. The clients
      collection is a special collection which stores data about the devices
      connected to the Firefox account. It is worth mentioning that every device
      is identified by a device id and a device name. The device id is randomly
      generated at login by EphySyncService and cannot be changed by users.
      The device name can be edited by users from the preferences dialog.
      If no device name is chosen, then the default is used: "@username's
      Epiphany on @hostname".

    * _register_manager() and _unregister_manager(). These will be explained in
      the context of EphySynchronizableManager.

  The sign out function is more of a cleanup function: it stops the periodical
  synchronization, unregisters the device by deleting the associated record
  from the clients collection, deletes the associated record from the tabs
  collection, destroys the session, clears the message queue, unregisters
  all managers and clears the SecretSchema that contains the sync secrets.

  II. EphySynchronizableManager

  EphySynchronizableManager is an interface that describes the common
  functionality of every collection and is implemented by every collection
  manager: EphyBookmarksManager, EphyPasswordManager, EphyHistoryManager and
  EphyOpenTabsManager. All these managers are also singleton objects residing
  in EphyShell and are accessible in src/ via ephy_shell_get_<manager>().
  The main reason why such an interface is needed is that EphySyncService is
  defined under lib/ which makes it unable to access objects from src/ (i.e.
  EphyBookmark and EphyBookmarksManager) so it needs to access them through
  a delegate interface. EphySyncService is defined under lib/ because it is
  required by EphyWebExtension which is defined under embed/. (See section
  LAYERING in HACKING). For the same reason, EphySyncService has functions to
  register/unregister EphySynchronizableManagers. Managers are registered in
  EphyShell when EphySyncService is created based on the user preferences stored
  in the GSettings schema. Managers are also registered and unregistered when
  users toggle the check buttons that say whether a collection should be
  synchronized or not in the preferences dialog.

  The API of EphySynchronizableManager is described in the source code via
  documentation comments. EphySynchronizableManager provides two signals:
  "synchronizable-modified" and "synchronizable-deleted". The implementations
  of EphySynchronizableManager trigger the first signal when an object has
  been added or modified so it needs to be uploaded to be Sync Storage Server
  and the second signal when an object has been deleted locally so it needs to
  be deleted from the Sync Storage Server too. EphySyncService connects a
  callback to these signals for every manager that has been registered to it
  and disconnects it when the manager is unregistered. This way any local
  changes to the synchronized objects will be mirrored instantly on the Sync
  Storage Server. However, in case EphySyncService finds a newer version of
  the object on the server, it will download it.

  Note that when a record is deleted from the Sync Storage Server, it does not
  disappear from the server. It is only marked as deleted with a "deleted" flag
  set to true. This way other sync clients will know that the record has been
  deleted by another client and will delete it too from their local collection.
  See ephy_sync_debug_delete_record() vs ephy_sync_debug_erase_record() for more
  details about this.

  The synchronization merge logic of every collection is described in the
  source code comments of every manager's merge function.

  III. EphySynchronizable

  EphySynchronizable is another delegate interface that describes the
  objects that are uploaded and downloaded from the Sync Storage Server.
  It is implemented by EphyBookmark, EphyPasswordRecord, EphyHistoryRecord
  and EphyOpenTabsRecord which also implement the JsonSerializable interface
  so that they can be converted to BSOs. EphySynchronizable objects are managed
  by the associated EphySynchronizableManager. The API of EphySynchronizable is
  described in the source code via documentation comments.

  IV. EphySyncCrypto

  EphySyncCrypto is a helper module that handles all the cryptographic stuff.
  Its API include:

    * _derive_session_token(). Derives the Hawk id and key from a sessionToken.

    * _derive_key_fetch_token(). Derives the Hawk id and key, the response HMAC
      key and the response XOR key from a keyFetchToken.

    * _derive_master_keys(). Derives the Master Sync Key from the unwrapBKey
      token, the bundle returned by the /accounts/keys endpoint of the Firefox
      Accounts Server, the response HMAC key and the response XOR key. kB is
      the Master Sync Key and kA is left unused.

    * _derive_master_bundle(). Derives the key bundle from the Master Sync Key.

    * _generate_crypto_keys(). Generates a new crypto/keys record.

    * _encrypt_record(). Encrypts a cleartext into a BSO payload.

    * _decrypt_record(). Decrypts a BSO payload into a cleartext.

    * _rsa_key_pair_new(). Generates an RSA key pair. This is needed when
      obtaining an identity certificate and creating the BrowserID assertion.

    * _create_assertion(). Creates a BrowserID assertion from a certificate, an
      audience and an RSA key pair.

    * _hawk_header_new(). Creates a Hawk header that is used to authenticate
      Hawk requests. Unfortunately, there isn't any C library for creating Hawk
      headers so the code has been reproduced from a Python library [19].

  V. EphySyncDebug

  EphySyncDebug is a helper module for debugging purposes. All its functions
  use only synchronous API calls and should not be used in production code.
  Its API is described in the source code via documentation comments.

  References
  ----------

   [0] https://wiki.mozilla.org/Services/Sync
   [1] https://github.com/mozilla-services/server-syncstorage
   [2] https://mozilla-services.readthedocs.io/en/latest/storage/apis-1.5.html
   [3] https://github.com/hueniverse/hawk/blob/master/README.md
   [4] https://mozilla-services.readthedocs.io/en/latest/token/index.html
   [5] https://github.com/mozilla-services/tokenserver
   [6] https://fuller.li/posts/how-does-browserid-work/
   [7] https://mozilla-services.readthedocs.io/en/latest/fxa/index.html
   [8] https://github.com/mozilla/fxa-auth-server/
   [9] https://github.com/mozilla/fxa-auth-server/wiki/onepw-protocol#login-obtaining-the-sessiontoken
  [10] https://github.com/mozilla/fxa-content-server/
  [11] https://github.com/mozilla/fxa-auth-server/wiki/onepw-protocol#signing-certificates
  [12] https://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc5869
  [13] https://mozilla-services.readthedocs.io/en/latest/sync/storageformat5.html#crypto-keys-record
  [14] https://github.com/mozilla/fxa-auth-server/wiki/onepw-protocol#-fetching-sync-keys
  [15] https://mozilla-services.readthedocs.io/en/latest/sync/storageformat5.html#cryptography
  [16] https://mozilla-services.readthedocs.io/en/latest/sync/objectformats.html
  [17] https://github.com/mozilla/fxa-content-server/blob/master/docs/relier-communication-protocols/fx-webchannel.md
  [18] https://mozilla-services.readthedocs.io/en/latest/sync/storageformat5.html#metaglobal-record
  [19] https://github.com/mozilla/PyHawk
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