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encoding/pem: should allow whitespace in the base64 body #54054

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jimsnab opened this issue Jul 25, 2022 · 4 comments
Open

encoding/pem: should allow whitespace in the base64 body #54054

jimsnab opened this issue Jul 25, 2022 · 4 comments
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NeedsInvestigation Someone must examine and confirm this is a valid issue and not a duplicate of an existing one.
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@jimsnab
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jimsnab commented Jul 25, 2022

What version of Go are you using (go version)?

$ go version
go version go1.18.3 linux/amd64

Does this issue reproduce with the latest release?

Yes

What did you do?

package main

import (
	"encoding/pem"
	"fmt"
)

func main() {

	p := `-----BEGIN CERTIFICATE-----
		MIIGATCCA+mgAwIBAgIUCn3
		 . . . valid pem data . . .
		ib7Jp7Q=
		-----END CERTIFICATE-----`

	blk, rest := pem.Decode([]byte(p))

	fmt.Printf("blk: %p\n", blk)
	fmt.Printf("rest len: %d\n", len(rest))
}

Paste valid PEM data in the example above. The whitespace indentation must be included. Typical output:

blk: 0x0
rest len: 2210

What did you expect to see?

Take the whitespace out of the PEM and see something like this:

blk: 0xc00010e180
rest len: 0

Per RFC 7468 says whitespace SHOULD be ignored. It's not a bug for this module to reject whitespace. But the RFC is absolutely clear that PEMs with whitespace can exist in the world, and is tolerated by some parsers, and I would expect this general purpose module to tolerate the whitespace as well.

Further, RFC 2045 is more explicit and says non-base64 characters MUST be ignored. Since the inner body of the PEM is base64, I would expect whitespace to be ignored by the golang parser.

What did you see instead?

Leading whitespace within the lines of the PEM octets causes the parser to fail.

@seankhliao seankhliao changed the title pem: should allow whitespace in the base64 body encoding/pem: should allow whitespace in the base64 body Jul 25, 2022
@seankhliao seankhliao added the NeedsInvestigation Someone must examine and confirm this is a valid issue and not a duplicate of an existing one. label Jul 25, 2022
@seankhliao
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cc @rsc

@ianlancetaylor
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CC @FiloSottile @agl

@dsnet
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dsnet commented Jul 26, 2022

This is related to #53845, which proposes the opposite, where it locks down the set of allowed characters. We could modify that proposal to instead be something more versatile like:

// WithIgnored specifies a set of non-alphabet characters that are ignored
// when parsing the input. An empty string causes the encoder to reject
// all characters that are not part of the encoding alphabet.
// A newly created Encoder ignores '\r' and '\n' by default.
func (enc Encoding) WithIgnored(chars string) *Encoding

Thus, for my original purposes for #53845, you could do enc.WithIgnored("") to be in a strict mode that rejects any non-alphabet characters. On the other hand, for the use-cases of PEM, the package could do enc.WithIgnored("\t\v\f \r\n") based on the list specified in RFC 7468, section 2.

Even though RFC 2045 says:

Any characters outside of the base64 alphabet are to be ignored in base64-encoded data.

IMO, that's a dangerous semantic. If someone were accidentally using the base64 URL alphabet (RFC 4648, section 5.), which uses '-' and '_' instead of '+' and '/', then that would not be detected as an error, but would be silently parsed as valid data. Ignoring whitespace, on the other hand, has a more obviously correct semantic.

@gopherbot
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Change https://go.dev/cl/532295 mentions this issue: encoding: support WithIgnored in base32 and base64

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