Promoting Misuse-Resistance in PASETO Libraries
Last month, Thomas Ptacek wrote API Tokens: A Tedious Survey on the fly.io blog, which talks about all things API Token.
His post covered JWT, PASETO (our design), and a few other token formats. He went on to clarify, on Hacker News, that:
The one thing I'm not super comfortable about here is my PASETO take. My attitude going in was that PASETO has a lot of boosters and not a lot of critical takes. I can beat up on Macaroons because we're using them, and I'm going to follow up with a post about what our Macaroons like like. I'm not doing that with PASETO. So, like, I stand by it, but take it for what it's worth.
What was his take, exactly? Our succinct understanding of the criticisms laid out in the fly.io article are as follows:
- There are too many versions; the old ones should be deprecated.
- PASETO's specification spells out how to avoid algorithm confusion for implementors.
- Decide between symmetric and asymmetric; don't support both use-cases.
- NIST algorithm support and CFRG involvement are unnecessary and possibly counterproductive.
Out of these criticisms, the first two are actionable and warrant further inspection, while the latter are Thomas's opinion.
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