TUCoPS :: Web :: General :: ciacj042.txt

Web Security



                       The U.S. Department of Energy
                    Computer Incident Advisory Capability
                           ___  __ __    _     ___
                          /       |     /_\   /
                          \___  __|__  /   \  \___

                             INFORMATION BULLETIN

                                  Web Security

May 17, 1999 21:00 GMT                                            Number J-042
PROBLEM:       Public web servers continue to be attractive targets for
               hackers seeking to embarrass organizations or promote a
               political agenda. Good security practices can protect your site
               from the risks such compromises create.
PLATFORM:      Any Unix platform or NT system being used as a web server.
DAMAGE:        Damage can be anything from a denial-of-service attack, the
               placement of pornographic material, the posting of political
               messages, or the deletion of files or the placement of
               malicious software.
SOLUTION:      Follow known best practices and apply software patches as soon
               as they are announced by your incident response team or your
VULNERABILITY  Public web sites are hacked on an almost daily basis; the
ASSESSMENT:    threat that your site could be compromised is real.


1.  Place your web server(s) in a DMZ.  Set your firewall to drop connections
    to your web server on all ports but http (port 80) or https (port 443).
2.  Remove all unneeded services from your web server, keeping FTP (but only
    if you need it) and a secure login capability such as secure shell.  An
    unneeded service can become an avenue of attack.
3.  Disallow all remote administration unless it is done using a one-time
    password or an encrypted link.
4.  Limit the number of persons having administrator or root level access.
5.  Log all user activity and maintain those logs either in an encrypted form
    on the web server or store them on a separate machine on your Intranet.
6.  Monitor system logs regularly for any suspicious activity.  Install some
    trap macros to watch for attacks on the server (such as the PHF attack).
    Create macros that run every hour or so that would check the integrity of
    passwd and other critical files.  When the macros detect a change, they
    should send an e-mail to the system manager.
7.  Remove ALL unnecessary files such as phf from the scripts directory
8.  Remove the "default" document trees that are shipped with Web
    servers such as IIS and ExAir.
9.  Apply all relevant security patches as soon as they are announced.
10.  If you must use a GUI interface at the console, remove the commands that
     automatically start the window manager from the .RC startup directories
     and then create a startup command for the window manager.  You can then
     use the window manager when you need to work on the system, but shut it
     down when you are done.  Do not leave the window manager running for any
     extended length of time.
11.  If the machine must be administered remotely, require that a secure
     capability such as secure shell is used to make a secure connection.
     Do not allow telnet or non-anonymous ftp (those requiring a username and
     password) connections to this machine from any untrusted site.  It would
     also be good to limit these connections only to a minimum number of
     secure machines and have those machines reside within your Intranet.
12.  Run the web server in a chroot-ed part of the directory tree so it cannot
     access the real system files.
13.  Run the anonymous FTP server (if you need it) in a chroot-ed part of the
     directory tree that is different from the web server's tree.
14.  Do all updates from your Intranet. Maintain your web page originals on a
     server on your Intranet and make all changes and updates here; then
     "push" these updates to the public server through an SSL connection.
     If you do this on a hourly basis, you can avoid having a corrupted server
     exposed for a long period of time.
15.  Scan your web server periodically with tools like ISS or nmap to look for
16.  Have intrusion detection software monitor the connections to the server.
     Set the detector to alarm on known exploits and suspicious activities and
     to capture these sessions for review.  This information can help you
     recover from an intrusion and strengthen your defenses.



UNIX Systems

  CIAC Bulletins:

    F-11: Unix NCSA httpd Vulnerability

    H-01: Vulnerabilities in bash

    I-024: CGI Security Hole in EWS1.1 Vulnerability

    I-082: HP-UX Netscape Servers Vulnerability

    I-040: SGI Netscape Navigator Vulnerabilities

  Other Bulletins:

    Domino 4.6 may allow unauthorized writes to remote server drives and
    server configuration files.

    Excite 1.1 may set encrypted password files world writable.
      BUGTRAQ Mail Archives: "Security bugs in Excite for Web Servers 1.1"
      at http://www.netspace.org/cgi-bin/wa?A2=ind9811e&L=bugtraq&F=&S=&P=519

    ColdFusion Application Server and unauthorized access to web server data.


Windows Systems

  CIAC Bulletins:

    I-024: CGI Security Hole in EWS1.1 Vulnerability

    I-025A: Windows NT based Web Servers File Access Vulnerability

  Microsoft bulletins can be found under the Microsoft Security
  Advisor web page at


  The following bulletins appeared in "Current Security Bulletins"
  and "Security Bulletin Archives":

    MS99-013: Solution Available for File Viewers Vulnerability. (May 7, 1999)

    MS99-012: MSHTML Update Available for Internet Explorer. (April 21, 1999)

    MS99-011: Patch Available for "DHTML Edit" Vulnerability. (April 21, 1999)

    MS98-019: Patch Available for IIS "GET" Vulnerability. (December 21, 1998)

    MS98-016: Update available for "Dotless IP Address" Issue in Microsoft
              Internet Explorer 4. (October 23, 1998)

    MS98-011: Update Available for "Window.External" JScript Vulnerability
              in Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.0. (August 17, 1998)

    MS98-004: Unauthorized ODBC Data Access with Remote Data Services and
              Inernet Information Systems. (July 15, 1998)

  Other Bulletins:

    "ISAPI Extension vulnerability allows to execute code as SYSTEM" at:

    Internet Explorer 5.0 cached passwords can be reused by another user.

    Internet Explorer (3.01, 3.02, 4.0, 4.01) may allow frame spoofing to
    trick the user
        Microsoft Knowledgebase Article ID: Q167614: "Update Available For
            "Frame Spoof" Security Issue"


Systems running NCSA HTTPD and Apache HTTPD

  CIAC Bulletins:

    G-17: Vulnerabilities in Sample HTTPD CGIs

    G-20: Vulnerability in NCSA and Apache httpd Servers

  Other Bulletins:

    Apache denial-of-service attack -- Apache httpd (1.2.x, 1.3b3)



Systems running Netscape Navigator

  CIAC Bulletins:

    H-76: Netscape Navigator Security Vulnerability

    I-082: HP-UX Netscape Servers Vulnerability

    I-040: SGI Netscape Navigator Vulnerabilities

  Other Bulletins:

    "Reading local files with Netscape Communicator 4.5" at

    Netscape Navigator may allow frame spoofing to trick the user
        Netscape Security Update: "The Frame-Spoofing Vulnerability"


System running cgi-bin routines

  CIAC Bulletins:

    I-013: Count.cgi Buffer Overrun Vulnerability

    I-014: Vulnerability in GlimpseHTTP and WebGlimpse cgi-bin Packages

  Other Bulletins:

    IRIX webdist.cgi, handler and wrap programs

    "Nlog 1.1b released - security holes fixed"


CIAC also published a document called Securing Internet Information
Servers which has a chapter on Securing World Wide Web Servers

There are other resources that CIAC recommends for additional guidance.
The first is a publication that was developed by SANS and The Intranet
Institute after the web server at the U.S. Department of Justice was
hacked--"Twelve Mistakes To Avoid In Managing Security-For the Web."
The document can be found at:
SANS also publishes a document called "14 Steps to Avoiding Disaster
with Your Web Site."

Another web site that you should book mark is http://www.w3.org/Security/faq/.
This is a web security FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) that is maintained
by The World Wide Web Consortium http://www.w3.org/. They have security
sections for each of the major operating systems used today for web servers:

CIAC recommends the following as you check your web servers:
1.  Apply ALL security-related patches for the web server software as well
    as for the underlying Operating System.
2.  Remove ALL unnecessary files such as phf from the scripts directory
    /cgi-bin.  Remove the "default" document trees that are shipped with Web
    servers such as IIS and ExAir.
3.  Validate ALL user accounts on the web server and ensure that they have
    strong passwords.
4.  Validate ALL services and open ports on the web server to ensure there
    are no Trojanned services.
5.  Look for suspicious files in the /dev, /etc, and /tmp directories.


CIAC, the Computer Incident Advisory Capability, is the computer
security incident response team for the U.S. Department of Energy
(DOE) and the emergency backup response team for the National
Institutes of Health (NIH). CIAC is located at the Lawrence Livermore
National Laboratory in Livermore, California. CIAC is also a founding
member of FIRST, the Forum of Incident Response and Security Teams, a
global organization established to foster cooperation and coordination
among computer security teams worldwide.

CIAC services are available to DOE, DOE contractors, and the NIH. CIAC
can be contacted at:
    Voice:    +1 925-422-8193
    FAX:      +1 925-423-8002
    STU-III:  +1 925-423-2604
    E-mail:   ciac@llnl.gov

For emergencies and off-hour assistance, DOE, DOE contractor sites,
and the NIH may contact CIAC 24-hours a day. During off hours (5PM -
8AM PST), use one of the following methods to contact CIAC:

    1.  Call the CIAC voice number 925-422-8193 and leave a message, or

    2.  Call 888-449-8369 to send a Sky Page to the CIAC duty person
        (PIN number 8550070), or

    3.  Send e-mail to 4498369@skytel.com, or

    4.  Call 800-201-9288 for the CIAC Project Leader.

Previous CIAC notices, anti-virus software, and other information are
available from the CIAC Computer Security Archive.

   World Wide Web:      http://www.ciac.org/
                        (or http://ciac.llnl.gov)
   Anonymous FTP:       ftp.ciac.org
                        (or ciac.llnl.gov)
   Modem access:        +1 (925) 423-4753 (28.8K baud)
                        +1 (925) 423-3331 (28.8K baud)

CIAC has several self-subscribing mailing lists for electronic
1. CIAC-BULLETIN for Advisories, highest priority - time critical
   information and Bulletins, important computer security information;
2. SPI-ANNOUNCE for official news about Security Profile Inspector
   (SPI) software updates, new features, distribution and
3. SPI-NOTES, for discussion of problems and solutions regarding the
   use of SPI products.

Our mailing lists are managed by a public domain software package
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following request as the E-mail message body, substituting
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E-mail to       ciac-listproc@llnl.gov or majordomo@rumpole.llnl.gov:
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        e.g., subscribe ciac-bulletin

You will receive an acknowledgment email immediately with a confirmation
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If you include the word 'help' in the body of an email to the above address,
it will also send back an information file on how to subscribe/unsubscribe,
get past issues of CIAC bulletins via email, etc.

PLEASE NOTE: Many users outside of the DOE, ESnet, and NIH computing
communities receive CIAC bulletins.  If you are not part of these
communities, please contact your agency's response team to report
incidents. Your agency's team will coordinate with CIAC. The Forum of
Incident Response and Security Teams (FIRST) is a world-wide
organization. A list of FIRST member organizations and their
constituencies can be obtained via WWW at http://www.first.org/.

This document was prepared as an account of work sponsored by an
agency of the United States Government. Neither the United States
Government nor the University of California nor any of their
employees, makes any warranty, express or implied, or assumes any
legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or
usefulness of any information, apparatus, product, or process
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otherwise, does not necessarily constitute or imply its endorsement,
recommendation or favoring by the United States Government or the
University of California. The views and opinions of authors expressed
herein do not necessarily state or reflect those of the United States
Government or the University of California, and shall not be used for
advertising or product endorsement purposes.

LAST 10 CIAC BULLETINS ISSUED (Previous bulletins available from CIAC)

J-032: Windows Backdoors Update II:
J-033: SGI X server font path vulnerability
J-034: Cisco 7xx TCP and HTTP Vulnerabilities
J-035: Linux Blind TCP Spoofing
J-036: LDAP Buffer overflow against Microsoft Directory Services
J-037: W97M.Melissa Word Macro Virus
J-038: HP-UX Vulnerabilities (hpterm, ftp)
J-039: HP-UX Vulnerabilities (MC/ServiceGuard & MC/LockManager, DES
J-040: HP-UX Security Vulnerability in sendmail
J-041: Cisco IOS(R) Software Input Access List Leakage with NAT

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