Content Server Security –
Challenges and Best Practices
Brian “Bex” Huff, Software Developer
Stellent, Inc.
January 30, 2006
 Outline what you need to protect your content
• How Content Server fits into your security policy
• Use risk-management to minimize cost
 Discuss risks and known vulnerabilities
• General network briefly, Stellent in detail
 Present countermeasures to mitigate risks
• General network briefly, Stellent in detail
Brief History of Internet Security
 Early days
• Little security except governments, banks, and telcos
• Most software was far too trusting
 First virus (1983), worm (1988), and trojan (1200 BC)
• Networks must defend against malware
• Sparked battle between cryptographers and US government
 Tech boom:
• Spent on security, but didn’t understand it
 Tech bust
• All projects must justify expense, security was neglected
Brief History of Internet Security, cont.
 Today
• Little security except governments, banks, and telcos
 The Future
• Annoying/disruptive malware is for amateurs
• Intellectual property theft is the future
• Cheap and effective industrial espionage
• Database, file server, web-based CMS are next targets
• Popularity of web services will lead to new attack forms
Cyber Crime Statistics
 Affected 55 million Americans in 2005 (USA Today)
 Yearly costs estimates vary wildly
• $105 billion (2005, Treasury Department)
• $1 billion (2003, Gartner)
 42% of Americans used internet LESS in 2005
• Identity theft scares them away (Gartner)
 Customers go elsewhere after security breaches (Ponemon)
• 70% would leave after two thefts of customer data
• Each customer record lost costs $75
What Should We Do?
 Don’t panic!
• 100% security neither possible nor cost-effective
 Ultimately, people make your assets secure
• Security products (hardware, software) merely assist
• Make your network defensible
 Consider security like risk management
• Security breaches always possible
• Can lower the odds, for progressively more money
• Minimize risk for the minimum price
 “Security is a process, not a product” – Bruce Schneier
Making A Security Plan
1. Determine risks and threats
Who is attacking you, and why?
2. Describe policy required to defend
Who should be allowed to do what?
Sarbanes Oxley compliance may also require this
3. Analyze vulnerabilities, design countermeasures
Cover all aspects: Protection, Detection, Reaction
1) Determine Threats and Risks
 Definition of Risk
• Probability and effects of a harmful event
• Risk = Threat x Vulnerability x Impact
• Threat: person with skills and motive to leverage vulnerability
 Standard Consumers – LOW Risk
• Customers, partners, site visitors, Google
• Using leaked information against you
 Contributors – MEDIUM Risk
• Typical employees, Site Studio contributors
• Information leakage, bad passwords, malicious content
1) Determine Threats and Risks, cont.
 Administrators – HIGH Risk
• Site maintainer
• Setting security improperly, stealing content
 Developers – HIGH Risk
• Component, fragment, or portal designers
• Creating insecure code on your system
 Unauthorized Users – HIGHEST Risk
• Hackers, malware, ex-employees, differs based on organization
 Oft cited stat: 70% of attacks are insiders
2) Determine Security Policy
 Specifics depend on organizational needs
 Enterprise network policy
• General process for users, administrators, applications
• Most likely you have one already
 Content Server specific policies
• Who is allowed to view/change each type of content?
• When is content fit for consumption?
• Do contributors need access to scripting languages?
• JSP, ASP, JavaScript
• Which add-ons and components are secure?
3) Vulnerabilities and Countermeasures
 Protection, Detection, Reaction
 Vulnerabilities common to all enterprise systems
• Security holes in OS, web server, database
• Bad passwords, eavesdropping, malware
• Evil developers and administrators
• Probably addressed in your current security policy
 Vulnerabilities common to web apps
• Cross Site Scripting (XSS)
• Information leakage
Vulnerabilities in Stellent
 Java-based, immune to buffer overflows
 Primary vulnerabilities in interfaces
• Connection to authentication engine
• Web server, portal server, LDAP
• Database connections (SQL injection)
• Administrative tools can impersonate users
 Contributors uploading insecure content
• Incorrect security group
• Malicious ASP / JSP / JavaScript / HTML Forms
 Insecure components
Protection - High Risk Vulnerabilities
 Important regardless of your organization
 General network security
 Cross site scripting
 Malicious content
 Content server port access
General Network Security
 Keep software/firmware patches up-to-date
• 99% of attacks are known exploits (CERT)
 Vulnerability analysis tools (Nessus, Metasploit)
• Highly flawed, but catches known exploits
 Secure network topology
• Firewall both external and internal attacks (DMZ)
• Minimize required trust and single points of failure
 Restrict physical / shell access
 Virus/Trojan scanners at internet gateway
• Block malicious emails & web downloads
• Cannot trust users to make secure decisions!
Cross-Site Scripting (XSS)
 HTML & HTTP flexibility very useful:
• Form on my site to submit a Google search
• Click submit, search results displayed in your browser
 But could cause security problems:
• Click submit, content deleted from your server invisible to you
 Attacks can originate from ANYWHERE:
• Form submission, URLs, or simple page loading
• Attacks can be JavaScript, or pure HTML
 Executed with your browser & security credentials
• Hacker tricks you into attacking the server for him
• Advanced attacks with AJAX can hijack your entire browser!
Cross-Site Scripting, cont.
 Block forms submitted from untrusted sites
• Block insecure HTTP referrers (HtmlPostAuthenticator)
• Can be spoofed, in this case its usable
• Block malicious URLs: EnableSecuredGets=true
 Scrub XSS attacks from request data (FilterDataInput)
• Blocks JavaScript in metadata, content, URL parameters
• Especially important for anonymous contributors
• Comments forms, resume submissions
• Significantly restricts your “power users”
Malicious Content
 Virus scanner on stellent/vault/~temp directory
• Checks for malicious / careless contributors
 Lock down JSP/ASP contribution to just developers
• Lock down JSP with JspEnabledGroups
• Enable ASP only for specific security groups
• http://myhost/stellent/groups/scripts/
• Remove secure data from JSPs/ASPs
• Consumers with access to native file can view the source
 Malicious HCSP same as malicious HTML
• IdocScript limited to page display for security reasons
Direct SCS Port Access
 Authentication performed outside of SCS
• Web server authenticates, passes username to port 4444
• Out of the box, only localhost is trusted
• With dedicated server & trusted admins, fairly safe
 Rogue administrator can impersonate users
• Content Integration Suite (CIS), IdcCommandUX
• SOAP is safer – password authenticated by web server
 First: block access with firewalls
• Block all but web server and portal server
• Restrict to specific users if possible
• More safe than just SocketHostAddressSecurityFilter
Direct SCS Port Access, cont.
 Second: password secure access (ProxyConnections)
• Set ProxyPassword to a large random string
• Web server sends secure authentication token:
• User, hashed user password, IP, time, and ProxyPassword
• Blocks connections without token
• Some admin tools blocked
• Manually create token for portal servers (CIS, IdcCommandUX)
 Or Third: encrypt access with SSL (SecurityProviders)
• CIS only, default web server not yet supported
• Authenticate with SSL certificates
• For systems with extraordinary needs
Protection - Lower Risk Vulnerabilities
 Less important, depending on organization and network
 Data leakage
 Eavesdropping
 Passwords
 Hacked database, file server, web server
Data Leakage
 How much does Google know about you?
 Simplify the security model
• Less accidental information leakage
• Use security groups to secure, not to organize!
• Use Profiles / WebDAV to simplify contribution
 Workflows for public facing content
 PDF Watermark, Dynamic Watermark
• Embed the word CONFIDENTIAL in converted PDFs
• Add date and viewer’s name with Dynamic Watermark
 NeedToKnow component
• User can view some metadata, but not content
 Network vulnerable to packet sniffers
• Spy on downloaded content or passwords
• Protects passwords and content
• Important for Basic authentication and cookie login
• NTLM authentication is already “encrypted”
• Drawback: performance suffers
 Customizations: use SSL only when needed
• Login with cookies from HTTPS page
• Set up both HTTP and HTTPS (BrowserUrlPath)
• Use SSL only for contributors / administrators
Password Hacking
 Cannot trust users with their passwords
• 70% give away passwords for chocolate (BBC)
• Computers getting faster, passwords still 8 letters
• Reused passwords, easily guessed passwords
 Use Single Sign On (SSO)
• NTLM, Active Directory, LDAP, Netegrity SiteMinder
• Eases maintenance of passwords, users, new applications
• Drawback: no login prompt can make XSS worse
 Don’t allow users to know their access key!
• USB / smart cards with SSL certificates for authentication
• Protect certificate with password
• Add biometrics for more security
• In practice, managing such keys is very difficult
Hacked Web Server
 Web server primary target for unauthorized users
• Typically exposed to outside world
• Firewalls help, but don’t stop everything
 Password secure SCS / web server connection
• Require access tokens (ProxyCredentials)
• Hacker cannot impersonate users
 Web proxy for extra security layer
• Run web server on same machine as SCS
• Connect to web server with proxy (Squid) outside firewall
• If proxy is hacked, SCS is still safe (for now)
Hacked File System
 Compromise of SCS machine or file server
• If user gains root access, anything is possible
 Use NTLM/Kerberos authentication for Database
• No need to store JdbcPassword
• SQL Server: Use JTDS 1.2 driver, manual install
• Oracle: Use version-specific thin driver
 Encrypted file system
• Secure the vault, weblayout, search, data directories
• Performance loss, might not work with web server
• Expanded support with FileStoreProviders (8.x)
Database Connections
 SQL Injection attacks
• Similar to XSS – malicious SQL through hacked web form
• Can take over database through some web applications
 SCS protected by abstraction layer
• SQL in predefined queries, strongly typed parameters
 SCS validates user-submitted data
• Parses dates, numbers, escapes quotes in strings
• Extra parenthesis added if found in query terms
 Reduce table-modification rights of Stellent JDBC user
• Adding metadata, schema, components requires DBA approval
• User-level activity unaffected
Protection - Risks in Customizations
 Difficult to measure
 Untrusted developer making customizations
 How to make secure components
 Possible security customizations
Malicious Components
 Difficult to defend against
• Requires complete auditing of code for back-doors
 Install “development” servers
• Protects content against rogue developers
• Components audited and installed by trusted admin
 Block Admin Server component installs
• Restrict to Component Wizard from the console
• AllowUpdateComponentConfig, AllowComponentUpload
Secure Component Tips
 Validate HTML form data in Java
• JavaScript is handy, but not trustable
 Encode IdocScript variables on pages
• IdocScript functions: js(), xml(), url()
• Prevents introduction of new XSS attacks
 Use predefined SQL queries, avoid raw SQL
• Predefined queries thwart SQL injection
 Execute command-line applications with caution
• Validate the command first
Secure Component Tips, cont.
 Use the checkSecurity action in custom services
• Service security flags require dSecurityGroup to be present
• Cannot trust values sent by the user
• First determine dSecurityGroup with SQL query
• Then call checkSecurity action in service
 Expect people to call custom IdocScript maliciously
• Restrict functionality to read-only actions
• Workflow IdocScript allows write actions in special context
• Condition variable allowWorkflowIdocScript
Security Customization Examples
 Modify security with Java components
• Web security plugins require C++ code
 Allow anonymous user to check in content
• SecurityFilter component in 7.5 HowToComponents
• Deny general access, allow it for specific requests
 Establish download quotas
• User can only download 50MB per day
 Block certain service calls for consumption servers
• Block SOAP or WebDAV explicitly
• With firewall, or customization
• Block all services except bare essentials (SS_GET_PAGE)
Security Customization Examples, cont.
 Custom validation of metadata and content
• Content Profile rules, or Java filters (validateStandard)
 Java User Providers for authentication
• For legacy or atypical authentication protocols
 Custom web authentication
• Custom authentication filters (SiteMinder, SSL Certificates)
• Custom tokens for flexible SOAP security
• Block login after 3 bad passwords
 Custom cookie login
• Existing sample version doesn’t have a timeout
• Be sure to hash the username, a timestamp, and a secret
Detection – Network Violations
 Check logs frequently
• Firewall, intrusion detection, web server
• Sometimes only human eyes catch ‘suspicious’ behavior
 Syndicate access logs to remote servers
• Must compromise several systems to “cover your tracks”
 Intrusion detection systems (Snort, some firewalls)
• Detects known attacks, generally suspicious packets
Detection – SCS Specific
 Check SCS web logs
• Access violation logged
• Login failures not automatically logged
• Use SSO or custom component
 Content Tracker
• Tracks popularity – who viewed what?
• Check for allowed – but unusual – activity:
• Downloading data before quitting
• Downloading random highly secure data
• Excellent dual-purpose technology
Reaction – Respond to Intrusion
 Someone someday will bypass all your security
• Reaction depends on business needs
• Block access with firewall? Unplug from network?
• Minimize damage and disruption while you patch
 Establish backup and recovery plans
• Backup all applications and data
• Most high-availability sites have sufficient plans
 Redundancy is primary
• System must survive a crash / compromise of one server
• One compromise shouldn’t lead to several
Reaction – SCS specific
 Block hacked user accounts
Supported by some SSO vendors
Block the administrator (SysadminBlocker)
 Make database read-only
Block ‘commit’ rights to Stellent’s JDBC user at the database
Blocks ALL write activity, possible side effects
Make Counters table read-only
Blocks all transactions
 Stellent less vulnerable than most systems
Smaller target than operating system, database
Recommendation: block XSS and direct port access
Others countermeasures as needed
 Which countermeasures to use?
First, use dual-purpose technology
Second, select those with little cost/drawbacks
SSO, web proxies, Content Tracker
ProxyCredentials, SSL, simplified security model
Lastly, select those with significant cost/drawbacks
Scrub JavaScript content, SSL Providers, custom components
Useful Links
 Security Books:
• Secrets & Lies:
• Source for some material presented here
• Counter Hack:
• Hacking Exposed:
• Network Security:
• Tao of NSM:
 Open Source Tools:
• Vulnerability Analysis:
• Intrusion Detection:
• Packet Sniffer:
 Contact Information:
• Brian ‘Bex’ Huff <[email protected]>
 See Session 1502 on SSO Integrations
 See Session 908 on Disaster Recovery
 Please complete the session survey before you leave today
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