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Where are your administrative interfaces, and how are they protected?

One of the many things that keeps me awake at night:

For each {application|platform|database|technology} where are the administrative interfaces located, and how are they protected?

I've run into administrative interface SNAFU's on both FOSS and purchased software. A common problem is applications that present an interface that allows access to application configuration and administration via the same ports and protocols as the application user interface. A good example is Twitter,  where hacker-useful support tools were exposed to the Internet with ordinary authentication.

In the case of the Pennsylvania school spy cam caper, the 'administrative interface' that the school placed on the laptops apparently is relatively easy to exploit, and because they sent the students home with the district laptops, the interface is/was exploitable from the Internet.

Years ago one of our applications came with a vendor provided Tomcat install configured with the Tomcat management interface (/manager/*) open to the Internet on the same port as the application, ‘secured’ with a  password of 'manager', without the quotes. Doh!

The most recent JMX console vulnerability show us the type of administrative interface that should never, ever be exposed to the Internet. (A Google search shows that at least a few hundred JMX consoles exposed to the Internet.)

I try to get a handle on ‘rogue’ administrative interfaces by white listing URL’s in the load balancers. I’ll ask the vendor for a list of top level URL’s and build regex rules for them. (/myapp/*, /anotherapp/*, etc.). When the list includes things like /manager/*, /admin/*, /config/* we open up a dialogue with the vendor.

Our standard RFP template asks the vendor for information on the location and security controls for all administrative and management interfaces to their application. We are obviously hoping that they are one step ahead of us and they've built interfaces that allow configuration & management of the product to be forced to a separate 'channel' of some sort (a regex-able URL listening on a separate port, etc.).

Some vendors 'get it'.

Some do not.


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