Posted in 2012
Starting to stop SQL injections
- 10 December 2012
In a lot of examples about PHP, strings are concatenated before a database query is executed as below. Some examples advise to use PHP-functions mysql_real_escape_string() and/or addslashes() to make database query safe against SQL-injections. But this isn’t really a solution as when using addslashes() also requires the use of stripslashes() after retrieving data from a database. Some sites show the lack of proper implementation and show the famous ' string on a website.
Like in Perl with DBI, also PHP has PDO that allows for variables to be parameterized while executing a query as in the example below. This removes the need for homemade solutions that don’t cover all use-cases and allows for a way to provide a stable and more secure interface for your applications when communicating with databases.
Cleaning input enough?
- 08 December 2012
Input validation is a known issue, but writing some PHP code today let me write the following and I’m wondering if I forgot something. It is only to make sure no cleansed variable will enter a switch statement for example.
For now, I need to check the code that no
$_POST variable is entering the code unchecked before I put the code online. This also includes variables for SQL statements to eliminate SQL injections.
Getting Ext3 or Ext4 journal size
- 31 July 2012
Ext3 is a successor of Ext2 with support for journaling which means it can have a log of all the recent changes it made or is going to make to the file system. This allows
fsck to get the file system back in a good state when a power failure happens for example. But what is the size of the journal? Reading the manpage for
tune2fs it says it needs to be between 1024 and 102400 blocks which means it can start with 1MB on a file system with a 1KB block size and 4M on a file system with a 4KB block size.
So let’s start to see which inode contains the journal and normally this should be inode 8 unless you have a file system that was upgraded from Ext2 to Ext3 or Ext4.
A /tmp for every user
- 08 July 2012
With the transition towards
/run some temporary files will move towards
/run/user/, but enough files remain in
/tmp. Files that may leak information or be a point of code injection as shown with CVE-2012-3355. A first step is to create a temporary directory for every user when he or she logs in to restrict the exposure of temporary files.
After installing the right module for PAM and enabling it, every user that logs in will get its own directory for temporary files. In this case, based on the user’s ID number, but is still only accessible to the user themself.
Create home directory on first login
- 07 July 2012
Creating home directories for new users can be a difficult task and especially in an LDAP-based environment, but most PAM installations have the option to create a new home directory before the user login is completed. Debian also ships the module mpam_mkhomedir, but without a manifest to set it up correctly. Bug 640918 covers this issue, but for now, creating the file
/usr/share/pam-configs/mkhomedir with the content below resolves the problem.
After creating the file, the command below updates the PAM-config to create the home directory when a user’s home directory doesn’t exist. In the example configuration above the default umask is 0027 so only the user and group will have access to the home directory.
Using PAM to allow access
- 23 June 2012
Over the years PAM (Pluggable Authentication Module) has become the standard on Solaris and Linux, and others like AIX and the known BSDs are following. But by default, all services that use PAM are allowing all users to use it unless the service itself takes action. So why not bring the authorization part to PAM and make the decision to allow access directly in PAM?
In this example, we want to allow only access to Dovecot for users who are members of POSIX-group
ac_mail. For this, we use a module called
pam_succeed_if which can verify if a user is in a certain group or not. Based on the standard PAM file for a service, we create a new file for Dovecot and added the required line to do the authentication.
BtrFS and read-only snapshots
- 21 January 2012
In a previous posting, I started with BtrFS, and as mentioned BtrFS supports snapshotting. With this, you can create a point-in-time copy of a subvolume and even create a clone that can be used as a new working subvolume. To start we first need the BtrFS volume which can and must always be identified as subvolid 0. This as the default volume to be mounted can be altered to a subvolume instead of the real root of a BtrFS volume. We start with updating /etc/fstab so we can mount the BtrFS volume.
As /media is a temporary file system, meaning it is being recreated with every reboot, we need to create a mount point for the BtrFS volume before mounting. After that, we create two read-only snapshots with a small delay in between. As there is currently no naming guide for how to call snapshots, I adopted the ZFS naming schema with the @-sign as a separator between the subvolume name and timestamp.
First steps with BtrFS
- 18 January 2012
After using ZFS on Sun Solaris, I missed the ZFS features on Linux and with no chance of ZFS coming to Linux, I had to do with MD and LVM. Or at least until BtrFS became mature enough and since the Linux 3.0 that time slowly has come. With Linux 3.0 BtrFS supports auto defragmentation and scrubbing of volumes. The second is maybe the most important feature of both ZFS and BtrFS as it can be used to actively scan data on a disk for errors.
The first tests with BtrFS were in a virtual machine already a long time ago, but the userland tools were still in development. Now the command btrfs follow the path set by Sun Microsystems and basically combines the commands zfs and zpool for ZFS. But nothing compares to a test in the real world and so I broke a mirror and created a BtrFS volume with the name datavol: