Interesting argument. However, consider this: if you completely trust your
'firewalled' box, then why not run the web server as root? One response,
in your case is the fact that you mention your trust on users(humans are
the most easy to compromise, however that argument is a bit OT). However,
do you trust all of your webserver code? Do you trust your cgi-bin
scripts and applications? And by trust I not only mean harmful intent by
the authors of software, but unintentional bugs which can be exploited,
and will be given the privilege to bind to <1024 ports even when they run
as a user with least privileges.

Just my opinion.


On Sun, 30 Jul 2000, Cary O'Brien wrote:

> > Cary O'Brien wrote:
> > 
> > > Well...
> > > 
> > > If you are running on Linux you could simply edit the kernel code to
> > > elimitate the check on being root to bind to low ports.  That's what
> > > we did.
> > 
> > Which is an even worse idea.
> > 
> Why?  On a sufficiently firewalled off box, where the few logins are
> completly trusted, what's the diff?  If you were worried about people
> cracking a user account and getting underneath telnet, than limit the
> lifting of the restriction to port 80.  If you are concerned that
> non-root users could launch attacks from low ports at other machines,
> assuming that only good guys can come from low ports is pretty naive.
> The whole business about not letting anyone but root bind to low ports
> makes sense for a public access machine where all the first year
> engineering students have an account, but for a dedicated application
> server it is kind of misdirected.  You ought to be running next to
> nothing but the application, and you had better trust everyone that
> you give a login to, and you out to have the thing locked
> down/firewalled well.  So the tiny bit of possible protection may not
> be worth the hassle/risks of writing your own suid-wrapper, or the
> complexity of having a redirect and messing with site-access so that
> the port numbers in the zope -- what it is that parameter -- base or
> whatever, comes out write.
> Just for fun - does NT have the same restriction?
> -- cary
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