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    1                    CGIWrap - Comments from Administrators
    2      __________________________________________________________________
    4 Nathan:
    6         I just thought I would drop you a note, saying that I absolutely
    7         adore cgiwrap.
    9         Prior to now, I had been using Apache suexec. To be blunt, suexec
   10         is a disgusting piece of crap.
   12         ...snip...
   14         I literally had to re-code parts of suexec to get it to work
   15         under my server configuration.
   17         ...until I encountered cgiwrap.
   19         Your product works flawlessly, and fits my every need. It's
   20         extraordinarily fast, and it's simplicity makes it an awesome
   21         pre-requisite for any webmaster who wishes to run scripts in
   22         a secure environment.
   24         The best part about cgiwrap is it's (simplistic, yet useful)
   25         ability to redirect stderr to stdout. With so many CGI scripts
   26         available, and so many written in different environments, it's
   27         about time something came along which could make the debugging
   28         process as simple as cake.
   30         Thank you for cgiwrap.
   32 --
   33 | Jeremy Chadwick                                 System Administrator |
   34 | yoshi@parodius.com                                      ICQ #6279222 |
   35 |           "Where is fancy bread? In the heart, or in the head?" - WW |
   36      __________________________________________________________________
   38 It is inherently impossible to provide _total_ protection, but there
   39 is a nifty little utility called cgiwrap that can help.  Check out
   40 the URL:
   42 http://www.unixtools.org/cgiwrap/
   44 This method has several advantages:
   46    1. It runs the cgi script as your userid, not as some server-defined
   47       userid.  Assuming you are an ordinary user, this reduces the risk
   48       of damaging the system, while increasing the risk of mucking-up
   49       your own files.  That tradeoff is precisely what many admins
   50       on big sites want; it shifts the risk from a badly-written
   51       script onto its author, rather than the sysadmin.  Also, the
   52       fact that it runs as you means that if you do something dumb
   53       or nasty with it, the administrators have a better chance of
   54       determining who is responsible.
   56       Also, this means that if a cgi script hangs and fails to die, you
   57       can kill it yourself; if it runs as some special userid then only
   58       the system administrator can kill it should it run amuck.
   60    2. It does some security checking for common holes.  For instance,
   61       it checks that the owner of the directory where the script is
   62       found also owns the script.
   64    3. If you call cgiwrap as cgiwrapd then you'll get special debugging
   65       output; I've found this extremely helpful in testing.
   67 Nothing is bulletproof.  The simple act of letting users create static
   68 html documents is itself something of a risk.  For example, on many
   69 UNIX-based WWW servers, any user can type the following:
   71 cd ~/public_html
   72 ln -s /etc/passwd Read_This_Folks
   73                   ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^or whatever ;-)
   75 And you've just let the entire universe see your system's password
   76 file!  Of course, this is monumentally stupid, and of course many
   77 newer systems use shadow passwords, but I'm sure more subtle holes
   78 exist even with static html -- to say nothing of cgi scripts.
   80 Also, take a look at the URL:
   82 http://www-genome.wi.mit.edu/WWW/faqs/www-security-faq.html
   84 for some _very_ useful information about cgi security issues.
   86 --------
   87 Matthew.Healy@yale.edu  Postdoc (& now, WebMaster)
   88 Center for Medical Informatics, Yale School of Medicine
   89 He was covered with clanking chains of code. "I am the
   90 Ghost of Hacks Past," he said to Scrooge.
   91 http://paella.med.yale.edu/~healy/matt_healy.html
   93      __________________________________________________________________