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    1 <TITLE>CGIWrap - Comments from Administrators</TITLE>
    2 <CENTER><H2>CGIWrap - Comments from Administrators</H2></CENTER>
    3 <HR><P>
    4 <PRE>
    5 Nathan:
    7     I just thought I would drop you a note, saying that I absolutely
    8     adore cgiwrap.
   10     Prior to now, I had been using Apache suexec. To be blunt, suexec
   11     is a disgusting piece of crap. 
   13     ...snip...
   15     I literally had to re-code parts of suexec to get it to work 
   16     under my server configuration.
   18     ...until I encountered cgiwrap.
   20     Your product works flawlessly, and fits my every need. It's
   21     extraordinarily fast, and it's simplicity makes it an awesome
   22     pre-requisite for any webmaster who wishes to run scripts in
   23     a secure environment.
   25     The best part about cgiwrap is it's (simplistic, yet useful)
   26     ability to redirect stderr to stdout. With so many CGI scripts
   27     available, and so many written in different environments, it's
   28     about time something came along which could make the debugging
   29     process as simple as cake.
   31     Thank you for cgiwrap.
   33 -- 
   34 | Jeremy Chadwick                                 System Administrator |
   35 | yoshi@parodius.com                                      ICQ #6279222 |
   36 |           "Where is fancy bread? In the heart, or in the head?" - WW |
   37 </PRE>
   39 <P><HR><P>
   41 <PRE>
   42 It is inherently impossible to provide _total_ protection, but there
   43 is a nifty little utility called cgiwrap that can help.  Check out
   44 the URL:
   46 http://www.unixtools.org/cgiwrap/
   48 This method has several advantages:
   50    1. It runs the cgi script as your userid, not as some server-defined
   51       userid.  Assuming you are an ordinary user, this reduces the risk
   52       of damaging the system, while increasing the risk of mucking-up
   53       your own files.  That tradeoff is precisely what many admins
   54       on big sites want; it shifts the risk from a badly-written
   55       script onto its author, rather than the sysadmin.  Also, the
   56       fact that it runs as you means that if you do something dumb
   57       or nasty with it, the administrators have a better chance of
   58       determining who is responsible.
   60       Also, this means that if a cgi script hangs and fails to die, you
   61       can kill it yourself; if it runs as some special userid then only
   62       the system administrator can kill it should it run amuck.
   64    2. It does some security checking for common holes.  For instance,
   65       it checks that the owner of the directory where the script is
   66       found also owns the script.
   68    3. If you call cgiwrap as cgiwrapd then you'll get special debugging
   69       output; I've found this extremely helpful in testing.
   71 Nothing is bulletproof.  The simple act of letting users create static
   72 html documents is itself something of a risk.  For example, on many
   73 UNIX-based WWW servers, any user can type the following:
   75 cd ~/public_html
   76 ln -s /etc/passwd Read_This_Folks
   77                   ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^or whatever ;-)
   79 And you've just let the entire universe see your system's password
   80 file!  Of course, this is monumentally stupid, and of course many
   81 newer systems use shadow passwords, but I'm sure more subtle holes
   82 exist even with static html -- to say nothing of cgi scripts.
   84 Also, take a look at the URL:
   86 http://www-genome.wi.mit.edu/WWW/faqs/www-security-faq.html
   88 for some _very_ useful information about cgi security issues.
   90 --------
   91 Matthew.Healy@yale.edu  Postdoc (& now, WebMaster)
   92 Center for Medical Informatics, Yale School of Medicine
   93 He was covered with clanking chains of code. "I am the
   94 Ghost of Hacks Past," he said to Scrooge.
   95 http://paella.med.yale.edu/~healy/matt_healy.html
   97 </PRE>
   98 <HR>