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From Gregg Smith <>
Subject Re: svn commit: r1799731 - in /httpd/httpd/trunk: CHANGES server/request.c
Date Mon, 26 Jun 2017 21:31:19 GMT
Sorry Bill for the off-list mail now twice but either the list or 
thunderbird's behavior with this list has changed. I'll assume the 
former since I do not see the reply-to dev@ header anymore.

On 6/24/2017 10:02 AM, William A Rowe Jr wrote:
> On Sat, Jun 24, 2017 at 12:49 AM,  <> wrote:
>> Author: gsmith
>> Date: Sat Jun 24 05:49:45 2017
>> New Revision: 1799731
>> URL:
>> Log:
>> Send a 404 response like other OSs do instead of 403 on Windows when
>> a path segment or file requested uses a reserved word so Windows
>> cannot be fingerprinted. PR55887
> How does this solve fingerprinting?

Simple Bill, does this 403?

Does it on Windows?

Does this?


Granted /foo/bar has to exist or it will never make it that far and 404's.

While my server header may only say Apache, not hard to figure out what 
it's running on due to the different behavior.

It's always going to 403 on Windows

Which is what lead me to 00038 in the first place.

> This patch was ill-conceived... -1 as explained below;
>> +#ifdef _WIN32
>> +                /* Windows has a number of reserved words that cannot be used
>> +                 * as a file or directory name so thisinfo.filetype will
>> +                 * always be != APR_DIR. Don't allow us be fingerprinted with
>> +                 * a 403 and instead send a 404 like other OSs would. PR55887
>> +                 */
>> +                preg = ap_pregcomp(r->pool,
>> +                                                      "/(aux|con|com[1-9]|lpt[1-9]|nul|prn)"
>> +                                                      "($|/|.)", AP_REG_EXTENDED
>> +                if (ap_regexec(preg, r->uri, 0, NULL, 0) == 0)
>> +                    return r->status = HTTP_NOT_FOUND;
>> +#endif
> You should be aware that this code path can be hit a number of times
> per request, often hundreds for an autoindex listing, etc. You should
> see a notable rise in cpu.

I am after sitting on the beach thinking about what Yann meant in his reply.

> As suggested this could be a compile-once and recycle pattern.
> But why a regex against the URI?!? That's horrible, you are reparsing
> all those leading bytes we already parsed. Part of the URI may have
> been alias-mapped away from one resource name to another (or in
> the htaccess case, mapped into a badly named path.) r->filename
> is the cumulative name of the *FILE* we are inspecting, not *URI*.

Mainly because I had a problem with r->filename and with r->uri I 
didn't. However, I know the problem I had was not with r->filename but I 
forgot to run back to it.

> Worse still, because seg_name is the actual path component we are
> now looking at, e.g. from /path/to/lpt1/foo - if we are at the third elt
> that string becomes the normalized form of lpt1. There was no reason
> to be reinspecting the earlier path elts throughout the segment walk!
> But this could all be identified by the APR_CHR ->filetype, no? Sure
> beats an unnecessarily long string pattern match.

Mainly because I did not know about it and I can't say whether or not 
I'd have known what "a character device" meant though I hope I would have.

> While we are at it, why even forking WIN32? If you want to prevent
> APR_CHR files on Windows (or netware or os2 or...) from being
> identified, why wouldn't you simply change the behavior across all
> architectures with a new test case ahead of the != APR_DIR check...
>              else if (thisinfo.filetype == APR_CHR) {
>                  ap_log_rerror(APLOG_MARK, APLOG_ERR, 0, r, APLOGNO(00038)
>                                "Forbidden: %s points to a char stream path",
>                                r->filename);
>                  return r->status = HTTP_NOT_FOUND;
>              }

Uh yes, but as shown up front the 404 is what we'd get on Unix and 
forcing it 404 is what I was doing while improperly.

>             else if (thisinfo.filetype != APR_DIR) {
>                  ap_log_rerror(APLOG_MARK, APLOG_ERR, 0, r, APLOGNO(00038)
>                                "Forbidden: %s doesn't point to "
>                                "a file or directory",
>                                r->filename);
>                  return r->status = HTTP_FORBIDDEN;
>              }
> As I asked upfront, why is it believed that this solves the win32
> issue? 

Because I tested and got a 404 instead of a 403 with the numerous 
possibilities I tried.

It's trivial to check for case folding and that folding will
> occur in a manner unique to the Windows implementation of the
> NTFS filesystem. You would need to modify the following code
> to force case mismatches to a 404 result to try to convince anyone
> that the server is running on unix, non-samba;
>              if ((thisinfo.valid & APR_FINFO_NAME)
>                  && strcmp(seg_name, {
>                  /* TODO: provide users an option that an internal/external
>                   * redirect is required here?  We need to walk the URI and
>                   * filename in tandem to properly correlate these.
>                   */
>                  strcpy(seg_name,;
>                  filename_len = strlen(r->filename);
>              }
> More to the point, the actual TCP traffic itself is subject to all sorts
> of inferences if it can be observed (and that this isn't a proxied box
> behind the firewall.)
> Let's please back out that patch entirely and start again by asking
> the question, do we want to treat CHR file paths as not found rather
> than forbidden, and does anyone see an opportunity for httpd's
> core or third party modules to proceed to try to work around that
> file/path leading to potential security blunders? E.g. mod_speling?
> If we agree that APR_CHR can be 'anonymized' then a generic
> and fast fix is in order.

I think I've proved it's going to 403 where it won't on Unix. Not I too 
much but many Windows users are extremely paranoid and will not like the 
fact that this can be so easily figured out with a simple request while 
some evildoer is doing reconnaissance. That's probably why the PR is 
there in the first place.

I'll revert by the end of the day UTC -8.


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