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From "Tim Moore" <>
Subject RE: INSECURE to rely on sendRedirect (??)
Date Fri, 24 Jan 2003 17:58:58 GMT
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Erik Price [] 
> Sent: Friday, January 24, 2003 12:52 PM
> To: Tomcat Users List
> Subject: INSECURE to rely on sendRedirect (??)
> A few weeks ago I posted a question on this list asking if using 
> response.sendRedirect() is a secure means of preventing a user agent 
> from accessing content.  (For instance, in a scenario where, 
> to access 
> the content, the session is consulted for a key of some sort.  If the 
> key is found, continue, otherwise a sendRedirect() is used to 
> send the 
> user to an error page.)
> Since a redirect is performed using an HTTP header (rather 
> than at the 
> server, like RequestDispatcher.forward()), the user agent is not 
> *obligated* to respect the redirect.  This means that relying on a 
> redirect to protect secure data might be a mistake.  In other server 
> side languages (Perl, PHP), you can call exit immediately 
> after setting 
> the header to ensure that the sensitive data is not sent from 
> the server 
> to the user agent in the event that the user agent does not 
> respect the 
> redirect.  However, as Paul Yunusov on this list pointed out 
> to me, you 
> cannot simply exit a servlet, it is not the same as a PHP or Perl 
> script.  (The original message is appended to this one.)

No, but you can return from a servlet's request method :-)


> Summary:
> 1) Calling sendRedirect() from a Filter does not happen before the 
> Filter calls its doFilterChain() method
> 2) This means relying on sendRedirect() to protect sensitive data is 
> probably not safe.
> There could be a flaw in my logic, or I could simply be stating the 
> obvious and everyone knew this.  If either of those is the 
> case, please 
> point out my fallacy and I apologize for wasting everyone's time. :)

What if you return right after calling sendRedirect?
Tim Moore / Blackboard Inc. / Software Engineer
1899 L Street, NW / 5th Floor / Washington, DC 20036
Phone 202-463-4860 ext. 258 / Fax 202-463-4863

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