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From "Martin Gainty" <>
Subject Re: session hijacking again
Date Tue, 30 Jan 2007 01:51:07 GMT
John and Peter

SE seems definitely O/T so please email me offline on this topic of  Social Engineering..Perhaps
this is a project which the government never discloses?
Admittedly I have no information as to the definition and or implications of such a plan

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----- Original Message ----- 
From: "John Caron" <>
To: "Tomcat Users List" <>
Sent: Monday, January 29, 2007 3:17 PM
Subject: Re: session hijacking again

> Hi Peter:
> Peter Stavrinides wrote:
>> Do you use Java?
> yes
>> We are a financial institution, we use a Java Framework based on 
>> servlets with SSL, but if you ask my opinion SSL is not the big issue. 
>> The vast majority of hacked sites are social engineering attacks. Secure 
>> your database (do not store clear text passwords in the database) 
>> minimize access of staff, require strong passwords (8 characters and 
>> numbers). No strategy or amount of code is foolproof, although yes It is 
>> also worth the extra effort to make your application a bit smart, but it 
>> is better to focus your attention on preventing social engineering, 
>> because no matter how clever you make it if the passwords are easily 
>> guessed or users careless its all for nothing.
>> Design your application like a container that reloads its body, that way 
>> you can implement security and logging application wide with minimal code.
>> We secure our application like this: on login (after authentication) we 
>> store in state for the duration of that session, the users unique id and 
>> session id and for logging purposes the current IP. (no cookies etc are 
>> used at all, because cookies are stored on the client which is out of 
>> our control).
> doesnt the client have to return a jsessionid cookie?
>> We perform a check for each new login to ensure at least the user id and 
>> session id does NOT exist in state before allowing the new login. We do 
>> not allow two concurrent logins with the same account.
>> If you wish to implement session id switching you have to destroy the 
>> users old session and recreate it and update the session id in state (to 
>> me again, just my humble opinion, not so important)... it is far more 
>> useful to use a session timer that times out after a few minutes of 
>> inactivity, it will automatically call a sign out but you can keep the 
>> users details in the server state until the browser closes, if they try 
>> to continue activity, then you ask them to sign in again and add their 
>> new session id back into your state object. When the browser closes a 
>> session listener cleans out the session so the users details are discarded.
>> Again paranoid coding is not going to prevent social engineering, 
>> educating users might... by far the most effective strategy is to tell 
>> users to never give out their password, give them a support number and 
>> inform them about what the support personnel is and isn't allowed to ask 
>> them for. Lastly tell users exactly what type of email they will and 
>> won't receive from your organization. When they login to your site tell 
>> them they should ALWAYS check that the domain name appears correctly in 
>> the address bar.
> thank you very much for your advice, i will use it!
> John
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