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From Peter Crowther <>
Subject RE: Once again, clear text passwords in context.xml files
Date Wed, 14 May 2008 08:55:56 GMT
> From: Milanez, Marcus []
> On the other hand, is it right to stay behind a
> possible security fault (malicious super user performing
> login) in order to say I'll not correct known security issues
> in my application?

There's a lovely discussion on exactly this topic in Howard and LeBlanc, "Writing Secure Code".
 The conclusion is that you don't need to make this bombproof, but you do need to ensure it's
not the weakest link in the security chain.  A relatively simple approach, such as obfuscating
the password, would probably defeat the typical script kiddie who grabs a kit to exploit a
vulnerability on the server and manages to get in as root.  It wouldn't defeat a determined
cracker.  It probably *would* defeat the disgruntled sysadmin who decides to leave the company
with some secrets and sell them / break the systems - and remember that "inside jobs" like
that are a significant fraction of all security breaches.

I'd ask broader questions: What is the organisation's security policy?  What threat analysis
has been done on the application?  Is this the weakest link / does it not meet policy?  If
so, how much stronger does it need to be in order to be "sufficiently good" to meet the organisation's
security policy?

                - Peter

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