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From Lmhelp1 <>
Subject Re: Files created by a Tomcat webapp and owner, owner group, permissions for this file
Date Fri, 14 Mar 2014 14:11:53 GMT
On 2014-03-14 12:45 PM, André Warnier wrote:
> Lmhelp1 wrote:
>> On 2014-03-13 11:57 AM, André Warnier wrote:
>>> Yes, I cannot really think off-hand of any serious problem that this may
>>> cause.
>>> Basically, it all depends on the context.
>>> If this is a one-off thing that you are doing, on your personal website,
>>> on a server on which there is no really critical information and which
>>> is not open to all on the Internet etc.. then it is one context.
>>> You still have to be a bit careful so that this does not make your
>>> server into an ideal base for a hacker, to use it to do nasty things
>>> elsewhere.
>>> And you don't want to open your site to script kiddies who have nothing
>>> better to do in life than crashing other people's work (there are people
>>> like that).
>>> But it is not critical.
>> This is not my context.
>>> Another context entirely is if this is a professional website
>> This is my context.
>>> that you are setting up for an important customer which you cannot
>>> afford to
>>> lose,
>> This is not my context. The website is for my company.
> In the possible consequences, it is quite similar, no ?
>>> or if this is a "design pattern" for an application which you
>>> intend to reproduce hundreds of times in the future.
>> Maybe not hundreds of times but several times possibly.
>>> In that case, you want something that is airtight, that you can easily
>>> reproduce, update and maintain, and that will work under Windows as well
>>> as Linux.
>>> ("umask" for example would not).
>> That's right.
>>> And you would also want something that is not going to be constantly
>>> flagged as insecure by security audit programs.  They may have a set
>>> pattern of permissions that they expect, and they might not like that
>>> your webapp directory is "writeable by group".
>> I understand. Are you thinking about "tiger"?
> I wasn't thinking about any auditing software in particular.  But most
> of them will scan the permissions of a set of well-know directories (and
> tomcat/webapps would be one of those) and flag anything that they
> consider "suspicious" or "non-standard".
> By the Java Servlet Specification, the webapps directories would not
> normally be writeable, so this may come up.  Which, in the best of
> cases, would result in you having to write a report describing why you
> needed to set the permissions that way.
> Which is probably not the kind of thing at which you want to spend your
> time.
> But maybe your company does not do this kind of audit, in which case all
> that is irrelevant.  I just wanted to warn you of the possibility.
> I do actually have a couple of customers where this would be a definite
> no-no.
> (There is also the possibility of a colleague of yours, seeing those
> permissions in 6 months time while you are on holiday, and re-setting
> them "properly"..)
>>> Also, there is no guarantee that the webapps directory of a servlet
>>> engine would be writeable at all. It could be located on some read-only
>>> device or filesystem.
>> This is not my case.
> Rules can be broken, if there is enough justification.
> What I meant was that strictly going by the rules, making your webapp's
> directory writeable is not something which you should be doing, because
> in theory this is not something which you can always expect to be possible.
> You have now described your context in more detail, and now we know that
> this is not an application which you would distribute to work on some
> kind of mobile device where it would be stored on some non-writeable ROM
> device.  But before the latest explanation, we did not know that.
>>> In theory, the webapps directory is supposed to
>>> contain only *code* to be executed and parameters to be read, not
>>> writeable data.
>>  > For a writeable area, the servlet container offers specific writeable
>>  > work directories (for temporary files etc.), which are *not* under the
>>  > ../webapps/ dir.
>>  >
>>  > Your choice.
>> Only I can add files to the webapp exploded directory.
>> If the other webapp users upload files on the server it won't be into
>> the webapp exploded directory.
>> I hope it won't hurt if I grant the write privilege to the owner group
>> of the exploded webapp directory...
>> Otherwise, only "tomcat6" and "root" can write to this directory.
>> And as "tomcat6" can't have a shell, only "root" can actually do this
>> (distantly using "WinSCP" or "SCP" in my case and it's not safe to log
>> in as "root" in these cases).
>> This is why I added a "simple" user (not "root") to the "tomcat6" group.
>> Only this "simple" user has the write permission on the exploded
>> webapp directory as a member of the "tomcat6" group.
> Right. In your particular context and as you describe it above, it does
> not seem that it would hurt.
> Please understand that we still don't know exactly the whole practical
> context in which all of this lives.
> For example, we do not know if what you are trying to achieve is some
> kind of website where users can upload their own HTML pages, or whether
> this is some kind of repository where users can upload office documents
> to share between them, or if you are trying to replace Sharepoint as a
> collaborative tool, or whatever.
> Nor do we know if this has to be secure or not, if users have to login,
> if one user can overwrite documents uploaded by another user, if they
> name their uploaded files themselves (sometimes with filenames which
> could contain "bizarre" characters), and so on.
> Nor do we know if this concerns 3 files, or 300, or 3000, or 30000..
> An application which allows users to upload files or website pages
> themselves and share them, is something that appears deceptively simple
> at first, but is in reality quite a complex and delicate thing to
> create, if it has to be safe, reliable, portable, scaleable,
> maintainable etc.
> If a "quick fix" like described above meets all your needs (and your
> time and budget), then fine.  You should not over-complicate things if
> it is not necessary.
> Otherwise, you may want to have a look at existing applications (many of
> them free and open-source) which may already do all these things, and at
> the same time resolve (or even just describe) issues of which you
> probably have not even thought of yet.
> But this is all not really our business. Your original question was
> about how to change the permissions of files created by a Tomcat webapp,
> and you have been provided with several ways of doing this (or not doing
> it), each with its own advantages/inconvenients.
> I hope that helped, and the rest is up to you.

Indeed. Thank you.
Best regards,
Léa Massiot

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