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From "Terence M. Bandoian" <>
Subject Re: how to prevent user access to JSP pages?
Date Sun, 19 Aug 2018 02:39:26 GMT
On 8/17/2018 8:52 AM, Christopher Schultz wrote:
> Hash: SHA256
> Mark,
> On 8/17/18 3:54 AM, Mark Thomas wrote:
>> On 16/08/18 18:19, Berneburg, Cris J. - US wrote:
>>> Due to security concerns and general fussiness on my part, I'd
>>> like to prevent users from requesting JSP pages directly, except
>>> for the login page.  I want all requests to be handled by
>>> servlets.  That way I can legitimately claim that all requests
>>> are being validated, input scrubbed, JSP's cannot be taken
>>> advantage of w/o their servlet chaperones being present, etc.
>> I'm struggling to understand what risks exists with JSPs that don't
>> with Servlets. After all, a JSP is just an alternative way to write
>> a Servlet. Tomcat translates the .jsp file to the .java source for
>> a servlet, compiles it and runs it.
>> Can you elaborate?
> JSP support for input validation, etc. is basically non-existent. I'm
> sure someone has a crappy library that can do it, and yes, you can
> implement everything in JSP using miles of tag libraries and stuff
> like that, but in the application world, that's a serious no-no.
> MVC (or some version of it, under various names) is the "proper" way
> to build software, and JSPs are relegated to the "V" portion of that
> paradigm.
> Once you have decided that JSPs are squarely in the "V" category, it's
> no longer appropriate for them to be treated as "C" components and
> therefore they should not be accessed directly. Protecting them from
> direct-access is a reasonable decision for a number of reasons,
> including security if you have pages that cough-up sensitive
> information under the assumption that authentication and authorization
> requirements have previously been satisfied.
> Sure, the container's authentication and authorization should be able
> to protect those JSPs just fine, but the application may have other
> controls in place that also need to sanity-check things before the JSP
> takes over.
> So, while there isn't anything particularly "dangerous" about
> direct-access to JSPs, there are a number of "best practices" that
> suggest that hiding them is a good idea.
> I hope that helps explain Cris's (likely) reasoning a little more.
> - -chris

As far as I know, there is no input validation that can be performed in 
servlets that can't also be performed in JSP pages using the same Java 
code.  Also, I'm not aware of any functional limitation that prevents 
JSP pages (classes) from being used as controllers.  As I understand 
them, JSPs can do anything that can be done in servlets and offer 
additional facilities and ease-of-use.  They may be thought of as 
view-generators only but I don't think that's a functional limitation.

Could a servlet filter be used to reject external requests for JSP pages?

-Terence Bandoian

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