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From Mike Brudenell <p...@york.ac.uk>
Subject mod_auth-any/1978: mod_auth_dbm authentication algorithm incompatible with that of mod_auth
Date Mon, 23 Mar 1998 15:20:32 GMT

>Number:         1978
>Category:       mod_auth-any
>Synopsis:       mod_auth_dbm authentication algorithm incompatible with that of mod_auth
>Confidential:   no
>Severity:       serious
>Priority:       medium
>Responsible:    apache
>State:          open
>Class:          sw-bug
>Submitter-Id:   apache
>Arrival-Date:   Mon Mar 23 07:30:00 PST 1998
>Originator:     pmb1@york.ac.uk
>Release:        1.3b5
pump1 1> uname -a
SunOS pump1.york.ac.uk 5.5.1 Generic_103640-08 sun4u sparc SUNW,Ultra-2
pump1 1> which cc
pump1 1> cc -V
cc: SC4.0 18 Oct 1995 C 4.0
There is a significant difference between the algorithms used by mod_auth and
mod_auth_dbm to determine whether the requester is allowed access to an item.

It occurs when both a "require user ..." and "require group ..." set of
directives is specified:
    require group phys_users
    require user abc1

The expectation is that this be interpreted as "allow access if the requesting
username is EITHER in the group phys_users (INCLUSIVE-)OR is username abc1.
This is a valuable interpretation as it allows a defined group of users to
be expanded to include a number of other, exceptional, usernames.

Indeed this is how mod_auth interprets the configuration.

[Indeed it could be argues this is the only sensible interpretation...  The
converse would be "is a member of this group AND is username xxx" which is
either ALWAYS true (and is more simply written as just "require user xxx"),
or is NEVER true (and so access never granted).]

However when the password and group storage is instead switched to a DBM file
(which is, presumably, intended as a drop-in replacement but with efficiency
gains) the interpretation changes.

Instead mod_auth_dbm appears to insist that abc1 is a member of the group
phys_users.  As it isn't access is denied, and the following line is added to
the error_log:
    [Mon Mar 23 13:16:15 1998] [error] user abc1 not in right group: /usr/htdocs/...

It would be exceedingly helpful if the two modules functioned similarly,
preferably using the mod_auth interpretation ("give access to these groups
plus these users").
Set up password/group files for use with mod_auth and mod_auth_dbm containing:
    * username abc1 in group hist_users
    * username xyz1 in group phys_users

Protect an area using:
    require group phys_users
    require user abc1

First configure Apache to use the mod_auth-type files and request a documented
protected using the above requires.  Authenticating either as xyz1 or abc1
gives access to the document.

Now reconfigure Apache to instead use the mod_auth_dbm DBM files.
Authenticating as xyz1 (in group phys_users) grants access, but authenticating
as abc1 (not in group phys_users) does not gain access.
I would suggest modifying the dbm_check_auth() function in source file
src/modules/standard/mod_auth_dbm.c to be based more closely on the
check_user_access() function in src/modules/standard/mod_auth.c

In particular preceding the line:
    if (!strcmp(w, "group") && sec->auth_dbmgrpfile) {

    if (!strcmp(w, "valid-user"))
        return OK;
    if (!strcmp(w, "user")) {
        while (t[0]) {
            w = getword_conf(r->pool, &t);
            if (!strcmp(user, w))
                return OK;

ALMOST appears to fix the problem.


The effect is only correct if the require directives are listed in a particular
    require user abc1
    require group phys_users

Reversing this order causes access to instead be denied.  (This is because the
code for handling a "group" name assumes that it can definitely say that access
is not allowed if the requesting username's groups do not intersect the
protecting groups.  It should instead continue testing in case a later "user"
requirement permits access.)

It is also questionable whether the "group" testing code should log an error
message if the username is not in the correct group: access may yet be allowed
by a later "require user" directive.

Hence although my suggested code alteration is a workaround it does not work
properly and is far from ideal.

A better solution might be in the following patch (however it introduces the
method_restricted variable and code from mod_auth ... I kept this in to keep
the new algorithm based closely on that used in mod_auth, but confess to not
understanding the significance of method_restricted or why it is missing from
the as-distributed mod_auth_dbm code.)

*** originals/mod_auth_dbm.c    Mon Mar 23 12:46:25 1998
--- ./mod_auth_dbm.c    Mon Mar 23 15:14:18 1998
*** 260,265 ****
--- 260,266 ----
      char *user = r->connection->user;
      int m = r->method_number;
+     int method_restricted = 0;

      array_header *reqs_arr = requires(r);
      require_line *reqs = reqs_arr ? (require_line *) reqs_arr->elts : NULL;
*** 278,287 ****
        if (!(reqs[x].method_mask & (1 << m)))

        t = reqs[x].requirement;
        w = getword(r->pool, &t, ' ');

!       if (!strcmp(w, "group") && sec->auth_dbmgrpfile) {
            const char *orig_groups, *groups;
            char *v;

--- 279,299 ----
        if (!(reqs[x].method_mask & (1 << m)))

+       method_restricted = 1;
        t = reqs[x].requirement;
        w = getword(r->pool, &t, ' ');

!       if (!strcmp(w, "valid-user"))
!           return OK;
!       if (!strcmp(w, "user")) {
!           while (t[0]) {
!               w = getword_conf(r->pool, &t);
!               if (!strcmp(user, w))
!                   return OK;
!           }
!       }
!       else if (!strcmp(w, "group") && sec->auth_dbmgrpfile) {
            const char *orig_groups, *groups;
            char *v;

*** 304,318 ****
                        return OK;
-           aplog_error(APLOG_MARK, APLOG_NOERRNO|APLOG_ERR, r->server,
-                       "user %s not in right group: %s",
-                       user, r->filename);
-           note_basic_auth_failure(r);
-           return AUTH_REQUIRED;

!     return DECLINED;

--- 316,335 ----
                        return OK;

!     if (!method_restricted)
!       return OK;
!     if (!(sec->auth_dbmauthoritative))
!       return DECLINED;
!     aplog_error(APLOG_MARK, APLOG_NOERRNO|APLOG_ERR, r->server,
!               "user %s not authorised to access: %s",
!               user, r->filename);
!     note_basic_auth_failure(r);
!     return AUTH_REQUIRED;

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