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Protecting the Server


If you plan to run a web server, you'd better be prepared to see it attacked. This five-part series will help you arm your system against intruders. It is excerpted from chapter four of the book Securing Ajax Applications: Ensuring the Safety of the Dynamic Web, written by Christopher Wells (O'Reilly, 2007; ISBN: 0596529317). Copyright © 2007 O'Reilly Media, Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission from the publisher. Available from booksellers or direct from O'Reilly Media.

Author Info:
By: O'Reilly Media
Rating: 5 stars5 stars5 stars5 stars5 stars / 3
September 11, 2008
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
  1. · Protecting the Server
  2. · Network Security
  3. · Security concerns
  4. · Network tiers and the DMZ

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Protecting the Server
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So, you want to run a web server in your basement to create the next big thing, and youíre looking for some cheap security advice on how to get started? Well, my first and best suggestion is donít do it. Iím just saying if NASAóyou know, rocket scientistsócanít keep hackers out of its web servers, what makes you think you can? Go find some ISP that has the services you are looking for, and pay the ISP to do it. The job of administering a web server on your own can consume every waking moment, and unless you donít ever want to leave the house, it is well worth the money to let the pros handle the frontend work.

Are you really still reading? Picture this: you find that perfect somebody. You plan a romantic evening and go out to a movie and have a nice dinner. Just when things start to get interesting your phone trumpets out the cavalry charge ring tone informing you of 15 unauthorized login attempts on the web server. After apologizing to those around you for disrupting their dinner, your date raises an eyebrow and decides to skip dessert.

Still there, eh? Iím sorry. I know, it must sound glamorous to have your very own web server, but unless you have spent time thinking like a hacker, odds are whatever you put on the Internet will be vulnerable to attack.

Ajax applications require a web server to work. After all, what good is theXML-HttpRequestobject without a web server to talk to on the backend. So, Ajax Security starts with the web server. If your web server is not secure, neither is your application. You need to know what role the web server plays in security. Securing a web server is a non-trivial task that requires an understanding of the web serverís relationship with the network. By being aware of what security measures are on the web server, you can balance the security necessary within your applications. In this chapter, I will look at how to ensure the network is secure, and then go through the steps for making a secure and dynamite web server. Iwill also address what to do in the event of an attack.


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