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RE: passwords in asp pages
From: "MARTIN M. Bénoni" <benoni_martin () hotmail com>
Date: Wed, 10 Mar 2004 09:39:30 +0000

From: "" <ian () kingcon com>
To: SECURITY-BASICS () securityfocus com
Subject: passwords in asp pages
Date: Tue, 9 Mar 2004 09:00:11 -0500

I am new to security and I have no training in asp programming, so I am wondering if I am right in being scared of the following instance...

Well, There is always a point to start! :)


A IIS based website which has asp pages which contain plaintext passwords for credentials to an sql database on another machine. The passwords are in between <% %> so I assume that means they are only processed on the server and the user does not see them, and there do not seem to be any .inc files calling these pages. The server is also up to date with patches as far as I know.
Watch out! A patched server do not mean a secure server!! And I quite agree that passwords shoud at least be hached with somthing like MD5 or SHA-1!


This situation really bothers me, but I'm not experienced enough too know how it could be exploited or whether it could be exploited at all. I just don't like the fact that passwords to a db user are scattered all over the website. I need something to make it easy to say to the people responsible... "Here look this is what can be done to the website to gather the passwords and destroy your data. I don't think it is wise you do this, it is in your best interests to change this pattern." The programmer seemed to just brush it off, when I said that they could be viewed if their source was viewed, by telling me that they would be only processed by the server itself, which still doesn't make me feel good at all.
Well, I am not an ASP programmer neither, but I agree with the fact that clear-text passwords are not at all recommended!! As I said above, at least hached, and even in a separated file accessible only by the admin of the server. At least that!



Shouldn't the password be encrypted?  Seperated in their own file?

Is it correct to assume that an attacker who elevated their priveledges on the web box could view these files and gain access too the database that way through some other method?
That's correct, but depend as well of many things: how is partitioned the server? what are the security settings on the server? ...


What else can be done by an attacker against asp pages that would allow this data to be discovered?

Also if I could actually just demonstrate it right before their eyes that would be a big help.

Thanks for any advice.

Ian
:)



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