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Search - "hard coded passwords"
A guy on another team who is regarded by non-programmers as a genius wrote a python script that goes out to thousands of our appliances, collects information, compiles it, and presents it in a kinda sorta readable, but completely non-transferable format. It takes about 25 minutes to run, and he runs it himself every morning. He comes in early to run it before his team's standup.
I wanted to use that data for apps I wrote, but his impossible format made that impractical, so I took apart his code, rewrote it in perl, replaced all the outrageous hard-coded root passwords with public keys, and added concurrency features. My script dumps the data into a memory-resident backend, and my filterable, sortable, taggable web "frontend"(very generous nomenclature) presents the data in html, csv, and json. Compared to the genius's 25 minute script that he runs himself in the morning, mine runs in about 45 seconds, and runs automatically in cron every two hours.
Our website once had it’s config file (“old” .cgi app) open and available if you knew the file name. It was ‘obfuscated’ with the file name “Name of the cgi executable”.txt. So browsing, browsing.cgi, config file was browsing.txt.
After discovering the sql server admin password in plain text and reporting it to the VP, he called a meeting.
VP: “I have a report that you are storing the server admin password in plain text.”
WebMgr: “No, that is not correct.”
Me: “Um, yes it is, or we wouldn’t be here.”
WebMgr: “It’s not a network server administrator, it’s SQL Server’s SA account. Completely secure since that login has no access to the network.”
<VP looks over at me>
VP: “Oh..I was not told *that* detail.”
Me: “Um, that doesn’t matter, we shouldn’t have any login password in plain text, anywhere. Besides, the SA account has full access to the entire database. Someone could drop tables, get customer data, even access credit card data.”
WebMgr: “You are blowing all this out of proportion. There is no way anyone could do that.”
WebMgr: “Who would do that? They would have to know a lot about our systems in order to do any real damage.”
VP: “Yes, it would have to be someone in our department looking to do some damage.”
<both the VP and WebMgr look at me>
Me: “Open your browser and search on SQL Injection.”
<VP searches on SQL Injection..few seconds pass>
WebMgr: “Our team is already removing the SQL, but our apps need to read the SQL server login and password from a config file. I don’t know why this is such a big deal. The file is read-only and protected by IIS. You can’t even read it from a browser.”
VP: “Well, if it’s secured, I suppose it is OK.”
Me: “Open your browser and navigate to … browse.txt”
VP: “Oh my, there it is.”
WebMgr: “You can only see it because your laptop had administrative privileges. Anyone outside our network cannot access the file.”
VP: “OK, that makes sense. As long as IIS is securing the file …”
Me: “No..no..no.. I can’t believe this. The screen shot I sent yesterday was from my home laptop showing the file is publicly available.”
WebMgr: “But you are probably an admin on the laptop.”
<couple of awkward seconds of silence…then the light comes on>
VP: “OK, I’m stopping this meeting. I want all admin users and passwords removed from the site by the end of the day.”
Took a little longer than a day, but after reviewing what the web team changed:
- They did remove the SQL Server SA account, but replaced it with another account with full admin privileges.
- Replaced the “App Name”.txt with centrally located config file at C:\Inetpub\wwwroot\config.txt (hard-coded in the app)
When I brought this up again with my manager..
Mgr: “Yea, I know, it sucks. WebMgr showed the VP the config file was not accessible by the web site and it wasn’t using the SA password. He was satisfied by that. Web site is looking to beat projections again by 15%, so WebMgr told the other VPs that another disruption from a developer could jeopardize the quarterly numbers. I’d keep my head down for a while.”8
The most annoying co-worker(*team*) I have worked with just signed off a custom project that uses plain text passwords, hard coded into a file.. PLAIN TEXT!!! NO HASH!!! NOTHING!!! The same team also told me that working in feature branches cuts into their productivity, but they want CI/CD implemented NOW!3
Sysadmin's nemesis: a DBA. Especially an oracle DBA. There's no other kind of tech worker I've seen who's more opposed to best practices.
How about for devs?4