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RE: Non-IP Based Institutional Subscriptions?

Thanks to our Wisconsin-Madison technical staff, I offer the email below from the ezproxy discussion list, re some of the concerns raised here about ezproxy. The stated concern is followed by a discussion of why, in the responder's opinion, 'it is a non-issue' (go to the place that phrase appears).
Our campus library technology group agrees with that assessment and we are using ezproxy.
Tom Murray Wendt Engineering Library University of Wisconsin-Madison

>From: Chris Hoogendyk <choogend@library.umass.edu> >Date: Tue Dec 11, 2001 10:29:16 AM US/Central >To: "EZProxy discussion list" <ezproxy@ls.suny.edu> >Subject: [ezproxy] Re: EZProxy security issues
>comments below.
>Terry Nikkel wrote: > >We are looking at switching from AutoProxy to EZProxy, but a member of >my department has looked at the configuration information and has the >following objection: > >"For ease and convenience EZProxy requires the following record to be >added to the DNS (Domain Name Server) of your local network:- > > Server Name Server IP > www.yourlibrary.com IN A > *.www.yourlibrary.com IN A > >Using the first record everyone in the world knows that >www.yourlibrary.com goes to the associated IP and so all >requests on your network are then routed to the machine with the IP > .. > >However, the second record is needed to be added to the DNS for EZProxy >not requiring a seperate port for authentication, where EZProxy >randomly gives a unique name for each request and so you need the * >(wildcard) in front of the server name so that all those requests are >again routed to your server. > >The problem with the above however is that imagine the repercussions of > >having such a record in the DNS. Now anyone in the world could have a >name of the sort baduser.www.yourlibrary.com and take over your IP for >their use. They could go and hack machines all over the world and the >blame would come to your server or your network; would that be >acceptible? > >The above is just one example of what could be a potential problem, >however I could think up a lot more problems with this and so we are >trying to convince our libraries to stick with the traditional >AutoProxy, even though it may be a bit problematic with a few of the >browsers around." > >How do others deal with this issue? Do you go with the URL rewriting >strategy? If so, how do you configure firewalls to support the range of >required ports? > >I think it is a non issue. > >As a public service institution, we have to have a known address. People >on the outside need to be able to reach us. To remain totally hidden is >to not provide any services. > >So, what if someone knows your address? If that was all that was needed >to cause trouble, we could all pack up and go home. > >A hacker still needs some kind of foot in the door. If your system is >secure, locked down, with up to date patches, with unnecessary services >and ports turned off, then you have little to worry about. Hackers are >going to find the easy systems to break into. Or the really juicy ones. > >A plain vanilla library server that is reasonably well secured isn't a >particularly desirable target. Of course, there are no guarantees. > >People with the skills to do IP spoofing and hijacking still need to get >a foot in the door somewhere. If the campus DNS server were not secured, >and they could get into it, then they could redirect any of your >addresses to themselves. Don't need a wild card entry to do that. I >believe that the Microsoft network was taken down earlier this year by >the hacking of an insecure DNS server (both easy and juicy). > >Anyway, the existence of a DNS entry with a wildcard does not, in itself, >constitute a security hole. All it is saying is that if someone >requests the address of any server name in that domain space (say >ralph.ezproxy.yourlibrary.edu or george.ezproxy.yourlibrary.edu) then >the DNS server should direct them to the same IP address as >exproxy.yourlibrary.edu. > >hmmm. Wasn't there a primitive tribe somewhere, or some religion or >ethnic group, that thought if you knew a persons name you could control >them? > >Chris Hoogendyk > >Network Specialist & Unix Systems Administrator >Library Information Systems & Technology Services >W.E.B. Du Bois Library >University of Massachusetts, Amherst > kk