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Web Security and Commerce by Gene Spafford, Simson Garfinkel

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Secure Content Updating

Most organizations create their web documents on a different computer from their web server and then transfer those documents to the server when they are completed. It is therefore important for these organizations to have a technique for securely gaining access to their web servers to update these files.

In the best circumstances, the web server will be secured behind its own network interface on the company firewall. This will place the server logically “outside,” yet still afford it protection from the firewall. You can then cut an outbound channel extending from the internal LAN through the firewall and out to the server for updates. (We show this configuration in Chapter 1.)

Secure update access is a little trickier when the web server is situated remotely. A few of the tools mentioned below have built-in security features. These should be supplemented with address-based filtering or challenge/response mechanisms, if possible. However, the safest way to provide unfettered remote update access is through an encrypted, authenticated VPN connection; access will be secured, and traffic will be protected from packet sniffing.

Here are a few possible server update methods:

  1. You can manually copy the files one at a time or directory-by-directory using the Internet’s File Transfer Protocol (FTP).

  2. You can copy them using a UNIX-specific protocol, such as scp, rcp, or rdist.

  3. You can have the web server access the files from a file server using a network file transfer ...

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