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Important

'''All management services are provided through the management interface on HTTP port 1060. It is essential that any production server lock down access to this port - preferably with firewall/ssh tunneling.'''

Introduction

This guide discusses the security configuration of the 1060 NetKernel System and describes how to configure your system to secure your applications. As with any security system there is no magic bullet - good security is a combination of appropriate technology, careful testing, monitoring and basic common sense. This guide discusses the security considerations for safely using NetKernel - it requires that the administrator makes necessary decisions about the applications they are deploying and the level of trust they have in those applications.

Security administration is simply a matter of degrees of trust. If you don't trust something, can't verify it or plain don't know enough about something then by definition it is insecure. This document will help in making a judgement about the level to which you can trust your system configuration and show that with a few sensible considerations secure trustworthy applications can be readily created.

Before configuring the security of your system it is vital that you are familiar with the general architecture. Read the NetKernel Concepts documents before going any further.

If in doubt about any aspect of the system all source code is provided and may be examined, customized or replaced entirely.

Security Model

It is the responsibility of the administrator and module development teams to manage the local security policy of each module in the system. The NetKernel overlay model allows powerful security layers to be created around any region of your application.

General Security Issues

This section covers some general issues to consider when configuring your system security and deploying trusted applications.

Host Operating System User

NetKernel runs on top of a Java Virtual Machine. Running on a JVM makes basic security issues like Buffer Overflow attacks much less likely. However applications may be written to access System resources by for example using the file: URI scheme. It is essential the NetKernel and JVM is running with a system user that does not have Administrator privileges.

As with any server configuration it is good practice to create a special userid or group for NetKernel and ensure the NetKernel (bin/netkernel.sh or bin/netkernel.bat) is executed as that user. If you don't know how to do this for your operating system you shouldn't be administering a server.

Minimal Configuration

If you are deploying a secure application do not deploy anything above the minimal set of modules required to run your application. As with any security administration Never deploy more than you need to do the job. A corollary of this is to configure your access control policy to only allow execution of your trusted application - ie even if a malicious application has been deployed make sure it cannot be executed.

Module Encapsulation

NetKernel modules export a public URI address space. The module developer is responsible for the internal working of the module which is encapsulated and cannot be used by any higher level module.

Transports

Transports bridge external system requests to invocations of applications by the kernel. Transports should be written to take certain basic precautions.

Denial of Service

Denial of service attacks can be made by issuing large numbers of simultaneous requests to the kernel. The kernel provides a protection mechanism in the request throttle that can be configured to limit the maximum number of concurrent kernel requests see Throttle Tuning for details. Transports should be written and configured to manage and limit the maximum number of requests they will handle.

Denial of service attacks can be also be made by invoking issuing a request with very large parameter arguments. Transports should examine submitted parameters and ensure that they are deemed reasonable for the application set that is configured. By default the Jetty HTTP transport limits the parameter to a maximum 50k bytes, this value is configurable see HTTP Transport guide.

Callback Denial of Service

Applications on the NetKernel may be able to issue requests on the external interface. It is important to ensure that deployed applications do not accidentally or deliberately overload the kernel by making large numbers of external requests to the host NetKernel.

Administrative Interface

The standard system provides a number of administrative tools, for inspection or reconfiguration of the kernel. These tools are provided by a web-interface on HTTP port 1060. It is essential that port 1060 be secured on a production server.

It is very important to restrict access to port 1060 on your server. To access the administrator interface on a remote server we recommend you tunnel port 1060 through an SSH connection.

Logging

Logging is the most basic form of security. Careful use of logs and frequent inspection provides a good baseline for a trustworthy platform. NetKernel can be flexibly configured with multiple logs. It is recommended that in addition module developers implement module specific loggers depending on the role of a module in a given application.