Security aspects of Apache Tomcat
Apache Tomcat is one of the most popular servers available today, which is mostly used for light-weight web applications. In spite of a large userbase, there are several security vernabilities that Tomcat developers have to address constantly. Before we review the security aspects of the Apache Tomcat, like any other application Tomcat does have some loopholes which are commonly termed as bugs. The bugfix versions that were released after the main releases of Apache Tomcat have significant improvements in the forefront of security. The bugs do crop up with any application program and the subsquent releases improve upon the previous version by trying to eliminate those bugs. The BUGTRAQ is one such list which specifies the number of vulnerabilities and anomalies still persistent with the Tomcat. Even with so many improvements and corrections you may even come across some vulnerability that is still present with the Apache Tomcat of version 7.
There is no doubt that it is one of the most consistent and reliable open source software that we have for web hosting on any web server. Some of the early inconsistencies include the “Invoker Servlet file disclosure”. This is one such vulnerability that was persistent with the earlier versions of Apache Tomcat.
However when we come across the irregularities you may notice that most of such discrepancies are regarding the application and configuration of the software. Web application security mailing lists do contain the fully specified list of vulnerabilities that have persisted with the Tomcat and also those which have been resolved by the later versions.
Privilege escalation is one the vulnerabilities that we came across in the later versions of the Apache Tomcat. It has been looked after since then and have been resolved in the 7.0.22 version of the Tomcat. Privilege escalation is a security breach where a currently running web application is affected, provided it is running on a shared environment.
The manager application which came packaged along with the Servlets is supposed to be discreetly available to the hosted application, but since this was overlooked previously, the irregularities occurred. By making sure that the web applications were marked privileged Apache restricted any suspected application from using the Manager Application.
Tomcat is a web application server which works mainly on the HTTP or hypertext transfer protocol that allows sending file over the internet as and when required. However it is to be noted that Tomcat derives one of its complicacies exactly due to the APR connector used in this cause. When Tomcat runs under a security manager it tends to return the files to the users. This is something that has to be forbidden from the server side. The non-validated request attributes thus needed to be taken care of which were rightly done in a later version of the Apache Tomcat.
These vulnerabilities make the server application weak and susceptible to threats from the malicious software and any unauthorized person who wants to bring harm upon the system. The Apache Tomcat is open source software that is used to create reliable web application programs and host them on servers. However if the hosting has to be foolproof and the organization is to be provided with a strong website these anomalies have to removed, monitored and any new vulnerabilities have to be taken care of.
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