Security in Software

Encoding Quick Response Code in Software Security
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Security
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Investigating Security Failures Using Tracing Tools
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The common cause of the access denied error cases presented so far in this chapter is the incompatibility between the principal trying to access an object and the security descriptor protecting it In addition, it is fairly easy to understand what pieces are involved in the operation, and the security information is easily accessible from the Windows debuggers On the other end of the spectrum are access denied error cases in complex applications with relatively unknown architecture that encounters errors primarily when accessing protected resources past their security boundary In those cases, we should start the investigation using various tracing tools to understand what resources are accessed, how they are accessed, and in what order they are accessed Process Monitor is such a tool that shows, in real-time, file and registry activity on the local system When the application interacts with other computer systems, network tracing is the best way to discover the network activity and the access denied error encountered by the application The next chapter uses a network monitor tool to observe a remote application behavior
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Investigating Security Failures
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All file system and registry accesses, performed in the DCOM Activation Checks section, are easily traceable For example, the file access operations and their results are clearly exposed by the Process Monitor tool, as shown in Figure 78, after hiding the registries and the process activity In this case, the security descriptor protecting the server image file has been manually changed to deny access to local administrators
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7 SECURITY
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Figure 78 In Figure 78, it is easy to see how the svchostexe process hosting DcomLaunch tries to open the image file of the server process and fails with access denied errors This tracing can reveal other file access errors, as well as other errors encountered by the server after process startup Figure 79 shows the errors encountered by the server process when trying to access several registry keys The registry paths must be correlated with the information available about the component to understand what went wrong We usually filter the activity by the executable name or by the path of accessed objects The errors encountered in Figure 79 are caused by an improper registration of the proxy-stub module used by the application when it accesses one interface Armed with this information and with an overview of the infrastructure, it is very easy to find the solution: reregister the proxy-stub on the system hosting the server process
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Security
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Summary
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In this chapter, you learned the basic mechanism used by the operating system to control access to various resources, the mechanism used to identify the principals, and the way to examine each of those elements using the Windows debuggers In addition, you learned where the security information is stored and how it is propagated from one process to another or from one system to another You then used this knowledge to understand several access denied errors encountered in application ranging from a very simple in the process access denied error to the complex cases involving distributed COM Using the same tools and similar heuristics, you can now handle any security failure encountered in the development process or in the deployment phase
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C H A P T E R
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INTERPROCESS COMMUNICATION
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Years ago, software components were working largely in isolation without much interaction The limited interaction was performed using custom mechanisms rarely used by multiple components mechanisms based on file system operation or network protocols, such as IP or UDP The ability to understand the communication between components was limited to people who knew the details of the application Today, the omnipresent client-server architecture has changed the software landscape even for simple applications While MS-DOS applications used to write directly into the video memory buffer to update the visible application state, today s Windows components are making system API calls to have the application state updated Underneath the system API, Windows calls the process responsible for managing all windows using one of the communication processes described in this chapter Another application writes an event into the Event Log, which results in an interprocess call to the service responsible for Event Log management Today s solutions are using more and more systems running on multiple processes Some of them are using this mechanism to provide fault tolerance or security isolations, whereas others use this just to achieve scalability levels beyond those provided by the single-process systems Not knowing how to navigate through this complex infrastructure puts the engineers into a weird situation: They have all the knowledge to tackle the business problem resolved by the software solution, but they are unable to spot the problem easily, as the whole interprocess communication process obstructs them from easily understanding the real problem This chapter provides the necessary tools and information required to successfully investigate the problems in connected software environments problems that involve more than one process, or more than one computer We focus on several communication primitives, and we will introduce a few new tools In this chapter, you will get the answers to several basic questions about a client-server application, such as the following
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