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This is simply the largest amount of data, in kilobytes, that can be retrieved at any one time by a data connection The default size of 1,500K should be plentiful for most cases Although 1,500K might sound like a lot of data, remember that this is the total size of the payload returned by the external data source In the case of a Web service, for example, it s possible that the majority of the data in a payload is XML structure and ultimately not the data you ll end up displaying Even if most of a big payload is actual data, remember that it doesn t mean all of it is presented in the form For example, you might be ltering a list of hundreds of items in a Drop-Down List Box to just a few dozen The purpose of this setting is to prevent tying up server resources in downloading a ton of data As a byproduct, it also helps mitigate malicious requests to tax and ultimately take down the server But use good judgment when modifying this setting Remember that data connections downloading more than the prescribed limit will fail with a generic error message in the browser Only the admin, through the system event or trace logs, can discover the underlying cause for a data connection failure
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17: Advanced Forms Ser vice s HTTP Data Connections
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There are various ways to authenticate with a server via HTTP, some of which are more secure than others Authentication is required whenever anonymous access is disallowed Chances are that the data source you re accessing will require some method of authentication, especially if the data is sensitive Some authentication choices include basic, digest, Windows Integrated, and Single Sign-On (SSO) Basic is intrinsically insecure because credentials are physically included over the network Digest, on the other hand, uses an MD5 one-way hash function to authenticate itself with the server The problem with digest authentication is that it s subject to attack by brute force While longer passwords mitigate this threat somewhat, simple passwords are especially vulnerable The best advice we can give on HTTP authentication is to use a secure scheme such as Windows Integrated or SSO Unfortunately, you may not have control over some form data connections This may be the case if you re querying data from an external Web site or Web service, for example While it s not possible to disallow forms from making HTTP data connections, you can constrain such connections to use only a secure layer Enabling the Require SSL for HTTP authentication to data sources checkbox in Figure 1725 enforces all insecure HTTP connections to use Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) An insecure connection is an HTTP-based connection that uses basic or digest authentication If a data connection de nes an HTTP connection but does not use SSL, the form template can still be deployed to Forms Services but will fail when the connection is executed
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Other Authentication Methods Are Not Affected
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HTTP connections that use authentication schemes besides basic or digest are not affected by the Require SSL for HTTP authentication to data sources setting
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Another example of exposed passwords is embedded SQL authentication Unlike HTTP data connections using basic or digest authentication, embedded SQL user name and password strings are much more easily exposed
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There are two places SQL credentials can be kept: the manifest (xsf) or UDC (udcx) les The manifest is used when a regular database data connection exists in the form template (We talked about creating database connections in 6) A UDC le is used when we convert a regular data connection to be a shared SharePoint Server based connection residing in a data connection library Regardless of where the credentials reside, they are readily available in plain text Anyone who has access to the form template (xsn) le on the server can extract its les and open the manifestxsf le in a simple text editor to read the user name and password The same idea applies to the UDC le InfoPath discourages embedding SQL credentials when you design a form template As we discussed in 6, de ning a database connection that does not use a trusted connection (eg, Windows Authentication) prompts to make sure you want to continue before saving the user name and password as clear text However, once the form is lled out, InfoPath runs database data connections with the saved user name and password as it normally would for any other connection Forms Services performs similarly if the Allow embedded SQL authentication checkbox is checked; otherwise, executing database connections with embedded credentials always fails With security in mind, embedded SQL user name and password strings are not a good idea The safe alternative is to use a trusted connection A trusted connection uses Windows Integrated authentication to identify the client user to the SQL server This is how Internet Explorer works (by default) when browsing intranet Web sites, for example
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Data connection (udcx) les, as we ll soon see in the Authentication Considerations section later in this chapter, can optionally contain information on authentication This means a user name and account can be associated with and stored within a speci c UDC le This setting does not restrict the ability for a user form template to use a speci c data connection; rather, it limits such a template from using that connection with the associated authentication information Administratively deployed form templates are not susceptible to this setting Enabling the Allow user form templates to use authentication information contained in data connection les checkbox permits such connections to connect with the user name and
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