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From Scott Gifford <>
Subject Re: [users@httpd] giving write permissions to apache user on some folders in document root
Date Thu, 03 Feb 2011 20:23:00 GMT
On Thu, Feb 3, 2011 at 2:48 PM, James Godrej <> wrote:
[ ... ]

> I am not at all convinced by the idea of giving permissions to read,write
> and
> execute as these Learning Management Systems say.
> Let me know what you people have to say?
> What is the best practise in such situations?


You are right that making these directories writable by the Web server or
world-writable increases your security risk, since in many cases it allows
escalating the ability to write to the filesystem to the ability to execute
arbitrary code as your Web server user.

One option for mitigating this is to carefully configure the Apache-writable
directories so they will not execute content, by limiting the types of
content allowed there, disabling CGI execution, making sure .htaccess files
are ignored, etc.  Generally the content of these directories will be static
images and so won't need to be executed.

You may find you are able to run the content-management part of the system
using a different Apache instance than the user-viewable part.  That would
let you make these directories writable by the admin Apache instance but not
the public one, then protect that Apache instance with firewall rules, a
strong password, SSL, etc.  This would most likely require a bit of work.

Finally, you can carefully review the security of these applications, their
history of security incidents, etc. to determine if they are reliable enough
to be trusted with this sort of access.  If not, try to find one that is.

Sorry there are no simple answers there, but hopefully it is helpful.


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