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HTTP Protocol Question regarding message types HEAD and OPTIONS

Posted on 2012-04-03
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Last Modified: 2012-04-14
I have found some rather disturbing messages built into the HTTP protocol like
DELETE /page.html
PUT /page.html
I say disturbing because it is a security nightmare isn't it?
I  had thought that the HEAD /page.html   HTTP/1.1  
request command would be harmless enough but then I came across:
http://apache-range-exploit.com/

There is also supposed to be an OPTIONS request message that also fails to work on Apache servers.
Can anyone comment on this odd RFC 1226?
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Question by:Robert Silver
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Expert Comment

by:mccarl
ID: 37804272
> I have found some rather disturbing messages built into the HTTP protocol like DELETE, PUT

Well, POST and even GET can be just as dangerous, it depends on how they are used!


> I say disturbing because it is a security nightmare isn't it?

That's why you have security built in to the application, and the HTTP protocol even provides for this if desired. It is not mandatory though because the protocol is designed to be applicable across a wide range of applications. Some of those may be totally within a trusted environment, in which if excessive security is forced would result is less efficient operations, for example.


> I  had thought that the HEAD /page.html   HTTP/1.1  
request command would be harmless enough but then I came across

The example that you cite is an issue with the "implementation" of the protocol within one particular product, it is not an issue with the protocol itself.


> There is also supposed to be an OPTIONS request message that also fails to work on Apache servers.

Ok!


> Can anyone comment on this odd RFC 1226?

That RFC doesn't seem to have anything to do with the rest of your post, is that the one you meant to quote?
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LVL 84

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Dave Baldwin earned 1200 total points
ID: 37804435
Try this from http://www3.ntu.edu.sg/home/ehchua/programming/howto/Apache_HowToConfigure.html .

<LimitExcept GET POST>
   Order deny,allow
   Deny from all
</LimitExcept>

Open in new window


Apparently, DELETE and PUT require a 'handler' to function.
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LVL 84

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by:Dave Baldwin
ID: 37804443
In IIS, each handler can have the 'verbs' set that are passed to it.  Most Microsoft services only see "GET, POST, HEAD, DEBUG" and some only see GET and POST.
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