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Date: Tue, 11 Dec 2012 23:53:12 +0100
From: Christian Sciberras <uuf6429@...il.com>
To: Jeffrey Walton <noloader@...il.com>
Cc: full-disclosure <full-disclosure@...ts.grok.org.uk>
Subject: Re: Google's robot.txt handling

If you ask me, it's a stupid idea. :)

I prefer to know where I am with a service; and (IMHO) I would prefer to
query (occasionally) Google for my CC instead of waiting for someone to
start taking funds off it.
Hiding it only provides a false sense of security - it will last until
someone finds the service leaking out CCs.

This is especially the case with robots.txt. Can someone on the list please
define a "good web crawler"?
There's plenty of crawlers out there, most are relatively unknown.... how
will we know which to trust?

I think the problem here is that people are plain stupid and throw in
direct entries inside robots.txt, whereas they should be sending wildcard
entries.
Couple that with actually protecting sensitive areas, and it's a pretty
good defence.

On a side note, someone already said this, but I'll repeat it for effect:
don't thrown in anything on the Net which you're not prepared to protect.
If a control panel should
not be accessible to the general public, consider restricting access by IP
and similar measures. Even a personal certificate is a valid layer of
defence...


Chris.



On Tue, Dec 11, 2012 at 10:38 PM, Jeffrey Walton <noloader@...il.com> wrote:

> On Tue, Dec 11, 2012 at 4:11 PM, Mario Vilas <mvilas@...il.com> wrote:
> > I think we can all agree this is not a vulnerability. Still, I have yet
> to
> > see an argument saying why what the OP is proposing is a bad idea. It
> may be
> > a good idea to stop indexing robots.txt to mitigate the faults of lazy or
> > incompetent admins (Google already does this for many specific search
> > queries) and there's not much point in indexing the robots.txt file for
> > legitimate uses anyway.
> I kind of agree here. The information is valuable for the
> reconnaissance phase of an attack, buts its not a vulnerability per
> se. But what is to stop the attacker from fetching it himself/herself
> since its at a known location for all sites? In this case, Google
> would be removing aggregated search results (which means the attacker
> would have to compile it himself/herself).
>
> Google removed other interesting searches, such as social security
> numbers and credit card numbers (or does not provide them to the
> general public).
>
> Jeff
>
> > On Tue, Dec 11, 2012 at 2:01 PM, Scott Ferguson
> > <scott.ferguson.it.consulting@...il.com> wrote:
> >>
> >> > If I understand the OP correctly, he is not stating that listing
> >> > something
> >> > in robots.txt would make it inaccessible, but rather that Google
> indexes
> >> > the robots.txt files themselves,
> >>
> >> <snipped>
> >>
> >> Well, um, yeah - I got that.
> >>
> >> So you are what, proposing that moving an open door back a few
> >> centimetres solves the (non) problem?
> >>
> >> Take your proposal to it's logical extension and stop all search engines
> >> (especially the ones that don't respect robots.txt) from indexing
> >> robots.txt. Now what do you do about Nutch or even some perl script that
> >> anyone can whip up in 2 minutes?
> >>
> >> Security through obscurity is fine when couple with actual security -
> >> but relying on it alone is just daft.
> >>
> >> Expecting to world to change so bad habits have no consequence is
> >> dangerously naive.
> >>
> >> I suspect you're looking to hard at finding fault with Google - who are
> >> complying with the robots.txt. Read the spec. - it's about not following
> >> the listed directories, not about not listing the robots.txt.  Next
> >> you'll want laws against bad weather and furniture with sharp corners.
> >>
> >> Don't put things you don't want seen to see in places that can be seen.
> >>
> >> >
> >> >
> >> > On Mon, Dec 10, 2012 at 8:19 PM, Scott Ferguson <
> >> > scott.ferguson.it.consulting () gmail com> wrote:
> >> >
> >> >
> >> >     /From/: Hurgel Bumpf <l0rd_lunatic () yahoo com>
> >> >     /Date/: Mon, 10 Dec 2012 19:25:39 +0000 (GMT)
> >> >
> >> >
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> >> >     Hi list,
> >> >
> >> >
> >> >     i tried to contact google, but as they didn't answer my email,  i
> do
> >> >
> >> > forward this to FD.
> >> >
> >> >     This "security" feature is not cleary a google vulnerability, but
> >> >
> >> > exposes websites informations that are not really
> >> >
> >> >     intended to be public.
> >> >
> >> >     Conan the bavarian
> >> >
> >> > Your point eludes me - Google is indexing something which is publicly
> >> > available. eg.:- curl http://somesite.tld/robots.txt
> >> > So it seems the solution to the "question" your raise is, um,
> >> > nonsensical.
> >> >
> >> > If you don't want something exposed on your web server *don't publish
> >> > references to it*.
> >> >
> >> > The solution, which should be blindingly obvious,  is don't create the
> >> > problem in the first place. Password sensitive directories (htpasswd)
> -
> >> > then they don't have to be excluded from search engines (because
> listing
> >> > the inaccessible in robots.txt is redundant).  You must of missed the
> >> > first day of web school.
>
> _______________________________________________
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