Many of us are fairly technical and have gotten along just fine just clicking through wizards to install new software or devices. For many, it is like building your favorite furniture from IKEA. Who needs instructions? You fight your way through it, making assumptions on what pieces go where and with which hardware. With your furniture, a missed step may lead to some left over parts and the item collapsing at an unfortunate time. With software and devices, a missed step could lead to the loss of sensitive data, loss of money, or even possibly physical harm.
In a perfect world, software and devices would force secure defaults and then require explicit actions to remove that security. We don’t live in that perfect world. This was seen with the recent news about MongoDB databases being exposed on the internet and infected with ransomeware.
In the case of MongoDB, misconfigurations may bind the database port to the public interface, while also allowing anonymous access. This combination can be devastating. Doing a quick search on Shodan you may find there are thousands of misconfigured MondoDB servers exposed on the internet.
Like many other software packages, MongoDB has a security checklist available to help minimize this exposure. The checklist covers important steps, such as enforcing authentication and limiting network exposure. I am seeing more packages that are including security checklists, or security guides that are available. If you are installing something new, take a moment to see if there is a guide availble to properly secure the item.
In addition to the security checklist, the creators of MongoDB have created a post addressing the ransomware attacks that are happening. This link points out a few other items to help secure your MongoDB instance. It also points out that the most popular installer for MongoDB (RPM) limits network access to localhost. This default configuration is critical in helping reduce the exposure of these databases.
As time goes on, I expect we will see more improvements made to these types of products that make them more secure by default. As an organization developing this type of software, or devices, think about how the item is installed and how that reflects security. Starting off more secure and requiring explicit configuration to open make the item available will provide much better protection than it being open by default.
If you are running MongoDB, go back and check the security checklist. Make sure you are not exposing the instance publicly and authentication is enabled. If you are running other software or devices, make sure to know where they are and determine if they are deployed securely. Check to see if a security checklist exists.
We are often in a hurry and just click through the prompts of an installer. However, to provide the proper risk management, we must take the next steps to understand the configurations to protect our assets.
Jardine Software helps companies get more value from their application security programs. Let’s talk about how we can help you. James Jardine is the CEO and Principal Consultant at Jardine Software Inc. He has over 15 years of combined development and security experience. If you are interested in learning more about Jardine Software, you can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or @jardinesoftware on twitter.