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I am trying to prevent access to my web site except for access to the single URL "/ws/public" that everyone is allowed to view. I am running Apache WebServer in front of an Apache Tomcat which is serving up the content from a Java Web Application via a Web Service.

I have a single configuration file for Apache WebServer which looks like the following:

<VirtualHost *:80>
    ServerName foo.org
    ServerAdmin webmaster@localhost
    DocumentRoot /var/www/html

    ErrorLog ${APACHE_LOG_DIR}/error.log
    CustomLog ${APACHE_LOG_DIR}/access.log combined

    ProxyPass        /VS/ws/public http://localhost:8090/VS/ws/public
    ProxyPassReverse /VS/ws/public http://localhost:8090/VS/ws/public
</VirtualHost>

This looks correct to me. I have tested accessing the private Web Service and other pages and I always get a 404. This is ok.

A colleague suggested that requests including ".." such as http://mysite/VS/ws/public/../private would allow access to the private Web Service, but in my testing I could not achieve this (I do not want this!)

So, is the above configuration correct to only allow access to http://mysite/VS/ws/public ? Are there any security issues that I have overlooked?

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In your MAIN apache2.conf (or a .conf file that gets included in your main configuration file), you should have a directory that sets the default to deny access to ALL parts of your server:

<Directory "/">
  Require all denied
</Directory>

THEN, inside your <VirtualHost *:80> block, you should include an access control to allow access only to the document root:

<Directory "/var/www/html">
  Require all granted
</Directory>

Without this, your colleague is correct that there is a vulnerability in the server setup.

ALTERNATIVELY: If you really ONLY want access to http://mysite/VS/ws/public, you can use the <Location> containers:

<Location "/">
  Require all denied
</Location>

<Location "/VS/ws/public">
  Require all granted
</Location>

in the <VirtualHost *:80> block.

NOTE: A 404 error merely indicates that the sought file "was not found" on the server. You will get a 403 error if the sought file was "denied by server configuration." In other words, your test result DOES NOT indicate any application or level of security.

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