Mask Your Web Server for Enhanced Security
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by Joe Lima
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WebDAV: Another way of identifying Microsoft servers is their implementation (from Windows 2000 and IIS 5.0 on) of WebDAV -- the HTTP Extensions for Distributed Authoring and Versioning. WebDAV itself is not unique to Microsoft or IIS; it is a proposed standard (RFC 2518) with an IETF Working Group. Microsoft's WebDAV support, however, adds a lot of information to the headers sent back by the server, especially when an HTTP OPTIONS request is made. If you are not using WebDAV (to support Outlook Web Access or Web Folders, etc.), you can disable it entirely by editing the registry or by using IISLockDown and URLScan.

Public Header: Certain Web servers betray their identity by displaying the Public header in HTTP responses. Few popular Web Servers send this header in response to OPTIONS requests (while almost all respond with the similar Allow header). The presence of Public is a good indication you are connected to either an IIS box or Netscape Enterprise 3.6. The Public header can be removed with a custom ISAPI filter (IIS) or NSAPI plug-in (Netscape).

Integrated Windows Authentication: IIS users should not rely on "Integrated Windows Authentication" -- especially not as a way of hiding anything on the server. This method betrays the very secret it would keep, since a script or visual hacker can identify the Windows box by means of the WWW-Authenticate headers sent by the server. When a file or directory is protected by NT Challenge-Response authentication, one of the authentication headers contains the string "NTLM" (NT LAN Manager) -- a Microsoft-specific form of HTTP authentication.

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