[Pharo-project] about vm dropping privileges

Lukas Renggli renggli at gmail.com
Tue Dec 2 16:00:38 EST 2008

> I was rereading our excellent forthcoming seaside book :)


> And lukas wrote
>        "To listen on port 80, the standard port used by the HTTP protocol,
> the
>        web server needs to run as root. Running a public service as root is
>        a huge security issue. Dedicated web servers such as Apache drop
>        their root privileges after startup. This allows them to listen to
> port
>        80 while not being root. Unfortunately this is not something that can
>        be easily done from within the Smalltalk VM. "
> And I was wondering what is the exact problem?

Unix blocks port 1 - 1024 for non root users. Running a Smalltalk
image as root is obviously a very bad idea, especially when used for
web services. Smalltalk is full of security holes (for example Object
class>>#readFrom: uses the compiler) that would allow a smart person
to gain root rights. It is always good idea to run anything that is
publicly reachable in some sort of a sandbox, even if this is just by
using a non-privileged user.


Lukas Renggli

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