Re: IIS6 Security and other web servers

From: Randy Williams (
Date: 01/27/05

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    Date: Thu, 27 Jan 2005 11:36:00 -0500

    Greetings All,

    I'd like to ask for some clarification here. I know that Ebay,
    Anandtech, et al. run on a purely Windows architecture (for the ease of
    programming in .Net from what the folks at Anandtech are saying) for
    their web-services and that works well for them.

    However, I know of no Windows architecture that is exposed directly to
    the Internet. Every vendor/consultant/Admin I have ever met is saying
    that in order for Windows to be secure it must be protected by layers of
    protection (hardened router, hardware firewall, etc).

    On the other hand, I know of a number of LAMP-type servers that are
    exposed directly to the Internet with no intervening layers.

    Am I to take the statement that "IIS6 is a very secure platform" to mean
    that IIS6 is only secure after it has been hardened from its insecure
    default installation and protected by layered security that prevents
    direct access to the Internet".

    I may well be wrong here, so please feel free to correct me if I'm out
    on a limb.

    Thank you,


    Roger A. Grimes wrote:

    >IIS6 is a very secure platform. Some of the largest and most
    >Internet-exposed companies in the world run it. Ebay runs it. Like any
    >web server, you must follow basic guidelines and keep your patches
    >up-to-date, but that is any product.
    >If you have mostly Windows experience, it certainly isn't a poor choice.
    >Anyone saying otherwise is just going on inaccurate or old data, or just
    >letting their personal preferences get involved. I use both IIS and
    >Apache, and both are secure when implemented as recommended. I'm a
    >Windows guy, though, so configuring security and other things is easier
    >for me in IIS (click, click, click) than in Apache (find text file to
    >In fact, Windows IT Pro mag and I are sponsoring a Hack IIS contest in a
    >few months with prizes.
    >*Roger A. Grimes, Banneret Computer Security, Computer Security
    >*CPA, CISSP, MCSE: Security (NT/2000/2003/MVP), CNE (3/4), CEH, CHFI
    >*cell: 757-615-3355
    >*Author of Malicious Mobile Code: Virus Protection for Windows by
    >*Author of Honeypots for Windows (Apress)
    >-----Original Message-----
    >From: Rivera Alonso, David []
    >Sent: Tuesday, January 25, 2005 9:52 AM
    >Subject: IIS6 Security and other web servers
    >Dear friends,
    >I just want to throw a little question to know your opinion.
    >I was discussing yesterday with a friend about the quality of IIS6 from
    >a Security point of view.
    >He immediately said it's a bad choice, as previous Microsoft web
    >I've read a few papers and I have this opinion: as it's been redesigned
    >from the ground (with all the previous failures in mind), with the
    >security perspective, with every little service and option disabled by
    >default, and so on, I told him that now, in my opinion, IIS6 is a good
    >He loves GNU, Linux, and, logically, he thinks Apache is the king in
    >Just because I felt curious, I went into to check
    >the latest vulnerability advisories, for Apache and IIS6. Incredible,
    >Apache wins, it has many more (not to talk about the many releases since
    >version 2.0)! In fact, I just found one alert about IIS6.
    >What do you experts think?
    >Of course, I know IIS was very dangerous before version 6.
    >But, maybe an IIS6 in a well configured, patched and securized Windows
    >2003 machine is al last a good choice to house Web Applications?
    >Or maybe it's too soon, there are few installed, and maybe in the future
    >it'll have as many holes as the predecessors?
    >What do you think?
    >best regards from Spain,
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