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Test Suite For Server-Side Includes

Page Last Updated: 6 August 1996
Latest Software: Version 1.0

On this Page: General Info | Installation Procedure | Download
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1. General Information & Package Overview

SSI-test is a test suite for evaluating the functionality and security aspects of a server's server-side include features. The package consists of a UNIX tar archive consisting of parsed HTML documents, test gateway programs, and some instructions. To run the suite, you will need to install several programs and files in particular locations, and add the appropriate entries into your server's configuration files.

Distribution Information

The distribution contains the following files and directores

2. Unpacking the Tar Archive

  1. Create a directory under the server document directory into which you wish to place the test suite. A good example name would be ssi-test/.
  2. Move this tar archive ssi-test.tar into this test directory and unpack it using tar -xvof ssi-test.tar. This will create the distribution described above.
  3. You should also test the case where the installation directory is symbolically linked to the server tree, as several servers allow you to control exploitation of symbolic links depending on link ownership. To do this testyou can create a directory outside the server directory, for example in your home directory /your/home/ext-test/) and create a symbolic link:
       ln -s /your/home/ext-test/ /path/to/serverdir/vssi-test/ 
    where I've used the "v" to indicate that the directory is only a symbolic link to the real home.
  4. With NCSA-compatible servers, you will also want to test explicit user directories (using the tilde character). Install the files exactly as with C, but instead of creating a symbolic link, you need to create a .htaccess file within your (the user's) home directory to map the ext-test/ directory as the users personal server area. You can then use the .htaccess to enable all possible server parsing, and make sure that this does not override the settings set by the server's own configuration files.

3. Configuring the Test Suite

  1. The first step is to install the test gateway programs in the gateway program directory. To do this, you copy the contents of the distribution's cgi-bin/ directory (test_script.cgi) into your server's gatewway program directory -- I will assume this to be named cgi-bin.
  2. Change into the server's cgi-bin directory and mark the newly installed program as executable: (the UNIX command is chmod +x test_script.cgi)
  3. You now need to create symbolic links within the server's cgi-bin/ directory, to create 'virtual' gateway programs. From within the server's cgi-bin/ directory, create the following two links:
       ln -s test_script.cgi virt_test_script.cgi
       ln -s test_script.cgi virt_test_2
  4. Now that you are finished with the cgi-bin material, you now need to install files that go *outside* the server document area -- this is to test that the server cannot access files outside the allowed directory area.

    There are two files in the subdirectory to_be_installed/: the script test_script.cgi and the parsed file parse1.shtml. These files must be copied to a location *outside* the document tree accessible to the server, but accessible to regular programs running on the server. Let us assume the path is /path/to/files (this could be somewhere in your home directory). Then the full paths to these files are:

    Note that the server should *only* be able to access these files if it has read access. Therefore, the files must be world readable, and test_script.cgi must be world executable. Note that the directories above the file must also be accessible to the server.
  5. Note the location of the current directory relative to the server root directory. For example, suppose that the path, relative to the root directory, is
  6. Now, change into the dir1/ subdirectory and edit the *shtml files: inc_file.shtml, parse1.shtml and parse2.shtml to change the "virtual" paths so that the point to the correct locations. Currently these are coded as
       virtual="vtest/dir1/ ..."
    which, if the current directory were ssi-test/ would become
       virtual="ssi-test/dir1/ ..."
    6) Also in the dir1/ subdirectory, you must create two links to the files installed at step (4). The links are:
       ln -s /path/to/file/test_script.cgi   virt2_test_script.cgi
       ln -s /path/to/file/parse1.shtml      lnk2_parse1.shtml
  7. Lastly, you must make test that users cannot create links to nasty files you want to keep private (like /etc/passwd). To test this, create the following two symbolic links within the dir1/ subdirectory:
       ln -s /ext/passwd   nasty_link.html
       ln -s /ext/passwd   nasty_link.shtml
    Make sure to get rid of these after the test! If you do not have a password file, use some other resource example.
  8. And that's about it. The files have been configured, and you are ready to run the test suite!

4. Using the Test Suite

To start running the test suite, you simply point your browser at the file dir1/main.html -- using whatever URL is appropriate, given the installation configuration you chose above. The main.htm program contains links to all the test examples and pages.

You should run the test suite using all possible variations of the server configuration parameters. I find it easiest to print out each example, and then write (yes, I know, old technology) at the top of the sheets the server configurattion settings applied to each page. You can then go back and reflect on what is happening.

5. Downloading the Test Suite

The suite is available at the following URL:
http://www.iangraham.org/software/ssitest/ssi-test.tar (Uncompressed; 65536 bytes)
http://www.iangraham.org/software/ssitest/ssi-test.tar.gz (Gnu-Zipped compressed; 8803 bytes)