Security and data sanitization in MobileFirst Server for loguploader endpoint

Endpoint /mfp/api/loguploader accepts unauthenticated requests and payload. The endpoint accepts the entire request at once. However, the payload is processed at multiple levels to ensure that it meets the data format and sanity checks required by the analytics server. Failing the sanity checks results in the request not being sent to the analytics service.

Processing of incoming request happens at multiple levels, of which the two high levels stages are:

  • Processing that happens within Analytics SDK on MobileFirst Server, this processed data is sent to Analytics via the analytics-service/rest endpoint.
  • Processing that happens within the analytics server component.

Consider the following scenarios, which elaborate on the data sanitization process:

Logdata sent as payload POSTed to endpoint contains the malicious URL/scripts

  • When the data is sent to analytics server, it is displayed in charts and tables.
  • The data that is sent to the analytics server is handled by the server in an encoded manner. The data is stored with the proper encoding, though the malicious link(or script) is part of the message/stacktrace/any data.
  • When the same messages are displayed in the analytics console it is no longer a hyperlink, an executable or an invokable script.
  • Analytics server stores the data as plain text. Also, the data is displayed as a simple message, irrespective of the format, which the intruder has used to send.

Payload POSTed to the loguploader endpoint with trackingId modified with intruder’s data

  • MobileFirst Server accepts the payload even though the trackingId has some malicious information
  • But before sending it to analytics server the data is processed.
  • Analytics SDK Component on the server returns the following error in response:
    ResponseCode : 400  - Invalid Tracking ID results in a message returned by Analytics component "Can not construct instance of java.util.UUID from String value 'someJunkTrackingID': not a valid textual representation, problem: UUID has to be represented by the standard 36-char representation"
  • This error enforces the trackingId to be a complying UUID.
  • If the intruder replaces the trackingId with his own, then the correlation of the trackingId fails when it is assembled at the analytics server before storing it in the Analytics data store (Elasticsearch).

The preceding scenarios explain how analytics server handles the data before rendering or storing. Also, if the logdata POSTed to MobileFirst Server (via loguploader) has any intrusion data, it is going to sanitize the data at multiple levels before storing/rendering it on analytics.

Inclusive terminology note: The Mobile First Platform team is making changes to support the IBM® initiative to replace racially biased and other discriminatory language in our code and content with more inclusive language. While IBM values the use of inclusive language, terms that are outside of IBM's direct influence are sometimes required for the sake of maintaining user understanding. As other industry leaders join IBM in embracing the use of inclusive language, IBM will continue to update the documentation to reflect those changes.
Last modified on April 06, 2018