If you’re using QNAP as a NAS, you probably know that QNAP allows you to install web apps onto QNAP server. Web apps are cool, but these web apps can be a security nightmare. This is why you often have to upgrade these web apps. One example of a popular web app that you can install on QNAP server is WordPress. Anyhow, whether a web app might carry a computer vulnerability or not, you want to secure your QNAP’s web apps with .htaccess file. By adding .htaccess file to /share/Web directory in QNAP server, you add one more hoop (security layer) for hackers to have dealt with. In the video right after the break, I’m going to show you how to add a very simple .htaccess file to QNAP’s /share/Web directory to thwart a possible malicious user which might be able to bypass the router’s firewall and hack your QNAP server using web apps’ vulnerabilities. Enjoy!!!
Legal Disclaimer: Following the tip within this blog post at your own risk. You have been warned, thus you know that you are going to do something dangerous here to your web server or QNAP server. With this knowledge of yours and by having reading this warning or skipping this clear warning, you cannot hold me for your stupidity or dangerous action against your very own QNAP server or web server or against anyone’s web server that you’re responsible for its administrative duties and procurements.
Are you running a web server on QNAP NAS? NAS stands for Network Attached Storage server. If you are for whatever purpose, whether this web server is for production purpose or testing purpose, you might want to know that .htaccess file can help secure QNAP’s web applications such as WordPress, Drupal, and the rest. Here’s how to create proper .htaccess file that controls all web applications at once on your QNAP server.
- You need to change into directory of /share/Web by using this Linux command [cd /share/Web]. Of course, please do ignore the square brackets as these are only for clarifying the command line.
- Quickly do [ls -la] to figure out if you have an .htaccess file already. If you do, please make a backup of this file in case you need this original file again for whatever purpose. To make a backup of this .htaccess file that you already have had in the QNAP’s /share/Web directory, use this command [cp -p -a /share/Web/.htaccess /share/Web/.htaccess-old].
- Once you had followed the step #2 herein, then you can try to remove the original .htaccess file (Not the backup one you just made OK?) by using this command [rm -rf /share/Web/.htaccess]. Be very careful with [rm -rf] command line, because if you misspell a file or a directory you’re trying to remove, you will definitely lose such directory or file forever and won’t be able to recover it.
- Now let us create the .htaccess file again, but this time we’re creating it the way we like it. Of course, .htaccess is a complex file, thus regular Joe like us needs not to worry about making this file too complex. Instead, let a regular Joe like us to just create simple .htaccess file that denies all IP addresses but only allows a specific IP addresses. This means, if you want to allow one or two specific IP addresses to access QNAP’s web applications, this .htaccess file should satisfy your command. So here we go…
- Creating .htaccess file by using this command [touch /share/Web/.htaccess].
- Now, let’s edit the .htaccess file we just created by using this command [vim /share/Web/.htaccess].
- Let’s enter the lines below for our new .htaccess file shall we? These lines must be in the order as follow…
- order deny,allow
- allow from 192.168.0.x (please use your very own IP address here)
- allow from 192.168.0.x (please use your very own IP address here)
- deny from all
- What we had done was adding 2 IP addresses to the allow list in .htaccess file so these 2 IP addresses will be able to interact/access the web applications that reside in QNAP’s /share/Web directory. You can add more IP addresses or remove most IP addresses but allowing only one according to your desire by simply adding more [allow from…] or remove [allow from…] lines. Of course all [allow from…] lines must be written or typed out above the line which said [deny from all] and below the line which said [order deny,allow]. Now, we must save our newly edited .htaccess file by doing this while you’re still in the vim editor.
- Hit escape key on the keyboard to exit the editing mode.
- Type in [:wq] and hit enter key on the keyboard. Of course, please do ignore the square brackets as these are only for clarifying the command line.
- The last step is to secure our new .htaccess file by doing two things.
- First thing to secure is to make sure the owner and the group owner of the .htaccess file are indeed the right owner and group owner. For me personally, I prefer to not use admin user and administrators group for any web application files and directories, because I don’t want the evil doers to be able to use one of these files with high privilege access to escalate the privilege and execute malicious commands. This is why on my QNAP server I rather make most of my web applications’ files and directories in the name of user httpdusr and group owner everyone. So let’s do this command to make this happens OK? Type in [chown httpdusr:everyone /share/Web/.htaccess]. Afterward, just do [ls -la /share/Web/.htaccess] to see if .htaccess file indeed is using user httpdusr and group owner everyone.
- Second thing to secure is to make sure the .htaccess file has the right permission. So we need to use this command [chmod 400 /share/Web/.htaccess]. What this command does is change the permission of .htaccess file in /share/Web directory to read only for user (owner of the .htaccess file) and no other permission is allowable for anyone else, hint the two zeros after #4. These two zeros stand for no permission for group user (whoever has the group authorization of whichever group) and no permission for everyone else (this is the last 0 for). Finally, you can do [ls -la /share/Web/.htaccess] to confirm that the permission for .htaccess file is indeed 400 or not. If it’s so, it means only the QNAP web server user httpdusr will be able to read the file, but even this user cannot write to or execute whatever within this .htaccess file.
Now, with this .htaccess file configuration for your QNAP’s /share/Web directory, the web applications that are residing within this specific Web directory will not be accessible to anyone with any IP address unless somebody is using the IP address that is being allowed by this very .htaccess file.
Do you know that by following the tip herein, you can also use this very tip for non-QNAP web server? Just create a similar .htaccess file within whatever web server’s directory to prevent snooping to most IP addresses and allow only the IP addresses that are being allowed within.