Enhancing the security of your DTM implementation
17 Jan 2016 » Launch
We are all aware of the importance of creating secure products. In a previous post, I explained how to set up a workflow for a DTM implementation. One of the consequences of using this workflow is that only a reduced number of users can cause damage to the website via DTM. This is also good from the security perspective, as it reduces the risks of a successful attack. This is probably enough for most companies.
Financial institutions and DTM
There are many places in DTM where an attack could take place; this is what is called the attack surface:
- Use brute force to get to the password of one of the publishers or administrators.
- Find a vulnerability in the DTM UI and gain control of an account.
- Find a vulnerability in Akamai (current provider for DTM) and gain control of the servers.
I am not implying that DTM is insecure; I am 100% sure that the developers take security very seriously, but we must never forget that there can always be a hidden security hole.
Self-host DTM library
In order to do this, you first need to enable the “Library download” option, under the “Embed” tab.
After configuring the options, you get a URL to download both the staging and production libraries:
Remember to update the links to the library in the HTML, as specified in the “Header code” section:
DTM library workflow
The previous solution works, but it adds a level of complexity for the DTM users. When debugging unpublished rules, the DTM Switch is completely useless, as it only works if the library is hosted in Akamai. You need to use tools like Charles, which make the whole process more complicated: you might need a license, you will need to download the library with every rule change, you need to learn how to manually replace the live DTM files with your local version… One problem has been solved, but a new one has been created. In particular, non-technical people will find quite challenging this solution.
My proposal in this case is to use a hybrid solution:
- Use Akamai for the development environment
- Use self-hosting for the test and production environments
and a create new workflow:
- The report suites in DTM should always point to development and/or UAT values.
- Your friendly marketer should have access to a development server with a working version of the website, where DTM is loaded from Akamai URLs, as with the typical DTM deployment. In this environment, she can easily create and test new rules using the DTM Switch. She should only have user permissions in DTM. Any successful attack on DTM will be confined to the development environment.
- Once the rules have been finished, a tester should verify the correctness of them. If everything is correct, the tester should approve and publish the rules. This is different from the workflow I suggested in a previous post: now, the tester has both approve and publish privileges.
- When pushing the whole development environment to SIT/UAT/staging, another script or process should automatically modify the DTM links in the HTML, to point to the correct server (not Akamai). These links are those in the “Library Download” tab.
- Website testers should only see the approved and published rules and report any errors.
- In pre-production, the report suite ID of the DTM library should automatically be replaced with the production RSID.
- The production environment should be exactly the same as pre-production.
It is a complicated solution, but it combines both the easiness of the DTM Switch for development and the security of self-hosting.
On final note. You will have noticed that the SIT/UAT/staging environment will have a slightly different version of the DTM library, than pre-production and production, as the RSID will be different. I would also expect that server names will be different. In this case, one solution is to replace the URLs in DTM with placeholders: