I have a standard installation of Ubuntu 10.04, and have installed the LAMP stack so I can do some web development locally. On my router I have opened port 80 so I can develop with external services like paypal and facebook, as they need to see the website for them to work.

How unsecure has my development machine become by opening port 80? Can I secure it further, yet leave port 80 open?

I am asking this quesiton because on my apache error.log file, I noticed an external ip address trying to access webdav, which I do not have setup. I have yet to check the access.log file.


Of course any services you have open will increase your vulnerable attack surface. What runs behind those services will determine how secure and insecure you become. If you write insecure PHP scripts and host them in your newly accessible Apache site, the world will be able to (and will!) exploit them. You should seriously consider what you are making available and how secure the scripts that run your site are.

If this is just for development, you might consider blocking access to port 80 except from certain IPs that you know need to connect back to you. How to do this is frequently answered over on ServerFault.

The fact that the port got scanned for a service you don't run is not surprising. If they had found webdav, the next step would be to scan it for known vulnerabilities that you haven't patched. The same will happen with any software you host. If you put up an old version of some CMS and don't patch it, it will get scanned and exploited.

  • I have thought about doing that, but how would I figure out the ip addresses of facebook and paypal servers? Facebook seems to have many servers, and I assume paypal does too. – oshirowanen Apr 27 '11 at 13:16
  • Facebook are large enough that they own large swathes of IP Ranges. This discussion (I hate to link to a forum ...) on the Facebook Developers forums talk about some ranges that might cover the ones your app is using. I'm sure Paypal etc will have similar setups: forum.developers.facebook.net/viewtopic.php?pid=139481 – suitedupgeek Apr 27 '11 at 15:36
  • As a good start though, whois and nslookup are helpful tools. – LawrenceC May 5 '11 at 20:58

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