[Archivesspace_Users_Group] More admins, more problems

Prom, Christopher John prom at illinois.edu
Tue Feb 9 16:08:39 EST 2016


Thanks for bringing this up.

I just checked and in the case of the archon migrations, the asadmin user is not created.  However, it does make a user ‘aspace’ and grants it full admin rights.  Even worse, you can login as that user with NO password (i.e. field is blank).  So, that one should definitely be killed off manually or even better the migration tool should delete it when done.

In addition, there is another problem with archon migrations, in that the migration tool takes ALL of the existing users from archon DBs, and migrates them into aspace as read only users with the same login, and no password.   You can then login to the app with the old users name and no password (field is blank) and can view but not edit data.

All of the users the migration tool create are read only—but still this is a security problem since someone might be able to view restricted data or find a hack to get more permissions on the DB.

As a related question, how is security handled generally in ASpace?  Is it relying on an external security library, or bespoke code, or some combination of the two?

The discovery of these types of things, in all honesty, does not engender confidence, and probably indicates the need for a thorough security audit.  While the above problems can be cleaned up after the fact, not an ideal solution.

Chris Prom
Univeristy of Illinois Archives

On Feb 9, 2016, at 2:39 PM, Custer, Mark <mark.custer at yale.edu<mailto:mark.custer at yale.edu>> wrote:


I wanted to send out a friendly reminder about admin accounts in ArchivesSpace (and this is coming strictly from an ArchivesSpace user’s perspective).

As most are aware, when you install ArchivesSpace without any configuration changes, you wind up with a single admin account in ArchivesSpace that has a username equal to “admin” and a password set to be the same.  You’ll want to change this password to something else long before you go into production mode.  For the most part, I think that people take care of this on or around day one, but if you can log into your ASpace application using that username and password, you’ll want to update that password to something else that’s a lot more secure!

Less well known is what happens when you use the migration tool to populate your ArchivesSpace database (I sent an email about this to the listserv way back on May 8, 2015, but I don’t know if what I’m about to describe is documented anywhere else yet).  If you’ve migrated to ArchivesSpace using the Archivists’ Toolkit migration tool (and I’m pretty sure this happens with the Archon tool, as well), then another admin user will be added to your database.  This admin user will have a username that’s equal to “asadmin”.  I’m not actually sure why the migration tool creates another user (or if the current versions still do this), especially since you have to supply admin credentials to the migration tool to run against the ASpace API, but I know that this happened during our migration process – and I’ve seen this phantom admin user account in other ArchivesSpace installations, as well.  When we discovered this new user, we deleted it from our database immediately after our final migration process.

So, I’d like to ask everyone out there to check and see if they can login to their own ArchivesSpace with an “asadmin” account, whether you’re in production or not (the password is easy to guess, since it’s the same as the default admin user’s password).  If you can log in that way, I’d suggest deleting that user immediately!


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