Do not use your company name or contact details for the domain, since it can be used to identify the domain. Instead, use a proxy-registrant service. Do not use a small local company as the registrar since it is easier to enumerate all its registrations for all your domains.
The goal is not to have it tied to your company. This is just to keep the illusion that the domain is unused if resolved. A good idea is to use a general placeholder, like the It works! The reason for this is to serve this page, instead of your shielded webpage, when accessed via the IP address instead of a valid hostname host header. This way you will not get indexed by scanners that access IP addresses instead of hostnames, and make it a bit harder for attackers searching for your webpage in a range of IPs.
This is the reason why a webserver and other parts of the application stack like DB should not be allowed to initiate communication tot he internet. Strict firewall rules whitelist should be in place to deny any outgoing communication not related to incoming HTTP requests. If your application processes XML requests or documents, it does not perform input sanitization well and your XML parser is not properly configured, an attacker may use this functionality to force the server to load an external entity XXE or a remote DTD.
Even if outgoing connections are prohibited by the firewall, resolving the hostname from the request may be enough to reveal the IP as described below. The same results as described in the section above can be achieved if an attacker can trick the application to perform a request by modifying any user-controlled parameter that is used as a URI SSRF or filename RFI by the application.
Remember that even if your web application does not have any functionality that could be misused in such a way, some application frameworks do some checks automatically in the background. If your web application is able to send e-mails directly or via an external SMTP server , which probably is if user registrations are available, remember to verify the content of the mail headers to be sure the real sender IP address webserver is not included. Using VirusTotal to scan uploaded files in your web application?
Errors in web applications and APIs should be only generic, to not reveal any sensitive information, like the servers IP address or alternate hostname. Well, but sometimes they are not.
This is why there are even some historical and partial leaks of older Cloudflare databases out there. One of them is Crimeflare.
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Use it to search for your domain in the old leaks. These are the first steps any attacker will do. Not once but in many, many iterations including all the gathered information from the previous round. The goal is to obtain as many information as possible that can aid in all the other attacks. Hope this little blogpost was helpful to you, made you realize what steps need to be done in order to have a really working setup, and explained some of the attacks that can lead to the leak of your origin IP address. Steps recommended by Cloudflare After you finish with the setup of your Cloudflare account, you are presented with the following guide: Recommended First Steps for all Cloudflare users.
However, for people that are not security focused, this may be a little bit misleading, since they may think the following: Whitelist Cloudflare IP addresses, so if you have a firewall they will be able to access it without being blocked, or blacklisted. This, however, is not true. The real idea behind this is: Whitelist the Cloudflare IP addresses and reject anything else! How could someone find me in the gigantic world wide web? Using a simple query like http. The following website security guidelines are appropriate for all Cloudflare customers.
Do not rate-limit or throttle requests from Cloudflare IP addresses. Make sure you are seeing original visitor IP addresses in your logs. Remove all DNS records you are not using. After moving the site to Cloudflare, change server IP address es. Do not forget to review your SPF records too.
After moving the site to Cloudflare, change server IP address es This rule is the most essential one and should be written with big red letters on the top of the recommendations. You need to do more It may already seem to be a lot of countermeasures to perform to just hide your IP, but you still need to do more. Alternative domain for your servers It is a good practice use an alternate domain for your test servers if you really need them public , or just for your convenience to access your production servers directly.
Here are some tips that you should keep in mind: Choose a domain name not related to you If your main domain is example. Use a proxy-registrant for the domain Do not use your company name or contact details for the domain, since it can be used to identify the domain. Wow, this looks like a lot of work, and boring. Outro Hope this little blogpost was helpful to you, made you realize what steps need to be done in order to have a really working setup, and explained some of the attacks that can lead to the leak of your origin IP address.
But there are so many of them!
How do we check all of this? About the author. I wrote my first program on a Didaktik M, was late to the prom, and graduated despite the pitfalls of Gentoo and Battle. Since breaking is more fun than fixing, after 15 years in the corporate world I decided to move to the side of the ethical hackers. I love new technology, encrypt what I can, and pay for my coffee with Bitcoin.
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Related blogs. Subscribe to newsletter. First, if the web server is mis-configured and allows directory browsing, it may be possible to spot these applications. Vulnerability scanners may help in this respect. Second, these applications may be referenced by other web pages and there is a chance that they have been spidered and indexed by web search engines.
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Among the returned URLs there could be one pointing to such a non-obvious application. Another option is to probe for URLs which might be likely candidates for non-published applications. The same holds for administrative interfaces, which may be published at hidden URLs for example, a Tomcat administrative interface , and yet not referenced anywhere.
Approaches to address issue 2 - non-standard ports It is easy to check for the existence of web applications on non-standard ports. A port scanner such as nmap  is capable of performing service recognition by means of the -sV option, and will identify http[s] services on arbitrary ports. What is required is a full scan of the whole 64k TCP port address space.
It is sufficient to examine the output and look for http or the indication of SSL-wrapped services which should be probed to confirm that they are https. For example, the output of the previous command could look like:. This confirms that in fact it is an HTTP server. The same task may be performed by vulnerability scanners, but first check that the scanner of choice is able to identify http[s] services running on non-standard ports. For example, Nessus  is capable of identifying them on arbitrary ports provided it is instructed to scan all the ports , and will provide, with respect to nmap, a number of tests on known web server vulnerabilities, as well as on the SSL configuration of https services.
As hinted before, Nessus is also able to spot popular applications or web interfaces which could otherwise go unnoticed for example, a Tomcat administrative interface. Approaches to address issue 3 - virtual hosts There are a number of techniques which may be used to identify DNS names associated to a given IP address x. DNS zone transfers This technique has limited use nowadays, given the fact that zone transfers are largely not honored by DNS servers.
However, it may be worth a try. First of all, testers must determine the name servers serving x. If a symbolic name is known for x. If no symbolic names are known for x. For example, if the target consists of the IP address x. The following example shows how to identify the name servers for www. A zone transfer may now be requested to the name servers for domain example.
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If the tester is lucky, they will get back a list of the DNS entries for this domain. This will include the obvious www. Check all names returned by the zone transfer and consider all of those which are related to the target being evaluated. Rather than requesting a zone transfer, try setting the record type to PTR and issue a query on the given IP address. If the testers are lucky, they may get back a DNS name entry. This technique relies on the existence of IP-to-symbolic name maps, which is not guaranteed.
The tester may query for a list of names belonging to your domain of choice, such as example.
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Then they will check whether the names they obtained are pertinent to the target they are examining. Reverse-IP services Reverse-IP services are similar to DNS inverse queries, with the difference that the testers query a web-based application instead of a name server. There are a number of such services available. Since they tend to return partial and often different results, it is better to use multiple services to obtain a more comprehensive analysis. The following example shows the result of a query to one of the above reverse-IP services to Three additional non-obvious symbolic names mapping to the same address have been revealed.
Googling Following information gathering from the previous techniques, testers can rely on search engines to possibly refine and increment their analysis. This may yield evidence of additional symbolic names belonging to the target, or applications accessible via non-obvious URLs. For instance, considering the previous example regarding www. Googling techniques are explained in Testing: Spiders, Robots, and Crawlers.