Connecting cluster with different cookies

Mark Sheldon msheldon@REDACTED
Mon Aug 9 19:29:15 CEST 2021

I don’t represent a large application, but perhaps this is a common use case — or perhaps someone can give me a better way to do this.

I use erlang:set_cookie/2 in escripts I have my students (and potentially teaching assistants) use to communicate with Erlang services I provide.  For example, I have a script for submitting late work that captures dates on students files and sends the student’s submission and metadata to an Erlang server.

These programs are run by students whose accounts I cannot control.  They are not in any privileged Unix group, and they will not have a cookie file in their home directories.  So, the scripts explicitly set the cookie so that they can communicate with my server(s).

An analogous situation could arise if I want to have a web page interact with a service.  The department uses Apache and supports CGI scripts.  I can write an escripts in the same way as above. 

I don’t run that many services, but it seems reasonable to have services available to staff that are different from students and to use different cookies for the two groups of nodes.

I understand that it’s not great security.  But the scripts can only be run people with department accounts, and the network is behind a firewall.

If I have missed a better solution, I’d be interested to hear about it.  I mostly hacked the late submission system together one afternoon as a more fun approach to a common problem, and I’ve been using it ever since.  


Mark A. Sheldon
Associate Teaching Professor
Department of Computer Science
Tufts University

> On 9Aug, 2021, at 12:40, James Aimonetti <james@REDACTED> wrote:
> Raimo Niskanen writes:
>> The question is now, is this an essential feature / how
>> important is this feature?
> In the KAZOO project, we support setting different cookies for
> connecting to our C-node code in the FreeSWITCH project. This has been
> in place for over 8 years.
> While I do not think anyone really uses this feature, I also know that
> with our recent preliminary release of KAZOO 5.0, we've found folks
> using corners of the software that we did not anticipate.
> I would not call this an essential feature for our project, personally,
> but I am also not relishing finding that one cluster which relies on
> unique cookies for some reason.
> I've put out a question to our OPS team and our open source forum. If
> any users require it as part of their operations, I'll forward that
> along.
> --
> James Aimonetti
> Lead Systems Architect
> 2600Hz | | UCaaS CPaaS CCaaS
> tel:415.886.7905
> irc:mc_ @ #2600hz

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