Security White Paper



  • Authentication - Assuring the identity of a user.

  • Authorization - Assuring that an authorized user is allows to perform a workflow.

  • BF - FM BetterForms

  • FMS - FileMake Server

  • JWT - JSON Web Token, a securely signed token that ins immutable.

  • CWP - Custom Web Publishing, a method of connecting and exposing data to thirdly party applications.

Browser (Client)

TLS Certificate are automatically generated for * domains. Custom domains will also get a generated domain or subdomain certificate with Lets Encrypt, a free certificate service.

Authenticated and Un-Authenticated PagesBF allows web pages (form /layout) to be accessed with and without authentication. By default, Pages need authentication. This is indicated visually in the BF editor.

After a user is logged into a page that requires authentication, their credentials are one-way hashed and compared to those in the user table int he BF helper file.

A JWT (JSON Web Token) token is generated using industry approved encryption. JWT’s are immutable and assure the client is who they claim to be.

Web Servers

BetterForms uses immutable server-less deployments for the web facing servers. Once these servers are deployed they can not be modified, or logged into.

Any web interface regardless of technology needs to access your system with some connection method. Traditional FM web publishing exposes all data tables (layouts) that the credentials have access to. (Traditional CWP exposes tables and all records, the PHP web server code must apply its own business logic)

Server Secrets

When the server is first deployed it is given all of the secrets (keys, links etc. it needs to know and they are saved in memory only after the server starts up. This makes it hard to retrieve to the secrets.

Client account credentials

In order form BF to access an FMS server in must retain a set of credentials (see FM credentials section) These credentials are encrypted and saved on the BF application server. The credentials are decrypted immediately before each FMS server interaction with a decryption key that is injected into the BF server upon start up.

aes-256-cbc with random IV (initialization Vector) Decrypted on fly, cached data remains encrypted until retrieved.


FileMaker Credentials

The credential that BF uses to access FMS has very limited scope.

  • CWP API Gateway only (Cannot be used

  • Read Write Access Only (not full admin)

  • Can only run scripts, layouts, it's given access to.

All BF interactions to FMS are performed via scripts. This give great control over workflow and makes it easy to keep tight security.

Even knowing the password does not actually grant the user data, it does allow them to run the hook script at best. It is important that at the top of scripts that need to restrict data the user id is verified for authorization.

You can add additional restrictions to the BetterForms account credential by the following:

  • Only grant the account access to the BF hook scripts and any scripts they reach.

  • Since all access is via a script and NOT direct access to your tables, your scripts can check for additional authentication (user is logged in, user allowed to fetch data etc) in the hook scripts.

  • User ID

If a user is authenticated their JWT user ID is passed into all scripts so the script can check for authorization and authentication.

User Tables

BF comes with a helper file that contains a user table with a securely based credential. Developers can also control

  • Enable / Disable Account

  • Force account email to be verified

Helper File

Incoming traffic from the BF server only enters the Helper File. The helper file acts as a credential firewall and adds a degree of isolation between the legacy file.

Techniques for increasing security (Proposed - Edit needed)

  • use perform script on server between proper file and legacy file.

  • re-login when calling legacy file plug scripts

  • change privileges in legacy file to not allow XML

  • Have legacy file not allow any layouts with XML access

  • Only allow CWP inbound calls to come from better forms Web server IP via an API Proxy.

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