Vulnerabilities / Threats
11/2/2012
02:36 PM
50%
50%

Apache Server Setting Mistakes Can Aid Hackers

Numerous large companies that use free Apache server software leave internal status pages visible, which can help hackers exploit networks.

Who Is Hacking U.S. Banks? 8 Facts
Who Is Hacking U.S. Banks? 8 Facts
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
Apache server administrators: Have you hidden your status pages?

According to a study of 10 million websites released last week, more than 2,000 sites -- including big-name businesses such as Cisco, Ford and Staples -- have left the status pages for their Apache servers visible, which could give attackers information that would help them penetrate corporate networks.

That research comes via Daniel Cid, CTO of Sucuri, who published a list of 2,072 websites that Sucuri Malware Labs identified as having exposed Apache status pages.

According to Apache documentation, the Apache mod_status module "allows a server administrator to find out how well their server is performing," via an HTML page that delivers up-to-date server statistics. "It is basically an HTML page that displays the number of [processes] working, status of each request, IP addresses that are visiting the site, pages that are being queried and things like that. All good," said Cid in a related blog post.

"However, this feature can also have security implications if you leave it wide open to the world. Anyone would be able to see who is visiting the site, the URLs and sometimes even find hidden -- obscure -- admin panels or files that should not be visible to the outside," he said. "That can help attackers easily find more information about these environments and use them for more complex attacks."

[ Shore up your defenses and trick attackers into revealing their identities. See 9 Facts: Play Offense Against Security Breaches. ]

Thankfully, there's a simple fix, said Cid: "For server admins, please disable server-status or restrict it to only a set of IP addresses that really need to use it."

By Monday, seven of 13 big-name sites highlighted by Cid in his blog post -- including CloudFlare, Disney and TweetDeck -- had hidden their status pages in response, while Apache.com, Cisco.com, Ford.com, MetCafe, Staples and Yellow Pages had not.

Security experts recommend that all Apache administrators verify that their installations aren't exposing server status information. "I was pretty sure the sites I run for myself and my customers were OK, but since paranoia is a good trait of a security-conscious techie, I double checked," said developer Steve Madsen in a blog post. "Imagine my surprise when I found that one of my sites did the very same thing, as did one of my customer's."

What was the issue? He traced the problem to how the virtual hosts were configured, but said that Apache may also be mishandling one of the Debian Linux variables involved. "Is this problem actually a security bug in Apache? If so, it is much more serious than the exposure of mod_status information," he said.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Cartoon
Current Issue
Dark Reading Tech Digest, Dec. 19, 2014
Software-defined networking can be a net plus for security. The key: Work with the network team to implement gradually, test as you go, and take the opportunity to overhaul your security strategy.
Flash Poll
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2014-1449
Published: 2014-12-25
The Maxthon Cloud Browser application before 4.1.6.2000 for Android allows remote attackers to spoof the address bar via crafted JavaScript code that uses the history API.

CVE-2014-2217
Published: 2014-12-25
Absolute path traversal vulnerability in the RadAsyncUpload control in the RadControls in Telerik UI for ASP.NET AJAX before Q3 2012 SP2 allows remote attackers to write to arbitrary files, and consequently execute arbitrary code, via a full pathname in the UploadID metadata value.

CVE-2014-3971
Published: 2014-12-25
The CmdAuthenticate::_authenticateX509 function in db/commands/authentication_commands.cpp in mongod in MongoDB 2.6.x before 2.6.2 allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service (daemon crash) by attempting authentication with an invalid X.509 client certificate.

CVE-2014-7193
Published: 2014-12-25
The Crumb plugin before 3.0.0 for Node.js does not properly restrict token access in situations where a hapi route handler has CORS enabled, which allows remote attackers to obtain sensitive information, and potentially obtain the ability to spoof requests to non-CORS routes, via a crafted web site ...

CVE-2014-7300
Published: 2014-12-25
GNOME Shell 3.14.x before 3.14.1, when the Screen Lock feature is used, does not limit the aggregate memory consumption of all active PrtSc requests, which allows physically proximate attackers to execute arbitrary commands on an unattended workstation by making many PrtSc requests and leveraging a ...

Best of the Web
Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
Join us Wednesday, Dec. 17 at 1 p.m. Eastern Time to hear what employers are really looking for in a chief information security officer -- it may not be what you think.