Proof-of-Concept Released for Apache Struts Vulnerability

It took less than five days for proof of concept code exploiting the latest Apache Struts vulnerability to hit Github

That didn't take long: Last week, the Apache Foundation reported that a new serious vulnerability had been found in Struts. This week, proof-of-concept code for the flaw, including a Python script for easier code deployment, was found available on Github.

Unlike vulnerabilities that led to breaches like that at Equifax, this Struts vulnerability is the result of a specific configuration rather than a set of add-ins. While no exploit code had been found "in the wild" at the time of the original notice, the proof-of-concept code placed on Github is likely to shorten the interval until real exploitation is attempted by an attacker.

Meanwhile, Python code that probes for the vulnerabilities has been published to Github as well. A cursory examination of the Python script shows it is simple to check for the vulnerable configuration; the actual work is done in less than 20 lines of code.

Allan Liska, senior security architect at Recorded Future, says that exploiting the vulnerability now means that "a simple, well-crafted URL is enough to give an attacker access to a victim's Apache Struts installation. There is already exploit code on Github, and underground forums are talking about how to exploit it."

He warns that many large organizations may be unaware they are at risk, "because Struts underpins a number of different systems, including Oracle and Palo Alto."

All Apache Struts users have been urged to update to versions 2.3.35 or 2.5.17 as rapidly as possible to avoid exposure to a remote code execution attack exploiting the vulnerability.

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About the Author(s)

Curtis Franklin, Principal Analyst, Omdia

Curtis Franklin Jr. is Principal Analyst at Omdia, focusing on enterprise security management. Previously, he was senior editor of Dark Reading, editor of Light Reading's Security Now, and executive editor, technology, at InformationWeek, where he was also executive producer of InformationWeek's online radio and podcast episodes

Curtis has been writing about technologies and products in computing and networking since the early 1980s. He has been on staff and contributed to technology-industry publications including BYTE, ComputerWorld, CEO, Enterprise Efficiency, ChannelWeb, Network Computing, InfoWorld, PCWorld, Dark Reading, and on subjects ranging from mobile enterprise computing to enterprise security and wireless networking.

Curtis is the author of thousands of articles, the co-author of five books, and has been a frequent speaker at computer and networking industry conferences across North America and Europe. His most recent books, Cloud Computing: Technologies and Strategies of the Ubiquitous Data Center, and Securing the Cloud: Security Strategies for the Ubiquitous Data Center, with co-author Brian Chee, are published by Taylor and Francis.

When he's not writing, Curtis is a painter, photographer, cook, and multi-instrumentalist musician. He is active in running, amateur radio (KG4GWA), the MakerFX maker space in Orlando, FL, and is a certified Florida Master Naturalist.

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