Popular sites with Apache server-status enabled

Apache has a very useful functionality called server-status that allows administrators to easily find how well their servers are performing.

It is basically an HTML page that displays the number of process working, status of each request, IP addresses that are visiting the site, pages that are being queried and things like that. All good.

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 some times even find hidden (obscure) admin panels or files that should not be visible to the outside.

Talk about an awkward moment.

URL mapping and server status

We started a small crawling project in our Labs that queried over 10m different web sites (some of the crawl data is at URLfind.org). And we noticed something very interesting: Lots of web sites (some big ones) keep their server-status page open the whole world.

Here are just a few popular brands showing their status:

http://php.net/server-status/
http://metacafe.com/server-status/
http://cloudflare.com/server-status/ (FIXED)
http://disney.go.com/server-status/ (FIXED)
http://www.latimes.com/server-status/
http://www.staples.com/server-status/
http://tweetdeck.com/server-status/ (FIXED)
http://www.nba.com/server-status/
http://www.ford.com/server-status/
http://www.cisco.com/server-status/
http://www.chicagotribune.com/server-status/
http://www.yellow.com/server-status/
http://apache.org/server-status/

And many many more here: http://urlfind.org/?server-status.

Is that a big deal that I can go to staples.com/server-status/ and see all those orders/connections being made and their IPs? Or go to one of them and search for “admin-p” and find a mostly unprotected admin panel (I won’t disclose the site). Or find all the internal URLs and vhost mapping for nba.com or ford.com?

Probably not a big deal by itself (well, if you don’t have an unprotected admin panel), but that can help attackers easily find more information about these environments and use them for more complex attacks.


Simple fix

For server admins, please disable server-status or restrict it to only a set of IP addresses that really need to use it. This link explains how to do so: http://httpd.apache.org/docs/2.2/mod/mod_status.html.

Sucuri – Decoding Obfuscated PHP

We are happy to release a new tool for you Do It Yourself (DIY) types. Every now and then you might come across a variety of obfuscated injections in your PHP files and might find yourself wondering,

Wonder what that does?

Not to fear, Sucuri is here and we have a cool little tool that will help you take a look up it’s skirt. If nothing else this will you developers better understand how good is used for evil.

The one very cool thing about it is that it will decode as many layers as possible until it reaches a layer it is unable to decode. In our testing we have found a few strands that have gone down 20 different layers of obfuscation before it got to a point where it needed human intervention. Here is an example of 13 layers with a final output: http://ddecode.com/phpdecoder/?results=54a91431e44ab48462d4db6a59ae3db8

You can decode your obfuscated PHP here: http://ddecode.com/phpdecoder/

Ask Sucuri: How does SiteCheck work?

If you have any questions about malware, blacklisting, or security in general, send it to us: contact@sucuri.net and we will answer here. For all the “Ask Sucuri” answers, go here.


Question: How does SiteCheck work? I just scanned a site that I think is compromised but the scanner is showing it as clean. Is my site really clean or did you make a mistake?

Answer: SiteCheck is our free, remote website scanner that works to identify if the provided site is infected with any type of malware (including SPAM) or if it’s been blacklisted or defaced.

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WordPress Security Hangout – Grand Rapids WP Meetup

Every now and then, trying to summarize a conversation doesn’t do it any justice. Here is the discussion in its entirety between Dre Armeda, Mark Jaquith and I, Tony Perez, for the recent Grand Rapids WP Meetup. As you might imagine, it’s about WordPress Security:

It’s lengthy, true, but it covers a number of subjects. Everything from passwords, their management, to hardening and appropriate security controls.

If you’re not familiar with Mark Jaquith, you should be. He has been actively engaged in the WordPress community for 8 years +, is a lead developer for the project and has contributed countless patches to the core, many addressing security issues. If you’re looking for development advise or for a third party audit of your code then he’s about as good as it gets, be sure to check him out at http://coveredwebservices.com/

Is WordPress.com SPAM Campaign Due to Compromise?

*****Updated – 20121019*****

Both Matt Mullenweg and Barry Abrahamson, System Wrangler with Automattic, have confirmed that there was not an environmental compromise and everything was isolated to individual user accounts.

Per their incident handling process they identified a brute force like attack which made use of a list of compromised email / password combinations derived from a third-party application[s].

People often use the same username and password on different sites, even though we all know we shouldn’t. If a password on a smaller site is compromised bad guys try it against the big ones like Twitter, Facebook, and WordPress.com. If anything bad happens to a WP.com user we get in touch with them as soon as possible to assist them. – Automatic.com


At this point it’s unclear of the severity, as WordPress.com has not released anything public, but I would say the odds are not in their favor.

The Hacker News (THN) put out an article this morning titled: 15000 WordPress Blogs Hacked For making Money From Survey.

WordPress.com Spam

Naturally my first reaction was, meh, it’s likely a fluke of some kind, but as I read it I became more suspicious. It all started with this email:

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Vote SPAM For President: New Election Tactics or Same Old Tricks?

The United States presidential campaign is going full force, and it’s been a doozy. We don’t typically get involved with political situations, short of cleaning some of the crazy defacements we see, this is an exception.

Vote Spam
This election campaign has brought its typical bashing via commercials, the usual rhetoric we see in interviews, and even those cool vote for (plug in your favorite candidate) stickers. My personal favorite was the vice presidential debate which left me feeling like I was on the grade school playground making faces and sticking my tongue out at the resident bully.

Times have adapted a bit, and the tactics have changed along with the advancements in communications, and social interaction. Twitter discussions boasting crazy statistics, Facebook posts about how awesome each candidate is, all of these have even spawned interesting debate and discussion in my own social groups.

Apparently, the crazy and debatably bad tactics stem beyond the historical mediums into our lovely world of geek. I guess it was only a matter of time.

We have drummed up a couple of theories on how this happened, ultimately it’s up to you to decide. More on that at the end.


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Dealing with WordPress Malware

A few months back I contributed to a post with Smashing Magazine on the top 4 WordPress Infections, it was released yesterday, and it couldn’t have been at a better time. If any one attended WordCamp Las Vegas you might even find some similarities. Fortunately in the process of preparing for the event and working with the team, we were able to compile a bit more information expanding on the things we originally discussed in the last post. It’s perfect timing for a number of reasons, and will complement this post very nicely.

WordPress Malware
The idea of this post, like many in the past, is to outline and discuss this past weekend’s presentation. In the process, hopefully you take something away. Unfortunately, the presentation was capped off with a live attack and hack, and I won’t be able to include that in this post, but I promise it’s coming.

**Note: If you plan to be at WordCamp Philadelphia 2012 you might be in for some treats, just saying. And if you don’t have it on the calendar, you should.

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WordPress Themes: XSS Vulnerabilities and Secure Coding Practices

As many might imagine, my life revolves around Information Security. If you’re like me, you’re undoubtedly seeing all these new posts talking to insecurities in WordPress themes, specifically a plethora of Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) vulnerabilities. Surprise, surprise, right? Yeah, no, not so much.

WordPress Theme XSS Vulnerabilities

Here are some of the posts I am referring to:


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