Daniel Cid

Sucuri CTO, OSSEC Founder, open source developer and information security professional - dcid.me

HeartBleed in the Wild

As most of you probably already know, ten days ago security Researchers disclosed a very serious vulnerability in the OpenSSL library, which is used to power HTTPS on most websites nowadays. The bug allowed an attacker to extract information that was supposed to be private, including SSL private keys, login data or any other information transmitted via the web site.

It was one the first security vulnerabilities (code named HeartBleed) to receive massive media attention and every webmaster in the world has probably heard about it (at least we hope so).


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Critical Update for JetPack WordPress Plugin

The Jetpack team just released a critical security update to fix a security vulnerability in the Jetpack WordPress plugin. The vulnerability allows an attacker to bypass the site’s access control and publish posts on the site. All versions of JetPack since October, 2012 (Jetpack 1.9) are vulnerable, and all users should update to version 2.9.3 ASAP.

Jetpack is a very popular plugin for WordPress with almost 10 million downloads, so the impact of such vulnerability can be very big if users do not update.

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Patching The Heartbleed OpenSSL Vulnerability

Security Researchers have discovered a very serious vulnerability in the OpenSSL library that is used to power HTTPS on most websites. Many news sources are now covering the story, and we recommend reading their articles to understand the scope of what is happening and the impact of the threat:

To summarize: It is big. It allows an attacker to extract information that was supposed to be private, including SSL private keys themselves. ArsTechnica explains it well:

The bug, which has resided in production versions of OpenSSL for more than two years, could make it possible for people to recover the private encryption key at the heart of the digital certificates used to authenticate Internet servers and to encrypt data traveling between them and end users. Attacks leave no traces in server logs, so there’s no way of knowing if the bug has been actively exploited. Still, the risk is extraordinary, given the ability to disclose keys, passwords, and other credentials that could be used in future compromises.

The Tor team summarizes their recommendation by saying, “If you need strong anonymity or privacy on the Internet, you might want to stay away from the Internet entirely for the next few days while things settle.”.

What Should I do as a WebMaster?

If you own a website, you must do your part and patch your operating system. If it is a dedicated server, it is your responsibility. If you are on a shared hosting platform, contact your hosting provider to remind them to update their servers. To update your server with the patch follow these step by step directions:

1- Check if your site is vulnerable

We first recommend that you check your site on this page to see if it is vulnerable. If it is, keep reading to see what you need to do.

2a- Patching Ubuntu/Debian dedicated servers

If you run Ubuntu or Debian on a VPS or dedicated server, you will likely need to patch it yourself. A quick way to do that is by updating all packages on your operating system with the following command:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade

Then restart Apache.

2b- Patching RedHat/CentOS/Fedora and most cPanel dedicated servers

If you run any RedHat-based server, you can patch your server by running:

yum update

Once all packages are updated, you should see inside /var/log/yum.log that OpenSSL was fixed:

# tail /var/log/yum.log |grep ssl
Apr 08 03:49:26 Updated: openssl-1.0.1e-16.el6_5.7.x86_64
Apr 08 03:49:27 Updated: openssl-devel-1.0.1e-16.el6_5.7.x86_64

Once that is done, you need to restart Apache for the fix to take effect.

2c- Other servers

If you are on a shared host, you can’t do anything. You’ll need to contact your hosting company and wait for them to run the patch for you.

If you are using any other Linux (or BSD) distribution on a dedicated server, you need to follow their steps to update OpenSSL.

3- Restart Apache

Do not forget to restart Apache (or Nginx). We are seeing many patched servers still vulnerable because they forgot this simple step.

4- Generate new certificates

This vulnerability was just disclosed a day ago, but it is possible that a malicious party has known about it for longer than that. If you run a popular web site or take confidential information, you might want to generate new certificates and encryption keys just to be on the safe side.

CloudProxy users Protected

If your site is behind our CloudProxy web site firewall, you are already protected against this and any exterior threat. Anyone can sign up for it, regardless of host or CMS and get their sites protected in just a few minutes.

JCE Joomla Extension Attacks in the Wild

Our friends from SpiderLabs, issued a warning today on their blog about increased activity on their honeypots looking to exploit the old JCE (Joomla Content Editor) vulnerability.

JCE is a very popular component that can be found enabled on almost any Joomla site. It has had a few serious vulnerabilities in the past (around 2011 and 2012), and unfortunately we still see thousands of unpatched sites out there. In fact, we get to clean and disinfect many sites compromised through it every single day.

You can read SpiderLabs’ full analysis here:

[Honeypot Alert] JCE Joomla Extension Attacks

And an old one we did on UnmaskParasites about the increased scans we started to see for it a few months ago:

Unmask: Invasion of JCE Bots

If you run a Joomla site and haven’t patched your site lately, please do it as soon as possible. If you are still on the Joomla 1.5.x branch, you need to do it today. There are exploits live in the wild for it, and if you have been lucky and didn’t get hacked yet, it will happen soon.


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Windigo Linux Analysis – Ebury and Cdorked

Our friends over at ESET released a very detailed document about the Windigo Operation. The Windigo Operation has been responsible for the compromise of thousands of Linux servers over the years. When you hear terms like Ebury, CDorked, Calfbot and others, they are all related to each other.

Over the last few years, our team has been handling and fixing compromised servers and we can attest to how complex the clean up for this infection can be. We’ve seen that the servers we’ve fixed have been misused for distribution of malware, SPAM and, in some cases, to steal credit cards on compromised web servers used for e-commerce.

Windigo Timeline

The timeline released by ESET matches what we have been seeing and it goes back to 2011 when Linux/eBury was first seen. It goes through many evolutions, including our joint analysis of CDORKED on 2013 and the SSH backdoors:

Windigo Timeline

Windigo IOC’s

If you run a Linux server and you are worried it might be infected, they provide a few techniques (indicators of compromise) to check if the server is hacked.

1- For Linux/Ebury. Run the ssh -g command. If it returns an error about missing argument, you know you are compromised.

2- For Linux/CDorked. Run curl to favicon.iso and see if you get redirected to Google.com. If you do, you know you are compromised.

These apply to the latest versions of the malware. Old versions have different indicators and we explain them on our previous blog posts. Note that with the release of this document, the malware authors will likely change operations and the behavior of the code. So do not expect it to last long.

We recommend reading the whole PDF here:

http://www.welivesecurity.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/operation_windigo.pdf

If you need help cleaning up a compromised Linux server, let us know.

Security Exploit Patched on vBulletin – PHP Object Injection

The vBulletin team just issued a warning, and released patches for a security exploit that affected all versions of vBulletin including 3.5, 3.6, 3.7, 3.8, 4.X, 5.X. They recommend that anyone using vBulletin apply these patches as soon as possible. Here is part of their announcement:

A security issue has been found that affects all versions of vBulletin including 3.x, 4.x and 5.x. We have released security patches to account for this vulnerability. This includes patches for vBulletin 3.8.7, vBulletin 4.2.2 and all versions of vBulletin 5 (including Cloud accounts). The patch is also applied to vBulletin 5.1.0 RC1. It is imperative that you apply these patches as soon as possible.

Due to functionality changes, the minimum PHP version for the patch is 5.2.0. This represents an increase for vBulletin 3. Alternatively customers can install the JSON functions separately in which case it will work with any compatible PHP version that their particular version of vBulletin supports. You will need to collaborate with your hosting provider or systems administrator to apply the changes to PHP.

If you are using vBulletin, you know what to do: Patch now!

What really worries me from this announcement is that they increased their minimal PHP version requirement on the security patch. It means many webmasters will not be able to apply the patch quickly enough, and some may end up breaking their sites.

So, if your host is not running an updated version of PHP, you need to contact them ASAP to get it updated or your site will be vulnerable.

What a Security Exploit Means?

The vBulletin team provided no details on what exactly they patched, or what the vulnerability was. All they have said is it was a “security exploit”, which should be enough of a warning for people to update their forums.

Based on their patches, we were able to clearly see what the issue was:

They removed:
$temp = unserialize($check);
And added:
$temp = json_decode($check, true);

Later in the code where they were running “serialize($_POST”, they changed it to “json_encode($_POST)”. It appears like a PHP Object injection where they are passing user supplied data to an “unserialize” function.

This may lead to privilege escalation, remote code execution, or maybe even allow an attacker to run any PHP function they want. We don’t know how bad it is yet, but our team is still investigating this issue and trying to confirm the severity, and what can really be done.

Users running our Website Firewall are already protected against PHP Object injections, and we are building a custom virtual patching signature for it as well. Stay tuned for updates.

More Than 162,000 WordPress Sites Used for Distributed Denial of Service Attack

Distributed Denial of Service (DDOS) attacks are becoming a common trend on our blog lately, and that’s OK because it’s a very serious issue for every website owner. Today I want to talk about a large DDOS attack that leveraged thousands of unsuspecting WordPress websites as indirect source amplification vectors.

Any WordPress site with Pingback enabled (which is on by default) can be used in DDOS attacks against other sites. Note that XMLRPC is used for pingbacks, trackbacks, remote access via mobile devices and many other features you’re likely very fond of. But, it can also be heavily misused like what we are seeing.

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Joomla Security Updates – Version 2.5.19 and 3.2.3 Released

The Joomla team just released 2 security updates and pushed out the stable versions for Joomla 2.5.19 and 3.2.3. If you run your site on Joomla, you need to update and apply these patches ASAP to ensure that your site continues to run securely.

If you are behind our CloudProxy Firewall, we will virtually patch these for you so you’re protected even if you do not upgrade. The Joomla website has more details on the security updates.

Issues fixed

On Joomla 2.5.19, these two issues were listed fixed:

Medium Priority – Core XSS Vulnerability More information
Medium Priority – Core XSS Vulnerability More information

But on Joomla 3.2.3, the following issues were fixed:

High Priority – Core SQL Injection More information
Medium Priority – Core XSS Vulnerability More information
Medium Priority – Core XSS Vulnerability More information
Medium Priority – Core Unauthorised Logins More information

As you can see, there are some high priority SQL injection vulnerabilities along with some unauthorized login vulnerabilities in their Gmail login module (disabled by default).

The SQL injection seems to be related to an exploit released almost a month ago on the weblinks-categories id that was not escaped properly, and seems very easy to exploit.

Our team is still investigating the impact of this one and other vulnerabilities, and we will post more details as we identify them.

Sucuri CloudProxy Website Firewall Improvements

If you are are a regular reader of our blog you probably know about our CloudProxy Website Firewall, it launched publicly a year ago. Since then, our team has been extremely focused on improving it, making it more effective and efficient for everyday website owners.

If you are not familiar with CloudProxy, I highly recommend reading some of the documentation and benefits of it:

In fact, if you have a website, why not try it out?

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SiteCheck Chrome Extension Now Available

Have you ever wondered if the websites you (or your family) visit contain code that is potentially harmful to you or your computer? If you are a Chrome user, then you’re in luck because we’ve made it much simpler for you to utilize SiteCheck, our website malware scanner. Whether you want to scan your own website or check up on other sites, install our new Chrome extension to make it easier. If you love the extension, let us know in the comments and make sure to tell your friends about this cool new tool.

All right, we’re done selling the benefits of this thing so here are the instructions to install it and try it out for yourself:

First, install the extension from the Google Chrome Web Store.

Next, you’ll be asked to allow access to your webpages. Once you do that, you’ll notice the little Sucuri “S” embedded on the right of your toolbar.

SiteCheck Extension

Finally, to scan any site you’re visiting, just click the Sucuri “S” and our sitecheck will scour the site and return results to you in no time. If you’re visiting a site infected with malware, you will receive a warning like the one below.

SiteCheck Extension - Warn results

Some Technical Details

It’s important to remember that you will need to choose to scan sites when you visit them and that this extension will not automatically scan every site you visit, nor will it prevent you from visiting an infected or blacklisted site (though you could quickly find out if you were on such a site). Our goal is to help consumers of the web as well as webmasters by providing a tool to scan any site on the web without referring back to SiteCheck each time.

Finally, remember that this extension will not automate scans of any website. If you’re in need of consistent monitoring and alerts, just sign up for one of our website protection or prevention plans and let us keep your site malware-free.