Hackers Squeezing JBoss Bug

Monday, November 25, 2013 @ 02:11 PM gHale

There is a vulnerability that compromises JBoss Java EE application servers that exposes the HTTP Invoker service to the Internet, researchers said.

In October, security researcher Andrea Micalizzi released an exploit for a vulnerability in products from multiple vendors including Hewlett-Packard, McAfee, Symantec and IBM that use 4.x and 5.x versions of JBoss. That vulnerability, CVE-2013-4810, allows unauthenticated attackers to install an arbitrary application on JBoss deployments that expose the EJBInvokerServlet or JMXInvokerServlet. Attackers are actively exploiting the vulnerability.

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Micalizzi’s exploit installs a Web shell application called pwn.jsp that can execute shell commands on the operating system via HTTP requests. The commands end up executed with the privileges of the OS user running JBoss, which in the case of some JBoss deployments can be a high privileged, administrative user.

Researchers from security firm Imperva found an increase in attacks against JBoss servers that used Micalizzi’s exploit to install the original pwn.jsp shell, but also a more complex Web shell called JspSpy.

Over 200 sites running on JBoss servers, including some that belong to governments and universities ended up hacked and infected with these Web shell applications, said Barry Shteiman, director of security strategy at Imperva.

The problem is actually bigger because the vulnerability described by Micalizzi stems from insecure default configurations that leave JBoss management interfaces and invokers exposed to unauthenticated attacks.

Shteiman said the number of JBoss servers with management interfaces exposed to the Internet has more than tripled since 2011, reaching over 23,000.

One reason for this increase is probably that people have not fully understood the risks associated with this issue and continue to deploy insecure JBoss installations, Shteiman said. Also, some vendors ship products with insecure JBoss configurations, like the products vulnerable to Micalizzi’s exploit, he said.

Red Hat developed JBoss, but they just renamed it WildFly. Its latest stable version is 7.1.1, but Shteiman said quite a few organizations still use JBoss 4.x and 5.x for compatibility reasons as they need to run old applications developed for those versions.

Those organizations should follow the instructions for securing their JBoss installations that are available on the JBoss Community website, he said.

The Red Hat Security Response Team said while CVE-2013-4810 refers to the exposure of unauthenticated JMXInvokerServlet and EJBInvokerServlet interfaces on HP ProCurve Manager, “These servlets are also exposed without authentication by default on older unsupported community releases of JBoss AS (WildFly) 4.x and 5.x. All supported Red Hat JBoss products that include the JMXInvokerServlet and EJBInvokerServlet interfaces apply authentication by default, and are not affected by this issue. Newer community releases of JBoss AS (WildFly) 7.x are also not affected by this issue.”

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