[HCS-D]mod_php alternatives? (and tonight's work)

Matt Gline gline at fas.harvard.edu
Mon Dec 6 16:13:47 EST 2004

Well, ladies and gentlemen, I appear to have found the exploit they've
been using to get into hcs.

gline-hcs% ps aux | grep www

www       16096  0.0  0.1  1568  712  ??  S     4:07PM   0:00.01 ./k

gline-hcs% sudo lsof -p 16096

k       16096  www   10u  IPv4 0xcaa2f450        0t0     TCP hcs.harvard.edu:http->proxy2.satfilm.net.pl:35041 (CLOSE_WAIT

gline-hcs% host proxy2.satfilm.net.pl
proxy2.satfilm.net.pl has address

and then a quick grep for the IP address in our httpd-access and error
logs yielded plenty of material like this, much of it related to this
phpBB2 script. Which, according to google, is broken.

/usr/local/www/log/httpd-access.log: - - [01/Dec/2004:13:50:06 -0500] "GET /~hsmbb/
%54%50%5F%47%45%54%5F%56%41%52%53%5B%72%75%73%68%5D%29.%2527 HTTP/1.0" 200 29997 "-" "-"

Of course, there could be other broken scripts lying around, so we need
to address the phpsuexec problem.

til' tonight, which will again be exciting, I bid you all adieu.


On Mon, Dec 06, 2004 at 03:57:32PM -0500, Gregory N. Price wrote:
>   On Mon, Dec 06, 2004 at 09:15:23AM -0500, Philip Zeyliger wrote:
>     There are hacky ways to run PHP as users.  We use them.  I set
>     them up...  The short story is you copy a binary to your scripts
>     dir, add a few lines to .htaccess, and everything *.php gets run
>     by that program, which runs PHP for you.  I can go into
>     more detail at a later time.
> Yeah, I saw what looked like such a thing in ~dunster.  I saw also on
> Google a how-to for what looked like setting up such a thing systemwide.
> We do want to make it systemwide.
> I haven't looked carefully at this script; is it the sort of thing
> that'd leave us more secure than we started?
> Some other solutions spotted last night:
>  - A patch to suexec that lets it know about PHP:
>     http://www.localhost.nl/patches/
>  - A separate suexec just for PHP:
>     http://www.suphp.org/
> Naturally, we won't install any such thing without being confident
> it's a good idea.
>   On Mon, Dec 06, 2004 at 02:38:34AM -0500, Ivan Krstic wrote:
>     > ... without having apache run as root (which in itself is a really bad idea).
>     This is accurate. The solution is securing the system in other ways, 
>     including but not limited to ACLs, TPE, socket control, and chroot for 
>     the web server.
> Do you mean running apache as root, and then doing other things to
> maintain security?
> I expect running a small piece as root -- rather like suexec -- is a better idea.
>     I will bring this up at the meeting tonight, but several things are 
>     apparent to me at this point:
>     (1) HCS ought to create a new post for a security manager/CSO
>     (2) the choice of operating system, security, and software on public HCS 
>     machines ought to be reconsidered once the CSO has been appointed
>     (3) installation baselines ought to be produced and kept on 'cold' media
>     (4) installation baselines need to be integrated, probably 
>     automatically, into an up-to-date map of software, with accompanying 
>     version information, deployed across all HCS machines, for a god's-eye 
>     view of potential security problems
> Yep, we'll talk about these.  Lots of things are good ideas for HCS to
> do if someone wants to put in the time to do them.
>                 Gregory
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