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IDS's, host: headers, and .printer ISAPI overflow as an example
From: "Marc Maiffret" <marc () eeye com>
Date: Sun, 10 Jun 2001 04:42:40 -0700

A lot of Intrusion Detection Systems are only look for Host: strings when
dealing with web server attacks that do "bad things" with the Host: field.
An example of that would be the .printer ISAPI overflow that eEye released a
few weeks or so ago.

We have seen three distinct patterns in signatures attempting to detect this
1. Block/alert all .printer attacks: this causes all .printer attacks to be
signaled as attacks, potentially causing many false positives in
environments where it is used. However, I would agree that .printer is not
recommended at all for public web servers.
2. Blocking shell code signatures: This is only as effective as the sigs
are. Writing shell code to avoid these sigs completely can typically be done
in a matter of a few minutes.
3. Those that deal with Host: headers. This seems to be the best targeting
for this attack sig, but all that we have seen are flawed in their
implementation, and here's how to walk past them:

The overflow, when released, would have a client request that looked like
the following:
GET /anything.printer HTTP/1.1
Host: overflow

Some IDS's looking for Host: overflows were basically only looking for Host:

However, the above attack can also be represented as:

GET http://overflow/anything.printer HTTP/1.0

To IIS (and a lot of other web servers) both requests are valid and both
requests contain valid host header information. IIS will process both of
them in the same manner. So if an attacker changes any of the various
exploit programs on the net to place the overflow buffer in http://%s/
instead of Host: %s then that exploit will basically sneak past certain
IDS's that are only focusing on Host: data instead of doing proper host
header checking.

just a heads up

Marc Maiffret
Chief Hacking Officer
eEye Digital Security
http://eEye.com/Retina - Like Intrusion Detection, except it stops the
attackers of today, yesterday.
http://eEye.com/Iris - Network Traffic Analyzer
http://eEye.com/SecureIIS - Stop known and unknown IIS web server attacks

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