Feeds

PHP flaws pose hacker risk

Scripting language could be a tool for script kiddies

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

Updated Flaws in the popular open source scripting language PHP could allow crackers to execute arbitrary code on a victim's system or crash a Web server, security clearing house CERT has warned.

The vulnerabilities arise from the way PHP handles multipart/form-data POST requests (aka POST fileuploads) which give rise to a variety of possible attacks, with varying degrees of difficulty.

Tests by Stefan Esser, a PHP developer at German security consultancy e-matters, who discovered the bugs, suggest that not only PHP4 but also older versions of PHP3 tree are vulnerable.

Most of these vulnerabilities are exploitable only on Linux or Solaris, but one relatively trivial attack is only exploitable on x86 boxes and an arbitrary heap overflow in PHP3 is relatively easily exploitable on most platforms, including BSD.

According to our contacts a PHP exploit, targeted at Linux servers, is in circulation, though it’s not been widely used, as yet. This makes the PHP vulnerabilities a serious security issue.

As a workaround, users running PHP 4.0.3 or above might mitigate their exposure to the security risk by disabling fileupload support.

However a better solution is to upgrade to version 4.1.2 of PHP or apply patches to earlier versions, which have been made available. Because fileupload code was completely rewritten for the 4.2.0 branch, developers using this version of the scripting language are immune from the vulnerability.

PHP is a scripting language widely used in web development. PHP can be installed on a variety of web servers, including Apache, IIS, Netscape and iPlanet, among others. Servers not running PHP are immune to the problem. ®

External links

CERT: Multiple vulnerabilities in PHP fileupload
e-matters advisory

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
14 antivirus apps found to have security problems
Vendors just don't care, says researcher, after finding basic boo-boos in security software
Only '3% of web servers in top corps' fully fixed after Heartbleed snafu
Just slapping a patched OpenSSL on a machine ain't going to cut it, we're told
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
Israel's Iron Dome missile tech stolen by Chinese hackers
Corporate raiders Comment Crew fingered for attacks
Roll out the welcome mat to hackers and crackers
Security chap pens guide to bug bounty programs that won't fail like Yahoo!'s
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
Researcher sat on critical IE bugs for THREE YEARS
VUPEN waited for Pwn2Own cash while IE's sandbox leaked
Four fake Google haxbots hit YOUR WEBSITE every day
Goog the perfect ruse to slip into SEO orfice
Secure microkernel that uses maths to be 'bug free' goes open source
Hacker-repelling, drone-protecting code will soon be yours to tweak as you see fit
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.