Effects of successful attacks
An organization’s reputation can be ruined the attacker edits the website content and includes malicious information or links to a porn website
The web server can be used to install malicious software on users who visit the compromised website. The malicious software downloaded onto the visitor’s computer can be a virus, Trojan or botnet software, etc.
Compromised user data may be used for fraudulent activities which may lead to business loss or lawsuits from the users who entrusted their details with the organization.
Some Web server attack tools
- Metasploit– this is an open-source tool for developing, testing and using exploit code. It can be used to discover vulnerabilities in web servers and write exploits that can be used to compromise the server.
- MPack– this is a web exploitation tool. It was written in PHP and is backed by MySQL as the database engine. Once a web server has been compromised using MPack, all traffic to it is redirected to malicious download websites.
- Zeus– this tool can be used to turn a compromised computer into a bot or zombie. A bot is a compromised computer that is used to perform internet-based attacks. A botnet is a collection of compromised computers. The botnet can then be used in a denial of service attack or sending spam emails.
- No split – this tool can be used to install programs, delete programs, replicating it, etc.
How to avoid attacks on the Web server
An organization can adopt the following policy to protect itself against web server attacks.
- Patch management– this involves installing patches to help secure the server. A patch is an update that fixes a bug in the software. The patches can be applied to the operating system and the web server system.
- Vulnerability scanning system– these include tools such as Snort, NMap, Scanner Access Now Easy (SANE)
Firewalls can be used to stop simple DoS attacks by blocking all traffic coming the identify source IP addresses of the attacker.
Antivirus software can be used to remove malicious software on the server
Disabling Remote Administration
Default accounts and unused accounts must be removed from the system
Default ports & settings (like FTP at port 21) should be changed to custom port & settings (FTP port at 5069)
Hacking Activity: Hack a WebServer
In this practical scenario, we are going to look at the anatomy of a web server attack. Let’s assume we are targeting www.techpanda.org. We are not going to hack into it as this is illegal. We will only use the domain for educational purposes.
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