Debian should update their Snort package

Last week there was some discussion in the #snort IRC channel about why Debian distributes such an ancient version of Snort, namely version 2.3.3. This release is more than 2 years old and no longer supported by SourceFire. The website says about the old versions:

You should not use these unless you really know what you are doing. Many bugs may have been fixed, including remote vulnerabilities

Even though Debian is able to fix any security bugs themselves, and they don’t need to rely on SourceFire for this, Snort 2.3.3 is still going to be inferior to the recent Why? Well recent Snort versions have many more and improved detection options, such as a better pattern matcher, defragmentation preprocessor, improved stream preprocessor, smtp plugin, etc, etc.

So why is Debian not updating Snort? The answer can be found in the Debian bugtracker. Snort is released under the GPL and up to and including version 2.3.3 included a ruleset. But since then only Snort itself is distributed under the GPL, the (VRT) rules are now under a less free license. Of course the user can get them for free, but with a 30 day delay and only after registering with SourceFire. Big deal, I would say, just remove the rules from the package and put some doc describing how to get rules. But the Debian maintainer doesn’t like this idea:

“Consequently, upgrading to 2.4 would mean providing just an IDS engine, not an IDS “service”.” (source)

I think this reasoning makes no sense, for a number of reasons:

  1. Snort can be useful even without any rules: it can detect anomalies in stream tracking, dns, ftp, http, smtp. It can provide statistics, capture traffic.
  2. Managing the Snort rules through the very static Debian packages system make no sense in the first place. Many of the rules change weekly or even daily. Debian would never update the package for this. Oinkmaster should be used for this, and Debian provides this tool as well.
  3. People can write their own rules.
  4. There still are many free rules available. The Snort community rules are GPL licensed, Bleeding rules are BSD licensed. Together they have thousands of rules.

So Debian, please make your Snort package usable again, and update it to the latest stable version! And while you are at it, provide an inline enabled package as well 😉

New WordPress issue + Snort and ModSecurity rules

I just read about a new issue with WordPress here at SecurityFocus. It’s a potential credential stealing vulnerability, so I quickly created these ModSecurity 2 rules:

SecDefaultAction “log,deny,status:403,phase:2,t:lowercase,t:escapeSeqDecode”
SecRule REQUEST_FILENAME “/wp-login.php$” “chain,msg:’WORDPRESS wp-login.php redirect_to credentials stealing attempt’,severity:2,t:normalisePath”
SecRule ARGS_NAMES “^redirect_to$” “chain”
SecRule ARGS:redirect_to “(ht|f)tps?://”

I can still login to my WordPress install, so it seems that the rule does no harm. Use at your own risk!

Update: I’ve created a Snort rule as well:

alert tcp $EXTERNAL_NET any -> $HTTP_SERVERS $HTTP_PORTS (msg:”WORDPRESS wp-login.php redirect_to credentials stealing attempt”; flow:to_server,established; uricontent:”/wp-login.php”; nocase; uricontent:”redirect_to”; pcre:”/redirect_to=(ht|f)tps?://iU”; classtype:web-application-attack; sid:4000003; rev:1;)

Update 2: fixed the Snort rule, thanks to Shirkdog for pointing out that it had some broken pcre in it. The rule is now included in the BleedingThreats ruleset (check here), however that (slightly modified) rule doesn’t detect the attack for me.

Update 3: the Bleeding rule is now fixed. I’ve updated the above rule as well.

Update 4: updated the ModSecurity rule to prevent a possible evasion by prepending tab chars to the redirect url. Thanks to Ryan Barnett for pointing this out.

ModSecurity evasion vulnerability

ModSecurity author Ivan Ristic just reported that a ModSecurity evasion vulnerability has been published without him being notified in advance, so there is no update available yet. Check here for his announcement. And here for the advisory. Ivan Ristic suggests everyone to use this workaround until an updated version of ModSecurity is released (put on a single line):

SecRule REQUEST_BODY “@validateByteRange 1-255” “log,deny,phase:2,t:none,msg:’ModSecurity ASCIIZ Evasion Attempt'”

I’ve been using that rule for an hour or so, and have seen no false positives so far.

Migrating from ModSecurity 1.9.4 to 2.0.4

ModSecurity 2 has been out for a while now, and although I have played with it some, I never found some time to upgrade my own servers. The upgrading generally went quite smooth, even though ModSecurity 2 changed quite a bit.

First of all there are now 5 phases where you can filter. Actually, one of them only applies to the logging, so you can filter in 4 phases. The phases are headers and body for both request and response traffic. Filtering on specific URIs can be done in phase 1 (request headers), while inspecting a POST payload requires phase 2 (request body).

Next, some shortcuts where removed. In 1.9.4 there was a variable called POST_PAYLOAD, that enabled the user to match against payloads from POST requests easily. Now there is REQUEST_BODY, but since that can be part of non-POST requests as well, you have to use:

SecRule REQUEST_BODY “evil”

instead of:

SecFilterSelective POST_PAYLOAD “evil”

One other change is visible above already. The keyword to create a rule has been changed from SecFilterSelective to SecRule. Many rules can be converted by just replacing the keyword, but certainly not all. A simple find/replace should not be done without a manual review!

I use a number of custom rules to protect certain parts of my server, so I needed to convert my rules. For most of them it was simply enough to replace SecFilterSelective with SecRule. For a few I had to replace the OUTPUT_STATUS variable with the RESPONSE_STATUS variable, as it is called now.

For one rule however, I had quite some problems to get it running correctly. This was the rule in 1.9.4 syntax:

# block wp-login.php
SecFilterSelective REMOTE_ADDR “!” chain
SecFilterSelective REQUEST_URI “/wp-login.php”

This rule makes sure only can open the login page, everyone else is redirected to a simple html page containing a ‘Access Denied – Logins disabled’ message. I converted it to the following:

SecRule REMOTE_ADDR “!” chain
SecRule REQUEST_URI “/wp-login.php”

Guess what? It didn’t work. I’ve spend quite some time trying all kinds of variations of the rule, and finally I found out what the issue is. In 1.9.4 the rule actions, like deny, redirect etc could be in the final rule of a series of chained rules. With 2.0.4 this doesn’t work correctly. So when I changed the rules to the following, it worked:

# block wp-login.php
SecRule REMOTE_ADDR “!” “chain,phase:1,log,deny,redirect:”
SecRule REQUEST_URI “/wp-login.php$”

I haven’t looked into this further to find out whether this is a bug or a feature.

The last thing that was interesting is the modsec2sguil script. There have been some changes to the alert files. So expect a new version of the script soon!