Apache Mod_Auth_Any Remote Command Execution Vulnerability



Date Discovered

April 28, 2003


A vulnerability has been discovered in the mod_auth_any Apache module. The problem occurs due to insufficient sanitiziation of user-supplied arguments. As a result, it may be possible for an attacker to execute arbitrary commands, by placing shell metacharacters within an argument. All commands executed in this manner would be run with the privileges the Apache HTTPD server.

Technologies Affected

  • mod_auth_any mod_auth_any 1.2.2


Block external access at the network boundary, unless external parties require service.
Restrict remote access to the Apache server from all but trusted hosts. This may limit attempts to exploit this and other latent vulnerabilities.

Deploy network intrusion detection systems to monitor network traffic for malicious activity.
Malicious network activity may be indicated by network-based intrusion detection systems. Audit IDS and web server logs regularly to identify potential attacks.

Run all software as a nonprivileged user with minimal access rights.
Where possible, run the Apache server with privilege separation enabled. This may limit the consequences of an attacker exploiting this condition to execute arbitrary code.

Sun Microsystems has released a patch to address this issue. Red Hat has released a security advisory (RHSA-2003:114-09) containing fixes which address this issue. Further information on how to obtain and apply fixes can be found in the attached advisory.



The discovery of this vulnerability has been credited to Daniel Jarboe and Maneesh Sahani.

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