Trend Micro Show How Remote Hackers Can Compromise Servers At Gitex Hacking Session

Press release
Published October 17th, 2018 - 05:21 GMT
One of the key aspects of the demo was the actual showcasing of the critical server vulnerabilities.
One of the key aspects of the demo was the actual showcasing of the critical server vulnerabilities.

Trend Micro Incorporated, a global leader in cybersecurity solutions, conducted a  hacking demo at GITEX, where security experts demonstrated how remote hackers using triggered exploits can execute malicious code and take control over a targeted server.

One of the key aspects of the demo was the actual showcasing of the critical server vulnerabilities, like those found recently in web application framework Apache Struts, which is a free, open-source, MVC framework popular among IT professionals across all industries and the vulnerability at the centre of the infamous Equifax data breach in 2017.

The demo details how security flaws caused by insufficient validation of untrusted user data in the core of an applications framework, can be used by experts to execute a remote code on a server by sending a malicious HTTP request with an Object-Graph Navigation Language (OGNL) expression, to gain access to sensitive data. OGNL is an open-source Expression Language (EL) for Java.

Trend Micro pointed out that a malicious code remotely executed on the vulnerable server can be devastating, given that this framework is being used by at least 65% of Fortune 100 businesses. Trend Micro stresses that moving forward, web application developers, particularly those adopting DevOps, security shouldn’t be sacrificed. While rapid development and delivery helps enrich customer and user experience, applications should also be secure by design.

“Organizations cannot afford to have a relaxed security approach or run unprotected networks. Today’s workloads require a security strategy that can navigate the constantly evolving and ever-increasing threats,” commented Bilal Baig, Technical Leader, MENA, Trend Micro. “This demo was a simple example of how easy it has become for hackers to get access to company servers. For security teams, exposure to vulnerabilities and threats translates to adverse impact to an organization, which goes beyond its bottom line. An effective security strategy is a must to ensures visibility into the applications, and their underlying infrastructures, there has to be consistency in security.”

Enterprises are harnessing hybrid cloud technologies toward digital transformation: the integration of flexibility, agility, and unique cultural shifts into business processes to enrich customer and stakeholder experience. In fact, it’s projected that by 2020,  90 percent  of organizations will be adopting or using hybrid cloud infrastructures and services. Indeed, the hybrid cloud enables businesses to portably manage workload requirements by using public cloud platforms to run applications while using the resources of private cloud infrastructures to manage the data needed to run the applications.

In the first half of 2018 alone, 47 new cryptocurrency-mining malware families and 118 new ransomware families were already seen. Threats are also diversifying into infrastructures that are critical to enterprises, from web servers and application development platforms to mobile devices. In 2017, for instance, the  Erebus Linux ransomware  hit a South Korean web development company and affected 153 Linux servers and more than 3,400 businesses. The impact: over US$1 million in losses as well as damaged reputation and a costly remediation process.

What's Needed?

Defense-in-depth security capabilities that have visibility across the application or software’s life cycle, from pre-deployment to runtime. For example, security mechanisms such as intrusion detection and prevention systems (IDS/IPS) and firewalls help thwart network-based threats and exploits, while application control deters anomalous executables and scripts from running. In fact, it’s projected that by 2022, application control will be employed in 60 percent of server workloads.

For DevOps teams, baking in security into the development life cycle means security as code. This can be achieved through scalable application programming interfaces (APIs) and scripts designed with security from the first build in order to minimize superfluous work.

Background Information

Trend Micro

For over 30 years, Trend Micro’s unwavering vision has been to make the world safe for exchanging digital information. Security is our entire focus, and it shows. This single-minded passion has inspired our innovations that keep up with the bad guys despite a changing IT landscape, riskier user behavior, and constantly evolving threats.

The depth of our experience remains unmatched. From the endpoint to the network to the cloud, we’ve got you covered with a connected threat defense recognized by analysts, customers, and industry gurus of all kinds.


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