What is an Apache Server?

There are two possibilities. Either you are an expert, and in that case, explaining what an Apache server is like teaching a college graduate the alphabet, or you are a concerned business owner who wants to avoid any Apache attacks. For the latter’s benefit, Apache is a free, open-source HTTP server that presents static websites to visitors.

Apache does not work alone for more complex or dynamic websites, but if you have a simple website that only shares some information using HTML or JavaScript, you can get away with just an Apache server. However, most of the time, people get server-side services to make their websites more impressive. The most popular server setup websites utilize is the LAMP (Linux Apache MySQL PHP) server setup.

Apache is the most popular and reliable web server currently on the market. It is also free and constantly improved. If you own a website, it is most likely hosted on an Apache webserver. Apache announces any vulnerabilities it finds and promptly issues new mandated practices or an update patch to protect against the new vulnerability. Therefore, older versions of Apache that not been fully-updated are usually not safe.

 If you don’t know if you are running a vulnerable version of Apache, stop and check and run a patch right away. Perhaps you can protect it with a password-protected proxy server until you can ensure that you are running a secure version. It’s also best to hide the server version and upgrading system information and disable the file directory so hackers cannot gauge your system vulnerabilities.

Here are some vulnerabilities and attacks you need to be wise of and how to protect your website from apache attacks and ensure proper cybersecurity.

Denial of Service (DoS) Attack

A hacker can keep your webserver too busy to work for real visitors by creating so many false connections it becomes overwhelmed and stops responding. This is called a denial of service or DoS attack. One of the best ways to prevent this is to install the mod_evasive Apache module.

Another kind of attack called DDoS is a more advanced version of this attack and requires more security modules and preventions.

CVE-2021-40438 Flaw

The CVE-2021-40438 flaw is a server-side request forgery or SSRF that can be used to exploit HTTP servers like Apache, which use the mod-proxy module. The hacker can take advantage of this flaw by using a specific request to trick the module into forwarding the request to their own origin server. Once they have done that, they can access sensitive information or target other servers that do not require any protection or security. 

According to Fastly, over five hundred thousand servers were running vulnerable HTTP servers at the time. Cloud services prevented these attacks, so the real victims were people running their own servers. The patch for this vulnerability was released promptly, and users who update on time can protect themselves from being exploited this way.

Log 4j Vulnerability

The log4j vulnerability has been all anyone working in cybersecurity can talk about since it has revolutionized the way hackers can exploit HTTP servers or conduct apache attacks. In the simplest terms, log4j exploits take advantage of how security logs are saved in LDAP servers by sending a unique payload containing their server location into the system and forcing the JNDI plugin to send a request to an unknown server. This allowed complete remote code execution giving hackers the power to manipulate the system any way they wish.

Since this logging system is so fundamental, nearly anyone who used an HTTP server to any extent was vulnerable. According to screenshots on Twitter, even large companies like apple were vulnerable to this type of attack. Everyone is scrambling to see if they can improve their cyber security by upgrading to the newest version of the Log4j library that doesn’t utilize the JNDI lookup by default or making sure their system does not leverage JNDI lookups. It’s advisable to leverage a WAF or firewall to prevent any known exploitation methods. However, according to the Log4j team themselves, even these methods are insufficient.

How Do I Protect Against Future Vulnerabilities?

Hackers are getting bolder and more refined with their Apache attacks and exploitations. It is getting hard to predict and patch for vulnerabilities before being exploited. In fact, sometimes vulnerabilities are found while still searching for how to fix the last one. In times like these, even tech giants become exposed to attack. Whenever a new issue pops up, cybersecurity teams, experts, and companies worldwide consolidate together for the solution.

New preventions and new practices pop up every day, and it can be challenging for a company’s in-house IT team to stay on top of everything. A good cybersecurity consultant can keep you up to date and maintain efforts to strengthen your system against attack. With their help, you can put up more and more safeguards against attacks so you can rest easy and set up your system so that you can be alerted when it is attacked. You can have your system scanned and analyzed for any vulnerabilities it has and fix them as soon as possible.

To conclude, an Apache server is a necessary part of running any personal or business website. It can be used on its own for a simple site or with other server services for a complicated website. Protecting against Apache attacks is really important to keep your proprietary data safe. New vulnerabilities and exploits pop up faster than we can predict them.

A cybersecurity consultant can bring the best out of your system and let it run to its full potential in times like these. with more and more of our lives and businesses moving online, investing in cybersecurity sooner rather than later is the wiser move. It would be best if you had time to focus on running the operational side of your business and cannot deal with new cyber catastrophes on the daily.

Get in touch with us today for all your Cyber Security needs!

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