6 May, 2024

Remote Code Execution - How Can You Protect Your Website?

Read on as we explore remote code execution vulnerabilities and strategies to enhance your business's website security.
WordPress powers about a third of the web, giving information technology users the simplest way to own a blog or a website. Most popular sites, including Microsoft, rely on WordPress to deliver content. But how secure is your blog or website, especially after the official announcement of a remote code execution vulnerability? The straight answer is your website security may be at risk.

The security fault (CVE-2024-25600) makes WordPress Bricks themes versions up to 1.9.6 vulnerable to attacks. Here, we break down the security vulnerability risks into digestible information nuggets to help understand the risks and ways of enhancing WordPress security.

Flaw Description

According to WordPress development and security company Snicco, Bricks version 1.9.6 is vulnerable to unauthenticated remote code execution (RCE). The flaw means anybody can run an arbitrary PHP code on susceptible installations and take over the site or server. Over 25,000 websites using Bricks version 1.9.6 are at risk of hacking, with an RCE vulnerability rating of 9.8 out of 10. The company advises its users to upgrade the version to or higher.

What Is Remote Code Execution Vulnerability?

RCE (remote code execution) vulnerability is the most common mode of fileless attack on a Web server. The vulnerability allows an attacker to execute a malicious code on a susceptible web server. Hackers using RCE attack mode can also gain total control of your website if you do not have the cybersecurity features.

The worst thing about this kind of attack is that the attackers do not require physical access to your system. All they need is an internet connection to execute malicious codes to your site from a distance (remotely). Code execution means the hackers can run their codes, allowing them to steal data, install malware, or launch further attacks.

Impact of Remote Code Execution Vulnerabilities

RCE attackers aim to gain access to a system or device and execute a malicious code. They exploit vulnerabilities in a system to gain access. Once they access your device or system, the hackers can:

Steal data. Hackers exploit security vulnerabilities in the system to install data-stealing malware or directly copy sensitive data from the vulnerable device. In an era where data has become a valuable asset in business, hackers might sell it to your competitors or use it to gain undue trade advantages.

Install malware. Attackers can also install malicious software that further compromises the security of your device or spreads to other devices in the system.

Disrupt operations. Attackers can also execute malicious codes that jam the system and block genuine customers from accessing services. The system congestion caused by the attackers may disrupt operations or cause severe downtimes that deny your business revenue.

Gain access to other systems. RCE vulnerability exploit can also target the entire system by manipulating susceptible devices. Attackers may use the vulnerability in one device to gain access and mess up the system.

Launch ransom attack. Remote code execution allows hackers to launch ransomware. Ransomware denies you access to files in your device until you pay the attackers.

How Do You Protect a Website Against Remote Code Execution Vulnerabilities?

Remote code execution attacks also have the potential to cause significant business and financial damage. You can protect your system from RCE attacks by enhancing your website security. However, protecting your system from RCE vulnerabilities requires a multi-layered approach. There is no single solution to keeping the system free from WordPress malware. Here is a step-by-step process of what you need to do:

The best method of protecting your website from RCE vulnerability is to start with the basics. Basic website protection activities include:

Regular Software Update
Frequently update your content management system (CMS), plugins, themes, as well as other software running on your website. The updates include patches for known vulnerabilities, meaning you should use the most current software versions.

Using Secure Coding Practices
Adhere to secure coding practices when you develop custom code for your website. The custom codes include input validation, output encoding, as well as proper access control mechanisms to prevent malicious code injection and execution.

Implementing the Principle of Least Privilege
The principle of least privilege grants users and processes only the minimum permissions needed for task execution. It also limits the potential damage if an attacker exploits a remote code execution vulnerability.

Configuration and Security Tools
Configure Web Servers Securely
Harden your web server configuration by removing unnecessary features, using ciphers and protocols (HTTPS, TLS), and turning off unneeded services.

Use a Web Application Firewall (WAF)
A WAF can also detect and block various attacks, including attempts to exploit remote code execution vulnerabilities. Choose a WAF that offers RCE protection and continuously updates its rules.

Perform Regular Security Scans
Scan your website regularly for known RCE vulnerabilities using vulnerability scanners. The scanning helps identify and address potential issues before attackers exploit them.

Staying Informed and Proactive
Subscribe to Security Advisories
Stay up to date on new remote code execution vulnerabilities as well as their impact on your website's software.

Penetration Testing
Consider conducting regular penetration testing, where ethical hackers simulate real-world attacks to identify and fix vulnerabilities before attackers can exploit them.

Protect Your Website Against RCE Vulnerabilities With Quttera ThreatSign!

Quttera offers various services that can help protect your website against remote code execution vulnerabilities, although it's important to note that no single service can provide complete protection. Here's how our offerings can contribute to a layered defense:

Quttera Web Application Firewall (WAF). Web Application Firewall (WAF) is our core service, designed to detect and block malicious attacks at the application layer. We use signature-based detection, anomaly detection, as well as machine learning to identify and block RCE exploit attempts. Our WAF can also provide real-time protection against known and emerging RCE vulnerabilities by constantly updating our rules and adapting to new threats.

Bot Detection and Mitigation. Hackers also use malicious bots to probe for vulnerabilities, including RCE flaws. Quttera's bot detection and mitigation service can identify and block malicious bot traffic, preventing them from exploiting vulnerabilities on your website.

Combining Quttera's services with other security best practices significantly strengthens your website's defenses against RCE vulnerabilities and creates a more secure online environment. Sign up today for the best website security!