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    Honeypot Processors: Basic Authentication Processor: Incidents - Apache Configuration Requested

    Complexity: Low (2.0)

    Default Response: none.

    Cause: Apache is a webserver used by many websites on the Internet. As a result, hackers will often look for vulnerabilities specific to apache, because there is a good chance any given website is probably running apache. One such vulnerability involves the use of an .htaccess22 file to provide directory level configuration (such as default 404 messages, password protected resources, directory indexing options, and so on...), while not sufficiently protecting the .htaccess file itself. By convention, any resource that provides directory level configuration should not be exposed to the public. This means that if a user requests .htaccess or a related resource, they should get either a 404 or a 403 error. Unfortunately, not all webservers are configured correctly to block requests for these resources. In such a scenario, a hacker could gain valuable intelligence on the way the server is configured.

    Behavior: Hackers will often attempt to get the .htaccess file from various directories on a website in an effort to find valuable information about how the server is configured. This is usually done to find a "Server Misconfiguration" weakness that might expose a "Credential/Session Prediction", "OS Commanding", "Path Traversal", or "URL Redirector Abuse" vulnerability among others. The fact that an .htaccess file is even exposed is a "Server Misconfiguration" vulnerability in itself. In this specific case, the attacker is asking for a different resource that is related to .htaccess. They are requesting a user database file for a password protected resource defined in .htaccess. This file is generally named ".htpasswd". The user either opened the .htaccess file and found the reference to .htpasswd, or they simply tried .htpasswd to see if anything came back (with or without asking for .htaccess). Either way, this behavior is involved in the establishment of a "Credential/Session Prediction" vulnerability. The request for .htpasswd is usually performed while attempting to establish the scope of the websites attack surface, although sometimes is not performed until trying to identify a valid attack vector.

    Note: For information on the attack types mentioned here, go to The Web Application Security Consortium Web Site and search for the attack name to learn more about it.

    Published: 2015-02-04