With all the reports surrounding Cdorked, I took a look at if SELinux and/or other Gentoo Hardened technologies could reduce the likelihood that this infection occurs on your system.

First of all, we don't know yet how the malware gets installed on the server. We do know that the Apache binaries themselves are modified, so the first thing to look at is to see if this risk can be reduced. Of course, using an intrusion detection system like AIDE helps, but even with Gentoo's qcheck command you can test the integrity of the files:

# qcheck www-servers/apache
Checking www-servers/apache-2.2.24 ...
  * 424 out of 424 files are good

If the binary is modified, this would result in something equivalent to:

Checking www-servers/apache-2.2.24 ...
 MD5-DIGEST: /usr/sbin/apache2
  * 423 out of 424 files are good

I don't know if the modified binary would otherwise work just fine, I have not been able to find exact details on the infected binary to (in a sandbox environment of course) analyze this further. Also, because we don't know how they are installed, it is not easy to know if binaries that you built yourself are equally likely to be modified/substituted or if the attack checks checksums of the binaries against a known list.

Assuming that it would run, then the infecting malware would need to set the proper SELinux context on the file (if it overwrites the existing binary, then the context is retained, otherwise it gets the default context of bin_t). If the context is wrong, then starting Apache results in:

apache2: Syntax error on line 61 of /etc/apache2/httpd.conf: Cannot load /usr/lib64/apache2/modules/mod_actions.so into server: /usr/lib64/apache2/modules/mod_actions.so: cannot open shared object file: Permission denied

This is because the modified binary stays in the calling domain context (initrc_t). If you use a targeted policy, then this will not present itself as initrc_t is an unconfined domain. But with strict policies, initrc_t is not allowed to read httpd_modules_t. Even worse, the remainder of SELinux protections don't apply anymore, since with unconfined domains, all bets are off. That is why Gentoo focuses this hard on using a strict policy.

So, what if the binary runs in the proper domain? Well then, from the articles I read, the malware can do a reverse connect. That means that the domain will attempt to connect to an IP address provided by the attacker (in a specifically crafted URL). For SELinux, this means that the name_connect permission is checked:

# sesearch -s httpd_t -c tcp_socket -p name_connect -ACTS
Found 20 semantic av rules:
   allow nsswitch_domain dns_port_t : tcp_socket { name_connect } ; 
DT allow httpd_t port_type : tcp_socket { name_connect } ; [ httpd_can_network_connect ]
DT allow httpd_t ftp_port_t : tcp_socket { name_connect } ; [ httpd_can_network_relay ]
DT allow httpd_t smtp_port_t : tcp_socket { name_connect } ; [ httpd_can_sendmail ]
DT allow httpd_t postgresql_port_t : tcp_socket { name_connect } ; [ httpd_can_network_connect_db ]
DT allow httpd_t oracledb_port_t : tcp_socket { name_connect } ; [ httpd_can_network_connect_db ]
DT allow httpd_t squid_port_t : tcp_socket { name_connect } ; [ httpd_can_network_relay ]
DT allow httpd_t mssql_port_t : tcp_socket { name_connect } ; [ httpd_can_network_connect_db ]
DT allow httpd_t kerberos_port_t : tcp_socket { name_connect } ; [ allow_kerberos ]
DT allow nsswitch_domain ldap_port_t : tcp_socket { name_connect } ; [ authlogin_nsswitch_use_ldap ]
DT allow httpd_t http_cache_port_t : tcp_socket { name_connect } ; [ httpd_can_network_relay ]
DT allow httpd_t http_port_t : tcp_socket { name_connect } ; [ httpd_can_network_relay ]
DT allow httpd_t http_port_t : tcp_socket { name_connect } ; [ httpd_graceful_shutdown ]
DT allow httpd_t mysqld_port_t : tcp_socket { name_connect } ; [ httpd_can_network_connect_db ]
DT allow httpd_t ocsp_port_t : tcp_socket { name_connect } ; [ allow_kerberos ]
DT allow nsswitch_domain kerberos_port_t : tcp_socket { name_connect } ; [ allow_kerberos ]
DT allow httpd_t pop_port_t : tcp_socket { name_connect } ; [ httpd_can_sendmail ]
DT allow nsswitch_domain ocsp_port_t : tcp_socket { name_connect } ; [ allow_kerberos ]
DT allow httpd_t gds_db_port_t : tcp_socket { name_connect } ; [ httpd_can_network_connect_db ]
DT allow httpd_t gopher_port_t : tcp_socket { name_connect } ; [ httpd_can_network_relay ]

So by default, the Apache (httpd_t) domain is allowed to connect to DNS port (to resolve hostnames). All other name_connect calls depend on SELinux booleans (mentioned after it) that are by default disabled (at least on Gentoo). Disabling hostname resolving is not really feasible, so if the attacker uses a DNS port as port that the malware needs to connect to, SELinux will not deny it (unless you use additional networking constraints).

Now, the reverse connect is an interesting feature of the malware, but not the main one. The main focus of the malware is to redirect customers to particular sites that can trick the user in downloading additional (client) malware. Because this is done internally within Apache, SELinux cannot deal with this. As a user, make sure you configure your browser not to trust non-local iframes and such (always do this, not just because there is a possible threat right now). The configuration of Cdorked is a shared memory segment of Apache itself. Of course, since Apache uses shared memory, the malware embedded within will also have access to the shared memory. However, if this shared memory would need to be accessed by third party applications (the malware seems to grant read/write rights on everybody to this segment) SELinux will prevent this:

# sesearch -t httpd_t -c shm -ACTS
Found 2 semantic av rules:
   allow unconfined_domain_type domain : shm { create destroy getattr setattr read write associate unix_read unix_write lock } ; 
   allow httpd_t httpd_t : shm { create destroy getattr setattr read write associate unix_read unix_write lock } ;

Only unconfined domains and the httpd_t domain itself have access to httpd_t labeled shared memory.

So what about IMA/EVM? Well, those will not help here since IMA checks for integrity of files that were modified offline. As the modification of the Apache binaries is most likely done online, IMA would just accept this.

For now, it seems that a good system integrity approach is the most effective until we know more about how the malware-infected binary is written to the system in the first place (as this is better protected by MAC controls like SELinux).


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