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             AUSCERT External Security Bulletin Redistribution

            Range header DoS vulnerability Apache HTTPD 1.3/2.x
                              29 August 2011


        AusCERT Security Bulletin Summary

Product:          Apache HTTPD
Publisher:        The Apache Software Foundation
Operating System: UNIX variants (UNIX, Linux, OSX)
Impact/Access:    Denial of Service -- Remote/Unauthenticated
Resolution:       Mitigation
CVE Names:        CVE-2011-3192  

Comment: A patch or new apache release for Apache 2.0 and 2.2 is expected 
         in the next 48 hours. However, while popular, Apache 1.3 is 
         An attack tool exists for this vulnerability and has been seen 
         actively exploited in the wild.

Revision History: August 29 2011: In addition to the 'Range' header - the 
                                  'Range-Request' header is equally affected. 
                                  Furthermore various vendor updates, improved 
                                  regexes (speed and accommodating a different 
                                  and new attack pattern).
                  August 25 2011: Initial Release

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          Apache HTTPD Security ADVISORY
                    UPDATE 2

Title:       Range header DoS vulnerability Apache HTTPD 1.3/2.x

CVE:         CVE-2011-3192
Last Change: 20110826 1030Z
Date:        20110824 1600Z
Product:     Apache HTTPD Web Server
Versions:    Apache 1.3 all versions, Apache 2 all versions

Changes since last update
In addition to the 'Range' header - the 'Range-Request' header is equally
affected. Furthermore various vendor updates, improved regexes (speed and
accommodating a different and new attack pattern).


A denial of service vulnerability has been found in the way the multiple 
overlapping ranges are handled by the Apache HTTPD server:


An attack tool is circulating in the wild. Active use of this tool has 
been observed.

The attack can be done remotely and with a modest number of requests can 
cause very significant memory and CPU usage on the server. 

The default Apache HTTPD installation is vulnerable.

There is currently no patch/new version of Apache HTTPD which fixes this 
vulnerability. This advisory will be updated when a long term fix 
is available. 

A full fix is expected in the next 24 hours. 

Background and the 2007 report

There are two aspects to this vulnerability. One is new, is Apache specific; 
and resolved with this server side fix. The other issue is fundamentally a 
protocol design issue dating back to 2007:


The contemporary interpretation of the HTTP protocol (currently) requires a 
server to return multiple (overlapping) ranges; in the order requested. This 
means that one can request a very large range (e.g. from byte 0- to the end) 
100's of times in a single request. 

Being able to do so is an issue for (probably all) webservers and currently 
subject of an IETF discussion to change the protocol:


This advisory details a problem with how Apache httpd and its so called 
internal 'bucket brigades' deal with serving such "valid" request. The
problem is that currently such requests internally explode into 100's of 
large fetches, all of which are kept in memory in an inefficient way. This
is being addressed in two ways. By making things more efficient. And by 
weeding out or simplifying requests deemed too unwieldy.


There are several immediate options to mitigate this issue until a full fix 
is available. Below examples handle both the 'Range' and the legacy
'Request-Range' with various levels of care. 

Note that 'Request-Range' is a legacy name dating back to Netscape Navigator 
2-3 and MSIE 3. Depending on your user community - it is likely that you
can use option '3' safely for this older 'Request-Range'.

1) Use SetEnvIf or mod_rewrite to detect a large number of ranges and then
   either ignore the Range: header or reject the request.

   Option 1: (Apache 2.2)

          # Drop the Range header when more than 5 ranges.
          # CVE-2011-3192
          SetEnvIf Range (?:,.*?){5,5} bad-range=1
          RequestHeader unset Range env=bad-range

          # We always drop Request-Range; as this is a legacy
          # dating back to MSIE3 and Netscape 2 and 3.
          RequestHeader unset Request-Range

          # optional logging.
          CustomLog logs/range-CVE-2011-3192.log common env=bad-range
          CustomLog logs/range-CVE-2011-3192.log common env=bad-req-range

   Above may not work for all configurations. In particular situations
   mod_cache and (language) modules may act before the 'unset'
   is executed upon during the 'fixup' phase.

   Option 2: (Pre 2.2 and 1.3)

          # Reject request when more than 5 ranges in the Range: header.
          # CVE-2011-3192
          RewriteEngine on
          RewriteCond %{HTTP:range} !(bytes=[^,]+(,[^,]+){0,4}$|^$)
          # RewriteCond %{HTTP:request-range} !(bytes=[^,]+(?:,[^,]+){0,4}$|^$)
          RewriteRule .* - [F]

          # We always drop Request-Range; as this is a legacy
          # dating back to MSIE3 and Netscape 2 and 3.
          RequestHeader unset Request-Range

   The number 5 is arbitrary. Several 10's should not be an issue and may be
   required for sites which for example serve PDFs to very high end eReaders
   or use things such complex http based video streaming.

2) Limit the size of the request field to a few hundred bytes. Note that while 
   this keeps the offending Range header short - it may break other headers; 
   such as sizeable cookies or security fields. 

          LimitRequestFieldSize 200

   Note that as the attack evolves in the field you are likely to have
   to further limit this and/or impose other LimitRequestFields limits.

   See: http://httpd.apache.org/docs/2.2/mod/core.html#limitrequestfieldsize

3) Use mod_headers to completely dis-allow the use of Range headers:

          RequestHeader unset Range 

   Note that this may break certain clients - such as those used for
   e-Readers and progressive/http-streaming video.

   Furthermore to ignore the Netscape Navigator 2-3 and MSIE 3 specific
   legacy header - add:

          RequestHeader unset Request-Range 

   Unlike the commonly used 'Range' header - dropping the 'Request-Range' 
   is not likely to affect many clients.

4) Deploy a Range header count module as a temporary stopgap measure:


   Precompiled binaries for some platforms are available at:


5) Apply any of the current patches under discussion - such as:


OS and Vendor specific information

Red Hat:        Option 1 cannot be used on Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4.

NetWare:        Pre compiled binaries available.

mod_security:   Has updated their rule set; see


Apache HTTPD users who are concerned about a DoS attack against their server 
should consider implementing any of the above mitigations immediately. 

When using a third party attack tool to verify vulnerability - note that most 
of the versions in the wild currently check for the presence of mod_deflate; 
and will (mis)report that your server is not vulnerable if this module is not 
present. This vulnerability is not dependent on presence or absence of 
that module.


This advisory will be updated when new information, a patch or a new release 
is available. A patch or new Apache release for Apache 2.0 and 2.2 is expected 
in the next 24 hours. Note that, while popular, Apache 1.3 is deprecated.

- - -- end of advisory - update 2 
Version: GnuPG v1.4.11 (Darwin)


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