Joomla has been one of the most popular CMS for a long time. It powers a huge number of sites. That’s great! The flip side of this fact is Joomla has been very popular for a long time and there are still very many sites that use older versions of Joomla as well as older version of Joomla components. For example, the 1.5.x branch of Joomla (2008-2010) still has a noticeable share in live Joomla sites.
Old versions may work well for your site but they have multiple well known security holes, so they are the low hanging fruit for hackers. Let me show this using a real world example.
You can easily find a working exploit code for this vulnerability. What it does is:
Now you have a backdoor on a server and can do whatever you want with the site.
This is how this attack looks in logs (real example):
22.214.171.124 - - [23/Jan/2014:16:46:54 -0500] "POST /index.php?option=com_jce&task=plugin&plugin=imgmanager&file=imgmanager&method=form&cid=20&6bc427c8a7981f4fe1f5ac65c1246b5f=cf6dd3cf1923c950586d0dd595c8e20b HTTP/1.0" 200 302 "-" "BOT/0.1 (BOT for JCE)"
126.96.36.199 - - [23/Jan/2014:16:46:55 -0500] "POST /index.php?option=com_jce&task=plugin&plugin=imgmanager&file=imgmanager&method=form&cid=20 HTTP/1.0" 200 329 "-" "BOT/0.1 (BOT for JCE)"
188.8.131.52 - - [23/Jan/2014:16:46:55 -0500] "GET /images/stories/3xp.php HTTP/1.0" 200 465 "-" "BOT/0.1 (BOT for JCE)"
As I mentioned, JCE is a very popular component and there are still many sites that use old versions of this component. No wonder, hackers are scanning the Internet for such vulnerable sites. They reworked the exploit code for use in their automated tools that relentlessly test millions of sites, one by another. These days, I can find multiple requests with the “BOT/0.1 (BOT for JCE)” User-Agent string in logs of almost every site that I check, even in logs of sites that have never had Joomla installed.
I’d like to share some interesting statistics of a real site that had been hacked using this JCE hole and then was being routinely reinfected every day.
As you can see, this is something that you can’t neglect or consider an insignificant threat. It’s silly to hope that hackers won’t find your site. Today hackers have resources to spider the Internet almost as efficiently as Google just about 10 years ago, so there is almost no chance your site will stay unnoticed. The only way to prevent the hacks is to be proactive: keep all software up-to-date and harden your sites.
In case of this particular JCE attack:
deny from all