Module 13: Hacking Web Servers Learn about web server attacks, including a comprehensive attack methodology used to audit vulnerabilities i...

Module13 Hacking Web Servers

Thursday, February 29, 2024 0 Comments

 Module 13: Hacking Web Servers

Learn about web server attacks, including a comprehensive attack

methodology used to audit vulnerabilities in web server infrastructures and

countermeasures. Hands-On Lab Exercises: Over 8 hands-on exerci ses with

real-life simulated targets to build skills on how to:

> Perform web server reconnaissance using various tools

> Enumerate web server information

> Crack FTP credentials using a dictionary attack

Key topics covered:

> Web Server Operations

> Web Server Attacks

> DNS Server Hijacking

> Website Defacement

> Web Cache Poisoning Attack

> Web Server Attack Methodology

> Web Server Attack Tools

> Web Server Security Tools

> Patch Management

> Patch Management Tools

Section 01: Web Server Concepts

Web server

Hypertext transer protocol (HTTP):

The Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) is an application layer protocol in the Internet protocol suite model for distributed, collaborative, hypermedia information systems. HTTP is the foundation of data communication for the World Wide Web, where hypertext documents include hyperlinks to other resources that the user can easily access, for example by a mouse click or by tapping the screen in a web browser.

Virtual hosting:

Virtual hosting is a method for hosting multiple domain names (with separate handling of each name) on a single server (or pool of servers). This allows one server to share its resources, such as memory and processor cycles, without requiring all services provided to use the same host name.

LAMP (Linux Apache MySQL PHP) stack:

LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP/Perl/Python) is an acronym denoting one of the most common software stacks for many of the web's most popular applications. However, LAMP now refers to a generic software stack model and its components are largely interchangeable.

Internet information services (IIS):

Internet Information Services (IIS, formerly Internet Information Server) is an extensible web server software created by Microsoft for use with the Windows NT family.

Website defacement:

Website defacement is an attack on a website that changes the visual appearance of a website or a web page. These are typically the work of defacers, who break into a web server and replace the hosted website with one of their own.

Section 02: Web Server Attacks


Distributed denial of service:

A distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack occurs when multiple systems flood the bandwidth or resources of a targeted system, usually one or more web servers. A DDoS attack uses more than one unique IP address or machines, often from thousands of hosts infected with malware.

Domain name system (DNS) hijacking:

DNS hijacking, DNS poisoning, or DNS redirection is the practice of subverting the resolution of Domain Name System (DNS) queries. This can be achieved by malware that overrides a computer's TCP/IP configuration to point at a rogue DNS server under the control of an attacker, or through modifying the behaviour of a trusted DNS server so that it does not comply with internet standards.

DNS amplification attacks:

DNS amplification is a DDoS attack that leverages DNS resolvers to overwhelm a victim with traffic.

Directory traversal:

A directory traversal (or path traversal) attack exploits insufficient security validation or sanitization of user-supplied file names, such that characters representing "traverse to parent directory" are passed through to the operating system's file system API. An affected application can be exploited to gain unauthorized access to the file system.

Man in the middle Attack (MiTM):

In cryptography and computer security, a man-in-the-middle, monster-in-the-middle, machine-in-the-middle, monkey-in-the-middle, meddler-in-the-middle, manipulator-in-the-middle (MITM), person-in-the-middle (PITM) or adversary-in-the-middle (AiTM) attack is a cyberattack where the attacker secretly relays and possibly alters the communications between two parties who believe that they are directly communicating with each other, as the attacker has inserted themselves between the two parties.


Phishing is a type of social engineering where an attacker sends a fraudulent (e.g., spoofed, fake, or otherwise deceptive) message designed to trick a person into revealing sensitive information to the attacker or to deploy malicious software on the victim's infrastructure like ransomware.

Hypertext transfer protocol response splitting:

HTTP response splitting is a form of web application vulnerability, resulting from the failure of the application or its environment to properly sanitize input values. It can be used to perform cross-site scripting attacks, cross-user defacement, web cache poisoning, and similar exploits.

Web cache poisoning:

In a vulnerable application, threat actors inject specially crafted data into cache memory, causing the webserver to respond with a malicious HTTP response to the user.

Password cracking:

In cryptanalysis and computer security, password cracking is the process of recovering passwords from data that has been stored in or transmitted by a computer system in scrambled form. A common approach (brute-force attack) is to repeatedly try guesses for the password and to check them against an available cryptographic hash of the password.

Section 03: Web Server Attack Methodology


Footprinting (also known as reconnaissance) is the technique used for gathering information about computer systems and the entities they belong to.

Passive footprinting

Passive Footprinting is the process of gathering information on a target by innocuous, or, passive, means.

Active footprinting

Active Footprinting is the process of using tools and techniques, such as performing a ping sweep or using the traceroute command, to gather information on a target.

Website mirroring:

Mirror sites or mirrors are replicas of other websites or any network node. The concept of mirroring applies to network services accessible through any protocol, such as HTTP or FTP. Such sites have different URLs than the original site, but host identical or near-identical content.

Vulnerability scanner:

A vulnerability scanner is a computer program designed to assess computers, networks or applications for known weaknesses. These scanners are used to discover the weaknesses of a given system. They are utilized in the identification and detection of vulnerabilities arising from mis-configurations or flawed programming within a network-based asset such as a firewall, router, web server, application server, etc.

Session hijacking:

In computer science, session hijacking, sometimes also known as cookie hijacking, is the exploitation of a valid computer session—sometimes also called a session key—to gain unauthorized access to information or services in a computer system. In particular, it is used to refer to the theft of a magic cookie used to authenticate a user to a remote server.


WHOIS is a query and response protocol that is widely used for querying databases that store the registered users or assignees of an Internet resource, such as a domain name, an IP address block or an autonomous system, but is also used for a wider range of other information.


A robots.txt file tells search engine crawlers which URLs the crawler can access on your site.

Branner grabbing:

Banner grabbing is a technique used to gain information about a computer system on a network and the services running on its open ports. Administrators can use this to take inventory of the systems and services on their network. However, an intruder can use banner grabbing in order to find network hosts that are running versions of applications and operating systems with known exploits.

Default credentials:

A Default Credential vulnerability is a type of vulnerability in a computing device that most commonly affects devices having some pre-set (default) administrative credentials to access all configuration settings. The vendor or manufacturer of such devices uses a single pre-defined set of admin credentials to access the device configurations, and any potential hacker can misuse this fact to hack such devices, if those credentials are not changed by consumers.

Section 04: Web Server Attack Countermeasures

Demilitarized zone (DMZ):

In computer security, a DMZ or demilitarized zone (sometimes referred to as a perimeter network or screened subnet) is a physical or logical subnetwork that contains and exposes an organization's external-facing services to an untrusted, usually larger, network such as the Internet.

Network segmentation:

A network segment is a portion of a computer network. The nature and extent of a segment depends on the nature of the network and the device or devices used to interconnect end stations.


A hotfix or quick-fix engineering update (QFE update) is a single, cumulative package that includes information (often in the form of one or more files) that is used to address a problem in a software product (i.e., a software bug). Typically, hotfixes are made to address a specific customer situation.


    Scan for vulnerabilities.

    Apply latest patches and updates.

    Change default configurations.

    Set up proper alerting.

    Set up disaster recovery plan.