Researchers on Tuesday found a denial-of-service (DoS) vulnerability in Eclipse Jetty, a widely-used open source web server and servlet container.
In a blog post, Synopsys Cybersecurity Research Center (CyRC) researchers said while they have not observed memory leaks or crashes because of CVE-2020-27223, a server may take minutes to process a single request. Researchers also observed an exponential relationship between the size of the request and the duration of CPU use.
According the Eclipse Foundation’s website: “Jetty is used in a wide variety of projects and products, both in development and production. Jetty has long been loved by developers due to its long history of being easily embedded in devices, tools, frameworks, application servers, and modern cloud services.”
Because Jetty has such wide use, Dirk Schrader, global vice president of security research at New Net Technologies, called this vulnerability something close to a digital nightmare. Schrader said especially on embedded devices in industrial control systems – which are often not patchable – this can have severe consequences as availability has become paramount in IoT environments.
“A Shodan search shows about 900,000 entries for ‘Jetty’, with a large majority being located in the United States,” Schrader said. “Even if these devices are behind a firewall or in separated networks, this vulnerability provides cyber criminals with a new attack vector for extortion. Next to, or instead of, encrypting systems, they can initiate a DoS on devices with an embedded Jetty webserver once a foothold is established.”
Tal Morgenstern, co-founder and chief product officer at Vulcan Cyber, said security pros can patch this remote DoS vulnerability by upgrading Jetty or mitigate it by monitoring and blocking large requests with accept header or monitoring high abnormal CPU utilization.
“Before taking any action, be sure to assess the risk to the environment related to the DOS attack, as it may be more critical to some servers more than others,” Morgenstern said.