There’s a sticker on the back of my personal laptop. I don’t recall where I got it from I believe it was an informal sticker exchange at GrrCON a few years ago. It’s a pretty clear message and you can see it here. For anyone who’s trying to watch what they say, lets call it “Patch your stuff”. It’s a simple rule, but an important one we should all follow.
My vulnerable web server
One of the joys of having an infosec blog is that new readers are watching out for you. I shared my blog with the PA hackers slack channel and a friend asked a simple question. Which instantly raised concern and I was quick to reply.
Are you running a honey pot on that server?
A honey pot is a system that looks intentional vulnerable and is monitored. Hackers who access it get logged and tracked. Having someone ask if I’m running a honey pot means only one thing, they were looking over the website and found something…
At first I assumed the worst. I thought someone was running malicious services or defaced the website. After a quick conversation, he sent me a picture from shodan.io. Shodan is an internet crawler that scans the public internet. It turns out I’ve been neglecting my machine, and the web server had many vulnerabilities reported for it. Most were not critical, the worst damage seemed to be it was possible to be a victim of a Denial of Service (DOS) attack. Patch your stuff, or someone else can take down your site.
Finding the solution
LTS was also the source of my problems. The answer to updating my vulnerable web server was not as simple as installing any updated software packages. Version 2.4.29 was as up to date as I could be, in order to get on a newer version, I’d have to update the entire operating system. It’s not that hard to do, just risky. The risk of the server failing to update or packages breaking means my “production server” could go offline and be unavailable to you. Luckily, I was able to update without any issues by using the following commands.
apt update && apt upgrade
After getting the web server patched, it is important to confirm results. I used Shodan command line interface (CLI) to issue a new scan and prove the vulnerabilities are remediated. You can see the results yourself by visiting [Shodan](https://www.shodan.io/host/18.104.22.168). Combing through their results are free, and there are a lot of vulnerable systems out there. If you’d like to use the CLI or API, you need to buy an account, I highly recommend waiting for black Friday to get an account for a discounted price of **only $5**.
<figure class="wp-block-image size-large">![clean results with no reported vulnerabilities. This is what Shodan should look like if you patch your stuff.](https://www.hackerunder.dev/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Screen-Shot-2020-03-01-at-8.18.54-PM.png)<figcaption>Follow up results from Shodan without any vulnerabilities reported</figcaption></figure>- - - - - -
## Getting an A on my encryption settings
After updating the server, I went to the Qualys [SSL Server Test scanner](https://www.ssllabs.com/ssltest/). This tool gives a report card grade based on the certificates used to encrypt your web traffic. Back when I had this blog at greenjam94.me, I would run this tool and modify my config as needed to get an A+ grade. It’s how I got into researching and [writing about HTTP Public Key Pinning (HPKP)](https://www.hackerunder.dev/?s=HPKP) right around the same time Troy Hunt was. Running the tool against this domain gave me a B, and I learned something pretty important: **TLS v1.0 and v1.1 are losing browser support this month, March 2020**. Still using these TLS versions locked my result to only a B.
I dug into my config files to change my settings. LetsEncrypt does all of my certificate management so I had to make changes in a few different places. My apache config under the `/etc/apache2/mod-ssl` folder and in `/etc/letsencrypt`. Both config files needed to have to following lines changed.