Remote Code Execution or execution, also known as Arbitrary Code Execution, is a term used to describe a type of cyberattack in which the attacker has complete control over the operation of another person’s computer or computing equipment. An attacker can remotely execute malicious code on a computer via remote code execution (RCE) assaults. An RCE vulnerability can result in malware being executed or an attacker obtaining complete control of a vulnerable machine. A full-scale remote code execution attack can compromise an entire web application and the webserver.
An attacker can use RCE vulnerabilities to execute arbitrary code on a remote device. RCE can be accomplished in a variety of methods, including:
Injection Attacks: User-provided data is used as input to a command in various applications, including SQL queries. In an injection attack, the attacker supplies erroneous input with the intent of having a portion of it processed as part of the command. An attacker can use this to manipulate the commands that are performed on the susceptible machine or to run arbitrary code on it.
Deserialisation Attacks: Serialization is a technique for combining multiple pieces of data into a single string so that it can be transmitted or communicated more easily. The deserialization application may read specially prepared user input within the serialised data as executable code.
Out-Of-Bounds Write: Applications assign fixed-size memory chunks for storing data, including user-provided data, on a regular basis. An attacker may be able to construct an input that writes outside of the allotted buffer if this memory allocation is done incorrectly. Because executable code is also kept in memory, the application may be able to execute user-provided data if it is written in the correct location.
Log4j: Log4j is a widely used Java logging package used in various web services and applications. Multiple RCE vulnerabilities in Log4j were discovered in December 2021, allowing attackers to use susceptible apps to run cryptojackers and other malware on compromised servers.
ETERNALBLUE: In 2017, WannaCry made ransomware mainstream. The WannaCry ransomware infection spread because of a flaw in the Server Message Block Protocol (SMBP) (SMB). This flaw allows an attacker to run malicious code on susceptible machines, allowing ransomware to gain access to and encrypt important files. EFFECTS OF AN RCE ATTACK
An RCE Attack puts a computing device at a high risk of ultimately gaining access to data and its functions. An attacker who successfully executes a Remote Code based attack on a system can then use the programming language or webserver to execute other instructions. The attacker would be able to order the system to write, read, or delete files in numerous computer languages. It may even be feasible to connect to many databases with the attacked system. An attack as such is highly detrimental to any individual or organisation.
Because the chain of execution to achieve entry can vary greatly, RCE assaults are difficult to avoid. The key to reducing the number of vulnerabilities in your environment is to patch and update all of your software as soon as possible. However, there are some commonly known practices like :
Input Sanitisation: Injection and deserialization vulnerabilities are frequently used in RCE attacks. Many sorts of RCE attacks can be avoided by validating user input before using it in an application.
Secure Memory Management: RCE attackers can also take advantage of memory management flaws like buffer overflows. To discover and correct these issues, applications should undergo vulnerability screening to detect buffer overflow and other vulnerabilities.
Access Control: An RCE assault gives an attacker a foothold in a company’s network, which they can expand to accomplish their goals. An enterprise can limit an attacker’s ability to move around the network and exploit their initial access to corporate systems by employing network segmentation, access management, and a zero-trust security strategy.
Check Point firewalls allow an organisation to detect and prevent RCE vulnerabilities from being exploited via injection or buffer overflow attacks. Placing programmes behind a firewall reduces the danger they provide to the enterprise significantly.
RCE is an extremely effective attack vector. Although RCE attacks continue to slip through the cracks, despite programmers’ best efforts to enhance coding techniques in order to prevent assaults on vulnerabilities, you can defend yourself against RCE attacks as well. There are some techniques and practices that reduce the risk of an RCE attack by a significant percentage and should be implemented to prevent such assaults