Attacker Probing for New PHP Vulnerablity CVE-2024-4577, (Sun, Jun 9th)

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Our honeypots have detected the first probes for CVE-2024-4577. This vulnerability was originally discovered by Orange Tsai on Friday (June 7th) [1][2]. Watchtwr labs followed up with a detailed blog post and a proof of concept exploit [3].

Watchtwr Labs says PHP is only vulnerable if used in CGI mode in Chinese and Japanese locales. According to Orange Tsai, other locales may be vulnerable as well.

In CGI mode on Windows, the web server will execute “php.exe” and pass user-supplied parameters as command line or environment variables. This may potentially lead to OS command injection, a vulnerability I just covered last week in a video [4].

As parameters are passed from Apache to the command line, Apache will escape hyphens and render them harmless. However, an attacker may provide a “soft hyphen” (Unicode code point 0x00AD). PHP performs “best fit mapping” on characters passed on the command line, translating it to a dash. This allows an attacker to bypass the Apache escape process, and inject dashes. With that, an attacker can supply command line arguments to php.exe. A possibly choice outlined by Watchtwr is:

-d allow_url_include=1 -d auto_prepend_file=php://input

This will prepend the body of a POST request, leading to PHP code execution.

The exploit I have seen so far matches that pattern:

POST /php-cgi/php-cgi.exe?%ADd+allow_url_include%3d1+%ADd+auto_prepend_file%3dphp://input HTTP/1.1
Host: [honeypot IP address redacted]
User-Agent: Go-http-client/1.1
Content-Length: 26
Content-Type: application/x-www-form-urlencoded
Accept-Encoding: gzip

<?php die(md5(124*234));?>


This type of hash calculation is typical for verifying PHP vulnerabilities. In itself, it does not cause problems, but it may be used to find vulnerable systems for further exploitation.

One IP address I have seen use this scan is %%ip: This IP address has been active in our logs since March and has attempted other PHP-related exploits.

Last week, PHP released updates for currently supported versions, addressing this vulnerability. 



Johannes B. Ullrich, Ph.D. , Dean of Research,

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