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What is Remote Code Execution (RCE)?

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  • Last Updated : 29 Nov, 2021

Nowadays the popularity of web applications is growing faster because of the fulfilling requirements of the business and satisfying the needs of consumers.  There are several services that are provided through web applications and their performance are measured through the services processing time and the informative functionalities.  But at the same time, due to improper validation, we can face a threat.  

At present, cyber-attacks become a critical risk for every digital transformation throughout the globe. The lack of security knowledge and carelessness in coding is the root cause of different types of application layer vulnerability that remain in the web system. In that, the Remote Code Execution (RCE) is one of the serious vulnerabilities.

Remote Code Execution (RCE)

If an attacker gains control of a target computer through some sort of vulnerability, and they also gain the power to execute commands on that remote computer this process is called Remote Code Execution (RCE)

  • It is one of the cyber-attacks where an attacker can remotely execute commands on someone’s computer
  • It usually occurs due to malicious malware downloaded by the host and can happen regardless of the geographic location of the device.

How RCE Attacks are Possible?

With the help of RCE, hackers can edit or destroy important files, steal confidential data, perform DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks, and compromise the entire system.  

The attacks can be occurred due to:

  • External user input unchecked
  • Access control is poor
  • Authentication measures are not properly done
  • Buffer overflow.

Working and Causes of RCE:

Actually, the Joule attack in remote code implementation is one of the most popular remote code implementations whereas. the Malware usually utilizes arbitrary code implementation to run itself on a processor without the user’s approval. 

Arbitrary code implementation is often performed by taking manage of a program’s teaching pointer, which points to the next line of code that is to be processed as the primary means by which an attacker infects a computer. The attacker first needs to get executable code to your website. Vulnerabilities on your website, like the ones that permit File Inclusion lets them do this. They then run it on your wine waiter remotely.

Defenses to protect against these attacks are to Make the source code susceptible. Using a secured firewall can largely decrease the manage over the hacker to inject the malware from end to end code.

How to Prevent RCE Attacks?

We can prevent the RCE by considering the following measurements:

  • By validating the user input
  • Authentication methods are properly configured.
  • By installing buffer overflow protection
  • And try to apply firewall

The attacker can follow several techniques to exploit the RCE website vulnerability, they can be divided into two categories:

1. Web-Based Remote Code Execution: The Web-Based RCE vulnerability is a web application that helps an attacker execute system command on the webserver. These types of applications involve system flaws.

The GET Method Based Exploitation Process and Post Method Base Exploitation Process are the two methods in RCE, that are helpful to the attackers to exploit RCE vulnerability.

  1. GET method-based exploitation: In this method of exploitation, the RCE will exist. This application will be Exploit RCE due to miss-configuration or user request. The most important thing in a web application is user input validation.
  2. Post-method-based exploitation:  This process is best depicted as an activity that physically attacks the executing codes remotely and takes the advantage of the vulnerable application framework. RCE is raised from misusing the defenseless application.

2. System Based RCE Vulnerabilities- A service running on any system like android, mac, windows are compromising to allow an attacker to execute system commands, which is called a System Based RCE vulnerability.  To exploit the vulnerability the attacker connects to the computer system and uses the methods which include SQL injection, buffer overflow, cross-site scripting, and some open-source exploit kits. 

Recent Cases of RCE:

For example, In the latest article released by Google is, it has fixed two critical bugs affecting its Android handsets were remote code execution and denial of service that allow remote attackers to execute arbitrary code.

The critical flaws include a remote code execution in Google’s Android system component which is the core of the Android operating system. And another flaw denial-of-service issue, present in the Android framework component that allows developers to easily write apps for Android phones.

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