HawkScan Test Info for Remote Code Execution - CVE-2012-1823

Remote Code Execution - CVE-2012-1823


Plugin Id: 20018


To remediate this vulnerability, it is recommended to take the following steps:

  1. Update PHP version: Upgrade to the latest version of PHP to ensure that the vulnerability is patched. This can be done by downloading the latest version from the official PHP website and following the installation instructions.

  2. Switch to FastCGI or PHP-FPM: Instead of using CGI, consider using FastCGI or PHP-FPM as the PHP handler. These alternatives provide better performance and security compared to CGI.

  3. Implement input validation: Validate and sanitize all user input to prevent malicious code injection. This can be done by using built-in PHP functions such as filter_input() or htmlspecialchars() to sanitize user input before using it in queries or commands.

  4. Implement a Web Application Firewall (WAF): Deploy a WAF that can detect and block malicious requests, including attempts to exploit this vulnerability. A WAF can provide an additional layer of protection by filtering out potentially harmful traffic.


The vulnerability, known as “Remote Code Execution - CVE-2012-1823,” affects certain versions of PHP when configured to run using CGI. It occurs when query strings without an unescaped “=” character are not handled correctly, allowing for arbitrary code execution. In this specific case, an operating system command was executed on the web server, and the results were returned to the web browser.


Exploiting this vulnerability can lead to severe consequences, including:

  1. Arbitrary code execution: Attackers can execute arbitrary code on the web server, potentially gaining full control over the system. This can result in unauthorized access, data theft, or further compromise of the server.

  2. Data exposure: The execution of arbitrary code can lead to the exposure of sensitive data stored on the server. Attackers can access and manipulate files, databases, or other resources, potentially leading to data breaches or unauthorized modifications.

  3. Server compromise: If an attacker gains full control over the web server, they can use it as a launching pad for further attacks, such as spreading malware, launching DDoS attacks, or hosting malicious content.

It is crucial to address this vulnerability promptly to mitigate the risks associated with remote code execution.