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URL:  http://boards.fool.com/i-guess-thats-a-part-i-dont-understand-i-can-30298045.aspx

Subject:  Re: Yet another Java flaw Date:  10/3/2012  4:19 PM
Author:  mmrmnhrm Number:  182047 of 192386

I guess that's a part I don't understand. I can see how running some program on your own computer (whether it's Office or a game or Java) can create a threat to your computer. But how does running a program on a server cause a threat to you when browsing the web?

Initially, it doesn't cause a threat. Let's say the server is running what's called a LAMP stack (short for Linux-Apache-MySQL-PHP), and the admins haven't been very diligent with security patches. On day zero, everything is all fine and dandy, the world is pure and clean, and everything is great. Then on day one, Bad People come and exploit a month old vulnerability in PHP, where it passes invalid arguments to MySQL that cause a buffer overflow and remote code execution bug in Apache, the end result of which is gaining root (superuser) rights to the Linux host. When you're "root" you can do *anything* and the machine will follow you right off the volcano's edge and into the bubbling pool of magma below if you so order it.

So these Bad People decide that rather than just throw a bunch of graffiti on the websites (which, while great for grabbing attention, is counter-productive to their goal of creating a botnet BECAUSE it gets attention), they write a tiny little snippet of JavaScript which embeds itself into the body of every HTML file served, and does nothing more than say "Powered by LAMP." Because JS is such an integral part of the web these days, and since every browser has support for it built-in, even the site admins don't think anything is amiss... it's just there, silently advertising to the Bad Peopl