Upgrade Apache HTTP Server 2.2 to 2.4 in RHEL 6 or 7 and CentOS 6 or 7

  • Last updated on: 2019-01-17
  • Authored by: Rackspace Community

If you recently performed a compliance security scan, the results might look like the following example:

Apache HTTP Server Zero-Length Directory Name in LD_LIBRARY_PATH Vulnerability, CVE-2012-0883
Apache HTTP Server mod_rewrite Terminal Escape Sequence Vulnerability, CVE-2013-1862
Apache HTTP Server XSS Vulnerabilities via Hostnames, CVE-2012-3499 CVE-2012-4558

Depending on the code base, Apache® HTTP Server might have already mitigated these security issues. The scan checks the version of Apache that is installed on the server to determine if the security issue is resolved. However, some compliance security scans only use the version of Apache to determine if the server is vulnerable to Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE), rather than detecting vulnerabilities directly.

Such scans almost always generate a false positive. If automatic updates are enabled, the version might remain the same, even if the vulnerability is patched in another release. As a result, the scan might mark the vulnerability as positive. This result might also be the case if your provider’s scans suddenly show that your server is no longer vulnerable to vulnerabilities that the scans have previously identified.

If your security audit reveals that your compliance security scans only use the version of Apache to identify vulnerabilities on your Apache2 server, use the following steps to edit the configuration file for your Hypertext Transfer Protocol daemon (HTTPd):

  1. Open your /etc/apache2/conf.d/httpd.conf file in an editor.

  2. Add the following lines and remove the version information:

    ServerSignature Off
    ServerTokens Prod

    Note: Your server shouldn’t provide a version signature, and your penetration testing company should recommend that you disable versions.

Perform the update from Apache 2.2 to Apache 2.4

Use the following steps to update Apache 2.2 to Apache 2.4:

  1. Run the following command to stop your HTTPd and any monitoring processes such as Nimbus if you want to avoid alerts:

    service httpd stop
  2. Run the following commands to back up your virtual host configurations, ensuring that you include any additional directories that you added yourself, such as vhost:

    cd /etc/httpd
    tar -cvf /tmp/apache_vhostconfig.tar conf conf.d vhosts
  3. Run the following command to install the yum-plugin-replace package, which is used to resolve package conflicts during package replacement:

     yum install yum-plugin-replace

    Note Before you proceed, run the following commands to check the version that is installed and the version that you want to install:

     apachectl -V
     yum search httpd
     yum info httpd

    Your output should appear similar to the following example, which uses the command yum info httpd24u.x86_64:

    Loaded plugins: replace, rhnplugin, security
    This system is receiving updates from RHN Classic or RHN Satellite.
     Available Packages
    Name        : httpd24u
    Arch        : x86_64
    Version     : 2.4.23
    Release     : 4.ius.el6
    Size        : 1.2 M
    Repo        : rackspace-rhel-x86_64-server-6-ius
    Summary     : Apache HTTP Server
    License     : ASL 2.0
    Description : The Apache HTTP Server is a powerful, efficient, and extensible
            : web server.
  4. Install HTTPd 2.4 by running the following command:

    yum replace httpd --replace-with=httpd24u
  5. You must also install Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) by running the following command:

    yum install mod_ldap
  6. In Apache 2.4, you must now use Require directives for Internet Protocol (IP) access restriction instead of Order, Deny, and Allow. As a result, you need to change the Order, Deny, and Allow statements in your /etc/httpd/conf.d/server-status.conf file to use Require statements. Because you might have these in the .htaccess files for other websites, ensure that you check your document roots carefully to avoid breaking your websites due to missing Require directives.

    Your existing /etc/httpd/conf.d/server-status.conf file should appear similar to the following example:

    <Location /server-status>
        SetHandler server-status
        Order deny,allow
        Deny from all
        Allow from

    Replace the Order, Deny, and Allow statements with the configuration shown in the following example:

    <Location /server-status>
        SetHandler server-status
        Require all granted
        Require host

    Note: This syntax change also applies to the virtual hosts in your conf.d and httpd.conf vhost configurations.

  7. Change the Order, Deny, and Allow statements in your conf.d file to Require statements in the following way:

    #    Order deny,allow
    #    Deny from all
    Require all denied
    #    Order deny,allow
    #    Allow from all
    Require all granted
  8. In the same file, also change Options -Indexes FollowSymLinks to Options -Indexes +FollowSymLinks.

  9. In your /etc/httpd/conf/httpd.conf file, change the Order, Deny, and Allow statements to Require statements, as shown in step 7.

  10. In the /etc/httpd/conf/httpd.conf file, also comment out the LoadModule directives for modules that are no longer used, as shown in the following example:

    #2.4 upgrade LoadModule authn_alias_module modules/mod_authn_alias.so
    #2.4 upgrade LoadModule authn_default_module modules/mod_authn_default.so
    #2.4 upgrade LoadModule authz_default_module modules/mod_authz_default.so
    #2.4 upgrade LoadModule disk_cache_module modules/mod_disk_cache.so
  11. Edit the /etc/httpd/conf/httpd.conf file to add the following line with the other authz modules:

    LoadModule authz_core_module modules/mod_authz_core.so
  12. Add the following lines of code to the bottom of the block of LoadModule statements:

    LoadModule mpm_prefork_module modules/mod_mpm_prefork.so
    LoadModule unixd_module modules/mod_unixd.so
    LoadModule slotmem_shm_module modules/mod_slotmem_shm.so
    LoadModule ssl_module modules/mod_ssl.so
    LoadModule socache_shmcb_module modules/mod_socache_shmcb.so

(Optional) Download a compatible version of the Adobe Experience Manager (AEM) Dispatcher module

If the HTTPd installation uses the Adobe® Experience Manager (AEM) Dispatcher module, you must use the following steps to download the file that’s compatible with Apache HTTP Server 2.4:

  1. Run the following commands to extract the dispatcher-apache2.4-4.1.11.so file from the Tape ARchive (TAR) file into /etc/httpd/modules/. Only this file is used.

     cd /etc/httpd/modules
     rm mod_dispatcher.so
     ln -s /etc/httpd/modules/dispatcher-apache2.4-4.1.11.so mod_dispatcher.so
  2. Because SSL Mutex is deprecated, you need to edit the /etc/httpd/conf.d/ssl.conf file to change SSLMutex default to Mutex default.

For more details, see the Apache documentation about the Mutex Directive.

Critical: Restart the HTTPd

After you complete the steps in this guide, you must restart the HTTPd and verify that it is enabled and running by using the following steps:

  1. Run the following command to restart the HTTPd:

     service httpd start
  2. Ensure that the service is enabled and running, and re-enable any monitoring that was enabled before:

    • On CentOS® 7 or Red Hat® Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 7, run the following commands:

      systemctl enable httpd
      systemctl status httpd
    • On CentOS 6 or RHEL 6, run the following commands:

      chkconfig --add httpd && chkconfig httpd on
      service httpd status

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