I was recently asked 'What causes a line like this in our access.log?' - - [22/Feb/2010:16:03:35 -0800] "GET http://www.google.com/ HTTP/1.1" 200 295 "-" "Mozilla/5.0 (compatible; MSIE 5.01; Win2000)"

My immediate answer is that's someone exploring something a little devious.


  • how? Speculation... a short perl or python script could easily connect and ask for a URL with an invalid host. but don't post one. If you know a good one liner, I'd be curious. Consider this golf for today :)
  • Vulnerabilities? What is someone looking for when they do this, what have they learned, and should we patch it?
  • Do I need a tin-foil hat to keep them from reading my mind?
  • And for me the real question: Shouldn't that be a 404 response, not a 200!?

This is on a standard LAMP server (Ubuntu).

  • First question: did you write your entire Apache configuration yourself? Is this a server you've inherited responsibility for? – PP. Feb 23 '10 at 16:10
  • Co-workers server. Conf mostly comes from default packaging in Ubuntu. It will be a while if you want a conf file... I'm looking in my servers to see if it replicates...ah found some. Since its debian style the conf is split up -- what pieces do you need? – Paul Feb 23 '10 at 16:19
  • One server this replicates on is a standard VPS at linode. The apache conf is set up for virtual hosting. sites.enabled contains, among other things, a 000-default with a "VirtualHost *:80" declaration. Could that be what lets in requests to google.com ? – Paul Feb 23 '10 at 16:24
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    I only ask because there may be some rewrite rules in the configuration somewhere. I would expect that, with a clean install, you wouldn't see the kind of HTTP request you gave with a 200 response. However Apache is extremely configurable and could well re-write such a URL into an acceptable form. – PP. Feb 23 '10 at 17:26
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    If you want codegolf - printf 'GET http://www.google.com/ HTTP/1.1\r\n\r\n'|nc yourserver.com 80 – user1686 Feb 23 '10 at 20:25

Maybe you want to read http://wiki.apache.org/httpd/ProxyAbuse

specially this point: "My server is properly configured not to proxy, so why is Apache returning a 200 (Success) status code?", it asks your question "Shouldn't that be a 404 response, not a 200!?"

If apache conf is ok, its just sending root page. It's the reason because you get a status code is 200.

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I think this would happen if someone tried to use the server as a proxy. That would make the http://... URL "normal" (as opposed to just the path portion that you would expect from a regular server request.)

As for the 200 status code, that... err.. well, my server does that too. It seems to ignore the http://hostname portion and returns the result from the local server using the remaining path. You'll probably have to dig through the RFCs to figure out why that makes sense; I don't know the answer offhand.

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