Book Excerpt

Testing for injection attacks

This is a continuation of a chapter excerpt from Hacking Exposed: Web 2.0 about common injection attacks. So far, you've learned how injection attacks work and about specific injection attacks. In this section, you'll learn how to test your clients' networks for injection exposures.

Testing for injection exposures

Now that you understand the basics of SQL injection, LDAP injection, XPATH injection, and OS command injection, it is important that you test you web applications to verify their security. Many methods can be used in testing for injection flaws in web applications. The following section describes an automated method to test for injection flaws, including SQL, LDAP, XPath, XQUERY, and OS commands, using iSEC's SecurityQA Toolbar. The SecurityQA Toolbar is a security testing tool for web application security. It is often used by developers and QA testers to determine an application's security both for specific section of an application as well as the entire application itself. For more information on the product, visit www.isecpartners.com.

Automated Testing with iSEC's SecurityQA Toolbar

The process for testing for injection flaws in web applications can be cumbersome and complex across a big web application with many forms. To ensure that the web application gets the proper security attention, iSEC Partners' SecurityQA Toolbar provides a feature to test input fields on a per-page basis rather than having to scan the entire web application. While per-page testing may take a bit longer, it can produce strong results since the testing focus is on each page individually and in real time. To test for injection security issues, complete the following steps.

1. Visit www.isecpartners.com and request an evaluation copy of the product.
2. After installing the toolbar on Internet Explorer 6 or 7, visit the web application using IE.
3. Within the web application, visit the page you want to test. Then choose Data Validation | SQL Injection from the SecurityQA Toolbar (Figure 1-1).
4. The SecurityQA Toolbar will automatically check for SQL Injection issues on the current page. If you want to see the progress of the testing in real time, click the expand button (the last button on the right) before selecting the SQL Injection option. The expand button will show which forms are vulnerable to SQL Injection in real time.


Figure 1-1 SecurityQA Toolbar

5. After the testing is completed on the current page, as noted in the progress bar in the lower left side of the browser, browse to the next page of the application (or any other page you wish to test) and repeat step 3.
6. After you have completed SQL injection testing on all desired pages of the web application, repeat steps 3 and 5 for LDAP Injection, XPATH Injection, OS Commanding, or any other injection testing under the Data Validation menu.
7. Once you have finished testing all of the pages on the web application, view the report by selecting Reports | Current Test Results. The SecurityQA Toolbar will then display all security issues found from the testing. Figure 1-2 shows a sample injection report. Notice the iSEC Test Value section that shows the specific request and the specific response in boldface type, which shows which string triggered the injection flaw.

Figure 1-2 SQL/LDAP/XPATH Injection testing results from SecurityQA Toolbar

Summary

Need a downloadable .pdf?
Download the .pdf of this chapter from Hacking Exposed: Web 2.0 by Cannings, Dwivedi and Lackey. Reprinted with permission from McGraw-Hill.

Injection attacks have been around for a long time and continue to be common among many web applications. This type of attack allows attackers to perform actions on the application server, from reading files to gaining complete control of the machine.

Injection attacks are heavily dependent on the technology used. First, identify the technology used. Next, find all the possible user inputs for the web application. Finally, attempt injections on all the users inputs.


Hacking Exposed: Web 2.0
  Introduction and SQL injections
  XPath, command and directory traversal injections
  XXE, LDAP and buffer overflow injections
  Testing for injection attacks

This was first published in March 2008

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