Automatic Web App Security Testing with OWASP ZAP

OWASP Zed Attack Proxy (ZAP) or ZaProxy, as it is also called, is an exceptional tool for both security testers and developers to test web application security. In this tutorial we will take a quick look at how to use a couple common features in the latest version of ZAP, including the quick attack and the Man-in-the-Middle Proxy scan and fuzzing features.

For this article, I used Mutillidae as a test target and ran ZAP from a Kali Linux system. As always, never use tools like this against systems that you do not have permission to do so.

Quick Scan & Attack

To start the quick scan, simply enter the address of your target (a Mutillidae system here) in the “URL to attack” input box and click the “Attack” button.

ZaProxy Quick Scan

This will spider the entire target website and then active scan it for vulnerabilities. The scan progress and pages found will be displayed in the bottom window. When it is finished press “Alerts” to see any security issues with the website:

ZaProxy Quick Scan 1

And as you can see, ZAP found multiple issues with the website! Each folder contains different types of security issues, color coded for severity. Clicking on the folder will reveal individual issues that you can select for additional information. ZAP is wonderful because it not only lists an in-depth explanation of the problem, but it also gives you recommendations on resolving the issue.

This is nice, but we can do a much more in-depth scan and even perform fuzzing attacks using ZAP’s proxy function.

Proxy Scan and Fuzzing

Start ZAP and then set your browser internet proxy settings to Localhost:8080. Then surf to the target webpage and login. Surf to a few other pages if you like, entering data as you go, the more site interaction the better. When done, return to ZAP, highlight the website in the “Sites” window, right click on it and select “Attack”, and then “Active Scan”:

ZaProxy Active Scan

ZAP will perform an in-depth scan of the page, including the new information obtained with the ZAP proxy. When the scan is done, click on the Alerts folder:

ZaProxy Active Scan 1

Notice we now have more alerts including SQL Injection issues. Let’s see what SQL attacks would work against the target.

In the sites Window, select the login webpage, right click on it and select, “Attack” and then “Fuzz…” This will open the fuzzer screen. It lists the header text in the top left box, the target query with selectable text in the bottom left box and the fuzz location/tool window on the right.

  • In the bottom left window, highlight the name you used to login as a keyword. I used the username, “test”.
  • Now click “Add” in the right Window:

OWASP Fuzzing

  • A Payloads box pops up showing the value of “test”. Click “Add” again to select our attack payloads.
  • In the drop down box that says ‘Type:’ select, “File Fuzzers”:

OWASP Fuzzing 1

  • Now click the triangle next to “jbrofuzz” to expand the options:

OWASP Fuzzing 2

  • Notice the large amount of different attack types you can use! We just want to try SQL Injection for now, so check the “SQL Injection Box”, and click “Add”.

You will now be back at the payload screen. Notice that at this point you could add multiple keywords and numerous payloads if you wanted to create a very complex attack. But for now we just want to attack the keyword ‘test’ with SQL Injections.

  • Click “OK” to continue.
  • Now just click, “Start Fuzzer” to begin.

This can take a short while to run, but within a few seconds you should already see multiple SQL injection attacks and their statuses shown in the status window:

OWASP Fuzzing 3

So fairly quickly we were able to scan a site for a host of SQL injections issues. Add to that the ability to select multiple keywords and payloads and you have a very powerful web application testing tool!

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Security Researcher Demonstrates Healthcare.gov Vulnerabilities

Dave Kennedy Healthcaredotgov hearing

A select panel of experts met to discuss the security issues with Obama’s Healthcare.gov website. But only one of them demonstrated vulnerabilities live.

TrustedSEC CEO (and creator of the Social Engineering Toolkit) hit the ball out of the park yesterday at the Congressional Committee Hearing on the Affordable Healthcare Act – Healthcare.gov website security issues.

According to the opening statements by Chairman Lamar Smith, Healthcare.gov is “One of the largest collections of personal data in the world“. The site contains data from 7 different agencies, and includes personal information such as citizen’s birthdays and social security numbers.

According to the President, the website was safe, secure and open for business. But the administration has cut corners with the website that leaves the site open to hackers.

At the hearing, Kennedy said that through passive reconnaissance his company had discovered 17 different direct exposures which they reported. He would not talk about all of them, because as of the time of the hearing not all of them had been fixed. He then went on to actually demonstrate several possible ways that hackers could target the site.

David does not talk about all of the issues that they discovered, but their full report(PDF) that was submitted to congress is very interesting.

The report shows several issues that include:

  • Open Redirection (where a malicious re-direct link could be inserted into a Healthcare.gov link)
  • XML injection
  • JQuery File Upload
  • Exposed User Profiles!

But that is not all, there are also remnant website “test” links:

healthcare security issues

The Congressional Hearing and TrustedSEC’s report are both well worth your time.

Kudos to Dave, he did a phenomenal job, and as always, both expertly and professionally represented the white hat security field.