Book Image

The Web Application Hacker's Handbook

By : Dafydd Stuttard, Marcus Pinto
Book Image

The Web Application Hacker's Handbook

By: Dafydd Stuttard, Marcus Pinto

Overview of this book

Web applications are the front door to most organizations, exposing them to attacks that may disclose personal information, execute fraudulent transactions, or compromise ordinary users. This practical book has been completely updated and revised to discuss the latest step-by-step techniques for attacking and defending the range of ever-evolving web applications. Youíll explore the various new technologies employed in web applications that have appeared since the first edition and review the new attack techniques that have been developed, particularly in relation to the client side. The book starts with the current state of web application security and the trends that indicate how it is likely to evolve soon. Youíll examine the core security problem affecting web applications and the defence mechanisms that applications implement to address this problem, and youíll also explore the key technologies used in todayís web application. Next, youíll carry out tasks for breaking into web applications and for executing a comprehensive attack. As you progress, youíll learn to find vulnerabilities in an application's source code and review the tools that can help when you hack web applications. Youíll also study a detailed methodology for performing a comprehensive and deep attack against a specific target. By the end of this book, youíll be able to discover security flaws in web applications and how to deal with them.
Table of Contents (32 chapters)
Free Chapter
About the Authors
About the Technical Editor
MDSec: The Authors’ Company
End User License Agreement

Gathering Published Information

Aside from the disclosure of useful information within error messages, the other primary way in which web applications give away sensitive data is by actually publishing it directly. There are various reasons why an application may publish information that an attacker can use:

  • By design, as part of the application's core functionality
  • As an unintended side effect of another function
  • Through debugging functionality that remains present in the live application
  • Because of some vulnerability, such as broken access controls

Here are some examples of potentially sensitive information that applications often publish to users:

  • Lists of valid usernames, account numbers, and document IDs
  • User profile details, including user roles and privileges, date of last login, and account status
  • The current user's password (this is usually masked on-screen but is present in the page source)
  • Log files containing information such as usernames, URLs, actions performed...