Timshel

Web App Security

With security breaches happening almost constantly, I thought it would be a fun project to put together a purposefully vulnerable application and then demonstrate how it could be defended against some common security vulnerabilities. You can download the application to run on your local machine from my github.

In the process of creating this sample application, I became more aware of just how insecure many websites likely are. And the scary thing is that vulnerable websites don’t just put themselves at risk. They also put visitors in harm’s way as well.

The security demo web application currently illustrates SQL injection, cross-site scripting (xss), insecure direct object reference, and cross-site request forgery (csrf). Once you have the app running, below is an interesting flow that illustrates just how badly things can go wrong. For details on how to perform these actions, take a look at the README.

  • Log in as an employee to view the general employee functionality
  • Log in to a user profile (e.g. liz) and attack with xss vulnerability
  • Log back in to the employee portal and see the what happens based on stored xss
  • Open the hack-output.txt to see the bank account info that was transmitted from the xss attack
  • Use SQL injection to move money from account 1 to account 4 (your account)
  • Log in to the employee portal and click the csrf link below on the sample forum page to close the account that was compromised

Below is a sample forum page that can conduct a csrf attack on the security demo app

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If you’re interested in this sort of thing, I would recommend checking out the NATAS web security demo website. It is a game where you search for the password that has been insecurely stored on each level of the web app.

The table below identifies how to crack a few of the initial levels.

Username Password Discovery Method
natas0 Given to you
natas1 In the page source
natas2 In the page source, but you have to view it through the developer console
natas3 In the files directory of the site under users.txt
natas4 Google uses robots.txt which excludes the s3cr3t directory where the users.txt can be found
natas5 Get basic authorization setup and then spoof the referer header to be the correct url
natas6 Notice that the cookie has a parameter loggedin=0 and change this to loggedin=1 in the header

This project is maintained by grantharper