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ECEN 4133
Computer Security Fundamentals Project 2: Web Security
Project 2: Web Security

Introduction
In this project, we provide an insecure website, and your job is to attack it by exploiting three
common classes of vulnerabilities: SQL injection, cross-site scripting (XSS), and cross-site request
forgery (CSRF). You are also asked to exploit these problems with various flawed defenses in place.
Understanding how these attacks work will help you better defend your own web applications.

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ECEN 4133
Computer Security Fundamentals Project 2: Web Security
Project 2: Web Security

Introduction
In this project, we provide an insecure website, and your job is to attack it by exploiting three
common classes of vulnerabilities: SQL injection, cross-site scripting (XSS), and cross-site request
forgery (CSRF). You are also asked to exploit these problems with various flawed defenses in place.
Understanding how these attacks work will help you better defend your own web applications.
Objectives
• Learn to spot common vulnerabilities in websites and to avoid them in your own projects.
• Understand the risks these problems pose and the weaknesses of naive defenses.
• Gain experience with web architecture and with HTML, JavaScript, and SQL programming.
Read this First
This project asks you to develop attacks and test them, with our permission, against a target website
that we are providing for this purpose. Attempting the same kinds of attacks against other websites
without authorization is prohibited by law and university policies and may result in fines, expulsion,
and jail time. You must not attack any website without authorization! Per the course ethics
policy, you are required to respect the privacy and property rights of others at all times, or else you
will fail the course. See the “Ethics, Law, and University Policies” section on the course website for
more info.
Target Website
A startup named BUNGLE! is about to launch its first product—a web search engine—but their
investors are nervous about security problems. Unlike the Bunglers who developed the site, you
took ECEN 4133, so the investors have hired you to perform a security evaluation before it goes
live.
BUNGLE! is available for you to test at https://project2.ecen4133.org/.
The site is written in Python using the Bottle web framework. Although Bottle has built-in
mechanisms that help guard against some common vulnerabilities, the Bunglers have circumvented
or ignored these mechanisms in several places. If you wish, you can inspect the Python source code
contained in bungle.tar.gz from https://ecen4133.org/static/bungle.tar.gz, but this is not necessary to
complete the project.
In addition to providing search results, the site accepts logins and tracks users’ search histories. It
stores usernames, passwords, and search history in a MySQL database.
Note: Passwords used on the BUNGLE! site may be used, in whole or in part, in subsequent
assignments in the course. They may end up getting discovered by other students. They may be
added to password databases on underground hacker forums. They may be tweeted by course staff
for our amusement. Never use an important password to test an insecure site! This especially
includes your personal passwords.
Before being granted access to the source code, you reverse engineered the site and determined
that it replies to five main URLs: /, /search, /login, /logout, and /create. The function of
these URLs is explained below, but if you want an additional challenge, you can skip the rest of this
section and do the reverse engineering yourself.
Main page (/) The main page accepts GET requests and displays a search form. When submitted,
this form issues a GET request to /search, sending the search string as the parameter “q”.
If no user is logged in, the main page also displays a form that gives the user the option of
logging in or creating an account. The form issues POST requests to /login and /create.
Search results (/search) The search results page accepts GET requests and prints the search string,
supplied in the “q” query parameter, along with the search results. If the user is logged in, the
page also displays the user’s recent search history in a sidebar.
Note: Since actual search is not relevant to this project, you might not receive any results.
Login handler (/login) The login handler accepts POST requests and takes plaintext “username”
and “password” query parameters. It checks the user database to see if a user with those
credentials exists. If so, it sets a login cookie and redirects the browser to the main page. The
cookie tracks which user is logged in; manipulating or forging it is not part of this project.
Logout handler (/logout) The logout handler accepts POST requests. It deletes the login cookie,
if set, and redirects the browser to the main page.
Create account handler (/create) The create account handler accepts POST requests and receives plaintext “username” and “password” query parameters. It inserts the username and
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password into the database of users, unless a user with that username already exists. It then
logs the user in and redirects the browser to the main page.
Note: The password is neither sent nor stored securely; however, none of the attacks you
implement should depend on this behavior. You should choose a password that other groups
will not guess, but again, never use an important password to test an insecure site!
Guidelines
Defense Levels The Bunglers have been experimenting with some naïve defenses, so you also
need to demonstrate that these provide insufficient protection. In Parts 2 and 3, the site includes
drop-down menus at the top of each page that let you change the CSRF and XSS defenses that
are in use. When you are testing your solution, ensure that BUNGLE! has the correct defense levels
set. You may not attempt to subvert the mechanism for changing the level of defense in your
attacks. Be sure to test your solutions with the appropriate defense levels! Additionally, be sure to
include the defense levels as url parameters in any request to bungle!
In all parts, you should implement the simplest attack you can think of that defeats the given set of defenses. In other words, do not simply attack the highest level of defense and submit that attack as your
solution for all defenses. You do not need to combine the vulnerabilities, unless explicitly stated.
Resources The Firefox and Chrome web developer tools will be very helpful for this project,
particularly the JavaScript console and debugger, DOM inspector, and network monitor. See https://
developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Tools and https://developers.google.com/web/tools/chrome-devtools.
Note that you may complete the project on any web browser of your choice, but we have only tested
that it works on Chrome, Firefox, and Safari.
Although general purpose tools are permitted, you are not allowed to use tools that are designed to
automatically test for vulnerabilities.
Your solutions will involve manipulating SQL statements and writing web code using HTML,
JavaScript, and the jQuery library. You should search the web for answers to basic how-to questions.
There are many fine online resources for learning these tools. Here are a few that we recommend:
SQL Tutorial https://sqlzoo.net/wiki/SQL_Tutorial
SQL Statement Syntax https://dev.mysql.com/doc/refman/5.6/en/sql-statements.html
Introduction to HTML https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Web/Guide/HTML/Introduction
JavaScript 101 https://hsablonniere.github.io/markleft/prezas/javascript-101.html#1.0
Using jQuery Core https://learn.jquery.com/using-jquery-core/
jQuery API Reference https://api.jquery.com
HTTP Made Really Easy https://www.jmarshall.com/easy/http/
To learn more about SQL Injection, CSRF, and XSS attacks, and for tips on exploiting them, see:
https://github.com/OWASP/CheatSheetSeries
https://www.owasp.org/index.php/XSS_Filter_Evasion_Cheat_Sheet
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Part 1. SQL Injection
Your first goal is to demonstrate SQL injection attacks that log you in as an arbitrary user without
knowing the password. In order to protect other students’ accounts, we’ve made a series of separate
login forms for you to attack that aren’t part of the main BUNGLE! site. For each of the following
defenses, provide inputs to the target login form that successfully log you in as the user “victim”:
1.0 No defenses
Target: https://project2.ecen4133.org/sqlinject/0
Submission: sql_0.txt
1.1 Simple escaping
The server escapes single quotes (‘) in the inputs by replacing them with two single quotes.
Target: https://project2.ecen4133.org/sqlinject/1
Submission: sql_1.txt
1.2 Escaping and Hashing
The server uses the following PHP code, which escapes the username and applies the MD5
hash function to the password.
if (isset($_POST[‘username’]) and isset($_POST[‘password’])) {
$username = mysql_real_escape_string($_POST[‘username’]);
$password = md5($_POST[‘password’], true);
$sql_s = “SELECT * FROM users WHERE username=’$username’ and pw=’$password'”;
$rs = mysql_query($sql_s);
if (mysql_num_rows($rs) 0) {
echo “Login successful!”;
} else {
echo “Incorrect username or password”;
}
}
This is more difficult than the previous two defenses. You will need to write a program to
produce a working exploit. You can use any language you like, but we recommend Python 3.
Target: https://project2.ecen4133.org/sqlinject/2
Submissions: sql_2.txt and a directory called sql_2-src/ containing any code
1.3 The SQL [Extra credit]
This target uses a different database. Your job is to use SQL injection to retrieve:
(a) The name of the database
(b) The version of the SQL server
(c) All of the names of the tables in the database
(d) A secret string hidden in the database
Target: https://project2.ecen4133.org/sqlinject/3
Submission: sql_3.txt
For this part, the text file you submit should start with a list of all the queries you made to
learn the answers. Follow this with the values specified above, using this format:
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QUERY
QUERY
QUERY

Name: DB name
Version: DB version string
Tables: comma separated names
Secret: secret string
What to submit For 1.0, 1.1, and 1.2, when you successfully log in as victim, the server will
provide a URL-encoded version of your form inputs. Submit a text file with the specified filename
containing only this line. For 1.2, also submit the source code for the program you wrote by placing
it in the directory sql_2-src. For 1.3, submit a text file as specified.
Part 2. Cross-site Scripting (XSS)
Your next task is to demonstrate XSS attacks against the BUNGLE! search box, which does not properly filter search terms before echoing them to the results page. For each of the defenses below, your
goal is to construct a URL that, when loaded in the victim’s browser, correctly executes the specified
payload. We recommend that you begin by testing with a simple payload (e.g., alert(0);), then
move on to the full payload. Note that you should be able to implement the payload once, then use
different means of encoding it to bypass the different defenses.
Note: jQuery is embedded on Bungle. Please do not reload it in your scripts for Part 2.
Payload
The payload (the code that the attack tries to execute) will be to steal the username and the most
recent search the real user has performed on the BUNGLE! site. When a victim visits the URL you
create, these stolen items should be sent to the attacker’s server for collection.
For purposes of grading, your attack should report these events by loading the URL:
http://localhost:31337/?stolen_user=username &last_search=last_search
You can test receiving this data by running this command at the shell in your project directory:
$ python3 -m http.server -b 127.0.0.1 31337
and observing the HTTP GET request that your payload generates in the server log.
Defenses
There are five levels of defense. In each case, you should submit the simplest attack you can find
that works against that defense; you should not simply attack the highest level and submit your
solution for that level for every level. Try to use a different technique for each defense. The Python
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code that implements each defense is shown below, along with the target URL and the filename you
should submit.
2.0 No defenses
Target: https://project2.ecen4133.org/search?xssdefense=0
Submission: xss_0.txt
For 2.0 only, also submit a human-readable version of your payload code (as opposed to the
form encoded into the URL). Save it in a file named xss_payload.html.
2.1 Remove “script”
filtered = re.sub(r”(?i)script”, “”, input)
Target: https://project2.ecen4133.org/search?xssdefense=1
Submission: xss_1.txt
2.2 Remove several tags
filtered = re.sub(r”(?i)script|<img|<body|<style|<meta|<embed|<object”,
“”, input)
Target: https://project2.ecen4133.org/search?xssdefense=2
Submission: xss_2.txt
2.3 Remove some punctuation
filtered = re.sub(r”[;’\”]”, “”, input)
Target: https://project2.ecen4133.org/search?xssdefense=3
Submission: xss_3.txt
2.4 Encode < and [Extra credit]
filtered = input.replace(“<“, “<“).replace(“”, “”)
Target: https://project2.ecen4133.org/search?xssdefense=4
Submission: xss_4.txt
This challenge is hard. We think it requires finding a 0-day vuln or a bug in our code.
What to submit Your submission for each level of defense will be a text file with the specified
filename that contains a single line consisting of a URL. When this URL is loaded in a victim’s
browser, it should execute the specified payload against the specified target. The payload encoded
in your URLs may embed inline JavaScript.
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Part 3. Cross-site Request Forgery (CSRF)
Your final goal is to demonstrate CSRF vulnerabilities against the login form, and BUNGLE! has
provided two variations of their implementation for you to test. Your goal is to construct attacks that
surreptitiously cause the victim to log in to an account you control, thus allowing you to monitor
the victim’s search queries by viewing the search history for this account. For each of the defenses
below, create an HTML file that, when opened by a victim, logs their browser into BUNGLE! under
the account “attacker” and password “l33th4x”. NOTE: the first character of the password is a
letter, not a number.
Your solutions should not display evidence of an attack; the browser should just display a blank page.
(If the victim later visits BUNGLE!, it will say “logged in as attacker”, but that’s fine for purposes of
the project. After all, most users won’t immediately notice.)
3.0 No defenses
Target: https://project2.ecen4133.org/login?csrfdefense=0&xssdefense=4
Submission: csrf_0.html
3.1 Token validation
The server sets a cookie named csrf_token to a random 16-byte value and also includes
this value as a hidden field in the login form. When the form is submitted, the server verifies
that the client’s cookie matches the value in the form. You are allowed to exploit the XSS
vulnerability from Part 2 to accomplish your goal.
Target: https://project2.ecen4133.org/login?csrfdefense=1&xssdefense=0
Submission: csrf_1.html
3.2 Token validation, without XSS [Extra credit]
Accomplish the same task as in 3.1 without using XSS.
Target: https://project2.ecen4133.org/login?csrfdefense=1&xssdefense=4
Submission: csrf_2.html
This challenge is hard. We think it requires finding a 0-day vuln or a bug in our code.
What to submit For each part, submit an HTML file with the given name that accomplishes the
specified attack against the specified target URL. The HTML files you submit may embed inline
JavaScript.
Note: Since you’re sharing the attacker account with other students, we’ve hard-coded it so the
search history won’t actually update. You can test with a different account you create to see the
history change.
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Submission Details
Where applicable, your solutions may contain embedded JavaScript. They must be self-contained,
but may use the jQuery already loaded onto the page. You may not attempt to subvert the mechanism
for changing the level of defense in your attacks.
Part 1: SQL Injection
For parts 1.0, 1.1, and 1.2, submit text files that contain the strings provided by the server when your
exploits work. For 1.2, also include a directory containing the source code you wrote to produce
your solution. For 1.3, submit a text file as specified in the problem statement. Make sure your text
files are actual .txt files or we may not be able to grade your work.
sql_0.txt 1.0 No defenses
sql_1.txt 1.1 Simple escaping
sql_2.txt 1.2 Escaping and Hashing
sql_2-src/ 1.2 Escaping and Hashing
sql_3.txt? 1.3 The SQL [Extra credit]
Part 2: XSS
Text files, each containing a URL that, when loaded in a browser, immediately carries out the
specified XSS attack. For 2.0, also submit the human-readable (non–URL-encoded) payload. Please
remember to correctly specify the XSS defense level in your URLs. (If you have nested URLs,
specify the defense levels in the nested ones too!)
xss_payload.html 2.0 No defenses
xss_0.txt 2.0 No defenses
xss_1.txt 2.1 Remove “script”
xss_2.txt 2.2 Remove several tags
xss_3.txt 2.3 Remove some punctuation
xss_4.txt? 2.4 Encode < and [Extra credit]
Part 3: CSRF
HTML files that, when loaded in a browser, immediately carry out the specified CSRF attack. Please
remember to correctly specify the CSRF defense level in your URLs.
csrf_0.html 3.0 No defenses
csrf_1.html 3.1 Token validation
csrf_2.html? 3.2 Token validation, without XSS [Extra credit]
? These files are optional extra credit.
Submission and format check
Submit a tarball (.tgz) file containing the above files, with the name project2.identikeys.tgz,
where identikeys is your identikey (e.g. erwu1234) and your partners if you have one separated
with a hyphen (e.g. erwu1234-abcd9876).
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You can download a format checking python script from https://ecen4133.org/static/check-p2-
format.py. Run with: python3 check-p2-format.py project2.erwu1234.tgz.
Note: this script does NOT autograde your project; it only checks that the format of the tarball /
contained files is correct.
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