Automated Black-box Testing of Mass Assignment Vulnerabilities in RESTful APIs

by   Davide Corradini, et al.

Mass assignment is one of the most prominent vulnerabilities in RESTful APIs. This vulnerability originates from a misconfiguration in common web frameworks, such that naming convention and automatic binding can be exploited by an attacker to craft malicious requests writing confidential resources and (massively) overriding data, that should be read-only and/or confidential. In this paper, we adopt a black-box testing perspective to automatically detect mass assignment vulnerabilities in RESTful APIs. Execution scenarios are generated purely based on the OpenAPI specification, that lists the available operations and their message format. Clustering is used to group similar operations and reveal read-only fields, the latter are candidate for mass assignment. Then, interaction sequences are automatically generated by instantiating abstract testing templates, trying to exploit the potential vulnerabilities. Finally, test cases are run, and their execution is assessed by a specific oracle, in order to reveal whether the vulnerability could be successfully exploited. The proposed novel approach has been implemented and evaluated on a set of case studies written in different programming languages. The evaluation highlights that the approach is quite effective in detecting seeded vulnerabilities, with a remarkably high accuracy.


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