XML is making a significant impact at both presentation and transport (HTTP/HTTPS) layers. To some extent XML is replacing HTML at the presentation layer while SOAP is becoming the XML-based transport mechanism of choice.
Web 2.0 security concerns – reshaping the industry
This technological transformation is bringing in new security concerns and attack vectors into existence. Yamanner, Samy and Spaceflash type worms are exploiting “client-side” AJAX frameworks, providing new avenues of attack and compromising some of the confidential information.
Here is the list of 10 attack vectors along with a brief overview of each:
1. Cross-site scripting in AJAX
2. XML poisoning
XML traffic goes back and forth between server and browser in many of the WEB 2.0 applications. Web applications consume XML blocks coming from AJAX clients. It is possible to poison this XML block. Not uncommon is the technique to apply recursive payloads to similar-producing XML nodes multiple times. If the engine’s handling is poor this may result in a denial of services on the server. Many attackers also produce malformed XML documents that can disrupt logic depending on parsing mechanisms in use on the server. There are two types of parsing mechanisms available on the server side – SAX and DOM. This same attack vector is also used with Web services since they consume SOAP messages and SOAP messages are nothing but XML messages. Large-scale adaptation of XMLs at the application layer opens up new opportunities to use this new attack vector.
XML external entity reference is an XML property which can be manipulated by an attacker. This can lead to arbitrary file or TCP connection openings that can be leveraged by an attacker. XML schema poisoning is another XML poisoning attack vector which can change execution flow. This vulnerability can help an attacker to compromise confidential information.