Difference between revisions of "Category:OWASP WebScarab Project"

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Check the [[WebScarab Getting Started]] guide for screenshots of WebScarab in action.
Here's the main window of WebScarab. Check the [[WebScarab Getting Started]] guide for more screenshots of WebScarab in action.
[[Image:WebScarab after browsing.png]]

Revision as of 12:50, 9 November 2006

Welcome to the WebScarab Project

WebScarab is a framework for analysing applications that communicate using the HTTP and HTTPS protocols. It is written in Java, and is thus portable to many platforms. WebScarab has several modes of operation, implemented by a number of plugins. In its most common usage, WebScarab operates as an intercepting proxy, allowing the operator to review and modify requests created by the browser before they are sent to the server, and to review and modify responses returned from the server before they are received by the browser. WebScarab is able to intercept both HTTP and HTTPS communication. The operator can also review the conversations (requests and responses) that have passed through WebScarab.



Here's the main window of WebScarab. Check the WebScarab Getting Started guide for more screenshots of WebScarab in action.

WebScarab after browsing.png


There is no shiny red button on WebScarab, it is a tool primarily designed to be used by people who can write code themselves, or at least have a pretty good understanding of the HTTP protocol. If that sounds like you, welcome! Download WebScarab, sign up for the mailing list on the OWASP subscription page, and enjoy! You can read a brief tutorial to explain the basic workings.

WebScarab is designed to be a tool for anyone who needs to expose the workings of an HTTP(S) based application, whether to allow the developer to debug otherwise difficult problems, or to allow a security specialist to identify vulnerabilities in the way that the application has been designed or implemented.


You can download WebScarab from the OWASP Source Code Center at Sourceforge.
A Mac OS X package of the latest version can usually be found on Corsaire's download page.

You can also try the Java Web Start version, which was signed by Rogan Dawes.


A framework without any functions is worthless, of course, and so WebScarab provides a number of plugins, mainly aimed at the security functionality for the moment. Those plugins include:

  • Fragments - extracts Scripts and HTML comments from HTML pages as they are seen via the proxy, or other plugins
  • Proxy - observes traffic between the browser and the web server. The WebScarab proxy is able to observe both HTTP and encrypted HTTPS traffic, by negotiating an SSL connection between WebScarab and the browser instead of simply connecting the browser to the server and allowing an encrypted stream to pass through it. Various proxy plugins have also been developed to allow the operator to control the requests and responses that pass through the proxy.
  • Manual intercept - allows the user to modify HTTP and HTTPS requests and responses on the fly, before they reach the server or browser.
  • Beanshell - allows for the execution of arbitrarily complex operations on requests and responses. Anything that can be expressed in Java can be executed.
  • Reveal hidden fields - sometimes it is easier to modify a hidden field in the page itself, rather than intercepting the request after it has been sent. This plugin simply changes all hidden fields found in HTML pages to text fields, making them visible, and editable.
  • Bandwidth simulator - allows the user to emulate a slower network, in order to observe how their website would perform when accessed over, say, a modem.
  • Spider - identifies new URLs on the target site, and fetches them on command.
  • Manual request - Allows editing and replay of previous requests, or creation of entirely new requests.
  • SessionID analysis - collects and analyses a number of cookies (and eventually URL-based parameters too) to visually determine the degree of randomness and unpredictability.
  • Scripted - operators can use BeanShell to write a script to create requests and fetch them from the server. The script can then perform some analysis on the responses, with all the power of the WebScarab Request and Response object model to simplify things.
  • Parameter fuzzer - performs automated substitution of parameter values that are likely to expose incomplete parameter validation, leading to vulnerabilities like Cross Site Scripting (XSS) and SQL Injection.
  • Search - allows the user to craft arbitrary BeanShell expressions to identify conversations that should be shown in the list.
  • Compare - calculates the edit distance between the response bodies of the conversations observed, and a selected baseline conversation. The edit distance is "the number of edits required to transform one document into another". For performance reasons, edits are calculated using word tokens, rather than byte by byte.
  • SOAP - There is a plugin that parses WSDL, and presents the various functions and the required parameters, allowing them to be edited before being sent to the server.

Future development

Features will probably include:

  • Enhancing the SOAP plugin, improving support for complex schemas, and different encodings
  • Combining the Search and Compare plugins, so that you can compare only specific responses


As a framework, WebScarab is extensible. Each feature above is implemented as a plugin, and can be removed or replaced. New features can be easily implemented as well. The sky is the limit! If you have a great idea for a plugin, please let us know about it on the list.

Project Contributors

The WebScarab project is run by Rogan Dawes of Aspect Security. He can be contacted at rogan AT dawes.za.net