Fuzzing with WebScarab

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I assume that you are familiar with the basic functionality of WebScarab, and have managed to use it as a proxy to view and intercept some conversations already. If not, I suggest reading the "Getting Started" document first.


The Fuzzer plugin is intended to simplify or automate repetitive testing of a web site. In essence, what the fuzzer does is sequentially try each one of a list of values replacing some user-specified parameters in a request that is then sent to the server. The response is then saved into the Summary, where it can be manually reviewed.

The first thing to understand is how the Fuzzer defines a parameter. A parameter is a portion of the request that is considered when creating the response:

  • A parameter may be found as part of the path, as is commonly seen in a Wiki. For example it is common to see something like "http://example.com/index.php/Some_Topic". In this case, the string "Some_Topic" is a "Path parameter"
  • A parameter may also be found in a Cookie. Of course, cookies are most commonly used to track session state, and fuzzing a cookie is often pointless. However, if data is stored in the cookie, fuzzing it may give promising results, as it is a less commonly tested aspect of a site.
  • A parameter may also be found in the body/content portion of a request, typically when the request is sent as a POST. Parameters are most commonly formatted using the same scheme as for encoding URL Query parameters. Of course, POST parameters may be formatted using any scheme supported by the server. WebScarab can currently only support POST's with a Content-Type of "application/x-www-form-urlencoded".

Using the fuzzer

The fuzzer interface allows a knowledgeable user to construct a new request, specifying the method, basic URL (excluding any path parameters, fragments or query parameters), the request version, any request headers, and the required parameters. Unfortunately, this is rather a tedious and error-prone way of constructing a request to fuzz.

Fortunately, there is a much easier way! Once you have used the proxy for a bit, go to the Summary View, and find a conversation that has parameters that you would like to fuzz. Then right-click on that conversation, and select "Use as fuzz template". This will identify all of the parameters in the request (other than path parameters, which are not possible to identify automatically), and copy all of the relevant information to the Fuzzer plugin interface. If you wish to, you can make any modifications you want at this point, for example, adding or deleting some headers, adding or removing parameters, etc.

Once you have defined the basic structure of the request, you need to define the fuzz sources. A "fuzz source" is a list of alternative inputs to be used a values for one or more parameters. In most cases, you will create a file containing one value per line. If you installed WebScarab using the "installer" version, you should also find two files "xss.txt" and "sql.txt" in the directory in which you installed it. These two files contain a collection of Cross Site Scripting and Sql Injection strings respectively, which may trigger errors in the application you are testing.

Define available fuzz sources by selecting the "Sources" button in the Fuzzer interface. In the dialog, type in a description of the Fuzz source. e.g. for the xss.txt file, type XSS (case is not important). Then use the "browse" button to locate the file containing the strings you wish to use, or type the filename in the "File" field. Once the file has been chosen, click "Add". WebScarab will read the file, and add each item to the list identified by the description you supplied. You can check to see if they were properly read in by clicking on the item in the list on the left hand side. You should see the fuzz strings displayed 1 per line, and the "Items" label should show how many strings were read in.

You can also define a list of strings to use, using a reduced regular expression syntax. By reduced, I mean that the syntax elements that allow for an infinitely large set to be defined is not permitted. For example, the "." character defines 65536 possible characters, and is disallowed. Similarly, the * and + operators allow an indefinite number of characters, and are also disallowed. Finally, the character count syntax that allows a variable number of characters "{3,5}" is also disallowed. This is useful if you wish to attempt to brute force something like a document identifier, that obeys a regular pattern.

Once you have defined your fuzz sources, close the dialog, and return to the main Fuzzer interface.

It would probably be a good idea to explain what each of the columns in the "Parameters" table represent at this point:

  • The Location column represents where the parameter is found. The location can be one of "Path", "Fragment", "Query", "Cookie" or "Body", as explained above.
  • The Name column represents the name of the parameter.
  • The Value column is for the default value of that parameter, if that parameter is not being fuzzed.
  • The Priority column allows the user to control how the various fuzz sources increment. Fuzz sources at the same priority increment in lock step. Fuzz sources at different priorities increment sequentially. For example, if you had a list of known usernames and matching passwords, you would use a username source and a password source with the same priority. However, if you wanted to try each of the usernames with each of the passwords, you would use sources with different priorities.
  • The Fuzz Source column allows the user to control which parameters will be fuzzed, and which list of fuzz strings will be used.

Now you can instruct the Fuzzer on which fuzz sources to use for each parameter. The "Fuzz Source" column is editable using a combo box, and you can selected from the defined fuzz sources, or an empty item if you do not want to fuzz that parameter.

As you change the various parameters to be fuzzed, and possibly modify the priorities of the parameters, you should notice the "Total Requests" field updating. If your fuzzed parameters are all at the same priority, the "Total Requests" field will reflect the size of the smallest Fuzz Source. If the fuzzed parameters are at different priorities, the "Total Requests" field will show the product of the sizes of the various Fuzz Sources.

Running the fuzzer

When you hit the Start button, you'll see the "Current Request" field incrementing, and conversations appearing in the table in the bottom half of the screen, until the "Current Request" field shows one less than the "Total Requests" field. (Yes, this is a bug that should be fixed.) If there are any errors detected while executing the fuzzer, the fuzzer plugin will pause. As long as you do not make any changes to the fuzzer setup, you can resume fuzzing where you left off. (This may or may not be a good idea, depending on the nature of the error)

Once the fuzzer is finished, you can review the resulting conversations by double-clicking on the rows in the Conversation Table in the lower half of the screen, and stepping through the list. Alternatively, you can review them from the Summary pane, at any time. Note that rerunning the fuzzer will clear the table in the Fuzzer, but will not change the conversations already in the Summary.


The Fuzzer is not able to fuzz "compound requests". For example, when submitting values to a function results in a frameset description, and the real interesting result shows up in one of the child frames, WebScarab will not try to retrieve the child frame. For more complex fuzzing, I'd suggest investigating the Scripting plugin.