Difference between revisions of "Testing: Review Webserver Metafiles for Information Leakage (OTG-INFO-003)"

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== Brief Summary ==
 
== Brief Summary ==
<br>
 
 
This section describes how to test the robots.txt file.
 
This section describes how to test the robots.txt file.
<br>
 
  
 
== Description of the Issue ==  
 
== Description of the Issue ==  
<br>
 
 
Web spiders/robots/crawlers retrieve a web page and then recursively traverse hyperlinks to retrieve further web content. Their accepted behavior is specified by the ''Robots Exclusion Protocol'' of the robots.txt file in the web root directory [1].
 
Web spiders/robots/crawlers retrieve a web page and then recursively traverse hyperlinks to retrieve further web content. Their accepted behavior is specified by the ''Robots Exclusion Protocol'' of the robots.txt file in the web root directory [1].
  
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'''Whitepapers'''<br>
 
'''Whitepapers'''<br>
 
* [1] "The Web Robots Pages" - http://www.robotstxt.org/
 
* [1] "The Web Robots Pages" - http://www.robotstxt.org/
* [2] "How do I block or allow Googlebot?" - http://www.google.com/support/webmasters/bin/answer.py?answer=40364&query=googlebot&topic=&type=
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* [2] "Block and Remove Pages Using a robots.txt File" - http://support.google.com/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=156449&from=40364&rd=1
 
* [3] "(ISC)2 Blog: The Attack of the Spiders from the Clouds" - http://blog.isc2.org/isc2_blog/2008/07/the-attack-of-t.html
 
* [3] "(ISC)2 Blog: The Attack of the Spiders from the Clouds" - http://blog.isc2.org/isc2_blog/2008/07/the-attack-of-t.html
* [4] "How do I check that my robots.txt file is working as expected?" - http://www.google.com/support/webmasters/bin/answer.py?answer=35237
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* [4] "Block and Remove Pages Using a robots.txt File- http://support.google.com/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=156449&from=35237&rd=1
 
<br>
 
<br>

Revision as of 20:59, 12 June 2013

This article is part of the new OWASP Testing Guide v4. 
At the moment the project is in the REVIEW phase.

Back to the OWASP Testing Guide v4 ToC: https://www.owasp.org/index.php/OWASP_Testing_Guide_v4_Table_of_Contents Back to the OWASP Testing Guide Project: http://www.owasp.org/index.php/OWASP_Testing_Project

Contents


Brief Summary

This section describes how to test the robots.txt file.

Description of the Issue

Web spiders/robots/crawlers retrieve a web page and then recursively traverse hyperlinks to retrieve further web content. Their accepted behavior is specified by the Robots Exclusion Protocol of the robots.txt file in the web root directory [1].

As an example, the robots.txt file from http://www.google.com/robots.txt taken on 24 August 2008 is quoted below:

User-agent: *
Allow: /searchhistory/
Disallow: /news?output=xhtml&
Allow: /news?output=xhtml
Disallow: /search
Disallow: /groups
Disallow: /images
...

The User-Agent directive refers to the specific web spider/robot/crawler. For example the User-Agent: Googlebot refers to the GoogleBot crawler while User-Agent: * in the example above applies to all web spiders/robots/crawlers [2] as quoted below:

User-agent: *

The Disallow directive specifies which resources are prohibited by spiders/robots/crawlers. In the example above, directories such as the following are prohibited:

... 
Disallow: /search
Disallow: /groups
Disallow: /images
...

Web spiders/robots/crawlers can intentionally ignore the Disallow directives specified in a robots.txt file [3]. Hence, robots.txt should not be considered as a mechanism to enforce restrictions on how web content is accessed, stored, or republished by third parties.

Black Box testing and example

wget
The robots.txt file is retrieved from the web root directory of the web server.

For example, to retrieve the robots.txt from www.google.com using wget:

$ wget http://www.google.com/robots.txt
--23:59:24-- http://www.google.com/robots.txt
           => 'robots.txt'
Resolving www.google.com... 74.125.19.103, 74.125.19.104, 74.125.19.147, ...
Connecting to www.google.com|74.125.19.103|:80... connected.
HTTP request sent, awaiting response... 200 OK
Length: unspecified [text/plain]

    [ <=>                                 ] 3,425        --.--K/s

23:59:26 (13.67MB/s) - 'robots.txt' saved [3425]

Analyze robots.txt using Google Webmaster Tools
Google provides an "Analyze robots.txt" function as part of its "Google Webmaster Tools", which can assist with testing [4] and the procedure is as follows:

1. Sign into Google Webmaster Tools with your Google Account.
2. On the Dashboard, click the URL for the site you want.
3. Click Tools, and then click Analyze robots.txt.

Gray Box testing and example

The process is the same as Black Box testing above.

References

Whitepapers