Testing: WS Information Gathering (OWASP-WS-001)

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OWASP Testing Guide v3 Table of Contents

This article is part of the OWASP Testing Guide v3. The entire OWASP Testing Guide v3 can be downloaded here.

OWASP at the moment is working at the OWASP Testing Guide v4: you can browse the Guide here

Brief Summary

The first step to perform a Web Service Testing is to determine the WS entry points and the communication schema: this is described in the WSDL associated with the WS.

Black Box Testing and example

Zero Knowledge
Normally you will have a WSDL path to access the Web Service, but if you have zero knowledge about it, you will have to use UDDI to find a specific service. Web Services have three critical building blocks – UDDI, WSDL and SOAP. There is a third intermediate player facilitating communication between the consumer and supplier, referred to as Universal Business Registry (UBR). There are several ways to find our WSDL: the easiest one is to make a search Query in public search engine. For example if you have to assess an example.com public WS, on google.com you can type:

inurl:wsdl site:example.com

and you will find all the public Example WSDL. Net Square wsPawn is a useful tool that acts as Web Services Consumer and makes a query to the UBR and looks for services as per requirements. Then UBR supplies the list of available services. The Web Services Consumer chooses one or more available services. Next, Web Services Consumer requests for an access point or end point for these services. UBR supplies this information. From this moment Web Services Consumer approaches the Web Services Supplier’s Host/IP address (WDSL) and starts accessing service.

WSDL endpoints
When a tester accesses to the WSDL, he can determine an access point and available interfaces for web services. These interfaces or methods take inputs using SOAP over HTTP/HTTPS. If these inputs are not defined well at the source code level, they can be compromised and exploited. For example given this WDSL Endpoint:


you can obtain the following description of the Web Services:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<wsdl:definitions xmlns:http="http://schemas.xmlsoap.org/wsdl/http/" xmlns:soap="http://schemas.xmlsoap.org/wsdl/soap/" xmlns:s="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema" xmlns:soapenc="http://schemas.xmlsoap.org/soap/encoding/" xmlns:tns="http://example.com/webservices/" xmlns:tm="http://microsoft.com/wsdl/mime/textMatching/" xmlns:mime="http://schemas.xmlsoap.org/wsdl/mime/" targetNamespace="http://example.com/webservices/" xmlns:wsdl="http://schemas.xmlsoap.org/wsdl/">
    <s:schema elementFormDefault="qualified" targetNamespace="http://example.com/webservices/">
      <s:element name="GetURLIP">
            <s:element minOccurs="0" maxOccurs="1" name="EnterURL" type="s:string" />
      <s:element name="GetURLIPResponse">
            <s:element minOccurs="0" maxOccurs="1" name="GetURLIPResult" type="s:string" />
      <s:element name="string" nillable="true" type="s:string" />
  <wsdl:message name="GetURLIPSoapIn">
    <wsdl:part name="parameters" element="tns:GetURLIP" />
  <wsdl:message name="GetURLIPSoapOut">
    <wsdl:part name="parameters" element="tns:GetURLIPResponse" />
  <wsdl:message name="GetURLIPHttpGetIn">
    <wsdl:part name="EnterURL" type="s:string" />

This WS simply receives in input a logical name (EnterURL) and gives in output the realtive IP Address. So we have GetURLIP as method for the WS and EnterURL (string) as input. In that manner we have identified the WS entry point and we are ready to test it.

Web Services Discovery
Web Services consumer need a simple and standardized ways to find a Web Services available from from remote servers. There are two ways for the discovery a Web Services, DISCO and UDDI.
The Web Service Discovery (DISCO) is one way that we can use to discover the URLs WSDL descriptor and other XML documents, like Schema Definition Document (.xsd).

For istance with a http query to a Web server: http://myexample.com/myexampleService.asmx?DISCO

we obtain a following one DISCO descriptor:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<discovery xmlns:xsd="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema" xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance" xmlns="http://schemas.xmlsoap.org/disco/">
  <contractRef ref="http://myexample.com/MyexampleService.asmx?wsdl" docRef="http://myexample.com/myexample.asmx" xmlns="http://schemas.xmlsoap.org/disco/scl/" />
  <soap address="http://myexample.com/MyexampleService.asmx" xmlns:q1="http://myexample.com/terraserver/" binding="q1:myexampleServiceSoap" xmlns="http://schemas.xmlsoap.org/disco/soap/" />

how we can see in the above XML document we have a reference for WSDL document where obtain a descriptions of Web Services available from remote Web Server.

DISCO is a Microsoft tecnology, UDDI (Universal Description, Discovery and Integration) instead is a OASIS standard .

WS Well Known Naming
Common Web Services platforms have a naming convention for offering a WSDL documents: This naming convention can be used to retrieve WSDL via URIs probing or through queries to web search server.

Some URLs that we can use are for example:


instead of .aspx extension we can also use .ascx, .asmx, .ashx extensions
Same thing with ?disco instead of ?wsdl

For Apache Axis we can try:


Search for public Web Services
The seekda Web Services Search Engine can help to find a public Web Services with related descriptions. To find Web Services just type the keyword into seekda Web Services Search Engine. We can also browse by several other criteria such as Tag Cloud, Services by Countries, Most Used Services. http://seekda.com


Another Web Server with good links and Resources is WSindex (http://www.wsindex.org).


UDDI Browser
A web server that provide a very useful UDDI on-line tool for to browse and search public UDDI resource in offered from http://www.soapclient.com.
How we can see we can use two operator Microsoft and Xmethods

Uddi browser part.jpg

The service offer, for example, to search all UDDI with a specific string in business names, service name or service types.

Advanced UDDI browsing

We can search private UDDI registries using Avanced feature of UDDI browser.

Uddi browser.jpg

This services allow interaction with Web services dynamically.
Soapclient offer others methods for to allow to discover web services and usefull links to other resources.

Command line interaction
Sometimes are usefull interact with webservives from a command line.

Simple SOAP Client - SOAPClient4XG
SOAP Client for XML allow to make a SOAP request from command line, for example:

java -jar SOAPClient4XG http://api.google.com/search/beta2  my_sample_search.xml

We can also consume a Webservices using CURL.
For example:

curl --request POST --header “Content-type: text/xml 
--data @my_request.xml http://api.google.com/search/beta2

Perl - SOAPlite
With Perl and SOAP::lite modules we can create a scripts to automatize a SOAP request.

For create a basic SOAP XML file for Webservices request, we can simple use a RAW request and create an SOAP XML request.
For example we can create a SOAP XML similar to to the following one to invoke the webservices.


   <m:GetZip xmlns:m="http://namespaces.example.com">    



Creating a malformed XML file we can test a Webservices for a typical attack as the following:
-oversized XML Tag
-nested or recursive declarations
-parameter attack
-authentication testing



Web Resource