CAPEC-147 - XML Ping of the Death

An attacker initiates a resource depletion attack where a large number of small XML messages are delivered at a sufficiently rapid rate to cause a denial of service or crash of the target. Transactions such as repetitive SOAP transactions can deplete resources faster than a simple flooding attack because of the additional resources used by the SOAP protocol and the resources necessary to process SOAP messages. The transactions used are immaterial as long as they cause resource utilization on the target. In other words, this is a normal flooding attack augmented by using messages that will require extra processing on the target.

Severity

Likelihood

Confidentiality

Integrity

Availability

  • Attack Methods 1
  • Flooding
  • Purposes 1
  • Exploitation
  • Scopes 1
  • DoS: resource consumption (other)
  • Availability

Low level: To send small XML messages

High level: To use distributed network to launch the attack

The target must receive and process XML transactions.

Transaction generator(s)/source(s) and ability to cause arrival of messages at the target with sufficient rapidity to overload target. Larger targets may be able to handle large volumes of requests so the attacker may require significant resources (such as a distributed network) to affect the target. However, the resources required of the attacker would be less than in the case of a simple flooding attack against the same target.

Step 1 - Survey the target

Using a browser or an automated tool, an attacker records all instance of web services to process XML requests..

Tecnique ID: 1 - Environment(s) env-Web env-ClientServer

Use an automated tool to record all instances of URLs to process XML requests.

Tecnique ID: 2 - Environment(s) env-Web env-ClientServer

Use a browser to manually explore the website and analyze how the application processes XML requests.

Indicator ID: 1 - Environment(s) env-Web env-ClientServer

Type: Positive

The URL processes XML requests.

Indicator ID: 2 - Environment(s) env-Web env-ClientServer

Type: Positive

The application does not accept XML requests.


Security Control ID: 1

Type: Detective

Monitor velocity of page fetching in web logs. Humans who view a page and select a link from it will click far slower and far less regularly than tools. Tools make requests very quickly and the requests are typically spaced apart regularly (e.g. 0.8 seconds between them).


Outcome ID: 1

Type: Success

A list of URLs which process XML requests.



Step 1 - Launch a resource depletion attack

The attacker delivers a large number of small XML messages to the target URLs found in the explore phase at a sufficiently rapid rate. It causes denial of service to the target application..

Tecnique ID: 1 - Environment(s) env-Web env-ClientServer

Send a large number of crafted small XML messages to the target URL.

Security Control ID: 1

Type: Detective

Monitor velocity of page fetching in web logs.

Security Control ID: 2

Type: Preventative

Build throttling mechanism into the resource allocation. Provide for a timeout mechanism for allocated resources whose transaction does not complete within a specified interval.


Outcome ID: 1

Type: Success

The attacker causes the target application denial of service.



Implementation: Provide for network flow control and traffic shaping to control access to the resources.