Scanning for Unfiltered Content Automatically with PHP

Sep 15, 2009 php security
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A friend of mine posed a question: Do you know of any good PHP based vulnerability scanners? I told him I did not (add any in the comments, if you know! :) ) - but it wouldn’t be that hard to build one. He asked me to give him a code example, so here goes:

The Goals

I have only 2 goals to accomplish with this quick script:

  • Should handle multiple forms on a web page

  • Should be able to submit a payload and automatically review if it is shown unfiltered.

Since this is just a quick script, we do know a few things however:

  • It will not handle javascript based forms that set the action to something different.

  • It doesn’t specifically help identify which form field is the vulnerable one.

But with that, its not that bad.

The example website we’re reviewing

I have two really simple pages for our test site, the form itself and the ’login’ page.

    <title>Test Login Form, yo</title>
    <h1>Oh HAI!</h1>
    <p>Login or no?</p>
    <form action="http://localhost/testsubmit.php" method="post" name="login">
      Username: <input type="text" name="username"></input><br></br>
      Password: <input type="password" name="password"></input><br></br>
      <input type="submit"></input>
if ($_POST['username'] == 'MYUSER' && $_POST['password'] == 'MYPASS') {
  print 'you have logged in';
else {
  print "{$_POST['username']} did not authenticate correctly.";

As you can see, if the login credentials are not correct, it prints the unfiltered username onto the screen. Obviously, this is a very simple example.

The PHP Script

The comments should help the interpretation of this script, so I won’t ramble…

/** set target, payload **/
$target = 'http://localhost/testform.html';
$payload = '<script>alert("word!");</script>';

/** get content, create dom document with it **/
$targetContent = file_get_contents($target);
$doc = new DomDocument();

/** get all the forms, iterate through each **/
$forms = $doc->getElementsByTagName('form');

foreach ($forms as $form) {
  $submitInputs = array();
  $submitTo = $form->getAttribute('action') 
              ? $form->getAttribute('action') 
              : $target;
  $submitMethod = $form->getAttribute('method') 
                ? $form->getAttribute('method') 
                : 'GET';

  /** get all inputs so we can set the values **/
  $tagsToParse = array('input', 'textarea');
  foreach ($tagsToParse as $tag) {
    $retrieved = $form->getElementsByTagName($tag);
    foreach ($retrieved as $item) {
      /** get the value - we want to retain whats in there just in case... **/
      $value = $item->getAttribute('value') ? $item->getAttribute('value') : '';
      $value .= $payload;
      $submitInputs[$item->getAttribute('name')] = $value;

  print '<h2>Submitting payload to form: ' . $form->getAttribute('name') . '</h2>';

  /** got our content, prepare for submission, get submitted content **/
  $opts = array(
                  'header'=>'Content-Type: application/x-www-form-urlencoded',
  $context = stream_context_create($opts);
  $submittedFormContents = file_get_contents($submitTo, false, $context);

  /** find the payload ? **/
  $count = substr_count($submittedFormContents, $payload);
  print "Times payload found: {$count}<br></br>";

As you can see, still very simple, but it lays the groundwork. Combine this with my link checking code and you could make a pretty decent start on a PHP vulnerability scanner.

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