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Scan REST APIs

w3af can be used to identify and exploit vulnerabilities in REST APIs.

The scanner supports extracting endpoints and parameters from REST APIs documented using the Open API specification , this means that w3af will be able to scan these APIs in a completely automated way.

When the REST API is not documented using the Open API specification, the user will have to use spider_man to feed the HTTP requests associated with the REST API calls into the framework.

Scanning REST APIs with an Open API

The crawl.open_api plugin can be used to identify the location of the Open API specification document (usually openapi.json in the API root directory) and parse it.

After parsing the endpoints, headers and parameters the plugin sends this information to w3af's core, where the audit plugin can be used to identify vulnerabilities.

Using this plugin to scan REST APIs is easy, but here are some tips:

  • If you know the Open API specification document URL, include it in w3af's target URLs, this will make sure that the API is found and scanned.
  • If you have credentials, provide them in query_string_auth or header_auth, this information will be added to all HTTP requests associated with the REST API.

Enabling this plugin even when you don't know if the REST API is documented using the Open API specification is also a good idea, since the plugin will find the document and create an informational finding to make sure it is manually reviewed.

Feeding HTTP requests into w3af

When the REST API is not documented using the Open API specification, the only way for w3af to find all endpoints and parameters is for the user to manually feed this information into the framework.

This process can be used for any REST API, just follow these steps to feed the HTTP requests into w3af:

  • Start spider_man using the steps outlined in Advanced use cases
  • Configure the REST API client to send HTTP requests through 127.0.0.1:44444
  • Run the REST API client
  • Stop the spider_man proxy using curl -X GET http://127.7.7.7/spider_man?terminate --proxy http://127.0.0.1:44444

Note

Since these REST APIs can not be crawled w3af will only audit the HTTP requests captured by the proxy. The steps where the user teaches w3af about all the API endpoints and parameters is key to the success of the security audit.