An adversary may execute an attack on a web service that uses SOAP messages in communication. By sending a very large SOAP array declaration to the web service, the attacker forces the web service to allocate space for the array elements before they are parsed by the XML parser. The attacker message is typically small in size containing a large array declaration of say 1,000,000 elements and a couple of array elements. This attack targets exhaustion of the memory resources of the web service.
The table(s) below shows the other attack patterns and high level categories that are related to this attack pattern. These relationships are defined as ChildOf, ParentOf, MemberOf and give insight to similar items that may exist at higher and lower levels of abstraction. In addition, relationships such as CanFollow, PeerOf, and CanAlsoBe are defined to show similar attack patterns that the user may want to explore.
Meta Attack Pattern - A meta level attack pattern in CAPEC is a decidedly abstract characterization of a specific methodology or technique used in an attack. A meta attack pattern is often void of a specific technology or implementation and is meant to provide an understanding of a high level approach. A meta level attack pattern is a generalization of related group of standard level attack patterns. Meta level attack patterns are particularly useful for architecture and design level threat modeling exercises.
This type of an attack requires the attacker to know the endpoint of the web service, and be able to reach the endpoint with a malicious SOAP message.
Enforce strict schema validation. The schema should enforce a maximum number of array elements. If the number of maximum array elements can't be limited another validation method should be used. One such method could be comparing the declared number of items in the array with the existing number of elements of the array. If these numbers don't match drop the SOAP packet at the web service layer.
A Related Weakness relationship associates a weakness with this attack pattern. Each association implies a weakness that must exist for a given attack to be successful. If multiple weaknesses are associated with the attack pattern, then any of the weaknesses (but not necessarily all) may be present for the attack to be successful. Each related weakness is identified by a CWE identifier.
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Page Last Updated or Reviewed:
July 31, 2018