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CAPEC-256: SOAP Array Overflow

Attack Pattern ID: 256
Abstraction: Detailed
Status: Draft
Presentation Filter:
+ Description
An attacker sends a SOAP request with an array whose actual length exceeds the length indicated in the request. When a data structure including a SOAP array is instantiated, the sender transmits the size of the array as an explicit parameter along with the data. If the server processing the transmission naively trusts the specified size, then an attacker can intentionally understate the size of the array, possibly resulting in a buffer overflow if the server attempts to read the entire data set into the memory it allocated for a smaller array. This, in turn, can lead to a server crash or even the execution of arbitrary code.
+ Typical Severity


+ Relationships
Section HelpThis table shows the other attack patterns and high level categories that are related to this attack pattern. These relationships are defined as ChildOf and ParentOf, 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.
ChildOfStandard Attack PatternStandard Attack Pattern - A standard level attack pattern in CAPEC is focused on a specific methodology or technique used in an attack. It is often seen as a singular piece of a fully executed attack. A standard attack pattern is meant to provide sufficient details to understand the specific technique and how it attempts to accomplish a desired goal. A standard level attack pattern is a specific type of a more abstract meta level attack pattern.100Overflow Buffers
Section HelpThis table shows the views that this attack pattern belongs to and top level categories within that view.
+ Prerequisites
The targeted SOAP server must trust that the array size as stated in messages it receives is correct, but read through the entire content of the message regardless of the stated size of the array.
+ Resources Required
The attacker must be able to craft malformed SOAP messages, specifically, messages with arrays where the stated array size understates the actual size of the array in the message.
+ Mitigations
If the server either verifies the correctness of the stated array size or if the server stops processing an array once the stated number of elements have been read, regardless of the actual array size, then this attack will fail. The former detects the malformed SOAP message while the latter ensures that the server does not attempt to load more data than was allocated for.
+ Taxonomy Mappings
Relevant to the WASC taxonomy mapping
Entry IDEntry Name
35SOAP Array Abuse
+ References
[REF-102] Robin Cover, ed.. "XML and Web Services In The News". XML Daily Newslink. <>.
[REF-103] "Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) 1.1". 5.4.2 Arrays. W3C. 2006-11-29. <>.
+ Content History
Submission DateSubmitterOrganization
2014-06-23CAPEC Content TeamThe MITRE Corporation
Modification DateModifierOrganization
2017-08-04CAPEC Content TeamThe MITRE Corporation
Updated Related_Attack_Patterns
2019-04-04CAPEC Content TeamThe MITRE Corporation
Updated Related_Weaknesses
2020-12-17CAPEC Content TeamThe MITRE Corporation
Updated Taxonomy_Mappings
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Page Last Updated or Reviewed: December 17, 2020