CAPEC Details
Name XML Routing Detour Attacks
Likelyhood of attack Typical severity
High Medium
Summary An attacker subverts an intermediate system used to process XML content and forces the intermediate to modify and/or re-route the processing of the content. XML Routing Detour Attacks are Adversary in the Middle type attacks (CAPEC-94). The attacker compromises or inserts an intermediate system in the processing of the XML message. For example, WS-Routing can be used to specify a series of nodes or intermediaries through which content is passed. If any of the intermediate nodes in this route are compromised by an attacker they could be used for a routing detour attack. From the compromised system the attacker is able to route the XML process to other nodes of their choice and modify the responses so that the normal chain of processing is unaware of the interception. This system can forward the message to an outside entity and hide the forwarding and processing from the legitimate processing systems by altering the header information.
Prerequisites The targeted system must have multiple stages processing of XML content.
Execution Flow
Step Phase Description Techniques
1 Explore [Survey the target] Using command line or an automated tool, an attacker records all instances of web services to process XML requests.
  • Use automated tool to record all instances to process XML requests or find exposed WSDL.
  • Use tools to crawl WSDL
2 Experiment [Identify SOAP messages that have multiple state processing.] Inspect instance to see whether the XML processing has multiple stages or not.
  • Inspect the SOAP message routing head to see whether the XML processing has multiple stages or not.
3 Exploit [Launch an XML routing detour attack] The attacker injects a bogus routing node (using a WS-Referral service) into the routing table of the XML header of the SOAP message identified in the Explore phase. Thus, the attacker can route the XML message to the attacker controlled node (and access the message contents).
  • The attacker injects a bogus routing node (using a WS-Referral service) into the routing table of the XML header of the SOAP message
Solutions Design: Specify maximum number intermediate nodes for the request and require SSL connections with mutual authentication. Implementation: Use SSL for connections between all parties with mutual authentication.
Related Weaknesses
CWE ID Description
CWE-441 Unintended Proxy or Intermediary ('Confused Deputy')
CWE-610 Externally Controlled Reference to a Resource in Another Sphere
Related CAPECS
CAPEC ID Description
CAPEC-94 An adversary targets the communication between two components (typically client and server), in order to alter or obtain data from transactions. A general approach entails the adversary placing themself within the communication channel between the two components. Whenever one component attempts to communicate with the other (data flow, authentication challenges, etc.), the data first flows through the adversary, who has the opportunity to observe or alter it, before being passed on to the intended recipient as if it was never observed. This interposition is transparent leaving the two compromised components unaware of the potential corruption or leakage of their communications. The potential for these attacks yields an implicit lack of trust in communication or identify between two components. These attacks differ from Sniffing Attacks (CAPEC-157) since these attacks often modify the communications prior to delivering it to the intended recipient.
Taxonomy: WASC
Entry ID Entry Name
32 Routing Detour
44 XML Entity Expansion