CAPEC Details
Name XML Injection
Likelyhood of attack Typical severity
High High
Summary An attacker utilizes crafted XML user-controllable input to probe, attack, and inject data into the XML database, using techniques similar to SQL injection. The user-controllable input can allow for unauthorized viewing of data, bypassing authentication or the front-end application for direct XML database access, and possibly altering database information.
Prerequisites XML queries used to process user input and retrieve information stored in XML documents User-controllable input not properly sanitized
Execution Flow
Step Phase Description Techniques
1 Explore [Survey Application]
  • Spider web sites for all available links.
  • Gather results for analysis via responses or network sniffing.
2 Experiment [Test user-controllable inputs for injection]
  • Use XML reserved characters or words, possibly with other input data to attempt to cause unexpected results
Solutions Strong input validation - All user-controllable input must be validated and filtered for illegal characters as well as content that can be interpreted in the context of an XML data or a query. Use of custom error pages - Attackers can glean information about the nature of queries from descriptive error messages. Input validation must be coupled with customized error pages that inform about an error without disclosing information about the database or application.
Related Weaknesses
CWE ID Description
CWE-20 Improper Input Validation
CWE-74 Improper Neutralization of Special Elements in Output Used by a Downstream Component ('Injection')
CWE-91 XML Injection (aka Blind XPath Injection)
CWE-707 Improper Neutralization
CWE-713 OWASP Top Ten 2007 Category A2 - Injection Flaws
Related CAPECS
CAPEC ID Description
CAPEC-248 An adversary looking to execute a command of their choosing, injects new items into an existing command thus modifying interpretation away from what was intended. Commands in this context are often standalone strings that are interpreted by a downstream component and cause specific responses. This type of attack is possible when untrusted values are used to build these command strings. Weaknesses in input validation or command construction can enable the attack and lead to successful exploitation.
Taxonomy: WASC
Entry ID Entry Name
23 XML Injection