Getting start with Web Penetration testing

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Why web applications are major targets for attackers.

  • Web services are easy to penetrate as per the attacker’s point of view.
  • Web services are sensitive, attacker can get sensitive information.
  • Increasing of mobile application is attracts the attackers towards the web services.
  • Due to the lack of security implementations and resources available, web services play a vital role making it a possible attacking vector.

SOA Service Oriented Architecture

     Service oriented Architecture is a software design and software architecture design pattern based on discrete pieces of software that provide application functionality as services known as software oriented. A service is a self-contained logical representation of a repeatable function or activity. Services can be combined by other software applications that together provide the complete functionality of a large software application.

Service is well defined activity that does not depend on the state of other services.

Web service

A web service is a standardized way of establishing communication between two web-based application by using open standards over an internet protocol HTTP or HTTPS.

  • Web services are application components
  • Web services communicate using open protocols
  • Web services are self-contained and self-describing
  • Web services can be discovered using UDDI
  • Web services can be used by other applications
  • HTTP and XML is the basis for Web services


  • Language Interoperability (Programming language independent)
  • Platform Independent (Hardware and OS independent)
  • Function Re usability
  • Firewall Friendly
  • Use of Standardized Protocols
  • Stateless Communication
  • Economic

Component of web services

  • Service Consumer
  • Service Provider
  • XML (Extensible Markup Language)
  • SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol)
  • WSDL (Web Services Description Language)
  • UDDI (Universal Description, Discovery and Integration)

Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP)

SOAP is a XML-based protocol that lets applications exchange information over HTTP, web serviced use SOAP format to send XML requests.

The actual data flows in the body block and the meta data is usually carried by the header block.

Web Services Description Language (WSDL)

Web Services Description Language is an XML-based language for describing Web services and how to access them”.

As per pen testing web services are concerned, understanding of WSDL file helps a lot in manual pen testing. We can divide WSDL file structure in to two parts according to our definition. 1st part describes what the web service and the 2ndparts tells how to access them


What it contains


All the XML elements are packed under definition element. It is also called as root or parent element of the WSDL file.


All the schema types or data types defined here.


This is a dependent element. Message is specified according to the data types defined in types element. And used in sideoperation element later.


Element collects all the operations within a web service.


Collection of input, output, fault and other message as specified in message element.

input message

It’s nothing but the parameters of the method used in SOAP request.

output message

It’s nothing but the parameters of the method used in SOAP response.


This element connects part 2 of WSDL file with part1 associating itself to the portType element and allows to define the protocol you want to use.


It formulates the SOAP message at runtime.


Contains name of all the services provided by the service provider.


It provides the physical path or location of web server so that service consumer can connect with service provider.

Example WSDL file
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" ?> 
 <definitions xmlns="" xmlns:tns="" xmlns:mime="" xmlns:http="" xmlns:soapenc="" xmlns:itrcmns="" xmlns:xs="" xmlns:soap="" targetNamespace="">
 <xs:schema xmlns:itrException="" xmlns:authInfo="" targetNamespace="" elementFormDefault="qualified" attributeFormDefault="unqualified">
 <xs:import namespace="" schemaLocation="" /> 
 <xs:import namespace="" schemaLocation="" /> 
 <xs:element name="ITRInvalidDocFaultException" type="itrException:ITRInvalidDocFaultException" /> 
 <xs:element name="ITRCredentialFaultException" type="itrException:ITRCredentialFaultException" /> 
 <xs:element name="ITRInvalidCertificateFaultException" type="itrException:ITRInvalidCertificateFaultException" /> 
 <xs:element name="ITRServiceFaultException" type="itrException:ITRServiceFaultException" /> 
 <xs:element name="ITRBusinessServiceFaultException" type="itrException:ITRBusinessServiceFaultException" /> 
 <xs:element name="ITRFaultException" type="itrException:ITRFaultException" /> 


  • WSDL stands for Web Services Description Language
  • WSDL is an XML-based language for describing Web services.
  • WSDL is a W3C recommendation


  • SOAP stands for Simple Object Access Protocol
  • SOAP is an XML based protocol for accessing Web Services.
  • SOAP is based on XML
  • SOAP is a W3C recommendation



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