A method for identifying Web applications

  • Mario Kozina
  • Marin Golub
  • Stjepan Groš
Regular Contribution


Web applications are ubiquitous in today’s businesses. The security of these applications is of utmost importance since security breaches might negatively impact good reputation, and even result in bankruptcy. There are different methods of assessing security of Web applications, mainly based on some automated method of scanning. One type of scan method feeds random data to the application and monitors its behavior. The other type uses a database with predefined vulnerabilities that are checked one by one until either a vulnerability is found, or it can be claimed that the application does not have any known vulnerabilities. The important step in latter type of scan process is the identification of the application since in this case we are narrowing number of checks and, as a consequence, the scan process is faster. This paper describes a method for Web application identification based on a black box principle. Our method is based on the invariance of certain characteristics of Web applications. We experimentally tested and confirmed the usefulness of this approach.


Web security Web application identification Fingerprinting 


  1. 1.
    bbPress: (2008)
  2. 2.
    Berners-Lee, T., Fielding, R., Masinter, L.: Uniform Resource Identifier (URI): generic syntax. RFC 3986 (Standard). (2005)
  3. 3.
    eBay: (2007)
  4. 4.
    Joomla!: (2007)
  5. 5.—Home: (2007)
  6. 6.
    MyBB—Free PHP and MySQL Forum Software: (2008)
  7. 7.
    Nessus vulnerability scanner: (2007)
  8. 8.
    phpBB—Creating Communities Worldwide (2008)
  9. 9.
    PHP-Nuke: (2007)
  10. 10.
    PostNuke CMS: a flexible open source content management system: (2008)
  11. 11.
    PunBB: (2008)
  12. 12.
    R Development Core Team: R: a language and environment for statistical computing. R Foundation for Statistical Computing, Vienna, Austria. ISBN 3-900051-07-0 (2009)
  13. 13.
    Rubin A.D., Geer D., Ranum M.J.: Web Security Sourcebook. Wiley, New York (1997)Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Rubin A.D., Geer D.E. Jr: A survey of web security. Computer 31(9), 34–41 (1998). doi: 10.1109/2.708448 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Security Administrator Tool for Analyzing Networks (SATAN): (2007)
  16. 16.
    UseBB—the usable forum software: (2008)
  17. 17.
    WAPITI—Web application vulnerability scanner/security auditor: (2008)
  18. 18.

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Electronics, Microelectronics, Computer and Intelligent Systems, Faculty of Electrical Engineering and ComputingUniversity of ZagrebZagrebCroatia

Personalised recommendations