Mariano Ceccato, Cu D. Nguyen, Dennis Appelt, Lionel C. Briand

Sofia: An automated security oracle for black-box testing of sql-injection vulnerabilities


Security testing is a pivotal activity in engineering secure software. It consists of two phases: generating attack inputs to test the system, and assessing whether test executions expose any vulnerabilities. The latter phase is known as the security oracle problem.

In this work, we present SOFIA, a Security Oracle for SQL-Injection Vulnerabilities. SOFIA is programming-language and source-code independent, and can be used with various attack generation tools. Moreover, because it does not rely on known attacks for learning, SOFIA is meant to also detect types of SQLi attacks that might be unknown at learning time. The oracle challenge is recast as a one-class classification problem where we learn to characterise legitimate SQL statements to accurately distinguish them from SQLi attack statements.

We have carried out an experimental validation on six applications, among which two are large and widely-used. SOFIA was used to detect real SQLi vulnerabilities with inputs generated by three attack generation tools. The obtained results show that SOFIA is computationally fast and achieves a recall rate of 100% (i.e., missing no attacks) with a low false positive rate (0.6%).

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Maintainer: ceccato at fbk dot eu