CS 4401 (A11): Software Security Engineering
Project 1: TurnOut-Web

The course staff have implemented a web-based gradebook (called TurnOut) for this course. By default, everyone is listed as getting an NR. You have two general tasks: exploit as many vulnerabilities as you can find in the system (including figuring out how to give yourself a better grade) and fix the system to prevent attacks.

There are three separate deliverables for this project, each due at the time stated (via web-Turnin) on the specified date:

TurnOut-web is running in the VMware image for this class. You may either work in the Fossil Lab in Fuller or setup the image on your home machine (by installing VMWare player, VMWare server or VirtualBox). To access the image, see the VMWare Setup Manual or Virtualbox Setup Manual. If you've never used the Fossil lab before, you might find this description (from another course) handy. Post to the discussion board with any questions about getting started. We will set up Fossil lab accounts and passwords on the first day of class.

WARNING: Fossil lab accounts are not backed up. You should back up your work to your CCC account, USB key, etc. This isn't very relevant for the attack deadlines, but is for the patching one.

For the blackbox deadline, simply load the turnout-web image. This will start up the turnout web server automatically. A message box will come up before the login screen that gives the virtual machine's IP address. You can run the web application by visiting this IP address in a web browser. If that screen is blank, it means the machine's IP address wasn't set yet. Press ctrl+alt+backspace to refresh under VMware server/player. Press right ctrl+backspace to refresh under virtualbox.

Access directions for the whitebox and patch deadlines will be provided after the blackbox deadline.

For the Attack Due Dates

Turn in a text file (raw text please, NOT doc/pdf/etc) with two main parts: a description of your attack strategy (what you looked for and what you tried) and a list of attacks you launched against the system. For each attack:

  1. Give concrete instructions to conduct it (we should be able to follow your steps exactly to reproduce the attack).
  2. Indicate whether the attack was successful.
  3. For the whitebox attacks, if an attack was inspired by the code instead of your attack strategy, also indicate what you saw in the code that led you to construct the attack.

Each attack you list should be qualitatively different. Multiple versions of the same attack will cost you points. Attacks are the same if they exploit the same vulnerability with the same result (ie, both use code injection with the same constructs in the same field to achieve the same goal). If you list multiple attacks that look similar but you think are not, give us a sentence or two of justification.

On the day that the whitebox tests are due, we will review some of the vulnerabilities that you found in class. You are free to draw on the attacks found by other students when you patch the code for the third deadline.

For the Patch Due Date

Submit a zip file containing edited versions of the source code and a README.txt file. Your README should describe each edit you made at a high level (such as "added filtering to the X input") and the class of attacks that edit is designed to mitigate. Your goal is to fix the code to avoid as many attacks as possible, not just the attacks that you personally identified for the first two deadlines.


In grading this assignment, we will look for:

We will not announce a number of attacks that you should aim for because real-world systems don't come with this information. A comprehensive and systematic attack strategy is your best evidence for the quality of your work on this assignment (it also helps us gauge your respective abilities in identifying vulnerabilities and crafting exploits).

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