A quick test for you - can you tell what is abnormal about this web application request transaction that was captured by the WASC Distributed Open Proxy Honeypots Project?
GET http://www.example.com/ HTTP/1.1Two anomalous items of interest in this request -
User-Agent: User-Agent:Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; zh-CN; rv:184.108.40.206) Gecko/2009042316 Firefox/3.0.10
Cookie: dedifa=3984320578.43783.3716814272.929907673, BIGipCookie=0000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000
00000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000, ASPSESSIONIDCSCBAQDQ=KMBPKNLCKCHMOMJAOPDPEPDF, pmaCookieVer=4, phpMyAdmin=98kdlkphdefb4lr6g5q9pke4if6gh0hg, pma_fontsize=82%25, session-id=00710064d8f2a4412ad4aeff56e96a2d, 802db0210e6b5f898c3d7fb3f82e11c0=-, _WealthCity_session=BAh7BzoPc2Vzc2lvbl9pZCIlN2NiMjM4MDM1Njk5ZDRlZTllMTY
ae29, SQMSESSID=8dddae5eis8o9l2g6aul2o3ip4, JSESSIONID=678dcb81bdc1ce2e82346199c86d, SERVERID=A, CMSSESSID3aab33f1=96d98c3e54be906ecdf12195ada689a6, Compaq-HMMD=3BE1E1BD3B3B4AFED8970001A6AACE4862D267BC50C270927260D36E, _sm_au_d=1, SOrder=DatePr%2DDOWN%2D0%2D0%2D0%2D0, SRecInPage=30, ASPSESSIONIDCCRBACRC=DFEPKLMCAJDOEIPMMHNKMMCA, PHPSESSID=cf753ceefc14a51281818d11471552d4, _bz_session=BAh7BiIKZmxhc2hJQzonQWN0aW9uQ29udHJvbGxlcjo6Rmxhc2g6OkZsY
XNo%0ASGFzaHsABjoKQHVzZWR7AA%3D%3D--1eb7a63eabc98dec0e0f418633d652fb97f5a8db, _session_id=8e87b0524f883f7c820ec6a136f7438b, SATSATSQID=goZXTx8HbQ5eBfjGevkYJ5-Lv-M8ChUHe-NfvvDycOHkc8CTM2SrJ4F_Y_IPU6Sc, ARPT=ZXJIWKS10.32.254.104CKMWW, SESSdab19e82e1f9a681ee73346d3e7a575e=fbc279a6c6c2e66cac0a6aba173bb261, vb_session=77e75d1912c7b6d796dae865fb95149a, BAIDUID=2A880F37E13E5EB37286E3EFF5BF43AA:FG=1
1) Bogus User-Agent payload
Specifically the string "User-Agent" actually appears at the beginning of the header payload. This looks like a botched script that tried to spoof the User-Agent data.
Defensive recommendation - look for this string in the User-Agent field and tag the request as an automated client that is spoofing request header data.
2) Number of diverse SessionIDs
The number of SessionID related cookies in this request is certianly larger than normal. Also note that there are SessionIDs for different web application technologies -
ASPSESSIONID - for ASP web apps
JSESSIONID - for Java web apps
PHPSESSID - for PHP web apps
What are the odds that this website is running all three of those web technologies? Pretty slim...
My take is that the scripted client is just populating bogus SessionID data for a bunch of different apps with the hopes that this would pass basic filters that force a SessionID name to exist but don't have knowledge of valid/active values. The most likely candidate is a SPAM bot that is looking to post data to blogs, forums, etc...
Defensive recommendations -
A. Count the number of SessionIDs/Cookies submitted. If it is too large, then alert as appropriate.
B. Look for SessionIDs/Cookie names that do not match your web application technology.
There are numerous other methods to identify anomalous web application activity. Security applications that are able to automatically generate web application learning and profiling (such as web application firewalls and web fraud systems) and correlate data from application users are able to identify deviations from the norm. These are complex systems that have advanced logic components to identify anomalous traffic such as that which is presented here.