Finding Bugs In Dynamic Web Applications

Unknown author (2008-02-06)

Web script crashes and malformed dynamically-generated web pages are common errors, and they seriously impact usability of web applications. Currenttools for web-page validation cannot handle the dynamically-generatedpages that are ubiquitous on today's Internet.In this work, we apply a dynamic test generation technique, based oncombined concrete and symbolic execution, to the domain of dynamic webapplications. The technique generates tests automatically andminimizes the bug-inducing inputs to reduce duplication and to makethe bug reports small and easy to understand and fix.We implemented the technique in Apollo, an automated tool thatfound dozens of bugs in real PHP applications. Apollo generatestest inputs for the web application, monitors the application forcrashes, and validates that the output conforms to the HTMLspecification. This paper presents Apollo's algorithms andimplementation, and an experimental evaluation that revealed a totalof 214 bugs in 4 open-source PHP web applications.