Information Gathering Vulnerability Analysis

Dawnscanner – Dawn Is A Static Analysis Security Scanner For Ruby Written Web Applications (Sinatra, Padrino And ROR Frameworks)

Dawnscanner - Dawn Is A Static Analysis Security Scanner For Ruby Written Web Applications (Sinatra, Padrino And ROR Frameworks)

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dawnscanner is a source code scanner designed to review your ruby code for security issues.
dawnscanner is able to scan plain ruby scripts (e.g. command line applications) but all its features are unleashed when dealing with web applications source code. dawnscanner is able to scan major MVC (Model View Controller) frameworks, out of the box:


Quick update from November, 2018
As you can see dawnscanner is on hold since more then an year. Sorry for that. It’s life. I was overwhelmed by tons of stuff and I dedicated free time to Offensive Security certifications. True to be told, I’m starting OSCE journey really soon.
The dawnscanner project will be updated soon with new security checks and kickstarted again.
dawnscanner version 1.6.6 has 235 security checks loaded in its knowledge base. Most of them are CVE bulletins applying to gems or the ruby interpreter itself. There are also some check coming from Owasp Ruby on Rails cheatsheet.

An overall introduction
When you run dawnscanner on your code it parses your project Gemfile.lock looking for the gems used and it tries to detect the ruby interpreter version you are using or you declared in your ruby version management tool you like most (RVM, rbenv, …).
Then the tool tries to detect the MVC framework your web application uses and it applies the security check accordingly. There checks designed to match rails application or checks that are appliable to any ruby code.
dawnscanner can also understand the code in your views and to backtrack sinks to spot cross site scripting and sql injections introduced by the code you actually wrote. In the project roadmap this is the code most of the future development effort will be focused on.
dawnscanner security scan result is a list of vulnerabilities with some mitigation actions you want to follow in order to build a stronger web application.

You can install latest dawnscanner version, fetching it from Rubygems by typing:

$ gem install dawnscanner 

If you want to add dawn to your project Gemfile, you must add the following:

group :development do
  gem 'dawnscanner', :require=>false

And then upgrade your bundle

$ bundle install

You may want to build it from source, so you have to check it out from github first:

$ git clone
$ cd dawnscanner
$ bundle install
$ rake install

And the dawnscanner gem will be built in a pkg directory and then installed on your system. Please note that you have to manage dependencies on your own this way. It makes sense only if you want to hack the code or something like that.

You can start your code review with dawnscanner very easily. Simply tell the tool where the project root directory.
Underlying MVC framework is autodetected by dawnscanner using target Gemfile.lock file. If autodetect fails for some reason, the tool will complain about it and you have to specify if it’s a rails, sinatra or padrino web application by hand.
Basic usage is to specify some optional command line option to fit best your needs, and to specify the target directory where your code is stored.

$ dawn [options] target

In case of need, there is a quick command line option reference running dawn -h at your OS prompt.

$ dawn -h
Usage: dawn [options] target_directory

 $ dawn a_sinatra_webapp_directory
 $ dawn -C the_rails_blog_engine
 $ dawn -C --json a_sinatra_webapp_directory
 $ dawn --ascii-tabular-report my_rails_blog_ecommerce
 $ dawn --html -F my_report.html my_rails_blog_ecommerce

   -G, --gem-lock    force dawn to scan only for vulnerabilities affecting dependencies in Gemfile.lock (DEPRECATED)
   -d, --dependencies    force dawn to scan only for vulnerabilities affecting dependencies in Gemfile.lock


   -a, --ascii-tabular-report   cause dawn to format findings using tables in ascii art (DEPRECATED)
   -j, --json     cause dawn to format findings using json
   -K, --console     cause dawn to format findings using plain ascii text
   -C, --count-only    dawn will only count vulnerabilities (useful for scripts)
   -z, --exit-on-warn    dawn will return number of found vulnerabilities as exit code
   -F, --file filename    tells dawn to write output to filename
   -c, --config-file filename   tells dawn to load configuration from filename

Disable security check family

       --disable-cve-bulletins   disable all CVE security checks
       --disable-code-quality   disable all code quality checks
       --disable-code-style   disable all code style checks
       --disable-owasp-ror-cheatsheet  disable all Owasp Ruby on Rails cheatsheet checks
       --disable-owasp-top-10   disable all Owasp Top 10 checks

Flags useful to query Dawn

   -S, --search-knowledge-base [check_name] search check_name in the knowledge base
       --list-knowledge-base   list knowledge-base content
       --list-known-families   list security check families contained in dawn's knowledge base
       --list-known-framework   list ruby MVC frameworks supported by dawn
       --list-scan-registry   list past scan informations stored in scan registry 

Service flags

   -D, --debug     enters dawn debug mode
   -V, --verbose    the output will be more verbose
   -v, --version    show version information
   -h, --help     show this help

Rake task
To include dawnscanner in your rake task list, you simply have to put this line in your Rakefile

require 'dawn/tasks'

Then executing $ rake -T you will have a dawn:run task you want to execute.

$ rake -T
rake dawn:run                  # Execute dawnscanner on the current directory

Interacting with the knowledge base
You can dump all security checks in the knowledge base this way

$ dawn --list-knowledge-base

Useful in scripts, you can use --search-knowledge-base or -S with as parameter the check name you want to see if it’s implemented as a security control or not.

$ dawn -S CVE-2013-6421
07:59:30 [*] dawn v1.1.0 is starting up
CVE-2013-6421 found in knowledgebase.

$ dawn -S this_test_does_not_exist
08:02:17 [*] dawn v1.1.0 is starting up
this_test_does_not_exist not found in knowledgebase

dawnscanner security scan in action
As output, dawnscanner will put all security checks that are failed during the scan.
This the result of Codedake::dawnscanner running against a Sinatra 1.4.2 web application wrote for a talk I delivered in 2013 at Railsberry conference.
As you may see, dawnscanner first detects MVC running the application by looking at Gemfile.lock, than it discards all security checks not appliable to Sinatra (49 security checks, in version 1.0, especially designed for Ruby on Rails) and it applies them.

$ dawn ~/src/hacking/railsberry2013
18:40:27 [*] dawn v1.1.0 is starting up
18:40:27 [$] dawn: scanning /Users/thesp0nge/src/hacking/railsberry2013
18:40:27 [$] dawn: sinatra v1.4.2 detected
18:40:27 [$] dawn: applying all security checks
18:40:27 [$] dawn: 109 security checks applied - 0 security checks skipped
18:40:27 [$] dawn: 1 vulnerabilities found
18:40:27 [!] dawn: CVE-2013-1800 check failed
18:40:27 [$] dawn: Severity: high
18:40:27 [$] dawn: Priority: unknown
18:40:27 [$] dawn: Description: The crack gem 0.3.1 and earlier for Ruby does not properly restrict casts of string values, which might allow remote attackers to conduct object-injection attacks and execute arbitrary code, or cause a denial of service (memory and CPU consumption) by leveraging Action Pack support for (1) YAML type conversion or (2) Symbol type conversion, a similar vulnerability to CVE-2013-0156.
18:40:27 [$] dawn: Solution: Please use crack gem version 0.3.2 or above. Correct your gemfile
18:40:27 [$] dawn: Evidence:
18:40:27 [$] dawn:      Vulnerable crack gem version found: 0.3.1
18:40:27 [*] dawn is leaving

When you run dawnscanner on a web application with up to date dependencies, it’s likely to return a friendly no vulnerabilities found message. Keep it up working that way!
This is dawnscanner running against a Padrino web application I wrote for a scorecard quiz game about application security. Italian language only. Sorry.

18:42:39 [*] dawn v1.1.0 is starting up
18:42:39 [$] dawn: scanning /Users/thesp0nge/src/CORE_PROJECTS/scorecard
18:42:39 [$] dawn: padrino v0.11.2 detected
18:42:39 [$] dawn: applying all security checks
18:42:39 [$] dawn: 109 security checks applied - 0 security checks skipped
18:42:39 [*] dawn: no vulnerabilities found.
18:42:39 [*] dawn is leaving

If you need a fancy HTML report about your scan, just ask it to dawnscanner with the --html flag used with the --file since I wanto to save the HTML to disk.

$ dawn /Users/thesp0nge/src/hacking/rt_first_app --html --file report.html

09:00:54 [*] dawn v1.1.0 is starting up
09:00:54 [*] dawn: report.html created (2952 bytes)
09:00:54 [*] dawn is leaving

Useful links
Project homepage:
Twitter profile: @dawnscanner
Github repository:
Mailing list:!forum/dawnscanner

Thanks to
saten: first issue posted about a typo in the README
presidentbeef: for his outstanding work that inspired me creating dawn and for double check comparison matrix. Issue #2 is yours 🙂
marinerJB: for misc bug reports and further ideas
Matteo: for ideas on API and their usage with hooks