Bug reporting

The framework is under continuous development and we might introduce bugs and regressions while trying to implement new features. We use continuous integration and heavy unit and integration testing to avoid most of these but some simply reach to our users (doh!)

Good bug reporting practices

If you’re using the latest version of the framework and find a bug, please report it including the following information:

  • Detailed steps to reproduce it
  • Expected and obtained output
  • Python traceback (if exists)
  • Output of the ./w3af_console --version command
  • Log file with verbose set to True (see below)

When reporting installation bugs and issues that might relate to your environment, it is a good idea to include detailed system information.

user@box:~/w3af$ wget http://goo.gl/eXpPDl -O collect-sysinfo.py
user@box:~/w3af$ chmod +x collect-sysinfo.py
user@box:~/w3af$ ./collect-sysinfo.py

This will generate a file called /tmp/w3af-sysinfo.txt which you may include in your bug report.

Making sure you’re on the latest version

w3af is usually installed in two different ways by our users:

  • apt-get install w3af (or similar)
  • git clone git@github.com:andresriancho/w3af.git

Installing using the Operating System package manager is the easiest way, but will usually install an old version of the software that won’t be able to update.rst. For reporting bugs we recommend you install the latest w3af from our repository.

Cloning from the git repository into a directory in your home is the recommended way and will allow auto-updates which guarantee you’re always using the latest and greatest.

Getting the specific w3af version is easy using the --version command line argument:

user@box:~/w3af$ ./w3af_console --version
w3af - Web Application Attack and Audit Framework
Version: 1.5
Revision: 4d66c2040d - 17 Mar 2014 21:17
Branch: master
Local changes: Yes
Author: Andres Riancho and the w3af team.

The output of the command is simple to understand, but lets go through it just in case:

  • Version: 1.5: The w3af version number
  • Revision: 4d66c2040d - 17 Mar 2014 21:17: If this line is present you’ve installed w3af by cloning from our repository. 4d66c2040d is the SHA1 ID of the latest git commit your system knows about.
  • Branch: master: The git branch your installation is running from. In most cases this should be one of master or develop.
  • Local changes: Yes: Indicates if you’ve manually modified w3af‘s source code

Just to make sure you’re on the latest version run git pull inside the w3af directory making sure that Already up-to-date. appears:

user@box:~/w3af$ git pull
Already up-to-date.

Now you’re ready to report a bug!

Basic debugging

When you want to know what the framework is doing the best way is to enable the text_file output plugin, making sure that the verbose configuration setting set to true. This will generate a very detailed output file which can be used to gain an insight on w3af‘s internals.

output text_file
output config text_file
set verbose True

False negatives

If w3af is failing to identify a vulnerability which you manually verified please make sure that:

  • The audit plugin that identifies that vulnerability is enabled
  • Using basic debugging, make sure that w3af finds the URL and parameter associated with the vulnerability. If you don’t see that in the log, make sure the crawl.web_spider plugin is enabled.

False negatives should be reported just like bugs , including all the same information.

False positives

Nobody likes false positives, you go from the adrenaline of “The site is vulnerable to SQL injection!” to “Nope, false positive” in less than a minute. Not good for your heart.

Please report the false positives like bugs , in our repository. Include as much information as possible, remember that we’ll have to verify the false positive, write a unittest and then fix it.

Common problems

After many years of w3af development we’ve found some common problems that, while not a bug, annoy our users and are common enough to include in this section.

Outdated profiles

One of those issues appears when the user migrates from an old w3af version to a new one, and the profiles stored in the user directory are incompatible with the latest version. w3af will try to open the old profile and fail, users will see something like:

Profile error

The error is self explanatory: “The profile you are trying to load is outdated”, but lacks some “quick actions” that the user can perform to avoid seeing this error. If you don’t care about the old profiles just:

user@box:~/$ rm -rf ~/.w3af/profiles/

The next time w3af is run, it will copy the default profiles to the user’s home directory.

For users that really care about the profiles which are in the old version, I recommend you migrate them manually using these steps:

  • Backup your profiles
  • Remove them from the home directory (~/.w3af/profiles/)
  • Open the profile to migrate using a text editor
  • Open w3af and create a new plugin
  • Save the newly created plugin