Web directories are a crucial component of many websites, organising web content into categories and subcategories to help users navigate and locate information easily. However, hackers and security professionals also use web directories as a potential entry point to discover hidden content on a web server that are not intended to be publicly accessible. This technique is known as directory brute forcing and involves systematically trying a large number of possible directory and file names until a valid one is found. Aardwolf Security’s DirSmash is an open-source Python script that automates the directory brute forcing process. In this article, we will discuss how DirSmash works, its purpose, and how to run the code to help security professionals identify potential vulnerabilities in web applications and web servers.
What is a web directory?
Web directories are hierarchical structures that organise web content into categories and subcategories, making it easier for users to navigate and locate the information they need. Directories are distinct from search engines, which rely on algorithms to index web content and rank it based on relevance to search queries.
In a web directory, each category and subcategory has a unique URL or web address. For example, the URL for the “Sports” category on a hypothetical web directory might be https://www.example.com/directory/sports/. Within the Sports category, there may be subcategories such as “Basketball”, “Football”, and “Tennis”, each with its own unique URL.
What is directory brute forcing?
Directory brute forcing is a technique used by hackers and security professionals to discover hidden directories or files on a web server that are not intended to be publicly accessible. The brute forcing process involves systematically trying a large number of possible directory and file names until a valid one is found.
This technique is effective because many web applications use predictable naming conventions for their directories and files. For example, a web application may store all of its images in a directory called “images”, or it may use a consistent naming convention for product pages such as “product1.html”, “product2.html”, and so on.
What is the purpose of DirSmash?
DirSmash is an open source Python script developed by Aardwolf Security that automates the process of directory brute forcing. The script generates a list of possible directory and file names based on common naming conventions and then sends HTTP requests to the target server to see if any of the directories or files exist.
The purpose of DirSmash is to help security professionals identify potential vulnerabilities in web applications and web servers. By discovering hidden directories and files, security professionals can identify areas of the web application that may be vulnerable to attack and take steps to secure them.
How the code works
DirSmash is written in Python and uses the requests library to send HTTP requests to the target server. The script generates a list of possible directory and file names based on common naming conventions and then sends requests to the target server for each directory and file in the list.
If the server responds with a 200 status code, indicating that the directory or file exists, DirSmash will log the URL and status code to the console. If the server responds with a different status code, indicating that the directory or file does not exist or is not accessible, DirSmash will continue to the next directory or file in the list.
DirSmash also includes options for specifying the target URL, the wordlist file to use, and the number of threads to use for the brute forcing process.
How to run DirSmash
To run DirSmash, you will need to have Python and the requests library installed on your system. You can download the script from the Aardwolf Security GitHub repository at: https://github.com/aardwolfsecurityltd/DirSmash/blob/main/dirsmash.py.
Once you have downloaded the script, open a terminal window and navigate to the directory where the script is located. To run the script, enter the following command:
python dirsmash.py -u <target URL> -w <wordlist file> -t <number of threads>
<target URL> with the URL of the target web application or server,
<wordlist file> with the path to the wordlist file you want to use, and
<number of threads> with the number of threads you want to use for the brute forcing process.
DirSmash will then begin sending HTTP requests to the target server for each directory and file in the wordlist file. The script will log any status codes indicating the existence of the directory or file. This information can then be used to further investigate potential vulnerabilities and secure the web application or server.
DirSmash is a valuable addition to any security professional’s toolkit, but it is important to use it ethically and responsibly. It is crucial to obtain proper authorization before using DirSmash or any other security tool to ensure that you are not violating any laws or policies.
In addition, it is important to keep in mind that the brute forcing process can be resource-intensive and may generate a significant amount of traffic to the target server. This can result in server overload, slow response times, or even cause the server to crash. It is crucial to use DirSmash with caution and to limit the number of requests sent at any given time.
In summary, DirSmash is a powerful tool that can be used to identify potential vulnerabilities in web applications and web servers through directory brute forcing. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can learn how to run the code and uncover hidden directories and files on your web server. However, it is important to use this tool ethically and responsibly and to obtain proper authorisation before using it. Always keep in mind the potential impact of the brute forcing process on the target server and use DirSmash with caution.