A new rule to prevent SQL in JSON

Team82 has published an exciting research article about bypassing web application firewalls using a specific SQL syntax that uses JSON. More information about their research can be found here.

An example payload described by Team82 could be:

1 OR JSON_EXTRACT('{"foo":1}','$.foo')=1

The OWASP Core Rule Set is blocking all payloads reported by Team82 at paranoia level 2 basically just with the rule 942110 "SQL Injection Attack: Common Injection Testing Detected".

Though blocking this at paranoia level 2 is great, we decided to define a new rule to block all “JSON in SQL” payloads at the default level (paranoia level 1). More information about the new rule can be reached by visiting the related pull request page on the CRS GitHub repository.

If you are a fan of bash one line, you can download the new rule by copying and pasting the following command:

curl -s 'https://raw.githubusercontent.com/coreruleset/coreruleset/v4.0/dev/rules/REQUEST-942-APPLICATION-ATTACK-SQLI.conf' | grep -Pzo '(?s)\n[#] This rule tries to match JSON SQL.*JSON-Based SQL Injection.*?"\n\n' 

Or you can copy and paste the new rule from here:

# This rule tries to match JSON SQL syntax that could be used as a bypass technique.
# Referring to this research: https://claroty.com/team82/research/js-on-security-off-abusing-json-based-sql-to-bypass-waf
# Regular expression generated from regex-assembly/942550.ra.
# To update the regular expression run the following shell script
# (consult https://coreruleset.org/docs/development/regex_assembly/ for details):
#   crs-toolchain regex update 942550
SecRule REQUEST_FILENAME|REQUEST_COOKIES|!REQUEST_COOKIES:/__utm/|REQUEST_COOKIES_NAMES|ARGS_NAMES|ARGS|XML:/* "@rx [\"'`][\[\{].*[\]\}][\"'`].*(::.*jsonb?)?.*(?:(?:@|->?)>|<@|\?[&\|]?|#>>?|[<>]|<-)|(?:(?:@|->?)>|<@|\?[&\|]?|#>>?|[<>]|<-)[\"'`][\[\{].*[\]\}][\"'`]|json_extract.*\(.*\)" \
    msg:'JSON-Based SQL Injection',\
    logdata:'Matched Data: %{TX.0} found within %{MATCHED_VAR_NAME}: %{MATCHED_VAR}',\

Basic SQLi Challenge

We’re constantly working on our sandbox, and since this new bypass has come out we have created a few SQL Injection vulnerable applications to test our ruleset against new bypass techniques.

If you want to test the OWASP Core Rule Set against SQL Injection payloads, you can use the following challenges we’ve prepared:

MySQL SQL Injection in querystring parameter
SQL Injection in URI path

SQL Injection in querystring parameter
SQL Injection in URI path


We take every bypass seriously, but we expect bypasses at the default paranoia level. So, if you want to test your payloads at higher paranoia levels, you could send specific headers as described in the sandbox documentation here.

This is an example of a request using paranoia level 2:

curl 'https://sandbox.coreruleset.org/challenges/php-sqli-01/?id=1+OR+1=1--' \
   -H 'x-format-output: txt-matched-rules' \
   -H 'x-crs-paranoia-level: 2' 
942100 PL1 SQL Injection Attack Detected via libinjection
942130 PL2 SQL Injection Attack: SQL Boolean-based attack detected
942390 PL2 SQL Injection Attack
949110 PL1 Inbound Anomaly Score Exceeded (Total Score: 15)


Alessandro Monachesi