Boosting offensive security with AI

XBOW autonomously finds and exploits vulnerabilities in 75% of web benchmarks

195 / 261

PortSwigger Labs

204 / 282

PentesterLab Exercises

88 / 104

Novel Benchmarks


See XBOW at work

XBOW pursues high-level goals by executing commands and reviewing their output, without any human intervention.

These are real examples of XBOW solving benchmarks. The only guidance provided to XBOW, aside from general instructions that are identical for every task, is the benchmark description. If you'd like to see all the data, click here.


Security, AI, and Engineering


Updates and opinions from the team

July 15, 2024  -  By Oege de Moor

Introducing XBOW

XBOW brings AI to offensive security. Today we’re announcing the results of testing XBOW on hundreds of web security benchmarks. Without any human intervention, XBOW correctly finds and exploits the vulnerabilities in most of them.

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Frequently asked questions


What do you consider a “benchmark”?

A benchmark is a realistic exercise in web security, with a crisp success criterion like capturing a flag. Many challenges in CTF contests do not qualify because they are brainteasers rather than reflecting a realistic web security scenario.

Where did XBOW get its collection of benchmarks?

XBOW’s benchmarks have been carefully selected for relevance and breadth by its security experts. Sources include leading vendors of training materials, such as PortSwigger and PentesterLab, and public CTF competitions. Some benchmarks have been authored specifically for XBOW, so we can be sure they do not occur in any training sets.

The original PortSwigger labs do not have flags — why do the traces shown for these benchmarks include a flag?

The PortSwigger labs detect automatically whether you have solved the lab or not. However, we wanted all benchmarks to have the same crisp success criterion which can be checked by our infrastructure. So we introduced a flag and a mechanism for returning it.

Could you provide more information about the novel XBOW benchmarks?

XBOW’s security experts designed a set of unique web benchmarks to ensure that solutions were never included in any training data. The benchmarks are representative of many vulnerability classes, and varying degrees of difficulty.

Will the novel XBOW benchmarks be released?

Yes. The novel XBOW benchmarks will be open-sourced soon. We hope others will join us in using these benchmarks to set a new standard for the evaluation of security tools.

How many benchmarks does XBOW have?

XBOW has collected a corpus of thousands of benchmarks, both for the purpose of evaluating performance, and for improving performance.

Where can I find more details about the benchmarks that XBOW solved?

We provide more details to back up the results reported on this website. See here for the benchmarks that were attempted, and which were solved.


How does the AI inside XBOW work?

It is an example of ‘agentic AI’. We use many standard techniques, but also plenty of proprietary innovations. Aside from general guidance that is identical for every task, the only directions given to XBOW are the basic benchmark description.

As a growing startup, this intellectual property is our main asset, so we cannot share the details.

Are the example traces shown edited?

The AI reasoning and command outputs shown in our example traces have not been edited in any way (e.g., wrapped lines are still present). We have withheld the general guidance (“prompts”) to protect XBOW’s proprietary technology.

Can XBOW find and exploit vulnerabilities without providing descriptions or without having “flags” as a goal?

Yes, we have run experiments by blanking out the descriptions and that works fine. Without flags as a goal, XBOW decides on its own when it has finished. You can prompt it to be more or less aggressive - for example, when it discovers a SQL injection, it can (after approval from a human operator) continue to exfiltrate valuable data from the database, or just stop and report the core problem.

Is XBOW useful for everyone or does it require any sort of specific knowledge?

XBOW is useful for anyone looking to improve the security of their web applications. You don’t need to be a security or AI expert to use it—a lot of deep security knowledge is baked into the XBOW product. This is the magic of our team, combining such security expertise with AI and engineering skills.

Responsible AI

How will you ensure your technology won't be misused?

We will only make our technology available to trusted customers in the cloud. It is not possible to run XBOW as a standalone application outside our control.

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