An adversary is able to exploit features of the target that should be reserved for privileged users or administrators but are exposed to use by lower or non-privileged accounts. Access to sensitive information and functionality must be controlled to ensure that only authorized users are able to access these resources. If access control mechanisms are absent or misconfigured, a user may be able to access resources that are intended only for higher level users. An adversary may be able to exploit this to utilize a less trusted account to gain information and perform activities reserved for more trusted accounts. This attack differs from privilege escalation and other privilege stealing attacks in that the adversary never actually escalates their privileges but instead is able to use a lesser degree of privilege to access resources that should be (but are not) reserved for higher privilege accounts. Likewise, the adversary does not exploit trust or subvert systems - all control functionality is working as configured but the configuration does not adequately protect sensitive resources at an appropriate level.
The target must have misconfigured their access control mechanisms such that sensitive information, which should only be accessible to more trusted users, remains accessible to less trusted users.
The adversary must have access to the target, albeit with an account that is less privileged than would be appropriate for the targeted resources.
None: No specialized resources are required to execute this type of attack. The ability to access the target is required.
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Page Last Updated or Reviewed:
August 04, 2017
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