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CAPEC-130: Excessive Allocation

Excessive Allocation
Definition in a New Window Definition in a New Window
Attack Pattern ID: 130
Abstraction: Meta
Status: Stable
Completeness: Complete
Presentation Filter:
+ Summary

An adversary causes the target to allocate excessive resources to servicing the attackers' request, thereby reducing the resources available for legitimate services and degrading or denying services. Usually, this attack focuses on memory allocation, but any finite resource on the target could be the attacked, including bandwidth, processing cycles, or other resources. This attack does not attempt to force this allocation through a large number of requests (that would be Resource Depletion through Flooding) but instead uses one or a small number of requests that are carefully formatted to force the target to allocate excessive resources to service this request(s). Often this attack takes advantage of a bug in the target to cause the target to allocate resources vastly beyond what would be needed for a normal request.

+ Attack Prerequisites
  • The target must accept service requests from the attacker and the adversary must be able to control the resource allocation associated with this request to be in excess of the normal allocation. The latter is usually accomplished through the presence of a bug on the target that allows the adversary to manipulate variables used in the allocation.

+ Typical Severity


+ Typical Likelihood of Exploit

Likelihood: Medium

+ Examples-Instances


In an Integer Attack, the adversary could cause a variable that controls allocation for a request to hold an excessively large value. Excessive allocation of resources can render a service degraded or unavailable to legitimate users and can even lead to crashing of the target.

+ Resources Required

No special resources are required for this attack.

+ Solutions and Mitigations

Limit the amount of resources that are accessible to unprivileged users.

Assume all input is malicious. Consider all potentially relevant properties when validating input.

Consider uniformly throttling all requests in order to make it more difficult to consume resources more quickly than they can again be freed.

Use resource-limiting settings, if possible.

+ Attack Motivation-Consequences
ScopeTechnical ImpactNote
DoS: resource consumption (memory)
A successful excessive allocation attack forces the target system to exhaust its resources, thereby compromising the availability of its service.
+ Content History
CAPEC Content TeamThe MITRE Corporation2014-06-23Internal_CAPEC_Team
CAPEC Content TeamThe MITRE Corporation2017-05-01Updated Activation_Zone, Attack_Motivation-Consequences, Attack_Prerequisites, Description Summary, Examples-Instances, Injection_Vector, Payload, Payload_Activation_Impact, Resources_Required, Solutions_and_Mitigations, Typical_Likelihood_of_ExploitInternal
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Page Last Updated or Reviewed: May 01, 2017