Home > CAPEC List > CAPEC-180: Exploiting Incorrectly Configured Access Control Security Levels (Version 2.9)  

CAPEC-180: Exploiting Incorrectly Configured Access Control Security Levels

 
Exploiting Incorrectly Configured Access Control Security Levels
Definition in a New Window Definition in a New Window
Attack Pattern ID: 180
Abstraction: Standard
Status: Draft
Completeness: Complete
Presentation Filter:
+ Summary

An attacker exploits a weakness in the configuration of access controls and is able to bypass the intended protection that these measures guard against and thereby obtain unauthorized access to the system or network. Sensitive functionality should always be protected with access controls. However configuring all but the most trivial access control systems can be very complicated and there are many opportunities for mistakes. If an attacker can learn of incorrectly configured access security settings, they may be able to exploit this in an attack. Most commonly, attackers would take advantage of controls that provided too little protection for sensitive activities in order to perform actions that should be denied to them. In some circumstances, an attacker may be able to take advantage of overly restrictive access control policies, initiating denial of services (if an application locks because it unexpectedly failed to be granted access) or causing other legitimate actions to fail due to security. The latter class of attacks, however, is usually less severe and easier to detect than attacks based on inadequate security restrictions. This attack pattern differs from CAPEC 1, "Accessing Functionality Not Properly Constrained by ACLs" in that the latter describes attacks where sensitive functionality lacks access controls, where, in this pattern, the access control is present, but incorrectly configured.

+ Attack Execution Flow
Explore
  1. Survey:

    The attacker surveys the target application, possibly as a valid and authenticated user.

    Attack Step Techniques

    IDAttack Step Technique DescriptionEnvironments
    1

    Spider the web site for all available links.

    env-Web
    2

    Brute force to guess all function names/action with different privileges.

    env-Web

    Indicators

    IDTypeIndicator DescriptionEnvironments
    1Positive

    Access control mechanism is present in the system.

    env-Web
    2Positive

    Operating modes with different privileges are present in the system.

    env-Web

    Outcomes

    IDTypeOutcome Description
    1Success
    The attacker gets a list of functionality and data that can be accessed through the system.

    Security Controls

    IDTypeSecurity Control Description
    1Preventative
    Correctly configure access control policy.
Experiment
  1. Identify weak points in access control configurations:

    The attacker probes the access control for functions and data identified in the Explore phase to identify potential weaknesses in how the access controls are configured.

    Attack Step Techniques

    IDAttack Step Technique DescriptionEnvironments
    1

    The attacker attempts authenticated access to targeted functions and data.

    env-All
    2

    The attacker attempts unauthenticated access to targeted functions and data.

    env-All
    1

    The attacker attempts indirect and side channel access to targeted functions and data.

    env-All
Exploit
  1. Access the function or data bypassing the access control:

    The attacker executes the function or accesses the data identified in the Explore phase bypassing the access control.

    Attack Step Techniques

    IDAttack Step Technique DescriptionEnvironments
    1

    The attacker executes the function or accesses the data not authorized to him.

    env-All

    Outcomes

    IDTypeOutcome Description
    1Success
    Functionality is accessible to unauthorized users.

    Security Controls

    IDTypeSecurity Control Description
    1Preventative
    Configure the access control correctly.
+ Attack Prerequisites
  • The target must apply access controls, but incorrectly configure them. However, not all incorrect configurations can be exploited by an attacker. If the incorrect configuration applies too little security to some functionality, then the attacker may be able to exploit it if the access control would be the only thing preventing an attacker's access and it no longer does so. If the incorrect configuration applies too much security, it must prevent legitimate activity and the attacker must be able to force others to require this activity..

+ Typical Severity

Medium

+ Typical Likelihood of Exploit

Likelihood: High

+ Methods of Attack
  • Analysis
  • Brute Force
+ Examples-Instances

Description

For example, an incorrectly configured Web server, may allow unauthorized access to it, thus threaten the security of the Web application.

+ Attacker Skills or Knowledge Required

Skill or Knowledge Level: Low

In order to discover unrestricted resources, the attacker does not need special tools or skills. He only has to observe the resources or access mechanisms invoked as each action is performed and then try and access those access mechanisms directly.

+ Resources Required

No special resources are required for this attack.

+ Solutions and Mitigations

Design: Configure the access control correctly.

+ Attack Motivation-Consequences
ScopeTechnical ImpactNote
Integrity
Modify files or directories
Confidentiality
Read files or directories
Integrity
Modify application data
Confidentiality
Read memory
Integrity
Modify memory
Confidentiality
Read application data
Authorization
Execute unauthorized code or commands
Run Arbitrary Code
Authorization
Gain privileges / assume identity
Access_Control
Authorization
Bypass protection mechanism
Availability
DoS: crash / exit / restart
DoS: instability
+ Purposes
  • Penetration
+ CIA Impact
Confidentiality Impact: HighIntegrity Impact: HighAvailability Impact: High
+ Technical Context
Architectural Paradigms
All
Frameworks
All
Platforms
All
Languages
All
+ References
[R.180.1] [REF-11] Silvio Cesare. "Share Library Call Redirection Via ELF PLT Infection". Issue 56. Phrack Magazine. 2000. <http://www.phrack.org/issues.html?issue=56&id=7>.
[R.180.2] [REF-8] "OWASP Top 10". OWASP Top 10 2007 – Malicious File Execution. 2007. The Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP). <http://www.owasp.org/index.php/Top_10_2007-A3>.
+ Content History
Submissions
SubmitterOrganizationDateSource
CAPEC Content TeamThe MITRE Corporation2014-06-23Internal_CAPEC_Team
Modifications
ModifierOrganizationDateCommentsSource
CAPEC Content TeamThe MITRE Corporation2015-11-09Updated Attack_PhasesInternal
CAPEC Content TeamThe MITRE Corporation2015-12-07Updated Attack_PhasesInternal
CAPEC Content TeamThe MITRE Corporation2017-01-09Updated Attack_PhasesInternal

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Page Last Updated or Reviewed: December 07, 2015