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CAPEC-21: Exploitation of Trusted Credentials

Attack Pattern ID: 21
Abstraction: Meta
Status: Draft
Presentation Filter:
+ Description
Attacks on session IDs and resource IDs take advantage of the fact that some software accepts user input without verifying its authenticity. For example, a message queuing system that allows service requesters to post messages to its queue through an open channel (such as anonymous FTP), authorization is done through checking group or role membership contained in the posted message. However, there is no proof that the message itself, the information in the message (such group or role membership), or indeed the process that wrote the message to the queue are authentic and authorized to do so. Many server side processes are vulnerable to these attacks because the server to server communications have not been analyzed from a security perspective or the processes "trust" other systems because they are behind a firewall. In a similar way servers that use easy to guess or spoofable schemes for representing digital identity can also be vulnerable. Such systems frequently use schemes without cryptography and digital signatures (or with broken cryptography). Session IDs may be guessed due to insufficient randomness, poor protection (passed in the clear), lack of integrity (unsigned), or improperly correlation with access control policy enforcement points. Exposed configuration and properties files that contain system passwords, database connection strings, and such may also give an attacker an edge to identify these identifiers. The net result is that spoofing and impersonation is possible leading to an attacker's ability to break authentication, authorization, and audit controls on the system.
+ Likelihood Of Attack

High

+ Typical Severity

High

+ Relationships

The table(s) below shows the other attack patterns and high level categories that are related to this attack pattern. These relationships are defined as ChildOf, ParentOf, MemberOf and give insight to similar items that may exist at higher and lower levels of abstraction. In addition, relationships such as CanFollow, PeerOf, and CanAlsoBe are defined to show similar attack patterns that the user may want to explore.

+ Relevant to the view "Mechanisms of Attack" (CAPEC-1000)
NatureTypeIDName
MemberOfCategoryCategory - A category in CAPEC is a collection of attack patterns based on some common characteristic. More specifically, it is an aggregation of attack patterns based on effect/intent (as opposed to actions or mechanisms, such an aggregation would be a meta attack pattern). An aggregation based on effect/intent is not an actionable attack and as such is not a pattern of attack behavior. Rather, it is a grouping of patterns based on some common criteria.225Subvert Access Control
ParentOfStandard Attack PatternStandard Attack Pattern - A standard level attack pattern in CAPEC is focused on a specific methodology or technique used in an attack. It is often seen as a singular piece of a fully executed attack. A standard attack pattern is meant to provide sufficient details to understand the specific technique and how it attempts to accomplish a desired goal. A standard level attack pattern is a specific type of a more abstract meta level attack pattern.62Cross Site Request Forgery
ParentOfStandard Attack PatternStandard Attack Pattern - A standard level attack pattern in CAPEC is focused on a specific methodology or technique used in an attack. It is often seen as a singular piece of a fully executed attack. A standard attack pattern is meant to provide sufficient details to understand the specific technique and how it attempts to accomplish a desired goal. A standard level attack pattern is a specific type of a more abstract meta level attack pattern.196Session Credential Falsification through Forging
ParentOfStandard Attack PatternStandard Attack Pattern - A standard level attack pattern in CAPEC is focused on a specific methodology or technique used in an attack. It is often seen as a singular piece of a fully executed attack. A standard attack pattern is meant to provide sufficient details to understand the specific technique and how it attempts to accomplish a desired goal. A standard level attack pattern is a specific type of a more abstract meta level attack pattern.510SaaS User Request Forgery
ParentOfStandard Attack PatternStandard Attack Pattern - A standard level attack pattern in CAPEC is focused on a specific methodology or technique used in an attack. It is often seen as a singular piece of a fully executed attack. A standard attack pattern is meant to provide sufficient details to understand the specific technique and how it attempts to accomplish a desired goal. A standard level attack pattern is a specific type of a more abstract meta level attack pattern.560Use of Known Domain Credentials
ParentOfStandard Attack PatternStandard Attack Pattern - A standard level attack pattern in CAPEC is focused on a specific methodology or technique used in an attack. It is often seen as a singular piece of a fully executed attack. A standard attack pattern is meant to provide sufficient details to understand the specific technique and how it attempts to accomplish a desired goal. A standard level attack pattern is a specific type of a more abstract meta level attack pattern.593Session Hijacking
PeerOfStandard Attack PatternStandard Attack Pattern - A standard level attack pattern in CAPEC is focused on a specific methodology or technique used in an attack. It is often seen as a singular piece of a fully executed attack. A standard attack pattern is meant to provide sufficient details to understand the specific technique and how it attempts to accomplish a desired goal. A standard level attack pattern is a specific type of a more abstract meta level attack pattern.12Choosing Message Identifier
+ Relevant to the view "Domains of Attack" (CAPEC-3000)
NatureTypeIDName
MemberOfCategoryCategory - A category in CAPEC is a collection of attack patterns based on some common characteristic. More specifically, it is an aggregation of attack patterns based on effect/intent (as opposed to actions or mechanisms, such an aggregation would be a meta attack pattern). An aggregation based on effect/intent is not an actionable attack and as such is not a pattern of attack behavior. Rather, it is a grouping of patterns based on some common criteria.513Software
+ Execution Flow
Explore
  1. Survey the application for Indicators of Susceptibility: Using a variety of methods, until one is found that applies to the target system. the attacker probes for credentials, session tokens, or entry points that bypass credentials altogether. Spider all available pages Attack known bad interfaces

    Techniques
    Spider all available pages
    Attack known bad interfaces
Experiment
  1. Fetch samples: An attacker fetches many samples of a session ID. This may be through legitimate access (logging in, legitimate connections, etc) or just systematic probing. An attacker makes many anonymous connections and records the session IDs assigned. An attacker makes authorized connections and records the session tokens or credentials issued. An attacker gains access to (legitimately or illegitimately) a nearby system (e.g., in the same operations network, DMZ, or local network) and makes a connections from it, attempting to gain the same privileges as a trusted system.

    Techniques
    An attacker makes many anonymous connections and records the session IDs assigned.
    An attacker makes authorized connections and records the session tokens or credentials issued.
    An attacker gains access to (legitimately or illegitimately) a nearby system (e.g., in the same operations network, DMZ, or local network) and makes a connections from it, attempting to gain the same privileges as a trusted system.
Exploit
  1. Impersonate: An attacker can use successful experiments to impersonate an authorized user or system

  2. Spoofing: Bad data can be injected into the system by an attacker.

+ Prerequisites
Server software must rely on weak session IDs proof and/or verification schemes
+ Skills Required
[Level: Low]
To achieve a direct connection with the weak or non-existent server session access control, and pose as an authorized user
+ Resources Required
Ability to deploy software on network. Ability to communicate synchronously or asynchronously with server
+ Consequences

The table below specifies different individual consequences associated with the attack pattern. The Scope identifies the security property that is violated, while the Impact describes the negative technical impact that arises if an adversary succeeds in their attack. The Likelihood provides information about how likely the specific consequence is expected to be seen relative to the other consequences in the list. For example, there may be high likelihood that a pattern will be used to achieve a certain impact, but a low likelihood that it will be exploited to achieve a different impact.

ScopeImpactLikelihood
Confidentiality
Access Control
Authorization
Gain Privileges
Confidentiality
Read Data
Integrity
Modify Data
+ Mitigations
Design: utilize strong federated identity such as SAML to encrypt and sign identity tokens in transit.
Implementation: Use industry standards session key generation mechanisms that utilize high amount of entropy to generate the session key. Many standard web and application servers will perform this task on your behalf.
Implementation: If the session identifier is used for authentication, such as in the so-called single sign on use cases, then ensure that it is protected at the same level of assurance as authentication tokens.
Implementation: If the web or application server supports it, then encrypting and/or signing the session ID (such as cookie) can protect the ID if intercepted.
Design: Use strong session identifiers that are protected in transit and at rest.
Implementation: Utilize a session timeout for all sessions, for example 20 minutes. If the user does not explicitly logout, the server terminates their session after this period of inactivity. If the user logs back in then a new session key is generated.
Implementation: Verify of authenticity of all session IDs at runtime.
+ Example Instances

Thin client applications like web applications are particularly vulnerable to session ID attacks. Since the server has very little control over the client, but still must track sessions, data, and objects on the server side, cookies and other mechanisms have been used to pass the key to the session data between the client and server. When these session keys are compromised it is trivial for an attacker to impersonate a user's session in effect, have the same capabilities as the authorized user. There are two main ways for an attacker to exploit session IDs.

A brute force attack involves an attacker repeatedly attempting to query the system with a spoofed session header in the HTTP request. A web server that uses a short session ID can be easily spoofed by trying many possible combinations so the parameters session-ID= 1234 has few possible combinations, and an attacker can retry several hundred or thousand request with little to no issue on their side.

The second method is interception, where a tool such as wireshark is used to sniff the wire and pull off any unprotected session identifiers. The attacker can then use these variables and access the application.

+ References
[REF-1] G. Hoglund and G. McGraw. "Exploiting Software: How to Break Code". Addison-Wesley. 2004-02.
+ Content History
Submissions
Submission DateSubmitterOrganization
2014-06-23CAPEC Content TeamThe MITRE Corporation
Modifications
Modification DateModifierOrganization
2015-11-09CAPEC Content TeamThe MITRE Corporation
Updated Related_Attack_Patterns
Previous Entry Names
Change DatePrevious Entry Name
2015-11-09Exploitation of Session Variables, Resource IDs and other Trusted Credentials

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Page Last Updated or Reviewed: July 31, 2018