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CAPEC-37: Retrieve Embedded Sensitive Data

 
Retrieve Embedded Sensitive Data
Definition in a New Window Definition in a New Window
Attack Pattern ID: 37
Abstraction: Detailed
Status: Draft
Completeness: Complete
Presentation Filter:
+ Summary

An attacker examines a target system to find sensitive data that has been embedded within it. This information can reveal confidential contents, such as account numbers or individual keys/credentials that can be used as an intermediate step in a larger attack.

+ Attack Execution Flow
Explore
  1. Identify Target:

    Attacker identifies client components to extract information from. These may be binary executables, class files, shared libraries (e.g., DLLs), configuration files, or other system files.

    Attack Step Techniques

    IDAttack Step Technique DescriptionEnvironments
    1

    Binary file extraction. The attacker extracts binary files from zips, jars, wars, PDFs or other composite formats.

    env-Local env-Embedded env-ClientServer env-Peer2Peer
    2

    Package listing. The attacker uses a package manifest provided with the software installer, or the filesystem itself, to identify component files suitable for attack.

    env-Local env-Embedded env-ClientServer env-Peer2Peer

    Indicators

    IDTypeIndicator DescriptionEnvironments
    1Positive

    Proprietary or sensitive data is stored in a location ultimately distributed to end users.

    env-Local env-Embedded env-ClientServer env-Peer2Peer
    2Negative

    Access to binary code is not realistic. For example, in a client-server environment, binary code on the server is presumed to be inscrutable to an attacker unless another vulnerability exposes it.

    env-Web env-ClientServer env-Peer2Peer env-CommProtocol

    Outcomes

    IDTypeOutcome Description
    1Success
    The attacker identifies one or more files in the system to examine.

    Security Controls

    IDTypeSecurity Control Description
    1Preventative
    Obfuscation can make the observation and reverse engineering more difficult. It is only capable of delaying an attacker, however, not preventing a sufficiently motivated and resourced one.
Experiment
  1. Apply mining techniques:

    The attacker then uses a variety of techniques, such as sniffing, reverse-engineering, and cryptanalysis to extract the information of interest.

    Attack Step Techniques

    IDAttack Step Technique DescriptionEnvironments
    1

    API Profiling. The attacker monitors the software's use of registry keys or other operating system-provided storage locations that can contain sensitive information.

    env-Local env-Embedded env-ClientServer env-Peer2Peer
    2

    Execution in simulator. The attacker physically removes mass storage from the system and explores it using a simulator, external system, or other debugging harness.

    env-Local env-Embedded
    4

    Common decoding methods. The attacker applies methods to decode such encodings and compressions as Base64, unzip, unrar, RLE decoding, gzip decompression and so on.

    env-All
    5

    Common data typing. The attacker looks for common file signatures for well-known file types (JPEG, TIFF, ASN.1, LDIF, etc.). If the signatures match, he attempts decoding in that format.

    env-All

    Indicators

    IDTypeIndicator DescriptionEnvironments
    1Positive

    Well known data types are used and embedded inside the client-accessible code.

    env-Local env-Embedded env-ClientServer env-Peer2Peer
    2Inconclusive

    Proprietary data encodings are used. Although this incrementally increases the difficulty for an attacker to decode the data, it provides no better protection than well-known data types. Since few software developers are trained in obfuscation and cryptography, most proprietary encodings add little security value.

    env-Local env-Embedded env-ClientServer env-Peer2Peer

    Outcomes

    IDTypeOutcome Description
    1Success
    The attacker extracts useful information.

    Security Controls

    IDTypeSecurity Control Description
    1Corrective
    The software can contain an update mechanism, key management mechanism, or other means of updating proprietary data. Although this can react to a single breach, it is not an effective continuing solution. Many software manufacturers are lured into a repeated update cycle (c.f., satellite TV providers, iPhone) as adversaries break proprietary data protection schemes. Planning to issue corrections is a poor long-term strategy, but it can be an effective stopgap measure until a design-level correction can be made.
+ Attack Prerequisites
  • In order to feasibly execute this type of attack, some valuable data must be present in client software.

  • Additionally, this information must be unprotected, or protected in a flawed fashion, or through a mechanism that fails to resist reverse engineering, statistical, or other attack.

+ Typical Severity

Very High

+ Typical Likelihood of Exploit

Likelihood: Very High

+ Methods of Attack
  • Analysis
+ Examples-Instances

Description

Using a tool such as 'strings' or similar to pull out text data, perhaps part of a database table, that extends beyond what a particular user's purview should be.

Description

An attacker can also use a decompiler to decompile a downloaded Java applet in order to look for information such as hardcoded IP addresses, file paths, passwords or other such contents.

Description

Attacker uses a tool such as a browser plug-in to pull cookie or other token information that, from a previous user at the same machine (perhaps a kiosk), allows the attacker to log in as the previous user.

+ Attacker Skills or Knowledge Required

Skill or Knowledge Level: Medium

The attacker must possess knowledge of client code structure as well as ability to reverse-engineer or decompile it or probe it in other ways. This knowledge is specific to the technology and language used for the client distribution

+ Resources Required

The attacker must possess access to the system or code being exploited. Such access, for this set of attacks, will likely be physical. The attacker will make use of reverse engineering technologies, perhaps for data or to extract functionality from the binary. Such tool use may be as simple as "Strings" or a hex editor. Removing functionality may require the use of only a hex editor, or may require aspects of the toolchain used to construct the application: for instance the Adobe Flash development environment. Attacks of this nature do not require network access or undue CPU, memory, or other hardware-based resources.

+ Probing Techniques

Attackers may confine (and succeed with) probing as simple as deleting a cache or data file, or less drastically twiddling its bits and then testing the mutation's effect on an executing client.

At the other extreme, attackers capable of reverse engineering client code will have the ability to remove functionality or identify the whereabouts of sensitive data through white box analysis, such as review of reverse-engineered code.

+ Attack Motivation-Consequences
ScopeTechnical ImpactNote
Confidentiality
Read application data
Integrity
Modify application data
Confidentiality
Access_Control
Authorization
Gain privileges / assume identity
+ Relevant Security Requirements

No sensitive or confidential information must be stored in client distributions. This includes content such as passwords or encryption keys. In cases where this is necessary, avoid storing any such information in plaintext

All information arriving from a client must be validated before use.

+ Purposes
  • Reconnaissance
  • Exploitation
+ CIA Impact
Confidentiality Impact: HighIntegrity Impact: MediumAvailability Impact: Low
+ Technical Context
Architectural Paradigms
All
Frameworks
All
Platforms
All
Languages
All
+ Content History
Submissions
SubmitterOrganizationDateSource
CAPEC Content TeamThe MITRE Corporation2014-06-23Internal_CAPEC_Team
Modifications
ModifierOrganizationDateCommentsSource
CAPEC Content TeamThe MITRE Corporation2015-11-09Updated Activation_Zone, Attack_Phases, Attack_Prerequisites, Description Summary, Injection_Vector, Payload, Payload_Activation_Impact, Related_Vulnerabilities, Resources_RequiredInternal
Previous Entry Names
DatePrevious Entry Name
2015-11-09Lifting Data Embedded in Client Distributions

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Page Last Updated or Reviewed: December 07, 2015