CAPEC-57: Utilizing REST's Trust in the System Resource to Register Man in the Middle
Attack Pattern ID: 57
This attack utilizes a REST(REpresentational State Transfer)-style applications' trust in the system resources and environment to place man in the middle once SSL is terminated. Rest applications premise is that they leverage existing infrastructure to deliver web services functionality. An example of this is a Rest application that uses HTTP Get methods and receives a HTTP response with an XML document. These Rest style web services are deployed on existing infrastructure such as Apache and IIS web servers with no SOAP stack required. Unfortunately from a security standpoint, there frequently is no interoperable identity security mechanism deployed, so Rest developers often fall back to SSL to deliver security. In large data centers, SSL is typically terminated at the edge of the network - at the firewall, load balancer, or router. Once the SSL is terminated the HTTP request is in the clear (unless developers have hashed or encrypted the values, but this is rare). The attacker can utilize a sniffer such as Wireshark to snapshot the credentials, such as username and password that are passed in the clear once SSL is terminated. Once the attacker gathers these credentials, they can submit requests to the web service provider just as authorized user do. There is not typically an authentication on the client side, beyond what is passed in the request itself so once this is compromised, then this is generally sufficient to compromise the service's authentication scheme.
Likelihood Of Attack
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)
Standard 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.
Opportunity to intercept must exist beyond the point where SSL is terminated.
The attacker must be able to insert a listener actively (proxying the communication) or passively (sniffing the communication) in the client-server communication path.
To insert a network sniffer or other listener into the communication stream
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.
Implementation: Implement message level security such as HMAC in the HTTP communication
Design: Utilize defense in depth, do not rely on a single security mechanism like SSL
Design: Enforce principle of least privilege
The Rest service provider uses SSL to protect the communications between the service requester (client) to the service provider. In the instance where SSL is terminated before the communications reach the web server, it is very common in enterprise data centers to terminate SSL at a router, firewall, load balancer, proxy or other device, then the attacker can insert a sniffer into the communication stream and gather all the authentication tokens (such as session credentials, username/passwords combinations, and so on). The Rest service requester and service provider do not have any way to detect this attack.
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Page Last Updated or Reviewed:
July 31, 2018
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