CAPEC-70: Try Common or Default Usernames and Passwords
Attack Pattern ID: 70
An adversary may try certain common or default usernames and passwords to gain access into the system and perform unauthorized actions. An adversary may try an intelligent brute force using empty passwords, known vendor default credentials, as well as a dictionary of common usernames and passwords. Many vendor products come preconfigured with default (and thus well-known) usernames and passwords that should be deleted prior to usage in a production environment. It is a common mistake to forget to remove these default login credentials. Another problem is that users would pick very simple (common) passwords (e.g. "secret" or "password") that make it easier for the attacker to gain access to the system compared to using a brute force attack or even a dictionary attack using a full dictionary.
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.
The system uses one factor password based authentication.The adversary has the means to interact with the system.
An adversary just needs to gain access to common default usernames/passwords specific to the technologies used by the system. Additionally, a brute force attack leveraging common passwords can be easily realized if the user name is known.
Technology or vendor specific list of default usernames and passwords.
Many incorrect login attempts are detected by the system.
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.
Delete all default account credentials that may be put in by the product vendor.
Implement a password throttling mechanism. This mechanism should take into account both the IP address and the log in name of the user.
Put together a strong password policy and make sure that all user created passwords comply with it. Alternatively automatically generate strong passwords for users.
Passwords need to be recycled to prevent aging, that is every once in a while a new password must be chosen.
User Bob sets his password to "123" or literally leaves his password blank. If the system does not have password strength enforcement against a sound password policy, this password may be admitted. Passwords like these two examples are two simple and common passwords that are easily able to be guessed by the adversary.
Cisco 2700 Series Wireless Location Appliances (version 184.108.40.206 and earlier) have a default administrator username "root" with a password "password". This allows remote attackers to easily obtain administrative privileges. See also: CVE-2006-5288
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Page Last Updated or Reviewed:
July 31, 2018
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