Common Attack Pattern Enumeration and Classification
A Community Resource for Identifying and Understanding Attacks
An attacker employs forceful browsing to access portions of a website that are otherwise unreachable through direct URL entry.
Usually, a front controller or similar design pattern is employed to protect access to portions of a web application.
Forceful browsing enables an attacker to access information, perform privileged operations and otherwise reach sections of the web application that have been improperly protected.
Likelihood: Very High
A number of automated crawlers as well as other tools are available that generally perform a good job at looking for forcefully browseable pages
A bulletin board application provides an administrative interface at admin.aspx when the user logging in belongs to the administrators group.
An attacker can access the admin.aspx interface by making a direct request to the page. Not having access to the interface appropriately protected allows the attacker to perform administrative functions without having to authenticate himself in that role.
Skill or Knowledge Level: Low
Forcibly browseable pages can be discovered by using a number of automated tools. Doing the same manually is tedious but by no means difficult
None: No specialized resources are required to execute this type of attack. A directory listing is helpful, but not a requirement.
Following all the links recursively reveals resources that are available
Having a directory listing also points to the available pages and resources in the application that may be forcibly browseable.
Authenticate request to every resource. In addition, every page or resource must ensure that the request it is handling has been made in an authorized context.
Forceful browsing can also be made difficult to a large extent by not hard-coding names of application pages or resources. This way, the attacker cannot figure out, from the application alone, the resources available from the present context.
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