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CAPEC-122: Privilege Abuse

Attack Pattern ID: 122
Abstraction: Meta
Status: Draft
Presentation Filter:
+ Description
An adversary is able to exploit features of the target that should be reserved for privileged users or administrators but are exposed to use by lower or non-privileged accounts. Access to sensitive information and functionality must be controlled to ensure that only authorized users are able to access these resources. If access control mechanisms are absent or misconfigured, a user may be able to access resources that are intended only for higher level users. An adversary may be able to exploit this to utilize a less trusted account to gain information and perform activities reserved for more trusted accounts. This attack differs from privilege escalation and other privilege stealing attacks in that the adversary never actually escalates their privileges but instead is able to use a lesser degree of privilege to access resources that should be (but are not) reserved for higher privilege accounts. Likewise, the adversary does not exploit trust or subvert systems - all control functionality is working as configured but the configuration does not adequately protect sensitive resources at an appropriate level.
+ Likelihood Of Attack

High

+ Typical Severity

Medium

+ Relationships
Section HelpThis table shows the other attack patterns and high level categories that are related to this attack pattern. These relationships are defined as ChildOf and ParentOf, 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.
NatureTypeIDName
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.1Accessing Functionality Not Properly Constrained by ACLs
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.17Using Malicious Files
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.180Exploiting Incorrectly Configured Access Control Security Levels
ParentOfDetailed Attack PatternDetailed Attack Pattern - A detailed level attack pattern in CAPEC provides a low level of detail, typically leveraging a specific technique and targeting a specific technology, and expresses a complete execution flow. Detailed attack patterns are more specific than meta attack patterns and standard attack patterns and often require a specific protection mechanism to mitigate actual attacks. A detailed level attack pattern often will leverage a number of different standard level attack patterns chained together to accomplish a goal.221Data Serialization External Entities Blowup
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.503WebView Exposure
CanPrecedeStandard 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.664Server Side Request Forgery
Section HelpThis table shows the views that this attack pattern belongs to and top level categories within that view.
+ Prerequisites
The target must have misconfigured their access control mechanisms such that sensitive information, which should only be accessible to more trusted users, remains accessible to less trusted users.
The adversary must have access to the target, albeit with an account that is less privileged than would be appropriate for the targeted resources.
+ Skills Required
[Level: Low]
Attacker can leverage privileged features they already have access to without additional effort or skill. Attacker is only required to have access to an account with improper priveleges.
+ Resources Required
None: No specialized resources are required to execute this type of attack. The ability to access the target is required.
+ Consequences
Section HelpThis table 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
Integrity
Modify Data
Confidentiality
Read Data
Authorization
Execute Unauthorized Commands
Authorization
Gain Privileges
Access Control
Authorization
Bypass Protection Mechanism
+ Mitigations
Configure account privileges such privileged/administrator functionality is not exposed to non-privileged/lower accounts.
+ Example Instances

Improperly configured account privileges allowed unauthorized users on a hospital's network to access the medical records for over 3,000 patients. Thus compromising data integrity and confidentiality in addition to HIPAA violations.

+ Content History
Submissions
Submission DateSubmitterOrganization
2014-06-23CAPEC Content TeamThe MITRE Corporation
Modifications
Modification DateModifierOrganization
2015-12-07CAPEC Content TeamThe MITRE Corporation
Updated Related_Attack_Patterns
2017-08-04CAPEC Content TeamThe MITRE Corporation
Updated Resources_Required
2019-04-04CAPEC Content TeamThe MITRE Corporation
Updated Related_Weaknesses
2020-07-30CAPEC Content TeamThe MITRE Corporation
Updated Consequences, Example_Instances, Likelihood_Of_Attack, Mitigations, Skills_Required
2020-12-17CAPEC Content TeamThe MITRE Corporation
Updated Related_Weaknesses
2021-06-24CAPEC Content TeamThe MITRE Corporation
Updated Related_Attack_Patterns
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Page Last Updated or Reviewed: December 17, 2020