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CAPEC-136: LDAP Injection

Attack Pattern ID: 136
Abstraction: Standard
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+ Description
An attacker manipulates or crafts an LDAP query for the purpose of undermining the security of the target. Some applications use user input to create LDAP queries that are processed by an LDAP server. For example, a user might provide their username during authentication and the username might be inserted in an LDAP query during the authentication process. An attacker could use this input to inject additional commands into an LDAP query that could disclose sensitive information. For example, entering a * in the aforementioned query might return information about all users on the system. This attack is very similar to an SQL injection attack in that it manipulates a query to gather additional information or coerce a particular return value.
+ Likelihood Of Attack


+ Typical Severity


+ 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.
ChildOfMeta Attack PatternMeta Attack Pattern - A meta level attack pattern in CAPEC is a decidedly abstract characterization of a specific methodology or technique used in an attack. A meta attack pattern is often void of a specific technology or implementation and is meant to provide an understanding of a high level approach. A meta level attack pattern is a generalization of related group of standard level attack patterns. Meta level attack patterns are particularly useful for architecture and design level threat modeling exercises.248Command Injection
Section HelpThis table shows the views that this attack pattern belongs to and top level categories within that view.
+ Execution Flow
  1. Survey application: The attacker takes an inventory of the entry points of the application.

    Spider web sites for all available links
    Sniff network communications with application using a utility such as WireShark.
  1. Determine user-controllable input susceptible to LDAP injection: For each user-controllable input that the attacker suspects is vulnerable to LDAP injection, attempt to inject characters that have special meaning in LDAP (such as a single quote character, etc.). The goal is to create a LDAP query with an invalid syntax

    Use web browser to inject input through text fields or through HTTP GET parameters
    Use a web application debugging tool such as Tamper Data, TamperIE, WebScarab,etc. to modify HTTP POST parameters, hidden fields, non-freeform fields, or other HTTP header.
    Use modified client (modified by reverse engineering) to inject input.
  2. Try to exploit the LDAP injection vulnerability: After determining that a given input is vulnerable to LDAP Injection, hypothesize what the underlying query looks like. Possibly using a tool, iteratively try to add logic to the query to extract information from the LDAP, or to modify or delete information in the LDAP.

    Add logic to the LDAP query to change the meaning of that command. Automated tools could be used to generate the LDAP injection strings.
    Use a web application debugging tool such as Tamper Data, TamperIE, WebScarab,etc. to modify HTTP POST parameters, hidden fields, non-freeform fields, or other HTTP header.
+ Prerequisites
The target application must accept a string as user input, fail to sanitize characters that have a special meaning in LDAP queries in the user input, and insert the user-supplied string in an LDAP query which is then processed.
+ Skills Required
[Level: Medium]
The attacker needs to have knowledge of LDAP, especially its query syntax.
+ 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.
Unreliable Execution
Modify Data
Read Data
Execute Unauthorized Commands
Gain Privileges
Access Control
Bypass Protection Mechanism
+ Mitigations
Strong input validation - All user-controllable input must be validated and filtered for illegal characters as well as LDAP content.
Use of custom error pages - Attackers can glean information about the nature of queries from descriptive error messages. Input validation must be coupled with customized error pages that inform about an error without disclosing information about the LDAP or application.
+ Example Instances
PowerDNS before 2.9.18, when running with an LDAP backend, does not properly escape LDAP queries, which allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service (failure to answer ldap questions) and possibly conduct an LDAP injection attack. See also: CVE-2005-2301
+ Taxonomy Mappings
Relevant to the WASC taxonomy mapping
Entry IDEntry Name
29LDAP Injection

Relevant to the OWASP taxonomy mapping
Entry Name
LDAP Injection
+ References
[REF-17] "WASC Threat Classification 2.0". WASC-29 - LDAP Injection. The Web Application Security Consortium (WASC). 2010. <>.
[REF-608] "OWASP Web Security Testing Guide". Testing for LDAP Injection. The Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP). <>.
+ Content History
Submission DateSubmitterOrganization
(Version 2.6)
CAPEC Content TeamThe MITRE Corporation
Modification DateModifierOrganization
(Version 2.12)
CAPEC Content TeamThe MITRE Corporation
Updated Attacker_Skills_or_Knowledge_Required
(Version 3.1)
CAPEC Content TeamThe MITRE Corporation
Updated Consequences
(Version 3.4)
CAPEC Content TeamThe MITRE Corporation
Updated References, Taxonomy_Mappings
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Page Last Updated or Reviewed: October 21, 2021