In this attack pattern, the adversary monitors network traffic between nodes of a public or multicast network in an attempt to capture sensitive information at the protocol level. Network sniffing applications can reveal TCP/IP, DNS, Ethernet, and other low-level network communication information. The adversary takes a passive role in this attack pattern and simply observes and analyzes the traffic. The adversary may precipitate or indirectly influence the content of the observed transaction, but is never the intended recipient of the target information.
The table below 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.
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 target must be communicating on a network protocol visible by a network sniffing application.
The adversary must obtain a logical position on the network from intercepting target network traffic is possible. Depending on the network topology, traffic sniffing may be simple or challenging. If both the target sender and target recipient are members of a single subnet, the adversary must also be on that subnet in order to see their traffic communication.
Adversaries can obtain and set up open-source network sniffing tools easily.
A tool with the capability of presenting network communication traffic (e.g., Wireshark, tcpdump, Cain and Abel, etc.).
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.
Obfuscate network traffic through encryption to prevent its readability by network sniffers.
Employ appropriate levels of segmentation to your network in accordance with best practices.
A Related Weakness relationship associates a weakness with this attack pattern. Each association implies a weakness that must exist for a given attack to be successful. If multiple weaknesses are associated with the attack pattern, then any of the weaknesses (but not necessarily all) may be present for the attack to be successful. Each related weakness is identified by a CWE identifier.
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Page Last Updated or Reviewed:
September 30, 2019