Common Attack Pattern Enumeration and Classification
A Community Resource for Identifying and Understanding Attacks
An adversary creates a client application to interface with a target service where the client violates assumptions the service makes about clients. Services that have designated client applications (as opposed to services that use general client applications, such as IMAP or POP mail servers which can interact with any IMAP or POP client) may assume that the client will follow specific procedures. For example, servers may assume that clients will accurately compute values (such as prices), will send correctly structured messages, and will attempt to ensure efficient interactions with the server. By reverse-engineering a client and creating their own version, an adversary can take advantage of these assumptions to abuse service functionality. For example, a purchasing service might send a unit price to its client and expect the client to correctly compute the total cost of a purchase. If the adversary uses a malicious client, however, the adversary could ignore the server input and declare any total price. Likewise, an adversary could configure the client to retain network or other server resources for longer than legitimately necessary in order to degrade server performance. Even services with general clients can be susceptible to this attack if they assume certain client behaviors. However, such services generally can make fewer assumptions about the behavior of their clients in the first place and, as such, are less likely to make assumptions that an adversary can exploit.
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.
The table below shows the views that this attack pattern belongs to and top level categories within that view.
The adversary must be able to reverse engineer a client of the targeted service. However, the adversary does not need to reverse engineer all client functionality - they only need to recreate enough of the functionality to access the desired server functionality.
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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