Home > CAPEC List > CAPEC-85: AJAX Fingerprinting (Version 3.2)  

CAPEC-85: AJAX Fingerprinting

Attack Pattern ID: 85
Abstraction: Detailed
Status: Draft
Presentation Filter:
+ Description
This attack utilizes the frequent client-server roundtrips in Ajax conversation to scan a system. While Ajax does not open up new vulnerabilities per se, it does optimize them from an attacker point of view. In many XSS attacks the attacker must get a "hole in one" and successfully exploit the vulnerability on the victim side the first time, once the client is redirected the attacker has many chances to engage in follow on probes, but there is only one first chance. In a widely used web application this is not a major problem because 1 in a 1,000 is good enough in a widely used application. A common first step for an attacker is to footprint the environment to understand what attacks will work. Since footprinting relies on enumeration, the conversational pattern of rapid, multiple requests and responses that are typical in Ajax applications enable an attacker to look for many vulnerabilities, well-known ports, network locations and so on.
+ Likelihood Of Attack


+ Typical Severity

Very High

+ Relationships

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.

ChildOfStandard 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.541Application Fingerprinting

The table below shows the views that this attack pattern belongs to and top level categories within that view.

+ Prerequisites
The user must allow JavaScript to execute in their browser
+ Skills Required
[Level: Medium]
To land and launch a script on victim's machine with appropriate footprinting logic for enumerating services and vulnerabilities in JavaScript
+ Consequences

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.

Read Data
+ Mitigations
Design: Use browser technologies that do not allow client side scripting.
Design: Utilize strict type, character, and encoding enforcement
Implementation: Ensure all content that is delivered to client is sanitized against an acceptable content specification.
Implementation: Perform input validation for all remote content.
Implementation: Perform output validation for all remote content.
Implementation: Disable scripting languages such as JavaScript in browser
Implementation: Patching software. There are many attack vectors for XSS on the client side and the server side. Many vulnerabilities are fixed in service packs for browser, web servers, and plug in technologies, staying current on patch release that deal with XSS countermeasures mitigates this.
+ Example Instances
Footprinting can be executed over almost any protocol including HTTP, TCP, UDP, and ICMP, with the general goal of gaining further information about a host environment to launch further attacks. By appending a malicious script to an otherwise normal looking URL, the attacker can probe the system for banners, vulnerabilities, filenames, available services, and in short anything the host process has access to. The results of the probe are either used to execute additional javascript (for example, if the attackers' footprint script identifies a vulnerability in a firewall permission, then the client side script executes a javascript to change client firewall settings, or an attacker may simply echo the results of the scan back out to a remote host for targeting future attacks).
+ References
[REF-539] Shreeraj Shah. "Ajax fingerprinting for Web 2.0 Applications". Help Net Security. <https://www.helpnetsecurity.com/dl/articles/Ajax_fingerprinting.pdf>.
+ Content History
Submission DateSubmitterOrganization
2014-06-23CAPEC Content TeamThe MITRE Corporation
Modification DateModifierOrganization
2018-07-31CAPEC Content TeamThe MITRE Corporation
Updated References
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Page Last Updated or Reviewed: September 30, 2019