Common Attack Pattern Enumeration and Classification (CAPEC) definitions
CAPEC definitions are a catalog of common attack patterns used by adversaries to exploit weaknesses and vulnerabilities in applications, systems and services
In applications, particularly web applications, access to functionality is mitigated by an authorization framework. This framework maps Access Control Lists (ACLs) to elements of the application's functionality; particularly URL's for web apps. In the case that the administrator failed to specify an ACL for a particular element, an attacker may be able to access it with impunity. An attacker with the ability to access functionality not properly constrained by ACLs can obtain sensitive information and possibly compromise the entire application. Such an attacker can access resources that must be available only to users at a higher privilege level, can access management sections of the application, or can run queries for data that they otherwise not supposed to.
This attack pattern involves causing a buffer overflow through manipulation of environment variables. Once the adversary finds that they can modify an environment variable, they may try to overflow associated buffers. This attack leverages implicit trust often placed in environment variables.
Buffer Overflow attacks target improper or missing bounds checking on buffer operations, typically triggered by input injected by an adversary. As a consequence, an adversary is able to write past the boundaries of allocated buffer regions in memory, causing a program crash or potentially redirection of execution as per the adversaries' choice.
An attacker can use Server Side Include (SSI) Injection to send code to a web application that then gets executed by the web server. Doing so enables the attacker to achieve similar results to Cross Site Scripting, viz., arbitrary code execution and information disclosure, albeit on a more limited scale, since the SSI directives are nowhere near as powerful as a full-fledged scripting language. Nonetheless, the attacker can conveniently gain access to sensitive files, such as password files, and execute shell commands.
Session sidejacking takes advantage of an unencrypted communication channel between a victim and target system. The attacker sniffs traffic on a network looking for session tokens in unencrypted traffic. Once a session token is captured, the attacker performs malicious actions by using the stolen token with the targeted application to impersonate the victim. This attack is a specific method of session hijacking, which is exploiting a valid session token to gain unauthorized access to a target system or information. Other methods to perform a session hijacking are session fixation, cross-site scripting, or compromising a user or server machine and stealing the session token.
An adversary tricks a victim into unknowingly initiating some action in one system while interacting with the UI from a seemingly completely different, usually an adversary controlled or intended, system.
An attacker is able to cause a victim to load content into their web-browser that bypasses security zone controls and gain access to increased privileges to execute scripting code or other web objects such as unsigned ActiveX controls or applets. This is a privilege elevation attack targeted at zone-based web-browser security.
An adversary abuses the flexibility and discrepancies in the parsing and interpretation of HTTP Request messages by different intermediary HTTP agents (e.g., load balancer, reverse proxy, web caching proxies, application firewalls, etc.) to split a single HTTP request into multiple unauthorized and malicious HTTP requests to a back-end HTTP agent (e.g., web server). See CanPrecede relationships for possible consequences.
Cross Site Tracing (XST) enables an adversary to steal the victim's session cookie and possibly other authentication credentials transmitted in the header of the HTTP request when the victim's browser communicates to a destination system's web server.
An attacker uses standard SQL injection methods to inject data into the command line for execution. This could be done directly through misuse of directives such as MSSQL_xp_cmdshell or indirectly through injection of data into the database that would be interpreted as shell commands. Sometime later, an unscrupulous backend application (or could be part of the functionality of the same application) fetches the injected data stored in the database and uses this data as command line arguments without performing proper validation. The malicious data escapes that data plane by spawning new commands to be executed on the host.
An attacker leverages a weakness present in the database access layer code generated with an Object Relational Mapping (ORM) tool or a weakness in the way that a developer used a persistence framework to inject their own SQL commands to be executed against the underlying database. The attack here is similar to plain SQL injection, except that the application does not use JDBC to directly talk to the database, but instead it uses a data access layer generated by an ORM tool or framework (e.g. Hibernate). While most of the time code generated by an ORM tool contains safe access methods that are immune to SQL injection, sometimes either due to some weakness in the generated code or due to the fact that the developer failed to use the generated access methods properly, SQL injection is still possible.
An attack of this type exploits a Web server's decision to take action based on filename or file extension. Because different file types are handled by different server processes, misclassification may force the Web server to take unexpected action, or expected actions in an unexpected sequence. This may cause the server to exhaust resources, supply debug or system data to the attacker, or bind an attacker to a remote process.
An attacker modifies the parameters of the SOAP message that is sent from the service consumer to the service provider to initiate a SQL injection attack. On the service provider side, the SOAP message is parsed and parameters are not properly validated before being used to access a database in a way that does not use parameter binding, thus enabling the attacker to control the structure of the executed SQL query. This pattern describes a SQL injection attack with the delivery mechanism being a SOAP message.
In this attack, some asset (information, functionality, identity, etc.) is protected by a finite secret value. The attacker attempts to gain access to this asset by using trial-and-error to exhaustively explore all the possible secret values in the hope of finding the secret (or a value that is functionally equivalent) that will unlock the asset.
An adversary manipulates the use or processing of an interface (e.g. Application Programming Interface (API) or System-on-Chip (SoC)) resulting in an adverse impact upon the security of the system implementing the interface. This can allow the adversary to bypass access control and/or execute functionality not intended by the interface implementation, possibly compromising the system which integrates the interface. Interface manipulation can take on a number of forms including forcing the unexpected use of an interface or the use of an interface in an unintended way.
An attacker obtains unauthorized access to an application, service or device either through knowledge of the inherent weaknesses of an authentication mechanism, or by exploiting a flaw in the authentication scheme's implementation. In such an attack an authentication mechanism is functioning but a carefully controlled sequence of events causes the mechanism to grant access to the attacker.
An attacker gains access to application, service, or device with the privileges of an authorized or privileged user by evading or circumventing an authentication mechanism. The attacker is therefore able to access protected data without authentication ever having taken place.
An adversary actively probes the target in a manner that is designed to solicit information that could be leveraged for malicious purposes.
An adversary monitors data streams to or from the target for information gathering purposes. This attack may be undertaken to solely gather sensitive information or to support a further attack against the target. This attack pattern can involve sniffing network traffic as well as other types of data streams (e.g. radio). The adversary can attempt to initiate the establishment of a data stream or passively observe the communications as they unfold. In all variants of this attack, the adversary is not the intended recipient of the data stream. In contrast to other means of gathering information (e.g., targeting data leaks), the adversary must actively position themself so as to observe explicit data channels (e.g. network traffic) and read the content. However, this attack differs from a Adversary-In-the-Middle (CAPEC-94) attack, as the adversary does not alter the content of the communications nor forward data to the intended recipient.
This pattern of attack is defined by the selection of messages distributed via multicast or public information channels that are intended for another client by determining the parameter value assigned to that client. This attack allows the adversary to gain access to potentially privileged information, and to possibly perpetrate other attacks through the distribution means by impersonation. If the channel/message being manipulated is an input rather than output mechanism for the system, (such as a command bus), this style of attack could be used to change the adversary's identifier to more a privileged one.
The adversary utilizes a repeating of the encoding process for a set of characters (that is, character encoding a character encoding of a character) to obfuscate the payload of a particular request. This may allow the adversary to bypass filters that attempt to detect illegal characters or strings, such as those that might be used in traversal or injection attacks. Filters may be able to catch illegal encoded strings, but may not catch doubly encoded strings. For example, a dot (.), often used in path traversal attacks and therefore often blocked by filters, could be URL encoded as %2E. However, many filters recognize this encoding and would still block the request. In a double encoding, the % in the above URL encoding would be encoded again as %25, resulting in %252E which some filters might not catch, but which could still be interpreted as a dot (.) by interpreters on the target.
An adversary exploits a sample, demonstration, test, or debug interface that is unintentionally enabled on a production system, with the goal of gleaning information or leveraging functionality that would otherwise be unavailable.
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.
An adversary manipulates an application's interaction with a buffer in an attempt to read or modify data they shouldn't have access to. Buffer attacks are distinguished in that it is the buffer space itself that is the target of the attack rather than any code responsible for interpreting the content of the buffer. In virtually all buffer attacks the content that is placed in the buffer is immaterial. Instead, most buffer attacks involve retrieving or providing more input than can be stored in the allocated buffer, resulting in the reading or overwriting of other unintended program memory.
Please note that CAPEC definitions are provided as a quick reference only. Visit https://capec.mitre.org for a complete list of CAPEC entries and more details.