Authentication Bypass by Spoofing

This attack-focused weakness is caused by improperly implemented authentication schemes that are subject to spoofing attacks.


Demonstrations

The following examples help to illustrate the nature of this weakness and describe methods or techniques which can be used to mitigate the risk.

Note that the examples here are by no means exhaustive and any given weakness may have many subtle varieties, each of which may require different detection methods or runtime controls.

Example One

The following code authenticates users.

String sourceIP = request.getRemoteAddr();
if (sourceIP != null && sourceIP.equals(APPROVED_IP)) {
  authenticated = true;
}

The authentication mechanism implemented relies on an IP address for source validation. If an attacker is able to spoof the IP, they may be able to bypass the authentication mechanism.

Example Two

Both of these examples check if a request is from a trusted address before responding to the request.

sd = socket(AF_INET, SOCK_DGRAM, 0);
serv.sin_family = AF_INET;
serv.sin_addr.s_addr = htonl(INADDR_ANY);
servr.sin_port = htons(1008);
bind(sd, (struct sockaddr *) & serv, sizeof(serv));

while (1) {
  memset(msg, 0x0, MAX_MSG);
  clilen = sizeof(cli);
  if (inet_ntoa(cli.sin_addr)==getTrustedAddress()) {
    n = recvfrom(sd, msg, MAX_MSG, 0, (struct sockaddr *) & cli, &clilen);
  }
}
while(true) {

  DatagramPacket rp=new DatagramPacket(rData,rData.length);
  outSock.receive(rp);
  String in = new String(p.getData(),0, rp.getLength());
  InetAddress clientIPAddress = rp.getAddress();
  int port = rp.getPort();

  if (isTrustedAddress(clientIPAddress) & secretKey.equals(in)) {
    out = secret.getBytes();
    DatagramPacket sp =new DatagramPacket(out,out.length, IPAddress, port); outSock.send(sp);
  }

}

The code only verifies the address as stored in the request packet. An attacker can spoof this address, thus impersonating a trusted client.

Example Three

The following code samples use a DNS lookup in order to decide whether or not an inbound request is from a trusted host. If an attacker can poison the DNS cache, they can gain trusted status.

struct hostent *hp;struct in_addr myaddr;
char* tHost = "trustme.example.com";
myaddr.s_addr=inet_addr(ip_addr_string);

hp = gethostbyaddr((char *) &myaddr, sizeof(struct in_addr), AF_INET);
if (hp && !strncmp(hp->h_name, tHost, sizeof(tHost))) {
  trusted = true;
} else {
  trusted = false;
}
String ip = request.getRemoteAddr();
InetAddress addr = InetAddress.getByName(ip);
if (addr.getCanonicalHostName().endsWith("trustme.com")) {
  trusted = true;
}
IPAddress hostIPAddress = IPAddress.Parse(RemoteIpAddress);
IPHostEntry hostInfo = Dns.GetHostByAddress(hostIPAddress);
if (hostInfo.HostName.EndsWith("trustme.com")) {
  trusted = true;
}

IP addresses are more reliable than DNS names, but they can also be spoofed. Attackers can easily forge the source IP address of the packets they send, but response packets will return to the forged IP address. To see the response packets, the attacker has to sniff the traffic between the victim machine and the forged IP address. In order to accomplish the required sniffing, attackers typically attempt to locate themselves on the same subnet as the victim machine. Attackers may be able to circumvent this requirement by using source routing, but source routing is disabled across much of the Internet today. In summary, IP address verification can be a useful part of an authentication scheme, but it should not be the single factor required for authentication.

See Also

Authentication Errors

Weaknesses in this category are related to authentication components of a system. Frequently these deal with the ability to verify that an entity is indeed who it clai...

Authenticate Actors

Weaknesses in this category are related to the design and architecture of authentication components of the system. Frequently these deal with verifying the entity is i...

SFP Secondary Cluster: Channel Attack

This category identifies Software Fault Patterns (SFPs) within the Channel Attack cluster.

Comprehensive CWE Dictionary

This view (slice) covers all the elements in CWE.

Weaknesses without Software Fault Patterns

CWE identifiers in this view are weaknesses that do not have associated Software Fault Patterns (SFPs), as covered by the CWE-888 view. As such, they represent gaps in...

CWE Cross-section

This view contains a selection of weaknesses that represent the variety of weaknesses that are captured in CWE, at a level of abstraction that is likely to be useful t...


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