Authentication Vulnerabilities – Factors
Authentication, essentially, is to prove that someone or something is genuine and valid. User credentials must match the ones set in the database or authentication server. This, in return, provides industries secured and authenticated access to their resources, knowing it is the right user who gained access. Hence, recognizing user identity is an essential mechanism within any industry.
There are many authentication methods, types, and techniques. They can range from passwords, two-factor authentication, token, biometric, Single Sign Ons (SSO), and authentication protocols such as SSL or Kerberos. Each works slightly differently, but all try to accomplish the same. Choosing one, however, is another thing.
However, despite multiple authentication methods, hackers still find a way to gain access. We now know that majority of attacks occur with passwords or password-based authentication methods. These can include phishing attacks, man-in-the-middle, brute force attacks, and even credential stuffing. Additionally, some password authentication vulnerabilities can come from users’ weak or default passwords and even by using weak or insecure verification functions such as MD5. However, there are a lot of mitigations for such scenarios and usually, boil down to the end-users security awareness.
Today, however, we will focus on the other spectrum and touch upon broken authentications. Broken authentication refers to the inherent weakness in the application or platform, which can allow attackers to bypass the security. As attackers apply vast techniques to gain an advantage of a vulnerable or weakened system, an organization needs to be aware of the vulnerabilities and contain a solid defensive plan!
What are broken authentication vulnerabilities?
Weak Password Recovery
Have you forgotten your password? Many of us, at some time, have clicked the “forgot password” button and were taken on a recovery path to unlock our account. Even though security procedures are created to enforce the authentication process, sometimes many can neglect the recovery procedure.
Vulnerable Authentication libraries
Today’s software may rely on another one; we see many dependencies in such cases. There are many cases where specific plugins or additional add-ons have vulnerabilities during the authentication processes, which can be easily exploited and used to gain access.
Session handling vulnerabilities
Certain authentication processes allow for a smooth session after authentication. This means that it wouldn’t ask you again to authenticate yourself. After verification, the system acknowledges you as the user you authenticated as. Not logging out, no session timeouts, and storing session data in web pages, browsers, and even cookies can provide malicious users the ability to exploit these vulnerabilities and grant them an authenticated session without anyone knowing.
Lacking login limit functionality may create a route for hackers to exploit the authentication processes. They can use brute force attacks to crack the password and gain access to your resources. A good practice is to set up rate limit functionality to stop users from logging in after a few unsuccessful attempts.
Flawed Authentication Implementation
Weak implementation of authentication methods can result in hackers finding methods to exploit or bypass certain processes. For example, several cases of Two-Factor Authentication have been bypassed even though it is a secure authentication process. Conducting proper implementation can reduce the threat landscape..
What are some of the attack methods?
SQL Injection – SQL injection can be used to gain access to a web vulnerability and interfere with the queries that are run on the application. It allows the attacker to view data that they usually wouldn’t be able to view, such as user data (credentials), and have the capabilities to delete or change the data itself.
Password Attacks – Phishing is a common and most popular attack vector against passwords. A phishing attack is when an individual sends a fraudulent message to trick the individual who receives it, to share information. This is common with e-mails, but recently, SMS camouflaged as known third-parties, i.e., banks, ISP, and even support teams from available applications are known to be quite efficient.
Logic Flaws – Logic flaws can be exploited when not thought thoroughly. The implementation of flawed authentication methods, intercepting clear text protocols, or faulty assumptions regarding behaviors can all be exploited as vulnerabilities.
If you want to learn more about Fudo authentication methods and certain attack vectors, take a look at our Authentication infographic.
Author: Damian Borkowski– Technical Marketing Specialist