Common Application Attacks

Popularity:

9

Simplicity:

9

Impact:

10

Risk Rating:

9

Application vulnerabilities are not less frequent or less critical than operating system vulnerabilities, but they generally have a greater risk as they directly manipulate user data and provide the services that the user is expecting from her computing platform. These attacks are also of greater interest to attackers, as they give direct access to the user and the user's data. Moreover, application attacks can take a very different shape from the ones performed at lower levels of the computing architecture, exploiting social engineering techniques to fool the user into believing false information (e.g., phishing) or performing actions on behalf of the attacker.

Attack vectors include breaching the four basic security properties: authentication, authorization, integrity, and privacy. The consequences of these breaches were previously described and include spoofing or identity fraud, unauthorized access, unauthorized or hidden modification of data or code, and breach of confidentiality (privacy).

In addition to the previous attack vectors, applications are susceptible to being exploited via bugs in their code. This vector is described in greater detail in Chapter 16.

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