Account Enumeration describes an application that, in response to a failed authentication attempt, returns a response indicating whether the authentication failed due to an incorrect account identifier or an incorrect password. In essence, it describes an authentication process in which the user is informed whether they provided a valid account identifier or not.
Account Enumeration is so named because the presence of the vulnerability allows an attacker to iteratively determine (i.e. to enumerate) the valid account identifiers recognized by the application. If each failed attempt indicates the legitimacy of the identifier used, then it is possible to ascertain all valid accounts given sufficient time.
Account Enumeration Is A Vulnerability
Account Enumeration is a vulnerability because it facilities the task of password cracking by allowing attackers to discern the valid set of account identifiers. As discussed in the article entitled “What Is Weak Authentication ?“, Password Cracking is facilitated if one or more account identifiers are known in advance. It is for this reason in fact, that one could argue that an Account Enumeration vulnerability is a subtype of Weak Authentication vulnerability.
For insight into how to detect Account Enumeration, please see the article entitled “How To Test For Account Enumeration“.
For insight into how to avoid or fix Account Enumeration vulnerabilities, please see the article entitled “How To Prevent Account Enumeration“.
About Affinity IT Security
We hope you found this article to be useful. Affinity IT Security is available to help you with your security testing and train your developers and testers. In fact, we train developers and IT staff how to hack applications and networks.
Perhaps it was a network scan or website vulnerability test that brought you here. If so, you are likely researching how to find, fix, or avoid a particular vulnerability. We urge you to be proactive and ensure that key individuals in your organization understand not only this issue, but also are more broadly aware of application security.
Contact us to learn how to better protect your enterprise.
Although every effort has been made to provide the most useful and highest quality information, it is unfortunate but inevitable that some errors, omissions, and typographical mistakes will appear in these articles. Consequently, Affinity IT Security will not be responsible for any loss or damages resulting directly or indirectly from any error, misunderstanding, software defect, example, or misuse of any content herein.