1. Authentication
  1. Brute Force

  2. Insufficient Authentication

  3. Weak Password Recovery Validation

2. Authorization
  1. Credential/Session Prediction

  2. Insufficient Authorization

  3. Insufficient Session Expiration

  4. Session Fixation

3. Client-side Attacks
  1. Content Spoofing

  2. Cross-site Scripting

4. Command Execution
  1. Buffer Overflow
  2. Format String Attack
  3. LDAP Injection
  4. OS Commanding
  5. SQL Injection
  6. SSI Injection
  7. XPath Injection
5. Information Disclosure
  1. Directory Indexing

  2. Information Leakage

  3. Path Traversal

  4. Predictable Resource Location

6. Logical Attacks
  1. Abuse of Functionality

  2. Denial of Service

  3. Insufficient Anti-automation

  4. Insufficient Process Validation

Abuse of Functionality

Abuse of Functionality is an attack technique that uses a web site's own features and functionality to consume, defraud, or circumvents access controls mechanisms. Some functionality of a web site, possibly even security features, may be abused to cause unexpected behavior. When a piece of functionality is open to abuse, an attacker could potentially annoy other users or perhaps defraud the system entirely. The potential and level of abuse will vary from web site to web site and application to application.

Abuse of Functionality techniques are often intertwined with other categories of web application attacks, such as performing an encoding attack to introduce a query string that turns a web search function into a remote web proxy. Abuse of Functionality attacks are also commonly used as a force multiplier. For example, an attacker can inject a Cross-site Scripting snippet into a web-chat session and then use the built-in broadcast function to propagate the malicious code throughout the site.

In a broad view, all effective attacks against computer-based systems entail Abuse of Functionality issues. Specifically, this definition describes an attack that has subverted a useful web application for a malicious purpose with little or no modification to the original function.

Examples of Abuse of Functionality include: a) Using a web site's search function to access restricted files outside of a web directory, b) Subverting a file upload subsystem to replace critical internal configuration files, and c) Performing a DoS by flooding a web-login system with good usernames and bad passwords to lock out legitimate users when the allowed login retry-limit is exceeded. Other real-world examples are described below.

Matt Wright FormMail
The PERL-based web application "FormMail" was normally used to transmit user-supplied form data to a preprogrammed e-mail address. The script offered an easy to use solution for web site's to gather feedback. For this reason, the FormMail script was one of the most popular CGI programs on-line. Unfortunately, this same high degree of utility and ease of use was abused by remote attackers to send e- mail to any remote recipient. In short, this web application was transformed into a spam-relay engine with a single browser web request.

An attacker merely has to craft an URL that supplied the desired e- mail parameters and perform an HTTP GET to the CGI, such as:

http://example/cgi-bin/FormMail.pl? recipient=email@victim.example&message=you%20got%20spam

An email would be dutifully generated, with the web server acting as the sender, allowing the attacker to be fully proxied by the web- application. Since no security mechanisms existed for this version of the script, the only viable defensive measure was to rewrite the script with a hard-coded e-mail address. Barring that, site operates were forced to remove or replace the web application entirely.

Macromedia's Cold Fusion
Sometimes basic administrative tools are embedded within web applications that can be easily used for unintended purposes. For example, Macromedia's Cold Fusion by default has a built-in module for viewing source code that is universally accessible. Abuse of this module can result in critical web application information leakage. Often these types of modules are not sample files or extraneous functions, but critical system components. This makes disabling these functions problematic since they are tied to existing web application systems.

Smartwin CyberOffice Shopping Cart Price Modification
Abuse of functionality is performed when an attacker alters data in an unanticipated way in order to modify the behavior of the web application. For example, the CyberOffice shopping cart can be abused by changing the hidden price field within the web form. The web page is downloaded normally, edited and then resubmitted with the prices set to any desired value.


"FormMail Real Name/Email Address CGI Variable Spamming Vulnerability"


"CA Unicenter pdmcgi.exe View Arbitrary File"

"PeopleSoft PeopleBooks Search CGI Flaw"

"iisCART2000 Upload Vulnerability"

"PROTEGO Security Advisory #PSA200401"

"Price modification possible in CyberOffice Shopping Cart"

To receive your Free Application Vulnerability Assessment for testing of one attack vulnerability of your choice, please submit your payment of $1999.00 for a second Abuse of Functionality attack vulnerability test.

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