Basic web session impersonation

Thursday, 15 April 2004, 10:50 AM EST

The proliferation of e-commerce and the anonymity provided by the Internet have shifted the focus of some attacks from the real world to cyber space. The consequences of such an impersonation attack against a web application (known as a cyber-impersonation attack) range from personal information disclosure and identity theft to financial fraud resulting in the embezzlement of funds. The lack of ability for conventional firewalls to recognize such attacks and their enormously derogatory impact on business make them of special interest to "black hats" and thus, of special concern for developers and web security administrators.

This article discusses common flaws in web application design that facilitate cyber-impersonation attacks and tested countermeasures to protect against them. However, in order to better understand cyber-impersonation attacks it is imperative to gain an adequate understanding of session management techniques (as will become clear through the rest of the article).

By Rohyt Belani at SecurityFocus.

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