Time and State Attacks
Category ID: 172Status: Draft
+ Description


An attacker exploits weaknesses in timing or state maintaining functions to perform actions that would otherwise be prevented by the execution flow of the target code and processes. An example of a state attack might include manipulation of an application's information to change the apparent credentials or similar information, possibly allowing the application to access material it would not normally be allowed to access. A common example of a timing attack is a test-action race condition where some state information is tested and, if it passes, an action is performed. If the attacker can change the state between the time that the application performs the test and the time the action is performed, then they might be able to manipulate the outcome of the action to malicious ends.
+ Related Weaknesses
CWE-IDWeakness NameWeakness Relationship Type
665Improper InitializationTargeted
+ Attack Prerequisites

Virtually all applications can be subject to time or state attacks in some form.

+ Resources Required

State attacks require the ability to manipulate the underlying state of an application. If that state is stored in a simple file, this can be relatively easy. If the state is stored internally, this can be more difficult. Timing attacks rely on being able to control when an application's thread is interrupted in order to insert the malicious action. Even then, if the actions in the sequence happen quickly, then success can largely be a matter of luck. As such, having many opportunities to attempt the attack is usually a requirement since and individual attack may have a low probability of success.

+ Relationships
NatureTypeIDNameDescriptionView(s) this relationship pertains toView\(s\)
ParentOfAttack PatternAttack Pattern25Forced Deadlock 
Mechanism of Attack (primary)1000
ParentOfAttack PatternAttack Pattern26Leveraging Race Conditions 
Mechanism of Attack (primary)1000
ParentOfAttack PatternAttack Pattern29Leveraging Time-of-Check and Time-of-Use (TOCTOU) Race Conditions 
Mechanism of Attack (primary)1000
ParentOfAttack PatternAttack Pattern74Manipulating User State 
Mechanism of Attack (primary)1000
MemberOfViewView1000Mechanism of Attack 
Mechanism of Attack1000