CompTIA Security Plus Mock Test Q607

Joe, a user, in a coffee shop is checking his email over a wireless network. An attacker records the temporary credentials being passed to Joe’s browser. The attacker later uses the credentials to impersonate Joe and creates SPAM messages. Which of the following attacks allows for this impersonation?

A. XML injection
B. Directory traversal
C. Header manipulation
D. Session hijacking


Correct Answer: D
Section: Threats and Vulnerabilities

Explanation:
In computer science, session hijacking, sometimes also known as cookie hijacking is the exploitation of a valid computer session — sometimes also called a session key — to gain unauthorized access to information or services in a computer system. In particular, it is used to refer to the theft of a magic cookie used to authenticate a user to a remote server. It has particular relevance to web developers, as the HTTP cookies used to maintain a session on many web sites can be easily stolen by an attacker using an intermediary computer or with access to the saved cookies on the victim’s computer.

Incorrect Answers:
A: When a web user takes advantage of a weakness with SQL by entering values that they should not, it is known as a SQL injection attack. Similarly, when the user enters values that query XML (known as XPath) with values that take advantage of exploits, it is known as an XML injection attack. XPath works in a similar manner to SQL, except that it does not have the same levels of access control, and taking advantage of weaknesses within can return entire documents. The best way to prevent XML injection attacks is to filter the user’s input and sanitize it to make certain that it does not cause XPath to return more data than it should. This is not what is described in this question. This answer is therefore incorrect.
B: Directory traversal is a form of HTTP exploit in which a hacker uses the software on a Web server to access data in a directory other than the server’s root directory. If the attempt is successful, the hacker can view restricted files or even execute commands on the server. Although some educated guesswork is involved in finding paths to restricted files on a Web server, a skilled hacker can easily carry out this type of attack on an inadequately protected server by searching through the directory tree. The risk of such attacks can be minimized by careful Web server programming, the installation of software updates and patches, filtering of input from browsers, and the use of vulnerability scanners. This is not what is described in this question. This answer is therefore incorrect.
C: A header manipulation attack uses other methods (hijacking, cross-site forgery, and so forth) to change values in HTTP headers and falsify access. When used with XSRF, the attacker can even change a user’s cookie. Internet Explorer 8 and above include InPrivate Filtering to help prevent some of this. By default, your browser sends information to sites as they need it — think of requesting a map from a site; it needs to know your location in order to give directions. With InPrivate Filtering, you can configure the browser not to share information that can be captured and manipulated. This is not what is described in this question. This answer is therefore incorrect.

References:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Session_hijacking
http://searchsecurity.techtarget.com/definition/directory-traversal
Dulaney, Emmett and Chuck Eastton, CompTIA Security+ Study Guide, 6th Edition, Sybex, Indianapolis, 2014, pp. 337, 340