Broken Access Control: Understanding and Finding Issues

3 min readFeb 9
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Access control is a critical aspect of information security and is used to restrict access to sensitive information and resources. Unfortunately, broken access control issues are common and can result in significant data breaches and security incidents. In this article, we will look at what broken access control is, how it can occur, and how to find these issues in your systems and applications.

What is Broken Access Control?

Broken access control refers to the failure of a system or application to properly enforce access restrictions. This often happens when there are vulnerabilities in the system’s access control implementation, or when the access control rules are not properly defined or maintained. The consequences of broken access control can range from data theft to unauthorized access to sensitive information and resources.

How Broken Access Control Happens

Broken access control can occur in several ways, including:

  1. Weak Access Controls: This can occur when weak or easily guessable passwords are used, or when access controls are not properly implemented or configured.
  2. Lack of Input Validation: Improper input validation can result in access control vulnerabilities when untrusted data is used to control access to resources.
  3. Broken Session Management: This can occur when sessions are not properly managed or terminated, leading to unauthorized access to sensitive resources.
  4. Misconfigured Permissions: This can occur when access control rules are not properly defined or maintained, leading to excessive permissions being granted to users or resources.

Finding Broken Access Control Issues

To find broken access control issues, you need to understand how your system or application implements access controls and perform regular security assessments. Here are some steps you can follow:

  1. Perform a Threat Modeling Exercise: This is a structured approach to identifying potential security risks in a system or application. The exercise will help you understand the components of…

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