This site is the archived OWASP Foundation Wiki and is no longer accepting Account Requests.
To view the new OWASP Foundation website, please visit

OWASP Periodic Table of Vulnerabilities - Brute Force Session Identifier

Jump to: navigation, search

Return to Periodic Table Working View

Brute Force Session Identifier / Session Prediction

Root Cause Summary

Session tokens are generated in a predictable fashion or from a key space that is too small to prevent guessing a token in reasonable time. The application does not detect and prevent session brute forcing attempts.

Browser / Standards Solution

Define a new session management scheme which allows applications to force session identifiers to be linked to SSL/TLS sessions or client-side certificates, if available. Even if an attacker manages to guess an active session ID, the ID won't be usable except over the original negotiated SSL connection or a renegotiated SSL connection for which the client is able to provide the HTTP session ID on the first try. A session ID must not be valid over two currently active SSL connections at the same time.

Perimeter Solution


Generic Framework Solution

Ensure that session identifiers are created using a secure random algorithm, with enough entropy to make guessing infeasible during the average lifetime of a session. The framework should check that an active session does not already exist with the same ID as a newly generated session token before issuing the token.

The application should be configurable to tie session IDs to SSL sessions, tracking those sessions across renegotiations. Any token which is sent over an SSL connection that isn't currently tied to the token should be expired immediately and the associated session terminated or suspended until the client successfully reauthenticates.

The application should be configurable to tie session IDs to source IP addresses, and terminate/suspend any active session if subsequent requests originate from a different IP. The configuration should allow the setting to be enabled globally, or on a per-user or per-session basis. (Users may choose to "opt in" to the restriction if they know their IP address is unlikely to change during the session.)

The application should track the number of requests made with invalid/expired session IDs and alert or block requests based on a configurable rate limit. Malicious actors may be identified by source IP address, a combination of browser fingerprinting features, or other configurable fraud metrics.

Custom Framework Solution


Custom Code Solution


Discussion / Controversy

There are often perfectly legitimate reasons for a client IP to change during a session, including IP NAT pooling and short DHCP lease periods. A strict setting may only be appropriate for intranet applications or extremely high-security features.


Insufficient Session-ID Length
Brute Force (WASC)
Credential and Session Prediction (WASC)
Insufficient Entropy (CWE)
Current IETF State Management (RFC 6265)
IETF Session Continuation Problem Statement
IETF Channel ID Proposal