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OWASP Periodic Table of Vulnerabilities - Insufficient Session Expiration

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Insufficient Session Expiration

Root Cause Summary

The application either does not implement an inactivity timeout or an absolute timeout, or the timeouts are too long to provide sufficient risk mitigation. The application does not provide a logout feature, or the feature does not actively terminate the user's session.

Browser / Standards Solution

Currently, session management is normally implemented with cookies and web frameworks that are custom to each solution. There is work underway to define a new standard for instructing the browser about session timeouts and how to handle them.

Perimeter Solution


Generic Framework Solution

The framework should provide a configurable option for setting the inactivity and absolute timeouts for sessions. Timeouts should have secure defaults (e.g. 20 minutes of inactivity, 8 hours absolute lifetime). The framework should provide a configuration option to automatically save session state and allow the session to continue if the user successfully reauthenticates after the session times out.

The application should provide the user the option to log out and destroy the session immediately without waiting for either timer to expire.

Custom Framework Solution


Custom Code Solution


Discussion / Controversy

Although most web frameworks support idle timeout and few web frameworks support absolute timeout, there are cases where both of these conjectures are not true. Custom session handling mechanisms require much of this logic to be implemented "by hand". Problem space overlap current working group specifications for HTTPAuth and WebSec.


Session Management Cheat Sheet
Insufficient Session Expiration (WASC)
Insufficient Session Expiration (CWE)