Information exposure through query strings in url

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Last revision (mm/dd/yy): 10/17/2018


Information exposure through query strings in URL is when sensitive data is passed to parameters in the URL. This allows attackers to obtain sensitive data such as usernames, passwords, tokens (authX), database details, and any other potentially sensitive data. Simply using HTTPS does not resolve this vulnerability.

Risk Factors

Threat Agents: App Specific Attack Vectors: Average Security Weakness (prevalence): Common Security Weakness (detectability): Difficult Technical Impacts: Moderate Business Impacts: App Specific


Regardless of using encryption, the following URL will expose information in the locations detailed below:

The parameter values for 'user', 'authz_token', and 'expire' will be exposed in the following locations when using HTTP or HTTPS:

  • Referer Header
  • Web Logs
  • Shared Systems
  • Browser History
  • Browser Cache
  • Shoulder Surfing
  • TBD

When not using an encrypted channel, all of the above and the following:

  • Man-in-the-Middle
  • TBD

Exposure Proof-of-Concept

The following figure displays how an internal attacker can potentially exploit this vulnerability as the request above is captured in the server logs even when requested via an encrypted channel: information-exposure-log.png

Related Attacks


Related Vulnerabilities


Related Controls


Related Technical Impacts