CAPEC Details
Name Shoulder Surfing
Likelyhood of attack Typical severity
High High
Summary In a shoulder surfing attack, an adversary observes an unaware individual's keystrokes, screen content, or conversations with the goal of obtaining sensitive information. One motive for this attack is to obtain sensitive information about the target for financial, personal, political, or other gains. From an insider threat perspective, an additional motive could be to obtain system/application credentials or cryptographic keys. Shoulder surfing attacks are accomplished by observing the content "over the victim's shoulder", as implied by the name of this attack.
Prerequisites The adversary typically requires physical proximity to the target's environment, in order to observe their screen or conversation. This may not be the case if the adversary is able to record the target and obtain sensitive information upon review of the recording.
Solutions Be mindful of your surroundings when discussing or viewing sensitive information in public areas. Pertaining to insider threats, ensure that sensitive information is not displayed to nor discussed around individuals without need-to-know access to said information.
Related Weaknesses
CWE ID Description
CWE-200 Exposure of Sensitive Information to an Unauthorized Actor
CWE-359 Exposure of Private Personal Information to an Unauthorized Actor
Related CAPECS
CAPEC ID Description
CAPEC-560 An adversary guesses or obtains (i.e. steals or purchases) legitimate credentials (e.g. userID/password) to achieve authentication and to perform authorized actions under the guise of an authenticated user or service. Attacks leveraging trusted credentials typically result in the adversary laterally moving within the local network, since users are often allowed to login to systems/applications within the network using the same password. This further allows the adversary to obtain sensitive data, download/install malware on the system, pose as a legitimate user for social engineering purposes, and more. Attacks on known passwords generally rely on the primary fact that users often reuse the same username/password combination for a variety of systems, applications, and services, coupled with poor password policies on the target system or application. Adversaries can also utilize known passwords to target Single Sign On (SSO) or cloud-based applications and services, which often don't verify the authenticity of the user's input. Known credentials are usually obtained by an adversary via a system/application breach and/or by purchasing dumps of credentials on the dark web. These credentials may be further gleaned via exposed configuration and properties files that contain system passwords, database connection strings, and other sensitive data. Successful spoofing and impersonation of trusted credentials can lead to an adversary breaking authentication, authorization, and audit controls with the target system or application.
CAPEC-651 An adversary intercepts a form of communication (e.g. text, audio, video) by way of software (e.g., microphone and audio recording application), hardware (e.g., recording equipment), or physical means (e.g., physical proximity). The goal of eavesdropping is typically to gain unauthorized access to sensitive information about the target for financial, personal, political, or other gains. Eavesdropping is different from a sniffing attack as it does not take place on a network-based communication channel (e.g., IP traffic). Instead, it entails listening in on the raw audio source of a conversation between two or more parties.