Password Reset Poisoning – Attack Types and Prevention

Password Reset Vulnerability – Poisoning Explained

Aug 29, 2022

8 min read

Ivona Simic

In this article:

Modern application security relies on the username-password combination as the most common approach to authenticate registered users into a digital entity. Because of its ease of implementation for most digital experiences, a password function is used to offer the first line of defense for both front and backend security. However, with the emerging threat landscape, password reset functionality is considered one of the most commonly exploited components. While attackers utilize various attacking mechanisms, one common vulnerability occurs when the average internet user mismanages or fails to secure his credentials properly. This functionality allows the user to recover their account by clicking a forget password button, which generates a password reset link. In a vulnerable application, an attacker can manipulate the password reset token and send it to a domain they control, resulting in a password reset poisoning attack.

This article discusses a password reset poisoning vulnerability, its severity, and approaches to prevent attacks.

What is a Password Reset Poisoning Attack?

In a password reset poisoning attack, the attacker manipulates the host server into generating a malicious password reset link, which sends the reset password URL to an attacker-controlled host. Such attacks are also classified as host header attacks that allow the attacker to overwrite the domain of the link that

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