CAPEC Details
Name Encryption Brute Forcing
Likelyhood of attack Typical severity
Low Low
Summary An attacker, armed with the cipher text and the encryption algorithm used, performs an exhaustive (brute force) search on the key space to determine the key that decrypts the cipher text to obtain the plaintext.
Prerequisites Ciphertext is known. Encryption algorithm and key size are known.
Execution Flow
Step Phase Description Techniques
1 Explore Determine the ciphertext and the encryption algorithm.
2 Experiment Perform an exhaustive brute force search of the key space, producing candidate plaintexts and observing if they make sense.
Solutions Use commonly accepted algorithms and recommended key sizes. The key size used will depend on how important it is to keep the data confidential and for how long. In theory a brute force attack performing an exhaustive key space search will always succeed, so the goal is to have computational security. Moore's law needs to be taken into account that suggests that computing resources double every eighteen months.
Related Weaknesses
CWE ID Description
CWE-326 Inadequate Encryption Strength
CWE-327 Use of a Broken or Risky Cryptographic Algorithm
CWE-693 Protection Mechanism Failure
CWE-719 OWASP Top Ten 2007 Category A8 - Insecure Cryptographic Storage
Related CAPECS
CAPEC ID Description
CAPEC-112 In this attack, some asset (information, functionality, identity, etc.) is protected by a finite secret value. The attacker attempts to gain access to this asset by using trial-and-error to exhaustively explore all the possible secret values in the hope of finding the secret (or a value that is functionally equivalent) that will unlock the asset. Examples of secrets can include, but are not limited to, passwords, encryption keys, database lookup keys, and initial values to one-way functions. The key factor in this attack is the attackers' ability to explore the possible secret space rapidly. This, in turn, is a function of the size of the secret space and the computational power the attacker is able to bring to bear on the problem. If the attacker has modest resources and the secret space is large, the challenge facing the attacker is intractable. Assuming a finite secret space, a brute force attack will eventually succeed. The defender must rely on making sure that the time and resources necessary to do so will exceed the value of the information.