O Single Sign-Off, Where Art Thou? An Empirical Analysis of Single Sign-On Account Hijacking and Session Management on the Web

By Mohammad Ghasemisharif, Amruta Ramesh, Stephen Checkoway, Chris Kanich, and Jason Polakis.

In Proceedings of USENIX Security 2018. USENIX, August 2018.

Abstract

The advent of Single Sign-On (SSO) has ushered in the era of a tightly interconnected Web. Users can now effortlessly navigate the Web and obtain a personalized experience without the hassle of creating and managing accounts across different services. Due to the proliferation of SSO, user accounts in identity providers are now keys to the kingdom and pose a massive security risk. If such an account is compromised, attackers can gain control of the user’s accounts in numerous other web services.

In this paper we investigate the security implications of SSO and offer an in-depth analysis of account hijacking on the modern Web. Our experiments explore multiple aspects of the attack workflow and reveal significant variance in how services deploy SSO. We also introduce novel attacks that leverage SSO for maintaining long-term control of user accounts. We empirically evaluate our attacks against 95 major web and mobile services and demonstrate their severity and stealthy nature. Next we explore what session and account management options are available to users after an account is compromised. Our findings highlight the inherent limitations of prevalent SSO schemes as most services lack the functionality that would allow users to remediate an account takeover. This is exacerbated by the scale of SSO coverage, rendering manual remediation attempts a futile endeavor. To remedy this we propose Single Sign-Off, an extension to OpenID Connect for universally revoking access to all the accounts associated with the hijacked identity provider account.

Material

Reference

@InProceedings{checkoway-et-al:juniper-dual-ec:ccs16,
        author =        {Mohammad Ghasemisharif and Amruta Ramesh and Stephen
			 Checkoway and Chris Kanich and Jason Polakis},
	title =         {O Single Sign-Off, Where Art Thou? An Empirical
			 Analysis of Single Sign-On Account Hijacking and
			 Session Management on the Web},
        booktitle =     {Proceedings of USENIX Security 2018},
        editor =        {William Enck and Adrienne Porter Felt},
        year =          2018,
        month =         aug,
	url =           {https://stevecheckoway.github.io/papers/ssoff2018},
}