Vulnerabilities of LDAP As An Authentication Service
Charlie Obimbo, Benjamin Ferriman
DOI: 10.4236/jis.2011.24015   PDF    HTML     10,935 Downloads   19,543 Views   Citations


Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) servers are widely used to authenticate users in enterprise level networks. Organizations such as universities and small to medium-sized businesses use LDAP for a variety of applications including e-mail clients, SSH, and workstation authentication. Since many organizations build dependencies on the LDAP service, a Denial-of-Service (DoS) attack to the service can cause a greater number of services disrupted. This paper examines the danger in the use of LDAP for user authentication by executing a DoS attack exploiting the TCP three-way handshake required when initializing a connection to an LDAP server.

Share and Cite:

C. Obimbo and B. Ferriman, "Vulnerabilities of LDAP As An Authentication Service," Journal of Information Security, Vol. 2 No. 4, 2011, pp. 151-157. doi: 10.4236/jis.2011.24015.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] J. M. Alonso, R. Bordon, M. Beltran and A. Guzman, “LDAP Injection Techniques,” in Communication Systems, 2008. ICCS 2008 11th, IEEE Singapore International Conference, pp. 980-986, 19-21 November 2008.
[2] J. M. Alonso, R. Bordon, M. Beltran and A. Guzman, “LDAP Injection & Blind LDAP Injection,” Figure 1 in URJC, p. 4, 2008, ICCS 2008.
[3] “RFC 4512: Light Directory Access Protocol (LDAP): Directory Information Models,” 2006. http://tools.ietf. org/html/rfc4512
[4] J. M. Alonso, R. Bordon, M. Beltran and A. Guzman, “LDAP Injection & Blind LDAP Injection,” URJC, 2008, ICCS 2008.
[5] “OpenLDAP—Secure Computing Wiki,” 2010.
[6] “RFC: 2830: Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (v3): Extension for Transport Layer Security,” 2000, http://
[7] “RFC 1487: X.500 Lightweight Directory Access Protocol,” 1993.
[8] “RFC 2251: Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (v3),” 1997.
[9] “RFC 4422: Simple Authentication and Security Layer (SASL),” 2006.
[10] “Application Layer-Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia,” 2011.
[11] A. Everett, “Unauthenticated Authentication: Null Bytes and the Affect on Web-Based Applications which Use LDAP,” IT Information Security Office, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, December 2006.
[12] “Transport Layer-Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia,” 2011.
[13] S. Foley and W. Fitzgerald, “An Approach to Security Policy Configuration Using Semantic Threat Graphs,” Data and Applications Security XXIII, 2009. University College Cork Cork Constraint Computation Centre, Com- puter Science Department Ireland, Vol. 5645, pp. 33-48, 2009
[14] “TCP 3 WAY HANDSHAKE: Educational Resources, Tips, Tricks, and More,” 2010. http://
[15] “Raw Socket-Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia,” 2011
[16] W. Eddy, “Cisco—Defenses against TCP SYN Flooding Attacks,” 2006.
[17] “OpenLDAP, Download,” 2011. http://
[18] “MIT Kerberos Distribution Page,” 2010.
[19] “SSLSTRIP,” 2009. http://tools.ietf. org/html/rfc4422
[20] “Kerberos: The Network Authentication Protocol,” 2010.

Copyright © 2023 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.