Skip to content

Username enumeration

Username enumeration

Description

Enumeration techniques are a very fast way to identify registered users. With valid usernames, effective brute force attacks can be attempted to guess the password of the user accounts.

Recommendation

Making sure no pages or APIs can be used to differentiate between a valid and invalid username

  • Login:

Make sure to return a generic "No such username or password" message when a login fails. In addition, make sure the HTTP response and the time taken to respond are no different when a username does not exist and an incorrect password is entered.

  • Password Reset:

Make sure your "forgotten password" page does not reveal usernames. If your password reset process involves sending an email, have the user enter their email address. Then send an email with a password reset link if the account exists.

  • Registration:

Avoid having your site tell people that a supplied username is already taken. If your usernames are email addresses, send a password reset email if a user tries to sign-up with a current address. If usernames are not email addresses, protect your sign-up page with a CAPTCHA.

  • Profile Pages:

If your users have profile pages, make sure they are only visible to other users who are already logged in. If you hide a profile page, ensure a hidden profile is indistinguishable from a non-existent profile.

Standards