Unveiling the ‘Forced Authentication’ Threat: How Microsoft Access Files could Risk Your Cybersecurity

Unveiling the ‘Forced Authentication’ Threat: How Microsoft Access Files could Risk Your Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity Researchers Unearth “Forced Authentication” Exploitable Vulnerability with Microsoft Access Files

Main Points:

  • Cybersecurity researchers discover a new potential exploit known as “forced authentication.”
  • The vulnerability could allow pernicious agents to leak a Windows user’s NT LAN Manager (NTLM) tokens.
  • Victims can be tricked into opening corrupted Microsoft Access files, leaving their system at risk.
  • The attack exploits a legitimate feature in the database management system that permits links to external data sources, like remote SQL.

‘Forced Authentication’: The New Digital Bogeyman

Think you’ve seen all the cybersecurity threats out there? Guess again! Researchers have just exposed a new exploit that’s been dubbed ‘forced authentication’ and it’s potentially quite nasty. The forcible part doesn’t come with an iron fist, but rather in the guise of a specially crafted Microsoft Access file that could spring into a leak of your NTLM tokens. Now that’s a leak you can’t fix with duct tape!

External Linked Data Sources: A Booby-Trap in Disguise

Ever heard the phrase “a feature, not a bug”? Well, turns out the bad guys might be getting their laughs from this one. This attack technique takes advantage of a legitimate stated feature of Microsoft’s Access database management system. Typically, this feature allows users to link to external data sources, such as a remote SQL. But in the wrong hands, this can be turned into a Trojan horse. Talk about a rotten apple spoiling the barrel!

Concluding Thoughts: Stay One Step Ahead of the Bad Guys

In our ever-evolving tech landscape, even features intended for convenience can unfortunately become pathways for attack. Be wary! Stay a mile ahead, even though you only need a yard. With the discovery of this exploit, users are reminded to be vigilant about what files are opened and to always keep their systems updated to the latest security patches.


In the digital game of cat and mouse, cybersecurity researchers have once again caught scent of a new ploy nicknamed ‘forced authentication’. This devious trickster can leak a Windows user’s NTLM tokens by masquerading as an unsuspecting Microsoft Access file. The exploit abuses a perfectly fine feature in the database management system that links to external data sources. Much like an over-the-top car alarm, sometimes the things put in place to help us can cause the most noise if manipulated. Always be on the alert for updates, folks, and remember – a click saved is a hack prevented.Original Article: https://thehackernews.com/2023/11/hackers-can-exploit-forced.html

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