Improper Session Management

Severity: Medium

In the world of digital security, every point of entry and every point of interaction can be a potential vulnerability. In the realm of ServiceNow, a key player in IT service management, one such area of concern is session management. When session management is improperly handled, it can lead to significant security issues. In this article, we will elucidate why improper session management in ServiceNow is problematic, examine how such issues can inadvertently occur, and provide solutions to mitigate these potential risks.

Understanding Session Management in ServiceNow

In ServiceNow, a session is initiated when a user logs into the platform. This session is what allows the user to interact with the system, executing functions, and accessing data as needed. Each session is governed by a session identifier or session ID, which is unique to the session. Session management encompasses the processes by which these sessions and session IDs are created, maintained, and eventually terminated.

The Perils of Improper Session Management

Incorrect handling of sessions can result in a range of security vulnerabilities, primarily:

  1. Session Hijacking: If an attacker can acquire a user's session ID, they can impersonate that user, gaining unauthorized access to data and capabilities within ServiceNow.
  2. Session Fixation: In this scenario, an attacker forces a user's session ID to an ID known to the attacker, which allows them to maintain access to the user's session.
  3. Insecure Session Termination: If a session isn't terminated securely, an attacker can reuse old session IDs to gain unauthorized access.

Common Causes of Improper Session Management

Mistakes in session management often stem from:

  1. Insufficient Session Expiration Policies: Without a policy to automatically expire sessions after a certain period of inactivity, a user's session may stay open indefinitely, increasing the risk of session hijacking.
  2. Insecure Transmission of Session IDs: If session IDs are transmitted over insecure connections, they can be intercepted by attackers.
  3. Inadequate Session Termination: If a user's session isn't completely terminated after logging out, an attacker could potentially reuse the session ID.

Addressing Improper Session Management: Best Practices

Here are some measures to effectively manage sessions in ServiceNow:

  1. Implement Robust Session Expiration Policies: Enforce policies that automatically expire sessions after a period of inactivity. Also, ensure that sessions are invalidated after users log out.
  2. Secure Session ID Transmission: Always transmit session IDs over secure connections. Use HTTPS to encrypt the connection between the client and the server, preventing the interception of session IDs.
  3. Use Secure, Random Session IDs: Use long, random session IDs that are not easy to guess. The harder a session ID is to guess, the less likely an attacker can hijack the session.
  4. Monitor Session Activities: Regularly monitor session activities. Unusual patterns could indicate a security issue.


Improper session management can expose ServiceNow to considerable risk. By understanding the potential pitfalls and implementing robust session management practices, security engineers can significantly reduce these risks. Ultimately, ensuring the integrity of session management is a vital component of maintaining a secure ServiceNow environment. Stay vigilant, remain proactive, and keep your organization's data secure.

Read More ServiceNow Security Pitfalls

Connect, Protect, Defend

Streamline your approach to security posture management throughout your entire company.
Get a Free Security Assessment
By installing or using the software, you acknowledge and agree to be bound by the Terms of Service.