R033. Restrict administrative access


If the system has an administration mechanism, it must only be accessible from administrative network segments.


Network access to modules or system management mechanisms must be limited to the parties that require access to them (administrators). Personnel that does not have administrative needs, tasks or obligations should not have access to these mechanisms. Following this recommendation helps to fulfill the objective of reducing the attack surface of the above mentioned systems (since malicious third parties cannot attempt to directly access the system administration settings), and increases the level of confidentiality and availability of the system.


  1. Principle of least privilege: For each system in the organization it must be guaranteed that each module (process, user or program) can only access the information and resources required to accomplish its legitimate purpose.


  1. An anonymous attacker attempts to access an exposed administrator interface by brute force, which may cause a denial of service, account lockouts or an interface/system lockout.

  2. An anonymous attacker and/or registered user exploits a known vulnerability in the management system, which may allow access to the system settings, a denial of service or privileges elevation for system users or processes.

  3. An anonymous attacker obtains technical information of the system through data analysis of the administrator interface in order to perform deeper and more detailed attacks.


  • Layer: Application layer

  • Asset: System management

  • Scope: Confidentiality

  • Phase: Operation

  • Type of control: Recommendation


  1. CWE-419: Unprotected Primary Channel. The software uses a primary channel for administration or restricted functionality, but it does not properly protect the channel.

  2. OWASP Top 10 A5:2017-Broken Access Control. Restrictions on what authenticated users are allowed to do are often not properly enforced. Attackers can exploit these flaws to access unauthorized functionality and/or data, such as access other users' accounts, view sensitive files, modify other users' data, change access rights, etc.

  3. OWASP-ASVS v4.0.1 V13.1 Generic Web Service Security Verification Requirements.(13.1.2) Verify that access to administration and management functions is limited to authorized administrators.

  4. PCI DSS v3.2.1 - Requirement 1.2.1 Restrict inbound and outbound traffic to that which is necessary for the cardholder data environment, and specifically deny all other traffic.

  5. PCI DSS v3.2.1 - Requirement 1.2.2 Secure and synchronize router configuration files.

  6. PCI DSS v3.2.1 - Requirement 1.3.6 Place system components that store cardholder data (such as a database) in an internal network zone, segregated from the DMZ and other untrusted networks.

  7. PCI DSS v3.2.1 - Requirement 6.5.8 Address common coding vulnerabilities in software-development processes including improper access control (such as insecure direct object references, failure to restrict URL access, directory traversal, and failure to restrict user access to functions).

  8. PCI DSS v3.2.1 - Requirement 8.7 Restrict access to any database so that only database administrators have the ability to directly access or query databases.

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