CWE

Common Weakness Enumeration

A Community-Developed List of Software Weakness Types

CWE/SANS Top 25 Most Dangerous Software Errors
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ID

CWE-174: Double Decoding of the Same Data

Weakness ID: 174
Abstraction: Variant
Structure: Simple
Status: Draft
Presentation Filter:
+ Description
The software decodes the same input twice, which can limit the effectiveness of any protection mechanism that occurs in between the decoding operations.
+ Relationships

The table(s) below shows the weaknesses and high level categories that are related to this weakness. These relationships are defined as ChildOf, ParentOf, MemberOf and give insight to similar items that may exist at higher and lower levels of abstraction. In addition, relationships such as PeerOf and CanAlsoBe are defined to show similar weaknesses that the user may want to explore.

+ Relevant to the view "Research Concepts" (CWE-1000)
NatureTypeIDName
ChildOfClassClass172Encoding Error
ChildOfClassClass675Duplicate Operations on Resource
+ Relevant to the view "Development Concepts" (CWE-699)
NatureTypeIDName
ChildOfClassClass172Encoding Error
+ Modes Of Introduction

The different Modes of Introduction provide information about how and when this weakness may be introduced. The Phase identifies a point in the software life cycle at which introduction may occur, while the Note provides a typical scenario related to introduction during the given phase.

PhaseNote
Implementation
+ Applicable Platforms
The listings below show possible areas for which the given weakness could appear. These may be for specific named Languages, Operating Systems, Architectures, Paradigms, Technologies, or a class of such platforms. The platform is listed along with how frequently the given weakness appears for that instance.

Languages

(Language-Independent classes): (Undetermined Prevalence)

+ Common Consequences

The table below specifies different individual consequences associated with the weakness. The Scope identifies the application security area that is violated, while the Impact describes the negative technical impact that arises if an adversary succeeds in exploiting this weakness. The Likelihood provides information about how likely the specific consequence is expected to be seen relative to the other consequences in the list. For example, there may be high likelihood that a weakness will be exploited to achieve a certain impact, but a low likelihood that it will be exploited to achieve a different impact.

ScopeImpactLikelihood
Access Control
Confidentiality
Availability
Integrity
Other

Technical Impact: Bypass Protection Mechanism; Execute Unauthorized Code or Commands; Varies by Context

+ Observed Examples
ReferenceDescription
Forum software improperly URL decodes the highlight parameter when extracting text to highlight, which allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary PHP code by double-encoding the highlight value so that special characters are inserted into the result.
XSS protection mechanism attempts to remove "/" that could be used to close tags, but it can be bypassed using double encoded slashes (%252F)
Directory traversal using double encoding.
"%2527" (double-encoded single quote) used in SQL injection.
Double hex-encoded data.
Browser executes HTML at higher privileges via URL with hostnames that are double hex encoded, which are decoded twice to generate a malicious hostname.
+ Potential Mitigations

Phase: Architecture and Design

Strategy: Input Validation

Avoid making decisions based on names of resources (e.g. files) if those resources can have alternate names.

Phase: Implementation

Strategy: Input Validation

Assume all input is malicious. Use an "accept known good" input validation strategy, i.e., use a whitelist of acceptable inputs that strictly conform to specifications. Reject any input that does not strictly conform to specifications, or transform it into something that does. When performing input validation, consider all potentially relevant properties, including length, type of input, the full range of acceptable values, missing or extra inputs, syntax, consistency across related fields, and conformance to business rules. As an example of business rule logic, "boat" may be syntactically valid because it only contains alphanumeric characters, but it is not valid if the input is only expected to contain colors such as "red" or "blue." Do not rely exclusively on looking for malicious or malformed inputs (i.e., do not rely on a blacklist). A blacklist is likely to miss at least one undesirable input, especially if the code's environment changes. This can give attackers enough room to bypass the intended validation. However, blacklists can be useful for detecting potential attacks or determining which inputs are so malformed that they should be rejected outright.

Phase: Implementation

Strategy: Output Encoding

Use and specify an output encoding that can be handled by the downstream component that is reading the output. Common encodings include ISO-8859-1, UTF-7, and UTF-8. When an encoding is not specified, a downstream component may choose a different encoding, either by assuming a default encoding or automatically inferring which encoding is being used, which can be erroneous. When the encodings are inconsistent, the downstream component might treat some character or byte sequences as special, even if they are not special in the original encoding. Attackers might then be able to exploit this discrepancy and conduct injection attacks; they even might be able to bypass protection mechanisms that assume the original encoding is also being used by the downstream component.

Phase: Implementation

Strategy: Input Validation

Inputs should be decoded and canonicalized to the application's current internal representation before being validated (CWE-180). Make sure that the application does not decode the same input twice (CWE-174). Such errors could be used to bypass whitelist validation schemes by introducing dangerous inputs after they have been checked.
+ Memberships
This MemberOf Relationships table shows additional CWE Categories and Views that reference this weakness as a member. This information is often useful in understanding where a weakness fits within the context of external information sources.
NatureTypeIDName
MemberOfViewView884CWE Cross-section
MemberOfCategoryCategory992SFP Secondary Cluster: Faulty Input Transformation
+ Notes

Research Gap

Probably under-studied.
+ Taxonomy Mappings
Mapped Taxonomy NameNode IDFitMapped Node Name
PLOVERDouble Encoding
+ Content History
Submissions
Submission DateSubmitterOrganizationSource
PLOVER
Modifications
Modification DateModifierOrganizationSource
2008-07-01Eric DalciCigital
updated Potential_Mitigations
2008-09-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships, Observed_Example, Taxonomy_Mappings
2008-11-24CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Observed_Examples
2009-07-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Potential_Mitigations
2011-03-29CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Potential_Mitigations
2011-06-01CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences
2012-05-11CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences, Observed_Examples, Relationships
2012-10-30CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Potential_Mitigations
2014-07-30CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2017-11-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Applicable_Platforms
Previous Entry Names
Change DatePrevious Entry Name
2008-04-11Double Encoding

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Page Last Updated: November 14, 2017