CWE

Common Weakness Enumeration

A Community-Developed List of Software Weakness Types

CWE/SANS Top 25 Most Dangerous Software Errors
Home > CWE List > CWE- Individual Dictionary Definition (3.1)  
ID

CWE-210: Information Exposure Through Self-generated Error Message

Weakness ID: 210
Abstraction: Base
Structure: Simple
Status: Draft
Presentation Filter:
+ Description
The software identifies an error condition and creates its own diagnostic or error messages that contain sensitive information.
+ 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
ChildOfBaseBase - a weakness that is described in an abstract fashion, but with sufficient details to infer specific methods for detection and prevention. More general than a Variant weakness, but more specific than a Class weakness.209Information Exposure Through an Error Message
ParentOfVariantVariant - a weakness that is described at a very low level of detail, typically limited to a specific language or technology. More specific than a Base weakness.535Information Exposure Through Shell Error Message
ParentOfVariantVariant - a weakness that is described at a very low level of detail, typically limited to a specific language or technology. More specific than a Base weakness.536Information Exposure Through Servlet Runtime Error Message
ParentOfVariantVariant - a weakness that is described at a very low level of detail, typically limited to a specific language or technology. More specific than a Base weakness.537Information Exposure Through Java Runtime Error Message
+ Relevant to the view "Architectural Concepts" (CWE-1008)
NatureTypeIDName
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1016Limit Exposure
+ Relevant to the view "Development Concepts" (CWE-699)
NatureTypeIDName
ChildOfBaseBase - a weakness that is described in an abstract fashion, but with sufficient details to infer specific methods for detection and prevention. More general than a Variant weakness, but more specific than a Class weakness.209Information Exposure Through an Error Message
ParentOfVariantVariant - a weakness that is described at a very low level of detail, typically limited to a specific language or technology. More specific than a Base weakness.535Information Exposure Through Shell Error Message
ParentOfVariantVariant - a weakness that is described at a very low level of detail, typically limited to a specific language or technology. More specific than a Base weakness.536Information Exposure Through Servlet Runtime Error Message
ParentOfVariantVariant - a weakness that is described at a very low level of detail, typically limited to a specific language or technology. More specific than a Base weakness.537Information Exposure Through Java Runtime Error Message
+ 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
Architecture and Design
ImplementationREALIZATION: This weakness is caused during implementation of an architectural security tactic.
Operation
+ 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

Class: Language-Independent (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
Confidentiality

Technical Impact: Read Application Data

+ Demonstrative Examples

Example 1

The following code uses custom configuration files for each user in the application. It checks to see if the file exists on the system before attempting to open and use the file. If the configuration file does not exist, then an error is generated, and the application exits.

(bad code)
Example Language: Perl 
$uname = GetUserInput("username");


# avoid CWE-22, CWE-78, others.
if ($uname !~ /^\w+$/)
{
ExitError("Bad hacker!") ;
}

$filename = "/home/myprog/config/" . $uname . ".txt";
if (!(-e $filename))
{
ExitError("Error: $filename does not exist");
}

If this code is running on a server, such as a web application, then the person making the request should not know what the full pathname of the configuration directory is. By submitting a username that is not associated with a configuration file, an attacker could get this pathname from the error message. It could then be used to exploit path traversal, symbolic link following, or other problems that may exist elsewhere in the application.

+ Observed Examples
ReferenceDescription
Infoleak of sensitive information in error message (physical access required).
+ Potential Mitigations

Phases: Implementation; Build and Compilation

Strategy: Compilation or Build Hardening

Debugging information should not make its way into a production release.

Phases: Implementation; Build and Compilation

Strategy: Environment Hardening

Debugging information should not make its way into a production release.
+ 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
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.963SFP Secondary Cluster: Exposed Data
+ Taxonomy Mappings
Mapped Taxonomy NameNode IDFitMapped Node Name
PLOVERProduct-Generated Error Message Infoleak
Software Fault PatternsSFP23Exposed Data
+ References
[REF-44] Michael Howard, David LeBlanc and John Viega. "24 Deadly Sins of Software Security". "Sin 12: Information Leakage." Page 191. McGraw-Hill. 2010.
[REF-62] Mark Dowd, John McDonald and Justin Schuh. "The Art of Software Security Assessment". Chapter 3, "Overly Verbose Error Messages", Page 75. 1st Edition. Addison Wesley. 2006.
+ Content History
Submissions
Submission DateSubmitterOrganization
PLOVER
Modifications
Modification DateModifierOrganization
2008-07-01Eric DalciCigital
updated Time_of_Introduction
2008-09-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships, Other_Notes, Taxonomy_Mappings
2009-12-28CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Demonstrative_Examples
2010-06-21CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Potential_Mitigations
2011-03-29CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Name, Relationships
2011-06-01CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences
2012-05-11CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated References, Relationships
2012-10-30CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Name, Potential_Mitigations
2014-06-23CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Other_Notes
2014-07-30CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2017-11-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Applicable_Platforms, Functional_Areas, Modes_of_Introduction, Relationships
Previous Entry Names
Change DatePrevious Entry Name
2011-03-29Product-Generated Error Message Information Leak
2012-10-30Information Exposure Through Generated Error Message

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Page Last Updated: March 29, 2018