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-214: Information Exposure Through Process Environment

Weakness ID: 214
Abstraction: Variant
Structure: Simple
Status: Incomplete
Presentation Filter:
+ Description
A process is invoked with sensitive arguments, environment variables, or other elements that can be seen by other processes on the operating system.
+ Extended Description
Many operating systems allow a user to list information about processes that are owned by other users. This information could include command line arguments or environment variable settings. When this data contains sensitive information such as credentials, it might allow other users to launch an attack against the software or related resources.
+ 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
ChildOfClassClass200Information Exposure
+ Relevant to the view "Architectural Concepts" (CWE-1008)
NatureTypeIDName
MemberOfCategoryCategory1016Limit Exposure
+ Relevant to the view "Development Concepts" (CWE-699)
NatureTypeIDName
ChildOfClassClass200Information Exposure
+ 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

(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
Confidentiality

Technical Impact: Read Application Data

+ Demonstrative Examples

Example 1

In the example below, the password for a keystore file is read from a system property.

(bad)
Example Language: Java 
String keystorePass = System.getProperty("javax.net.ssl.keyStorePassword");
if (keystorePass == null) {
System.err.println("ERROR: Keystore password not specified.");
System.exit(-1);

}

...

If the property is defined on the command line when the program is invoked (using the -D... syntax), the password may be displayed in the OS process list.

+ Observed Examples
ReferenceDescription
password passed on command line
password passed on command line
username/password on command line allows local users to view via "ps" or other process listing programs
Username/password on command line allows local users to view via "ps" or other process listing programs.
PGP passphrase provided as command line argument.
Kernel race condition allows reading of environment variables of a process that is still spawning.
+ Affected Resources
  • System Process
+ 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
MemberOfCategoryCategory963SFP Secondary Cluster: Exposed Data
+ Notes

Research Gap

Under-studied, especially environment variables.
+ Taxonomy Mappings
Mapped Taxonomy NameNode IDFitMapped Node Name
PLOVERProcess information infoleak to other processes
Software Fault PatternsSFP23Exposed Data
+ Content History
Submissions
Submission DateSubmitterOrganizationSource
PLOVER
Modifications
Modification DateModifierOrganizationSource
2008-07-01Sean EidemillerCigital
added/updated demonstrative examples
2008-07-01Eric DalciCigital
updated Time_of_Introduction
2008-09-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2008-10-14CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Description, Other_Notes
2009-10-29CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Other_Notes
2011-03-29CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Name
2011-06-01CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences
2012-05-11CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2012-10-30CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Potential_Mitigations
2014-07-30CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Demonstrative_Examples, Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2017-11-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Applicable_Platforms, Modes_of_Introduction, Relationships
Previous Entry Names
Change DatePrevious Entry Name
2008-04-11Process Information Leak to Other Processes
2011-03-29Process Environment Information Leak

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Page Last Updated: November 14, 2017