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 (3.0)  

CWE-258: Empty Password in Configuration File

Weakness ID: 258
Abstraction: Variant
Structure: Simple
Status: Incomplete
Presentation Filter:
+ Description
Using an empty string as a password is insecure.
+ 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)
ChildOfBaseBase521Weak Password Requirements
ChildOfVariantVariant260Password in Configuration File
+ Relevant to the view "Architectural Concepts" (CWE-1008)
MemberOfCategoryCategory1010Authenticate Actors
+ Relevant to the view "Development Concepts" (CWE-699)
ChildOfVariantVariant260Password in Configuration File
+ 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.

Architecture and Design
ImplementationREALIZATION: This weakness is caused during implementation of an architectural security tactic.
+ 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.


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.

Access Control

Technical Impact: Gain Privileges or Assume Identity

+ Likelihood Of Exploit
+ Demonstrative Examples

Example 1

The following examples show a portion of properties and configuration files for Java and ASP.NET applications. The files include username and password information but the password is provided as an empty string.

This Java example shows a properties file with an empty password string.

(bad code)
Example Language: Java 
# Java Web App ResourceBundle properties file

The following example shows a portion of a configuration file for an ASP.Net application. This configuration file includes username and password information for a connection to a database and the password is provided as an empty string.

(bad code)
Example Language: ASP.NET 
<add name="ud_DEV" connectionString="connectDB=uDB; uid=db2admin; pwd=; dbalias=uDB;" providerName="System.Data.Odbc" />

An empty string should never be used as a password as this can allow unauthorized access to the application. Username and password information should not be included in a configuration file or a properties file in clear text. If possible, encrypt this information and avoid CWE-260 and CWE-13.

+ Potential Mitigations

Phase: System Configuration

Passwords should be at least eight characters long -- the longer the better. Avoid passwords that are in any way similar to other passwords you have. Avoid using words that may be found in a dictionary, names book, on a map, etc. Consider incorporating numbers and/or punctuation into your password. If you do use common words, consider replacing letters in that word with numbers and punctuation. However, do not use "similar-looking" punctuation. For example, it is not a good idea to change cat to c@t, ca+, (@+, or anything similar. Finally, it is never appropriate to use an empty string as a password.
+ Weakness Ordinalities
(where the weakness exists independent of other weaknesses)
+ 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.
MemberOfCategoryCategory2547PK - Security Features
MemberOfCategoryCategory950SFP Secondary Cluster: Hardcoded Sensitive Data
+ Taxonomy Mappings
Mapped Taxonomy NameNode IDFitMapped Node Name
7 Pernicious KingdomsPassword Management: Empty Password in Configuration File
+ References
[REF-207] John Viega and Gary McGraw. "Building Secure Software: How to Avoid Security Problems the Right Way". 1st Edition. Addison-Wesley. 2002.
+ Content History
Submission DateSubmitterOrganization
7 Pernicious Kingdoms
Modification DateModifierOrganization
2008-07-01Eric DalciCigital
updated Time_of_Introduction
2008-09-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships, Other_Notes, Taxonomy_Mappings, Weakness_Ordinalities
2009-10-29CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Other_Notes, Potential_Mitigations
2010-12-13CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Demonstrative_Examples
2011-06-01CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences
2012-05-11CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated References, Relationships
2013-02-21CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Potential_Mitigations
2014-07-30CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2017-11-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Applicable_Platforms, Causal_Nature, Likelihood_of_Exploit, Modes_of_Introduction, Relationships

More information is available — Please select a different filter.
Page Last Updated: January 18, 2018