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-269: Improper Privilege Management

Weakness ID: 269
Abstraction: Class
Structure: Simple
Status: Incomplete
Presentation Filter:
+ Description
The software does not properly assign, modify, track, or check privileges for an actor, creating an unintended sphere of control for that actor.
+ 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)
+ Relevant to the view "Architectural Concepts" (CWE-1008)
NatureTypeIDName
MemberOfCategoryCategory1011Authorize Actors
+ Relevant to the view "Development Concepts" (CWE-699)
NatureTypeIDName
MemberOfCategoryCategory265Privilege / Sandbox Issues
ChildOfClassClass284Improper Access Control
ParentOfBaseBase270Privilege Context Switching Error
ParentOfVariantVariant488Exposure of Data Element to Wrong Session
+ 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
Access Control

Technical Impact: Gain Privileges or Assume Identity

+ Likelihood Of Exploit
Medium
+ Observed Examples
ReferenceDescription
Terminal privileges are not reset when a user logs out.
Does not properly pass security context to child processes in certain cases, allows privilege escalation.
Does not properly compute roles.
+ Potential Mitigations

Phases: Architecture and Design; Operation

Very carefully manage the setting, management, and handling of privileges. Explicitly manage trust zones in the software.

Phase: Architecture and Design

Strategy: Separation of Privilege

Follow the principle of least privilege when assigning access rights to entities in a software system.

Phase: Architecture and Design

Strategy: Separation of Privilege

Consider following the principle of separation of privilege. Require multiple conditions to be met before permitting access to a system resource.
+ Weakness Ordinalities
OrdinalityDescription
Primary
(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.
NatureTypeIDName
MemberOfCategoryCategory901SFP Primary Cluster: Privilege
+ Notes

Maintenance

The relationships between privileges, permissions, and actors (e.g. users and groups) need further refinement within the Research view. One complication is that these concepts apply to two different pillars, related to control of resources (CWE-664) and protection mechanism failures (CWE-396).
+ Taxonomy Mappings
Mapped Taxonomy NameNode IDFitMapped Node Name
PLOVERPrivilege Management Error
+ References
[REF-44] Michael Howard, David LeBlanc and John Viega. "24 Deadly Sins of Software Security". "Sin 16: Executing Code With Too Much Privilege." Page 243. McGraw-Hill. 2010.
[REF-62] Mark Dowd, John McDonald and Justin Schuh. "The Art of Software Security Assessment". Chapter 9, "Dropping Privileges Permanently", Page 479.. 1st Edition. Addison Wesley. 2006.
+ Content History
Submissions
Submission DateSubmitterOrganizationSource
PLOVER
Modifications
Modification DateModifierOrganizationSource
2008-07-01Eric DalciCigital
updated Time_of_Introduction
2008-09-08CWE Team
Moved this entry higher up in the Research view.
2008-09-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Description, Maintenance_Notes, Name, Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings, Weakness_Ordinalities
2009-05-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Name
2009-12-28CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Potential_Mitigations
2010-06-21CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Potential_Mitigations
2011-03-29CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Description, Relationships
2011-06-01CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences
2012-05-11CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated References, Relationships
2012-10-30CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Potential_Mitigations
2013-02-21CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Potential_Mitigations
2017-11-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Applicable_Platforms, Causal_Nature, Modes_of_Introduction, Relationships, Type
Previous Entry Names
Change DatePrevious Entry Name
2008-09-09Privilege Management Error
2009-05-27Insecure Privilege Management

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Page Last Updated: November 14, 2017