Common Weakness Enumeration

A Community-Developed List of Software Weakness Types

CWE/SANS Top 25 Most Dangerous Software Errors
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CWE-274: Improper Handling of Insufficient Privileges

Weakness ID: 274
Abstraction: Base
Structure: Simple
Status: Draft
Presentation Filter:
+ Description
The software does not handle or incorrectly handles when it has insufficient privileges to perform an operation, leading to resultant weaknesses.
+ 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)
MemberOfCategoryCategory1011Authorize Actors
+ Relevant to the view "Development Concepts" (CWE-699)
MemberOfCategoryCategory265Privilege / Sandbox Issues
+ 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.


Technical Impact: Other; Alter Execution Logic

+ Observed Examples
System limits are not properly enforced after privileges are dropped.
Firewall crashes when it can't read a critical memory block that was protected by a malicious process.
Does not give admin sufficient privileges to overcome otherwise legitimate user actions.
+ 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.
MemberOfCategoryCategory901SFP Primary Cluster: Privilege
+ Notes


CWE-280 and CWE-274 are too similar. It is likely that CWE-274 will be deprecated in the future.


Overlaps dropped privileges, insufficient permissions.


This has a layering relationship with Unchecked Error Condition and Unchecked Return Value.


Within the context of vulnerability theory, privileges and permissions are two sides of the same coin. Privileges are associated with actors, and permissions are associated with resources. To perform access control, at some point the software makes a decision about whether the actor (and the privileges that have been assigned to that actor) is allowed to access the resource (based on the permissions that have been specified for that resource).
+ Taxonomy Mappings
Mapped Taxonomy NameNode IDFitMapped Node Name
PLOVERInsufficient privileges
+ Content History
Submission DateSubmitterOrganization
Modification DateModifierOrganization
2008-07-01Eric DalciCigital
updated Time_of_Introduction
2008-09-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Description, Maintenance_Notes, Relationships, Relationship_Notes, Taxonomy_Mappings, Weakness_Ordinalities
2009-03-10CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Maintenance_Notes, Theoretical_Notes
2009-05-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Description, Name
2011-06-01CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences
2012-05-11CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2017-11-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Applicable_Platforms, Causal_Nature, Modes_of_Introduction, Relationships
Previous Entry Names
Change DatePrevious Entry Name
2008-04-11Insufficient Privileges
2009-05-27Failure to Handle Insufficient Privileges

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Page Last Updated: January 18, 2018