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CWE-290: Authentication Bypass by Spoofing

Weakness ID: 290
Abstraction: Base
Structure: Simple
Status: Incomplete
Presentation Filter:
+ Description
This attack-focused weakness is caused by improperly implemented authentication schemes that are subject to spoofing attacks.
+ 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)
MemberOfCategoryCategory1010Authenticate Actors
+ Relevant to the view "Development Concepts" (CWE-699)
+ 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 DesignCOMMISSION: This weakness refers to an incorrect design related to an architectural security tactic.
+ 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: Bypass Protection Mechanism; Gain Privileges or Assume Identity

This weakness can allow an attacker to access resources which are not otherwise accessible without proper authentication.
+ Demonstrative Examples

Example 1

The following code authenticates users.

Example Language: Java 
String sourceIP = request.getRemoteAddr();
if (sourceIP != null && sourceIP.equals(APPROVED_IP)) {
authenticated = true;


The authentication mechanism implemented relies on an IP address for source validation. If an attacker is able to spoof the IP, they may be able to bypass the authentication mechanism.

Example 2

Both of these examples check if a request is from a trusted address before responding to the request.

Example Language:
sd = socket(AF_INET, SOCK_DGRAM, 0);
serv.sin_family = AF_INET;
serv.sin_addr.s_addr = htonl(INADDR_ANY);
servr.sin_port = htons(1008);
bind(sd, (struct sockaddr *) & serv, sizeof(serv));

while (1) {
memset(msg, 0x0, MAX_MSG);
clilen = sizeof(cli);
if (inet_ntoa(cli.sin_addr)==getTrustedAddress()) {
n = recvfrom(sd, msg, MAX_MSG, 0, (struct sockaddr *) & cli, &clilen);


Example Language: Java 
while(true) {
DatagramPacket rp=new DatagramPacket(rData,rData.length);
String in = new String(p.getData(),0, rp.getLength());
InetAddress clientIPAddress = rp.getAddress();
int port = rp.getPort();

if (isTrustedAddress(clientIPAddress) & secretKey.equals(in)) {
out = secret.getBytes();
DatagramPacket sp =new DatagramPacket(out,out.length, IPAddress, port); outSock.send(sp);



The code only verifies the address as stored in the request packet. An attacker can spoof this address, thus impersonating a trusted client

Example 3

The following code samples use a DNS lookup in order to decide whether or not an inbound request is from a trusted host. If an attacker can poison the DNS cache, they can gain trusted status.

Example Language:
struct hostent *hp;struct in_addr myaddr;
char* tHost = "";

hp = gethostbyaddr((char *) &myaddr, sizeof(struct in_addr), AF_INET);
if (hp && !strncmp(hp->h_name, tHost, sizeof(tHost))) {
trusted = true;

} else {
trusted = false;

Example Language: Java 
String ip = request.getRemoteAddr();
InetAddress addr = InetAddress.getByName(ip);
if (addr.getCanonicalHostName().endsWith("")) {
trusted = true;

Example Language: C# 
IPAddress hostIPAddress = IPAddress.Parse(RemoteIpAddress);
IPHostEntry hostInfo = Dns.GetHostByAddress(hostIPAddress);
if (hostInfo.HostName.EndsWith("")) {
trusted = true;


IP addresses are more reliable than DNS names, but they can also be spoofed. Attackers can easily forge the source IP address of the packets they send, but response packets will return to the forged IP address. To see the response packets, the attacker has to sniff the traffic between the victim machine and the forged IP address. In order to accomplish the required sniffing, attackers typically attempt to locate themselves on the same subnet as the victim machine. Attackers may be able to circumvent this requirement by using source routing, but source routing is disabled across much of the Internet today. In summary, IP address verification can be a useful part of an authentication scheme, but it should not be the single factor required for authentication.

+ Observed Examples
VOIP product allows authentication bypass using in the Host header.
+ 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.
MemberOfViewView884CWE Cross-section
MemberOfCategoryCategory956SFP Secondary Cluster: Channel Attack
+ Notes


This can be resultant from insufficient verification.
+ Taxonomy Mappings
Mapped Taxonomy NameNode IDFitMapped Node Name
PLOVERAuthentication bypass by spoofing
+ References
[REF-62] Mark Dowd, John McDonald and Justin Schuh. "The Art of Software Security Assessment". Chapter 3, "Spoofing and Identification", Page 72.. 1st Edition. Addison Wesley. 2006.
+ Content History
Submission DateSubmitterOrganizationSource
Modification DateModifierOrganizationSource
2008-07-01Sean EidemillerCigital
added/updated demonstrative examples
2008-07-01Eric DalciCigital
updated Time_of_Introduction
2008-09-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Description, Relationships, Relationship_Notes, Taxonomy_Mappings
2009-07-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationship_Notes
2011-06-01CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences
2012-05-11CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences, Demonstrative_Examples, Observed_Examples, References, Related_Attack_Patterns, Relationships
2013-07-17CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2014-02-18CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Related_Attack_Patterns
2014-07-30CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Demonstrative_Examples, Relationships
2017-05-03CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2017-11-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Demonstrative_Examples, Modes_of_Introduction, Relationships

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Page Last Updated: November 14, 2017