Common Weakness Enumeration

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CWE-299: Improper Check for Certificate Revocation

Weakness ID: 299
Abstraction: Base
Structure: Simple
Status: Draft
Presentation Filter:
+ Description
The software does not check or incorrectly checks the revocation status of a certificate, which may cause it to use a certificate that has been compromised.
+ Extended Description
An improper check for certificate revocation is a far more serious flaw than related certificate failures. This is because the use of any revoked certificate is almost certainly malicious. The most common reason for certificate revocation is compromise of the system in question, with the result that no legitimate servers will be using a revoked certificate, unless they are sorely out of sync.
+ 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)
MemberOfCategoryCategory1014Identify 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 DesignREALIZATION: 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

Trust may be assigned to an entity who is not who it claims to be.

Technical Impact: Other

Data from an untrusted (and possibly malicious) source may be integrated.

Technical Impact: Read Application Data

Data may be disclosed to an entity impersonating a trusted entity, resulting in information disclosure.
+ Likelihood Of Exploit
+ Demonstrative Examples

Example 1

The following OpenSSL code ensures that there is a certificate before continuing execution.

(bad code)
Example Language:
if (cert = SSL_get_peer_certificate(ssl)) {
// got a certificate, do secret things

Because this code does not use SSL_get_verify_results() to check the certificate, it could accept certificates that have been revoked (X509_V_ERR_CERT_REVOKED). The software could be communicating with a malicious host.

+ Observed Examples
LDAP-over-SSL implementation does not check Certificate Revocation List (CRL), allowing spoofing using a revoked certificate.
Operating system does not check Certificate Revocation List (CRL) in some cases, allowing spoofing using a revoked certificate.
Antivirus product does not check whether certificates from signed executables have been revoked.
Web browser does not check if any intermediate certificates are revoked.
chain: Ruby module for OCSP misinterprets a response, preventing detection of a revoked certificate.
chain: incorrect parsing of replies from OCSP responders allows bypass using a revoked certificate.
Router can permanently cache certain public keys, which would allow bypass if the certificate is later revoked.
chain: OS package manager does not properly check the return value, allowing bypass using a revoked certificate.
chain: language interpreter does not properly check the return value from an OSCP function, allowing bypass using a revoked certificate.
chain: web service component does not call the expected method, which prevents a check for revoked certificates.
Certificate revocation list not searched for certain certificates.
Product cannot access certificate revocation list when an HTTP proxy is being used.
+ Potential Mitigations

Phase: Architecture and Design

Ensure that certificates are checked for revoked status.
+ 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
MemberOfCategoryCategory948SFP Secondary Cluster: Digital Certificate
+ Taxonomy Mappings
Mapped Taxonomy NameNode IDFitMapped Node Name
CLASPFailure to check for certificate revocation
+ References
[REF-44] Michael Howard, David LeBlanc and John Viega. "24 Deadly Sins of Software Security". "Sin 23: Improper Use of PKI, Especially SSL." Page 347. McGraw-Hill. 2010.
+ Content History
Submission DateSubmitterOrganization
Modification DateModifierOrganization
2008-07-01Eric DalciCigital
updated Time_of_Introduction
2008-09-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences, Relationships, Other_Notes, Taxonomy_Mappings
2009-03-10CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Description, Name, Relationships
2009-05-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2010-12-13CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Other_Notes
2011-06-01CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences
2012-05-11CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated References, Relationships
2013-02-21CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Applicable_Platforms, Demonstrative_Examples, Description, Observed_Examples, Other_Notes, Relationships, Type
2013-07-17CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2014-07-30CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2017-11-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Demonstrative_Examples, Modes_of_Introduction, Relationships, Type
Previous Entry Names
Change DatePrevious Entry Name
2009-03-10Failure to Check for Certificate Revocation

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Page Last Updated: January 18, 2018