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-308: Use of Single-factor Authentication

Weakness ID: 308
Abstraction: Base
Structure: Simple
Status: Draft
Presentation Filter:
+ Description
The use of single-factor authentication can lead to unnecessary risk of compromise when compared with the benefits of a dual-factor authentication scheme.
+ Extended Description
While the use of multiple authentication schemes is simply piling on more complexity on top of authentication, it is inestimably valuable to have such measures of redundancy. The use of weak, reused, and common passwords is rampant on the internet. Without the added protection of multiple authentication schemes, a single mistake can result in the compromise of an account. For this reason, if multiple schemes are possible and also easy to use, they should be implemented and required.
+ 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
MemberOfCategoryCategory1010Authenticate Actors
+ Relevant to the view "Development Concepts" (CWE-699)
NatureTypeIDName
ChildOfClassClass287Improper Authentication
+ 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 DesignCOMMISSION: This weakness refers to an incorrect design related to 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.

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: Bypass Protection Mechanism

If the secret in a single-factor authentication scheme gets compromised, full authentication is possible.
+ Likelihood Of Exploit
High
+ Demonstrative Examples

Example 1

In both of these examples, a user is logged in if their given password matches a stored password:

(bad)
Example Language:
unsigned char *check_passwd(char *plaintext) {
ctext = simple_digest("sha1",plaintext,strlen(plaintext), ... );
//Login if hash matches stored hash

if (equal(ctext, secret_password())) {
login_user();

}

}
(bad)
Example Language: Java 
String plainText = new String(plainTextIn);
MessageDigest encer = MessageDigest.getInstance("SHA");
encer.update(plainTextIn);
byte[] digest = password.digest();
//Login if hash matches stored hash

if (equal(digest,secret_password())) {
login_user();

}

This code fails to incorporate more than one method of authentication. If an attacker can steal or guess a user's password, they are given full access to their account. Note this code also exhibits CWE-328 (Reversible One-Way Hash) and CWE-759 (Use of a One-Way Hash without a Salt).

+ Potential Mitigations

Phase: Architecture and Design

Use multiple independent authentication schemes, which ensures that -- if one of the methods is compromised -- the system itself is still likely safe from compromise.
+ 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
MemberOfViewView884CWE Cross-section
MemberOfCategoryCategory947SFP Secondary Cluster: Authentication Bypass
+ Taxonomy Mappings
Mapped Taxonomy NameNode IDFitMapped Node Name
CLASPUsing single-factor authentication
+ Content History
Submissions
Submission DateSubmitterOrganizationSource
CLASP
Modifications
Modification DateModifierOrganizationSource
2008-09-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences, Relationships, Other_Notes, Taxonomy_Mappings
2010-02-16CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Description, Other_Notes
2011-06-01CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences
2012-05-11CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2012-10-30CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Demonstrative_Examples
2014-07-30CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2017-11-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Applicable_Platforms, Modes_of_Introduction, Relationships
Previous Entry Names
Change DatePrevious Entry Name
2008-04-11Using Single-factor Authentication

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Page Last Updated: November 14, 2017