Common Weakness Enumeration

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CWE-315: Cleartext Storage of Sensitive Information in a Cookie

Weakness ID: 315
Abstraction: Variant
Status: Draft
Presentation Filter:
+ Description

Description Summary

The application stores sensitive information in cleartext in a cookie.

Extended Description

Attackers can use widely-available tools to view the cookie and read the sensitive information. Even if the information is encoded in a way that is not human-readable, certain techniques could determine which encoding is being used, then decode the information.

+ Terminology Notes

Different people use "cleartext" and "plaintext" to mean the same thing: the lack of encryption. However, within cryptography, these have more precise meanings. Plaintext is the information just before it is fed into a cryptographic algorithm, including already-encrypted text. Cleartext is any information that is unencrypted, although it might be in an encoded form that is not easily human-readable (such as base64 encoding).

+ Time of Introduction
  • Architecture and Design
+ Applicable Platforms



+ Common Consequences

Technical Impact: Read application data

+ Demonstrative Examples

Example 1

The following code excerpt stores a plaintext user account ID in a browser cookie.

(Bad Code)
Example Language: Java 
response.addCookie( new Cookie("userAccountID", acctID);

Because the account ID is in plaintext, the user's account information is exposed if their computer is compromised by an attacker.

+ Observed Examples
Admin password in cleartext in a cookie.
Default configuration has cleartext usernames/passwords in cookie.
Usernames/passwords in cleartext in cookies.
Authentication information stored in cleartext in a cookie.
+ Relationships
NatureTypeIDNameView(s) this relationship pertains toView(s)
ChildOfWeakness BaseWeakness Base312Cleartext Storage of Sensitive Information
Development Concepts (primary)699
Research Concepts (primary)1000
ChildOfCategoryCategory963SFP Secondary Cluster: Exposed Data
Software Fault Pattern (SFP) Clusters (primary)888
+ Taxonomy Mappings
Mapped Taxonomy NameNode IDFitMapped Node Name
PLOVERPlaintext Storage in Cookie
Software Fault PatternsSFP23Exposed Data
+ Content History
Submission DateSubmitterOrganizationSource
PLOVERExternally Mined
Modification DateModifierOrganizationSource
2008-07-01Sean EidemillerCigitalExternal
added/updated demonstrative examples
2008-07-01Eric DalciCigitalExternal
updated Time_of_Introduction
2008-09-08CWE Content TeamMITREInternal
updated Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2011-06-01CWE Content TeamMITREInternal
updated Common_Consequences
2012-05-11CWE Content TeamMITREInternal
updated Demonstrative_Examples, Relationships
2013-07-17CWE Content TeamMITREInternal
updated Applicable_Platforms, Demonstrative_Examples, Description, Name, Observed_Examples, Potential_Mitigations, Terminology_Notes
2014-07-30CWE Content TeamMITREInternal
updated Demonstrative_Examples, Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
Previous Entry Names
Change DatePrevious Entry Name
2008-04-11Plaintext Storage in Cookie
2013-07-17Plaintext Storage in a Cookie

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Page Last Updated: January 18, 2017