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-322: Key Exchange without Entity Authentication

Weakness ID: 322
Abstraction: Base
Structure: Simple
Status: Draft
Presentation Filter:
+ Description
The software performs a key exchange with an actor without verifying the identity of that actor.
+ Extended Description
Performing a key exchange will preserve the integrity of the information sent between two entities, but this will not guarantee that the entities are who they claim they are. This may enable a set of "man-in-the-middle" attacks. Typically, this involves a victim client that contacts a malicious server that is impersonating a trusted server. If the client skips authentication or ignores an authentication failure, the malicious server may request authentication information from the user. The malicious server can then use this authentication information to log in to the trusted server using the victim's credentials, sniff traffic between the victim and trusted server, etc.
+ 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
MemberOfCategoryCategory320Key Management Errors
+ 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 DesignOMISSION: This weakness is caused by missing a security tactic during the architecture and design phase.
+ 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

No authentication takes place in this process, bypassing an assumed protection of encryption.
Confidentiality

Technical Impact: Read Application Data

The encrypted communication between a user and a trusted host may be subject to a "man-in-the-middle" sniffing attack.
+ Likelihood Of Exploit
High
+ Demonstrative Examples

Example 1

Many systems have used Diffie-Hellman key exchange without authenticating the entities exchanging keys, leading to man-in-the-middle attacks. Many people using SSL/TLS skip the authentication (often unknowingly).

+ Potential Mitigations

Phase: Architecture and Design

Ensure that proper authentication is included in the system design.

Phase: Implementation

Understand and properly implement all checks necessary to ensure the identity of entities involved in encrypted communications.
+ 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
MemberOfCategoryCategory959SFP Secondary Cluster: Weak Cryptography
+ Taxonomy Mappings
Mapped Taxonomy NameNode IDFitMapped Node Name
CLASPKey exchange without entity authentication
+ 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.
[REF-62] Mark Dowd, John McDonald and Justin Schuh. "The Art of Software Security Assessment". Chapter 2, "Untrustworthy Credentials", Page 37.. 1st Edition. Addison Wesley. 2006.
+ Content History
Submissions
Submission DateSubmitterOrganizationSource
CLASP
Modifications
Modification DateModifierOrganizationSource
2008-07-01Eric DalciCigital
updated Time_of_Introduction
2008-09-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences, Relationships, Other_Notes, Taxonomy_Mappings
2008-10-10CWE Content TeamMITRE
clarified the description
2008-10-14CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Description, Other_Notes
2009-07-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2011-06-01CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences
2011-06-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences
2012-05-11CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated References, Relationships
2013-02-21CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2013-07-17CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Applicable_Platforms, Relationships
2014-07-30CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2017-11-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Modes_of_Introduction, Relationships

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Page Last Updated: November 14, 2017