Common Weakness Enumeration

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CWE-326: Inadequate Encryption Strength

Weakness ID: 326
Abstraction: Class
Structure: Simple
Status: Draft
Presentation Filter:
+ Description
The software stores or transmits sensitive data using an encryption scheme that is theoretically sound, but is not strong enough for the level of protection required.
+ Extended Description
A weak encryption scheme can be subjected to brute force attacks that have a reasonable chance of succeeding using current attack methods and resources.
+ 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)
ChildOfClassClass693Protection Mechanism Failure
ParentOfVariantVariant261Weak Cryptography for Passwords
ParentOfBaseBase328Reversible One-Way Hash
+ Relevant to the view "Architectural Concepts" (CWE-1008)
MemberOfCategoryCategory1013Encrypt Data
+ Relevant to the view "Development Concepts" (CWE-699)
MemberOfCategoryCategory310Cryptographic Issues
ParentOfVariantVariant261Weak Cryptography for Passwords
+ 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.
+ 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: Bypass Protection Mechanism; Read Application Data

An attacker may be able to decrypt the data using brute force attacks.
+ Observed Examples
Weak encryption
Weak encryption (chosen plaintext attack)
Weak encryption
Weak encryption produces same ciphertext from the same plaintext blocks.
Weak encryption
Weak encryption scheme
Weak encryption (XOR)
Weak encryption (reversible algorithm).
Weak encryption (one-to-one mapping).
Encryption error uses fixed salt, simplifying brute force / dictionary attacks (overlaps randomness).
+ Potential Mitigations

Phase: Architecture and Design

Use a cryptographic algorithm that is currently considered to be strong by experts in the field.
+ 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.
+ Notes


A variety of encryption algorithms exist, with various weaknesses. This category could probably be split into smaller sub-categories.


Relationships between CWE-310, CWE-326, and CWE-327 and all their children need to be reviewed and reorganized.
+ Taxonomy Mappings
Mapped Taxonomy NameNode IDFitMapped Node Name
PLOVERWeak Encryption
OWASP Top Ten 2007A8CWE More SpecificInsecure Cryptographic Storage
OWASP Top Ten 2007A9CWE More SpecificInsecure Communications
OWASP Top Ten 2004A8CWE More SpecificInsecure Storage
+ References
[REF-7] Michael Howard and David LeBlanc. "Writing Secure Code". Chapter 8, "Cryptographic Foibles" Page 259. 2nd Edition. Microsoft Press. 2002-12-04. <>.
[REF-44] Michael Howard, David LeBlanc and John Viega. "24 Deadly Sins of Software Security". "Sin 21: Using the Wrong Cryptography." Page 315. McGraw-Hill. 2010.
+ Content History
Submission DateSubmitterOrganization
Modification DateModifierOrganization
Suggested OWASP Top Ten 2004 mapping
2008-09-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Maintenance_Notes, Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2009-03-10CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2009-05-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Related_Attack_Patterns
2009-07-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
Clarified entry to focus on algorithms that do not have major weaknesses, but may not be strong enough for some purposes.
2009-07-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences, Description, Maintenance_Notes, Name
2009-10-29CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2010-02-16CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated References
2010-06-21CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2011-06-01CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences
2012-05-11CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated References, Relationships
2013-07-17CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2014-07-30CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2015-12-07CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2017-11-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Applicable_Platforms, Modes_of_Introduction, References, Relationships
Previous Entry Names
Change DatePrevious Entry Name
2009-07-27Weak Encryption

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Page Last Updated: January 18, 2018