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Common Weakness Enumeration

A Community-Developed List of Software Weakness Types

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ID

CWE-341: Predictable from Observable State

Weakness ID: 341
Abstraction: Base
Structure: Simple
Status: Draft
Presentation Filter:
+ Description
A number or object is predictable based on observations that the attacker can make about the state of the system or network, such as time, process ID, 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)
NatureTypeIDName
ChildOfClassClass330Use of Insufficiently Random Values
PeerOfBaseBase339Small Seed Space in PRNG
+ Relevant to the view "Architectural Concepts" (CWE-1008)
NatureTypeIDName
MemberOfCategoryCategory1011Authorize Actors
+ Relevant to the view "Development Concepts" (CWE-699)
NatureTypeIDName
ChildOfClassClass330Use of Insufficiently Random Values
+ 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 Design
ImplementationREALIZATION: 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.

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
Other

Technical Impact: Varies by Context

This weakness could be exploited by an attacker in a number ways depending on the context. If a predictable number is used to generate IDs or keys that are used within protection mechanisms, then an attacker could gain unauthorized access to the system. If predictable filenames are used for storing sensitive information, then an attacker might gain access to the system and may be able to gain access to the information in the file.
+ Demonstrative Examples

Example 1

This code generates a unique random identifier for a user's session.

(bad)
Example Language: PHP 
function generateSessionID($userID){
srand($userID);
return rand();

}

Because the seed for the PRNG is always the user's ID, the session ID will always be the same. An attacker could thus predict any user's session ID and potentially hijack the session.

This example also exhibits a Small Seed Space (CWE-339).

+ Observed Examples
ReferenceDescription
Mail server stores private mail messages with predictable filenames in a world-executable directory, which allows local users to read private mailing list archives.
PRNG allows attackers to use the output of small PRNG requests to determine the internal state information, which could be used by attackers to predict future pseudo-random numbers.
DNS resolver library uses predictable IDs, which allows a local attacker to spoof DNS query results.
MFV. predictable filename and insecure permissions allows file modification to execute SQL queries.
+ Potential Mitigations

Phase: Implementation

Increase the entropy used to seed a PRNG.

Phases: Architecture and Design; Requirements

Strategy: Libraries or Frameworks

Use products or modules that conform to FIPS 140-2 [REF-267] to avoid obvious entropy problems. Consult FIPS 140-2 Annex C ("Approved Random Number Generators").

Phase: Implementation

Use a PRNG that periodically re-seeds itself using input from high-quality sources, such as hardware devices with high entropy. However, do not re-seed too frequently, or else the entropy source might block.
+ 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
MemberOfCategoryCategory905SFP Primary Cluster: Predictability
+ Taxonomy Mappings
Mapped Taxonomy NameNode IDFitMapped Node Name
PLOVERPredictable from Observable State
+ References
[REF-267] Information Technology Laboratory, National Institute of Standards and Technology. "SECURITY REQUIREMENTS FOR CRYPTOGRAPHIC MODULES". 2001-05-25. <http://csrc.nist.gov/publications/fips/fips140-2/fips1402.pdf>.
[REF-44] Michael Howard, David LeBlanc and John Viega. "24 Deadly Sins of Software Security". "Sin 20: Weak Random Numbers." Page 299. McGraw-Hill. 2010.
+ Content History
Submissions
Submission DateSubmitterOrganizationSource
PLOVER
Modifications
Modification DateModifierOrganizationSource
2008-07-01Eric DalciCigital
updated Time_of_Introduction
2008-09-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2009-03-10CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Potential_Mitigations
2009-12-28CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Potential_Mitigations
2010-06-21CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Potential_Mitigations
2011-06-01CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences
2011-06-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences
2011-09-13CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Potential_Mitigations, References
2012-05-11CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences, Demonstrative_Examples, Observed_Examples, References, Relationships
2012-10-30CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Potential_Mitigations
2017-11-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Applicable_Platforms, Modes_of_Introduction, References, Relationships

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Page Last Updated: November 14, 2017