Common Weakness Enumeration

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CWE-425: Direct Request ('Forced Browsing')

Weakness ID: 425
Abstraction: Base
Structure: Simple
Status: Incomplete
Presentation Filter:
+ Description
The web application does not adequately enforce appropriate authorization on all restricted URLs, scripts, or files.
+ Extended Description
Web applications susceptible to direct request attacks often make the false assumption that such resources can only be reached through a given navigation path and so only apply authorization at certain points in the path.
+ Alternate Terms
forced browsing:
The "forced browsing" term could be misinterpreted to include weaknesses such as CSRF or XSS, so its use is discouraged.
+ 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 "Architectural Concepts" (CWE-1008)
MemberOfCategoryCategory1011Authorize Actors
+ Relevant to the view "Development Concepts" (CWE-699)
+ 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 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.


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: Read Application Data; Modify Application Data; Execute Unauthorized Code or Commands; Gain Privileges or Assume Identity

+ Demonstrative Examples

Example 1

If forced browsing is possible, an attacker may be able to directly access a sensitive page by entering a URL similar to the following.

(attack code)
Example Language: JSP
+ Observed Examples
Bypass authentication via direct request.
Infinite loop or infoleak triggered by direct requests.
Bypass auth/auth via direct request.
Direct request leads to infoleak by error.
Direct request leads to infoleak by error.
Direct request leads to infoleak by error.
Authentication bypass via direct request.
Authentication bypass via direct request.
Authorization bypass using direct request.
Access privileged functionality using direct request.
Upload arbitrary files via direct request.
+ Potential Mitigations

Phases: Architecture and Design; Operation

Apply appropriate access control authorizations for each access to all restricted URLs, scripts or files.

Phase: Architecture and Design

Consider using MVC based frameworks such as Struts.
+ 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


Overlaps Modification of Assumed-Immutable Data (MAID), authorization errors, container errors; often primary to other weaknesses such as XSS and SQL injection.


"Forced browsing" is a step-based manipulation involving the omission of one or more steps, whose order is assumed to be immutable. The application does not verify that the first step was performed successfully before the second step. The consequence is typically "authentication bypass" or "path disclosure," although it can be primary to all kinds of weaknesses, especially in languages such as PHP, which allow external modification of assumed-immutable variables.
+ Taxonomy Mappings
Mapped Taxonomy NameNode IDFitMapped Node Name
PLOVERDirect Request aka 'Forced Browsing'
OWASP Top Ten 2007A10CWE More SpecificFailure to Restrict URL Access
OWASP Top Ten 2004A1CWE More SpecificUnvalidated Input
OWASP Top Ten 2004A2CWE More SpecificBroken Access Control
WASC34Predictable Resource Location
Software Fault PatternsSFP30Missing endpoint authentication
+ Content History
Submission DateSubmitterOrganization
Modification DateModifierOrganization
2008-07-01Sean EidemillerCigital
added/updated demonstrative examples
2008-07-01Eric DalciCigital
updated Potential_Mitigations, Time_of_Introduction
Suggested OWASP Top Ten 2004 mapping
2008-09-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Alternate_Terms, Relationships, Relationship_Notes, Taxonomy_Mappings, Theoretical_Notes
2008-10-14CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Description
2010-02-16CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2011-03-29CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Applicable_Platforms, Description, Relationships
2011-06-01CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences, Relationships
2012-05-11CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Related_Attack_Patterns, Relationships
2012-10-30CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Potential_Mitigations
2014-07-30CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2017-11-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Modes_of_Introduction, Relationships

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Page Last Updated: January 18, 2018