CWE

Common Weakness Enumeration

A Community-Developed List of Software Weakness Types

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ID

CWE-473: PHP External Variable Modification

Weakness ID: 473
Abstraction: Variant
Structure: Simple
Status: Draft
Presentation Filter:
+ Description
A PHP application does not properly protect against the modification of variables from external sources, such as query parameters or cookies. This can expose the application to numerous weaknesses that would not exist otherwise.
+ 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)
NatureTypeIDName
MemberOfCategoryCategory1019Validate Inputs
+ Relevant to the view "Development Concepts" (CWE-699)
NatureTypeIDName
ChildOfBaseBase471Modification of Assumed-Immutable Data (MAID)
+ 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
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

PHP (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
Integrity

Technical Impact: Modify Application Data

+ Observed Examples
ReferenceDescription
File upload allows arbitrary file read by setting hidden form variables to match internal variable names.
Mistakenly trusts $PHP_SELF variable to determine if include script was called by its parent.
PHP remote file inclusion by modified assumed-immutable variable.
Modify key variable when calling scripts that don't load a library that initializes it.
Authentication bypass by modifying array used for authentication.
+ Potential Mitigations

Phases: Requirements; Implementation

Carefully identify which variables can be controlled or influenced by an external user, and consider adopting a naming convention to emphasize when externally modifiable variables are being used. An application should be reluctant to trust variables that have been initialized outside of its trust boundary. Ensure adequate checking is performed when relying on input from outside a trust boundary. Do not allow your application to run with register_globals enabled. If you implement a register_globals emulator, be extremely careful of variable extraction, dynamic evaluation, and similar issues, since weaknesses in your emulation could allow external variable modification to take place even without register_globals.
+ 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
MemberOfCategoryCategory991SFP Secondary Cluster: Tainted Input to Environment
+ Notes

Relationship

This is a language-specific instance of Modification of Assumed-Immutable Data (MAID). This can be resultant from direct request (alternate path) issues. It can be primary to weaknesses such as PHP file inclusion, SQL injection, XSS, authentication bypass, and others.
+ Taxonomy Mappings
Mapped Taxonomy NameNode IDFitMapped Node Name
PLOVERPHP External Variable Modification
+ Content History
Submissions
Submission DateSubmitterOrganization
PLOVER
Modifications
Modification DateModifierOrganization
2008-07-01Eric DalciCigital
updated Time_of_Introduction
2008-09-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships, Other_Notes, Taxonomy_Mappings
2009-12-28CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Other_Notes, Relationship_Notes
2010-02-16CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2011-06-01CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences
2012-05-11CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2012-10-30CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Potential_Mitigations
2014-07-30CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2017-11-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Modes_of_Introduction, Relationships

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Page Last Updated: January 18, 2018