CWE

Common Weakness Enumeration

A Community-Developed List of Software Weakness Types

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ID

CWE-521: Weak Password Requirements

Weakness ID: 521
Abstraction: Base
Structure: Simple
Status: Draft
Presentation Filter:
+ Description
The product does not require that users should have strong passwords, which makes it easier for attackers to compromise user accounts.
+ Extended Description
An authentication mechanism is only as strong as its credentials. For this reason, it is important to require users to have strong passwords. Lack of password complexity significantly reduces the search space when trying to guess user's passwords, making brute-force attacks easier.
+ 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
ChildOfClassClass287Improper Authentication
ParentOfVariantVariant258Empty Password in Configuration File
+ Relevant to the view "Architectural Concepts" (CWE-1008)
NatureTypeIDName
MemberOfCategoryCategory1010Authenticate Actors
+ Relevant to the view "Development Concepts" (CWE-699)
NatureTypeIDName
MemberOfCategoryCategory255Credentials Management
+ 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 DesignCOMMISSION: This weakness refers to an incorrect design related to an architectural security tactic.
Implementation
+ 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: Gain Privileges or Assume Identity

An attacker could easily guess user passwords and gain access user accounts.
+ Potential Mitigations

Phase: Architecture and Design

Enforce usage of strong passwords. A password strength policy should contain the following attributes: Minimum and maximum length; Require mixed character sets (alpha, numeric, special, mixed case); Do not contain user name; Expiration; No password reuse.

Phase: Architecture and Design

Authentication mechanisms should always require sufficiently complex passwords and require that they be periodically changed.
+ 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.
+ Taxonomy Mappings
Mapped Taxonomy NameNode IDFitMapped Node Name
OWASP Top Ten 2004A3CWE More SpecificBroken Authentication and Session Management
+ References
[REF-44] Michael Howard, David LeBlanc and John Viega. "24 Deadly Sins of Software Security". "Sin 19: Use of Weak Password-Based Systems." Page 279. McGraw-Hill. 2010.
+ Content History
Submissions
Submission DateSubmitterOrganizationSource
Anonymous Tool Vendor (under NDA)
Modifications
Modification DateModifierOrganizationSource
2008-07-01Eric DalciCigital
updated Potential_Mitigations, Time_of_Introduction
2008-08-15Veracode
Suggested OWASP Top Ten 2004 mapping
2008-09-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Description, Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2009-05-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Related_Attack_Patterns
2011-03-29CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Potential_Mitigations, Relationships
2011-06-01CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences
2012-05-11CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences, References, Relationships
2014-07-30CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2017-11-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Modes_of_Introduction, Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings

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Page Last Updated: November 14, 2017