Common Weakness Enumeration

A Community-Developed List of Software Weakness Types

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CWE-74: Improper Neutralization of Special Elements in Output Used by a Downstream Component ('Injection')

Weakness ID: 74
Abstraction: Class
Structure: Simple
Status: Incomplete
Presentation Filter:
+ Description
The software constructs all or part of a command, data structure, or record using externally-influenced input from an upstream component, but it does not neutralize or incorrectly neutralizes special elements that could modify how it is parsed or interpreted when it is sent to a downstream component.
+ Extended Description
Software has certain assumptions about what constitutes data and control respectively. It is the lack of verification of these assumptions for user-controlled input that leads to injection problems. Injection problems encompass a wide variety of issues -- all mitigated in very different ways and usually attempted in order to alter the control flow of the process. For this reason, the most effective way to discuss these weaknesses is to note the distinct features which classify them as injection weaknesses. The most important issue to note is that all injection problems share one thing in common -- i.e., they allow for the injection of control plane data into the user-controlled data plane. This means that the execution of the process may be altered by sending code in through legitimate data channels, using no other mechanism. While buffer overflows, and many other flaws, involve the use of some further issue to gain execution, injection problems need only for the data to be parsed. The most classic instantiations of this category of weakness are SQL injection and format string vulnerabilities.
+ 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)
MemberOfCategoryCategory1019Validate Inputs
+ 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 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.


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.


Technical Impact: Read Application Data

Many injection attacks involve the disclosure of important information -- in terms of both data sensitivity and usefulness in further exploitation.
Access Control

Technical Impact: Bypass Protection Mechanism

In some cases, injectable code controls authentication; this may lead to a remote vulnerability.

Technical Impact: Alter Execution Logic

Injection attacks are characterized by the ability to significantly change the flow of a given process, and in some cases, to the execution of arbitrary code.

Technical Impact: Other

Data injection attacks lead to loss of data integrity in nearly all cases as the control-plane data injected is always incidental to data recall or writing.

Technical Impact: Hide Activities

Often the actions performed by injected control code are unlogged.
+ Likelihood Of Exploit
+ Potential Mitigations

Phase: Requirements

Programming languages and supporting technologies might be chosen which are not subject to these issues.

Phase: Implementation

Utilize an appropriate mix of whitelist and blacklist parsing to filter control-plane syntax from all input.
+ Weakness Ordinalities
(where the weakness exists independent of other weaknesses)
+ 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


In the development view (CWE-699), this is classified as an Input Validation problem (CWE-20) because many people do not distinguish between the consequence/attack (injection) and the protection mechanism that prevents the attack from succeeding. In the research view (CWE-1000), however, input validation is only one potential protection mechanism (output encoding is another), and there is a chaining relationship between improper input validation and the improper enforcement of the structure of messages to other components. Other issues not directly related to input validation, such as race conditions, could similarly impact message structure.
+ Taxonomy Mappings
Mapped Taxonomy NameNode IDFitMapped Node Name
CLASPInjection problem ('data' used as something else)
OWASP Top Ten 2004A6CWE More SpecificInjection Flaws
Software Fault PatternsSFP24Tainted input to command
+ Content History
Submission DateSubmitterOrganization
Modification DateModifierOrganization
2008-07-01Eric DalciCigital
updated Time_of_Introduction
Suggested OWASP Top Ten 2004 mapping
2008-09-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences, Description, Relationships, Other_Notes, Relationship_Notes, Taxonomy_Mappings, Weakness_Ordinalities
2009-01-12CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2009-05-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Name, Related_Attack_Patterns
2009-07-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2009-10-29CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Description, Other_Notes
2010-02-16CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2010-04-05CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Related_Attack_Patterns
2010-06-21CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Description, Name
2010-12-13CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences, Relationship_Notes
2011-06-01CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences
2012-05-11CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Related_Attack_Patterns, Relationships
2012-10-30CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Potential_Mitigations
2014-02-18CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Related_Attack_Patterns
2014-06-23CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2014-07-30CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2015-12-07CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2017-01-19CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2017-05-03CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Potential_Mitigations, Related_Attack_Patterns
2017-11-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Applicable_Platforms, Causal_Nature, Likelihood_of_Exploit, Modes_of_Introduction, Relationships
Previous Entry Names
Change DatePrevious Entry Name
2009-05-27Failure to Sanitize Data into a Different Plane (aka 'Injection')
2010-06-21Failure to Sanitize Data into a Different Plane ('Injection')

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Page Last Updated: January 18, 2018