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Common Weakness Enumeration

A Community-Developed List of Software Weakness Types

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ID

CWE-91: XML Injection (aka Blind XPath Injection)

Weakness ID: 91
Abstraction: Base
Structure: Simple
Status: Draft
Presentation Filter:
+ Description
The software does not properly neutralize special elements that are used in XML, allowing attackers to modify the syntax, content, or commands of the XML before it is processed by an end system.
+ Extended Description
Within XML, special elements could include reserved words or characters such as "<", ">", """, and "&", which could then be used to add new data or modify XML syntax.
+ 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 "Weaknesses for Simplified Mapping of Published Vulnerabilities" (CWE-1003)
+ Relevant to the view "Architectural Concepts" (CWE-1008)
NatureTypeIDName
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.

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
Confidentiality
Integrity
Availability

Technical Impact: Execute Unauthorized Code or Commands; Read Application Data; Modify Application Data

+ Potential Mitigations

Phase: Implementation

Strategy: Input Validation

Assume all input is malicious. Use an "accept known good" input validation strategy, i.e., use a whitelist of acceptable inputs that strictly conform to specifications. Reject any input that does not strictly conform to specifications, or transform it into something that does. When performing input validation, consider all potentially relevant properties, including length, type of input, the full range of acceptable values, missing or extra inputs, syntax, consistency across related fields, and conformance to business rules. As an example of business rule logic, "boat" may be syntactically valid because it only contains alphanumeric characters, but it is not valid if the input is only expected to contain colors such as "red" or "blue." Do not rely exclusively on looking for malicious or malformed inputs (i.e., do not rely on a blacklist). A blacklist is likely to miss at least one undesirable input, especially if the code's environment changes. This can give attackers enough room to bypass the intended validation. However, blacklists can be useful for detecting potential attacks or determining which inputs are so malformed that they should be rejected outright.
+ 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

Maintenance

The description for this entry is generally applicable to XML, but the name includes "blind XPath injection" which is more closely associated with CWE-643. Therefore this entry might need to be deprecated or converted to a general category - although injection into raw XML is not covered by CWE-643 or CWE-652.

Research Gap

Under-reported. This is likely found regularly by third party code auditors, but there are very few publicly reported examples.

Theoretical

In vulnerability theory terms, this is a representation-specific case of a Data/Directive Boundary Error.
+ Taxonomy Mappings
Mapped Taxonomy NameNode IDFitMapped Node Name
PLOVERXML injection (aka Blind Xpath injection)
OWASP Top Ten 2007A2CWE More SpecificInjection Flaws
OWASP Top Ten 2004A6CWE More SpecificInjection Flaws
WASC23XML Injection
Software Fault PatternsSFP24Tainted input to command
+ References
[REF-882] Amit Klein. "Blind XPath Injection". 2004-05-19. <http://www.modsecurity.org/archive/amit/blind-xpath-injection.pdf>.
[REF-62] Mark Dowd, John McDonald and Justin Schuh. "The Art of Software Security Assessment". Chapter 17, "XML Injection", Page 1069.. 1st Edition. Addison Wesley. 2006.
+ Content History
Submissions
Submission DateSubmitterOrganizationSource
PLOVER
Modifications
Modification DateModifierOrganizationSource
2008-07-01Eric DalciCigital
updated Time_of_Introduction
2008-08-15Veracode
Suggested OWASP Top Ten 2004 mapping
2008-09-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships, Other_Notes, Taxonomy_Mappings
2008-10-14CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Maintenance_Notes, Other_Notes, Theoretical_Notes
2010-02-16CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Taxonomy_Mappings
2010-06-21CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Description, Relationships
2011-06-01CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences
2012-05-11CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated References, 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
2017-11-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Applicable_Platforms, Modes_of_Introduction, References, Relationships

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Page Last Updated: November 14, 2017