Common Weakness Enumeration

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CWE-921: Storage of Sensitive Data in a Mechanism without Access Control

Weakness ID: 921
Abstraction: Base
Structure: Simple
Status: Incomplete
Presentation Filter:
+ Description
The software stores sensitive information in a file system or device that does not have built-in access control.
+ Extended Description

While many modern file systems or devices utilize some form of access control in order to restrict access to data, not all storage mechanisms have this capability. For example, memory cards, floppy disks, CDs, and USB devices are typically made accessible to any user within the system. This can become a problem when sensitive data is stored in these mechanisms in a multi-user environment, because anybody on the system can read or write this data.

On Android devices, external storage is typically globally readable and writable by other applications on the device. External storage may also be easily accessible through the mobile device's USB connection or physically accessible through the device's memory card port.

+ 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)
ChildOfClassClass922Insecure Storage of Sensitive Information
+ Relevant to the view "Architectural Concepts" (CWE-1008)
MemberOfCategoryCategory1011Authorize Actors
+ Relevant to the view "Development Concepts" (CWE-699)
ChildOfClassClass922Insecure Storage of Sensitive Information
+ 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)


Mobile (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; Read Files or Directories

Attackers can read sensitive information by accessing the unrestricted storage mechanism.

Technical Impact: Modify Application Data; Modify Files or Directories

Attackers can modify or delete sensitive information by accessing the unrestricted storage mechanism.
+ References
[REF-921] Android Open Source Project. "Security Tips". 2013-07-16. <>.
+ Content History
Submission DateSubmitterOrganization
2013-06-22CWE Content TeamMITRE
Modification DateModifierOrganization
2017-11-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Modes_of_Introduction, References, Relationships

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Page Last Updated: January 18, 2018