Common Weakness Enumeration

A Community-Developed List of Software Weakness Types

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CWE-1021: Improper Restriction of Rendered UI Layers or Frames

Weakness ID: 1021
Abstraction: Base
Structure: Simple
Status: Incomplete
Presentation Filter:
+ Description
The web application does not restrict or incorrectly restricts frame objects or UI layers that belong to another application or domain, which can lead to user confusion about which interface the user is interacting with.
+ Extended Description
A web application is expected to place restrictions on whether it is allowed to be rendered within frames, iframes, objects, embed or applet elements. Without the restrictions, users can be tricked into interacting with the application when they were not intending to.
+ Alternate Terms
UI Redress Attack
"Tapjacking" is similar to clickjacking, except it is used for mobile applications in which the user "taps" the application instead of performing a mouse click.
+ 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)
+ Relevant to the view "Development Concepts" (CWE-699)
MemberOfCategoryCategory442Web Problems
ChildOfClassClass451User Interface (UI) Misrepresentation of Critical Information
+ Modes Of Introduction

The different Modes of Introduction provide information about how and when this weakness may be introduced. The Phase identifies a point in the software life cycle at which introduction may occur, while the Note provides a typical scenario related to introduction during the given phase.

+ 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.

Access Control

Technical Impact: Gain Privileges or Assume Identity; Bypass Protection Mechanism; Read Application Data; Modify Application Data

An attacker can trick a user into performing actions that are masked and hidden from the user's view. The impact varies widely, depending on the functionality of the underlying application. For example, in a social media application, clickjacking could be used to trik the user into changing privacy settings.
+ Observed Examples
E-mail preview feature in a desktop application allows clickjacking attacks via a crafted e-mail message
Hardware/firmware product has insufficient clickjacking protection in its web user interface
Clickjacking in data-loss prevention product via HTTP response header.
Tapjacking in permission dialog for mobile OS allows access of private storage using a partially-overlapping window.
Tapjacking in web browser related to page navigation and touch/gesture events.
System UI in mobile OS allows a malicious application to create a UI overlay of the entire screen to gain privileges.
+ Potential Mitigations

Phase: Implementation

The use of X-Frame-Options allows developers of web content to restrict the usage of their application within the form of overlays, frames, or iFrames. The developer can indicate from which domains can frame the content.

The concept of X-Frame-Options is well documented, but implementation of this protection mechanism is in development to cover gaps. There is a need for whitelisting and allowing frames from multiple domains.

Phase: Implementation

A developer can use a "frame-breaker" script in each page that should not be framed. This is very helpful for legacy browsers that do not support X-Frame-Options security feature previously mentioned.

It is also important to note that this tactic has been circumvented or bypassed. Improper usage of frames can persist in the web application through nested frames. The "frame-breaking" script does not intuitively account for multiple nested frames that can be presented to the user.

Phase: Implementation

This defense-in-depth technique can be used to prevent the improper usage of frames in web applications. It prioritizes the valid sources of data to be loaded into the application through the usage of declarative policies. Based on which implementation of Content Security Policy is in use, the developer should use the "frame-ancestors" directive or the "frame-src" directive to mitigate this weakness. Both directives allow for the placement of restrictions when it comes to allowing embedded content.
+ References
[REF-35] Andrew Horton. "Clickjacking For Shells". <>.
[REF-36] OWASP. "Clickjacking - OWASP". <>.
[REF-37] Internet Security. "SecTheory". <>.
[REF-38] W3C. "Content Security Policy Level 3". <>.
+ Content History
Submission DateSubmitterOrganization
2017-08-01CWE Content TeamMITRE

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Page Last Updated: January 18, 2018