CWE

Common Weakness Enumeration

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ID

CWE-1391: Use of Weak Credentials

Weakness ID: 1391
Abstraction: Class
Structure: Simple
View customized information:
+ Description
The product uses weak credentials (such as a default key or hard-coded password) that can be calculated, derived, reused, or guessed by an attacker.
+ Extended Description

By design, authentication protocols try to ensure that attackers must perform brute force attacks if they do not know the credentials such as a key or password. However, when these credentials are easily predictable or even fixed (as with default or hard-coded passwords and keys), then the attacker can defeat the mechanism without relying on brute force.

Credentials may be weak for different reasons, such as:

  • Hard-coded (i.e., static and unchangeable by the administrator)
  • Default (i.e., the same static value across different deployments/installations, but able to be changed by the administrator)
  • Predictable (i.e., generated in a way that produces unique credentials across deployments/installations, but can still be guessed with reasonable efficiency)

Even if a new, unique credential is intended to be generated for each product installation, if the generation is predictable, then that may also simplify guessing attacks.

+ Relationships
Section HelpThis table 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 specific than a Pillar Weakness, but more general than a Base Weakness. Class level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 1 or 2 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, and resource.1390Weak Authentication
ParentOfBaseBase - a weakness that is still mostly independent of a resource or technology, but with sufficient details to provide specific methods for detection and prevention. Base level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 2 or 3 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.521Weak Password Requirements
ParentOfBaseBase - a weakness that is still mostly independent of a resource or technology, but with sufficient details to provide specific methods for detection and prevention. Base level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 2 or 3 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.798Use of Hard-coded Credentials
ParentOfBaseBase - a weakness that is still mostly independent of a resource or technology, but with sufficient details to provide specific methods for detection and prevention. Base level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 2 or 3 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.1392Use of Default Credentials
+ Modes Of Introduction
Section HelpThe different Modes of Introduction provide information about how and when this weakness may be introduced. The Phase identifies a point in the life cycle at which introduction may occur, while the Note provides a typical scenario related to introduction during the given phase.
PhaseNote
Requirements
Architecture and Design
Installation
Operation
+ Applicable Platforms
Section HelpThis listing shows 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: Not Language-Specific (Undetermined Prevalence)

Operating Systems

Class: Not OS-Specific (Undetermined Prevalence)

Architectures

Class: Not Architecture-Specific (Undetermined Prevalence)

Technologies

Class: Not Technology-Specific (Undetermined Prevalence)

+ Observed Examples
ReferenceDescription
Remote Terminal Unit (RTU) uses a hard-coded SSH private key that is likely to be used in typical deployments
microcontroller board has default password, allowing admin access
data visualization/sharing package uses default secret keys or cookie values if they are not specified in environment variables
password manager does not generate cryptographically strong passwords, allowing prediction of passwords using guessable details such as time of generation
password generator for cloud application has small length value, making it easier for brute-force guessing
network-attached storage (NAS) system has predictable default passwords for a diagnostics/support account
IT asset management app has a default encryption key that is the same across installations
Installation script has a hard-coded secret token value, allowing attackers to bypass authentication
Intrusion Detection System (IDS) uses the same static, private SSL keys for multiple devices and installations, allowing decryption of SSL traffic
Residential gateway uses the last 5 digits of the 'Network Name' or SSID as the default WEP key, which allows attackers to get the key by sniffing the SSID, which is sent in the clear
+ References
[REF-1303] Kelly Jackson Higgins. "Researchers Out Default Passwords Packaged With ICS/SCADA Wares". 2022-10-11. 2016-01-04. <https://www.darkreading.com/endpoint/researchers-out-default-passwords-packaged-with-ics-scada-wares>.
[REF-1304] ICS-CERT. "ICS Alert (ICS-ALERT-13-164-01): Medical Devices Hard-Coded Passwords". 2022-10-11. 2013-06-13. <https://www.cisa.gov/uscert/ics/alerts/ICS-ALERT-13-164-01>.
+ Content History
+ Submissions
Submission DateSubmitterOrganization
2022-10-06CWE Content TeamMITRE
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Page Last Updated: October 13, 2022