Common Weakness Enumeration

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CWE-213: Exposure of Sensitive Information Due to Incompatible Policies

Weakness ID: 213
Abstraction: Base
Structure: Simple
Status: Draft
Presentation Filter:
+ Description
The product's intended functionality exposes information to certain actors in accordance with the developer's security policy, but this information is regarded as sensitive according to the intended security policies of other stakeholders such as the product's administrator, users, or others whose information is being processed.
+ Extended Description

When handling information, the developer must consider whether the information is regarded as sensitive by different stakeholders, such as users or administrators. Each stakeholder effectively has its own intended security policy that the product is expected to uphold. When a developer does not treat that information as sensitive, this can introduce a vulnerability that violates the expectations of the product's users.

+ 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)
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.200Exposure of Sensitive Information to an Unauthorized Actor
+ Relevant to the view "Software Development" (CWE-699)
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.199Information Management Errors
+ 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 life cycle at which introduction may occur, while the Note provides a typical scenario related to introduction during the given phase.

PolicyThis can occur when the product's policy does not account for all relevant stakeholders, or when the policies of other stakeholders are not interpreted properly.
RequirementsThis can occur when requirements do not explicitly account for all relevant stakeholders.
Architecture and DesignCommunications or data exchange frameworks may be chosen that exchange or provide access to more information than strictly needed.
ImplementationThis can occur when the developer does not properly track the flow of sensitive information and how it is exposed, e.g., via an API.
+ Applicable Platforms
The listings below show possible areas for which the given weakness could appear. These may be for specific named Languages, Operating Systems, Architectures, Paradigms, Technologies, or a class of such platforms. The platform is listed along with how frequently the given weakness appears for that instance.


Class: Language-Independent (Undetermined Prevalence)

+ Common Consequences

The table below specifies different individual consequences associated with the weakness. The Scope identifies the application security area that is violated, while the Impact describes the negative technical impact that arises if an adversary succeeds in exploiting this weakness. The Likelihood provides information about how likely the specific consequence is expected to be seen relative to the other consequences in the list. For example, there may be high likelihood that a weakness will be exploited to achieve a certain impact, but a low likelihood that it will be exploited to achieve a different impact.


Technical Impact: Read Application Data

+ Demonstrative Examples

Example 1

This code displays some information on a web page.

(bad code)
Example Language: JSP 
Social Security Number: <%= ssn %></br>Credit Card Number: <%= ccn %>

The code displays a user's credit card and social security numbers, even though they aren't absolutely necessary.

+ Observed Examples
Script calls phpinfo()
Script calls phpinfo()
Script calls phpinfo()
Script calls phpinfo()
Script calls phpinfo()
Product lists DLLs and full pathnames.
Telnet protocol allows servers to obtain sensitive environment information from clients.
Telnet protocol allows servers to obtain sensitive environment information from clients.
+ 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.
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.963SFP Secondary Cluster: Exposed Data
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).1340CISQ Data Protection Measures
+ Notes


This entry is being considered for deprecation. It overlaps many other entries related to information exposures. It might not be essential to preserve this entry, since other key stakeholder policies are covered elsewhere, e.g. personal privacy leaks (CWE-359) and system-level exposures that are important to system administrators (CWE-497).


In vulnerability theory terms, this covers cases in which the developer's Intended Policy allows the information to be made available, but the information might be in violation of a Universal Policy in which the product's administrator should have control over which information is considered sensitive and therefore should not be exposed.
+ Taxonomy Mappings
Mapped Taxonomy NameNode IDFitMapped Node Name
PLOVERIntended information leak
+ Content History
+ Submissions
Submission DateSubmitterOrganization
+ 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 Relationships, Other_Notes, Taxonomy_Mappings
2011-03-29CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Name
2011-06-01CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences
2012-05-11CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2012-10-30CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Potential_Mitigations
2014-06-23CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Other_Notes, Relationship_Notes, Theoretical_Notes
2014-07-30CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Demonstrative_Examples, Relationships
2017-11-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Applicable_Platforms
2020-02-24CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Demonstrative_Examples, Description, Maintenance_Notes, Modes_of_Introduction, Name, Other_Notes, Relationship_Notes, Relationships, Time_of_Introduction
2020-12-10CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
+ Previous Entry Names
Change DatePrevious Entry Name
2011-03-29Intended Information Leak
2020-02-24Intentional Information Exposure
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Page Last Updated: March 15, 2021