CWE-261: Weak Encoding for Password
Password management issues occur when a password is stored in plaintext in an application's properties or configuration file. A programmer can attempt to remedy the password management problem by obscuring the password with an encoding function, such as base 64 encoding, but this effort does not adequately protect the password.
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 "Software Development" (CWE-699)
Relevant to the view "Architectural Concepts" (CWE-1008)
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.
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)
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.
The following code reads a password from a properties file and uses the password to connect to a database.
Example Language: Java
Properties prop = new Properties();
String password = Base64.decode(prop.getProperty("password"));
DriverManager.getConnection(url, usr, password);
This code will run successfully, but anyone with access to config.properties can read the value of password and easily determine that the value has been base 64 encoded. If a devious employee has access to this information, they can use it to break into the system.
The following code reads a password from the registry and uses the password to create a new network credential.
Example Language: C#
string value = regKey.GetValue(passKey).ToString();
byte decVal = Convert.FromBase64String(value);
NetworkCredential netCred = newNetworkCredential(username,decVal.toString(),domain);
This code will run successfully, but anyone who has access to the registry key used to store the password can read the value of password. If a devious employee has access to this information, they can use it to break into the system.
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.
The "crypt" family of functions uses weak cryptographic algorithms and should be avoided. It may be present in some projects for compatibility.
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