The software does not restrict or incorrectly restricts access to a resource from an unauthorized actor.
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.
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)
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.
Architecture and Design
REALIZATION: This weakness is caused during implementation of an architectural security tactic.
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: Varies by Context
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.
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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.
File or Directory
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.