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ID

CWE-337: Predictable Seed in Pseudo-Random Number Generator (PRNG)

Weakness ID: 337
Abstraction: Variant
Structure: Simple
Status: Draft
Presentation Filter:
+ Description
A Pseudo-Random Number Generator (PRNG) is initialized from a predictable seed, such as the process ID or system time.
+ Extended Description
The use of predictable seeds significantly reduces the number of possible seeds that an attacker would need to test in order to predict which random numbers will be generated by the PRNG.
+ 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
ChildOfBaseBase - 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.335Incorrect Usage of Seeds in Pseudo-Random Number Generator (PRNG)
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 "Architectural Concepts" (CWE-1008)
NatureTypeIDName
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1013Encrypt Data
+ 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
Architecture and Design
ImplementationREALIZATION: This weakness is caused during implementation of an architectural security tactic.
+ 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: Language-Independent (Undetermined Prevalence)

+ Common Consequences
Section HelpThis table 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.
ScopeImpactLikelihood
Other

Technical Impact: Varies by Context

+ Demonstrative Examples

Example 1

Both of these examples use a statistical PRNG seeded with the current value of the system clock to generate a random number:

(bad code)
Example Language: Java 
Random random = new Random(System.currentTimeMillis());
int accountID = random.nextInt();
(bad code)
Example Language:
srand(time());
int randNum = rand();

An attacker can easily predict the seed used by these PRNGs, and so also predict the stream of random numbers generated. Note these examples also exhibit CWE-338 (Use of Cryptographically Weak PRNG).

+ Observed Examples
ReferenceDescription
server uses erlang:now() to seed the PRNG, which results in a small search space for potential random seeds
The removal of a couple lines of code caused Debian's OpenSSL Package to only use the current process ID for seeding a PRNG
Router's PIN generation is based on rand(time(0)) seeding.
cloud provider product uses a non-cryptographically secure PRNG and seeds it with the current time
+ Potential Mitigations
Use non-predictable inputs for seed generation.

Phases: Architecture and Design; Requirements

Strategy: Libraries or Frameworks

Use products or modules that conform to FIPS 140-2 [REF-267] to avoid obvious entropy problems, or use the more recent FIPS 140-3 [REF-1192] if possible.

Phase: Implementation

Use a PRNG that periodically re-seeds itself using input from high-quality sources, such as hardware devices with high entropy. However, do not re-seed too frequently, or else the entropy source might block.
+ Memberships
Section HelpThis 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.
NatureTypeIDName
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.861The CERT Oracle Secure Coding Standard for Java (2011) Chapter 18 - Miscellaneous (MSC)
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.905SFP Primary Cluster: Predictability
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1152SEI CERT Oracle Secure Coding Standard for Java - Guidelines 49. Miscellaneous (MSC)
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1346OWASP Top Ten 2021 Category A02:2021 - Cryptographic Failures
+ Notes

Maintenance

As of CWE 4.5, terminology related to randomness, entropy, and predictability can vary widely. Within the developer and other communities, "randomness" is used heavily. However, within cryptography, "entropy" is distinct, typically implied as a measurement. There are no commonly-used definitions, even within standards documents and cryptography papers. Future versions of CWE will attempt to define these terms and, if necessary, distinguish between them in ways that are appropriate for different communities but do not reduce the usability of CWE for mapping, understanding, or other scenarios.
+ Taxonomy Mappings
Mapped Taxonomy NameNode IDFitMapped Node Name
PLOVERPredictable Seed in PRNG
The CERT Oracle Secure Coding Standard for Java (2011)MSC02-JGenerate strong random numbers
+ References
[REF-267] Information Technology Laboratory, National Institute of Standards and Technology. "SECURITY REQUIREMENTS FOR CRYPTOGRAPHIC MODULES". Annex C, Approved Random Number Generators. 2001-05-25. <http://csrc.nist.gov/publications/fips/fips140-2/fips1402.pdf>.
[REF-1192] Information Technology Laboratory, National Institute of Standards and Technology. "FIPS PUB 140-3: SECURITY REQUIREMENTS FOR CRYPTOGRAPHIC MODULES". 2019-03-22. <https://csrc.nist.gov/publications/detail/fips/140/3/final>.
[REF-44] Michael Howard, David LeBlanc and John Viega. "24 Deadly Sins of Software Security". "Sin 20: Weak Random Numbers." Page 299. McGraw-Hill. 2010.
+ Content History
+ Submissions
Submission DateSubmitterOrganization
2006-07-19PLOVER
+ 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, Taxonomy_Mappings
2009-03-10CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Potential_Mitigations
2009-12-28CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Potential_Mitigations
2010-06-21CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Potential_Mitigations
2011-06-01CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences, Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2011-06-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences
2011-09-13CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Potential_Mitigations, References
2012-05-11CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated References, Relationships
2012-10-30CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Demonstrative_Examples, Potential_Mitigations
2017-11-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Applicable_Platforms, Demonstrative_Examples, Description, Modes_of_Introduction, Name, References, Relationships
2019-01-03CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2019-06-20CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Type
2020-02-24CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Description, Relationships
2021-07-20CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Maintenance_Notes, Observed_Examples, Potential_Mitigations, References
+ Previous Entry Names
Change DatePrevious Entry Name
2017-11-08Predictable Seed in PRNG
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Page Last Updated: October 26, 2021