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CWE-651: Exposure of WSDL File Containing Sensitive Information

Weakness ID: 651
Abstraction: Variant
Structure: Simple
View customized information:
+ Description
The Web services architecture may require exposing a Web Service Definition Language (WSDL) file that contains information on the publicly accessible services and how callers of these services should interact with them (e.g. what parameters they expect and what types they return).
+ Extended Description

An information exposure may occur if any of the following apply:

  • The WSDL file is accessible to a wider audience than intended.
  • The WSDL file contains information on the methods/services that should not be publicly accessible or information about deprecated methods. This problem is made more likely due to the WSDL often being automatically generated from the code.
  • Information in the WSDL file helps guess names/locations of methods/resources that should not be publicly accessible.
+ 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)
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.538Insertion of Sensitive Information into Externally-Accessible File or Directory
+ 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.
Architecture and Design
+ 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.


Class: Not Language-Specific (Undetermined Prevalence)


Web Server (Often Prevalent)

+ 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.

Technical Impact: Read Application Data

The attacker may find sensitive information located in the WSDL file.
+ Demonstrative Examples

Example 1

The WSDL for a service providing information on the best price of a certain item exposes the following method: float getBestPrice(String ItemID) An attacker might guess that there is a method setBestPrice (String ItemID, float Price) that is available and invoke that method to try and change the best price of a given item to their advantage. The attack may succeed if the attacker correctly guesses the name of the method, the method does not have proper access controls around it and the service itself has the functionality to update the best price of the item.

+ Potential Mitigations

Phase: Architecture and Design

Limit access to the WSDL file as much as possible. If services are provided only to a limited number of entities, it may be better to provide WSDL privately to each of these entities than to publish WSDL publicly.

Phase: Architecture and Design

Strategy: Separation of Privilege

Make sure that WSDL does not describe methods that should not be publicly accessible. Make sure to protect service methods that should not be publicly accessible with access controls.

Phase: Architecture and Design

Do not use method names in WSDL that might help an adversary guess names of private methods/resources used by the service.
+ 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.
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.966SFP Secondary Cluster: Other Exposures
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1345OWASP Top Ten 2021 Category A01:2021 - Broken Access Control
+ Content History
+ Submissions
Submission DateSubmitterOrganization
2008-01-30Evgeny LebanidzeCigital
+ Modifications
Modification DateModifierOrganization
2008-09-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Applicable_Platforms, Common_Consequences, Description, Relationships
2009-10-29CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences
2010-09-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Description, Name
2010-12-13CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences
2011-06-01CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences
2012-05-11CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2013-02-21CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Potential_Mitigations
2014-07-30CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2017-11-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Applicable_Platforms, Demonstrative_Examples, Description, Enabling_Factors_for_Exploitation, Observed_Examples
2020-02-24CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Name, Relationships
2021-10-28CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
+ Previous Entry Names
Change DatePrevious Entry Name
2010-09-27Information Leak through WSDL File
2020-02-24Information Exposure Through WSDL File
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Page Last Updated: January 31, 2023