Common Weakness Enumeration

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CWE-778: Insufficient Logging

Weakness ID: 778
Abstraction: Base
Structure: Simple
Status: Draft
Presentation Filter:
+ Description
When a security-critical event occurs, the software either does not record the event or omits important details about the event when logging it.
+ Extended Description
When security-critical events are not logged properly, such as a failed login attempt, this can make malicious behavior more difficult to detect and may hinder forensic analysis after an attack succeeds.
+ 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)
ChildOfPillarPillar - a weakness that is the most abstract type of weakness and represents a theme for all class/base/variant weaknesses related to it. A Pillar is different from a Category as a Pillar is still technically a type of weakness that describes a mistake, while a Category represents a common characteristic used to group related things.693Protection Mechanism Failure
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.223Omission of Security-relevant Information
+ Relevant to the view "Software Development" (CWE-699)
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1210Audit / Logging Errors
+ Relevant to the view "Architectural Concepts" (CWE-1008)
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1009Audit
+ 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.

OperationCOMMISSION: This weakness refers to an incorrect design related to an architectural security tactic.
+ 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: Hide Activities

If security critical information is not recorded, there will be no trail for forensic analysis and discovering the cause of problems or the source of attacks may become more difficult or impossible.
+ Likelihood Of Exploit
+ Demonstrative Examples

Example 1

The example below shows a configuration for the service security audit feature in the Windows Communication Foundation (WCF).

(bad code)
Example Language: XML 
<behavior name="NewBehavior">
<serviceSecurityAudit auditLogLocation="Default"
messageAuthenticationAuditLevel="None" />


The previous configuration file has effectively disabled the recording of security-critical events, which would force the administrator to look to other sources during debug or recovery efforts.

Logging failed authentication attempts can warn administrators of potential brute force attacks. Similarly, logging successful authentication events can provide a useful audit trail when a legitimate account is compromised. The following configuration shows appropriate settings, assuming that the site does not have excessive traffic, which could fill the logs if there are a large number of success or failure events (CWE-779).

(good code)
Example Language: XML 
<behavior name="NewBehavior">
<serviceSecurityAudit auditLogLocation="Default"
messageAuthenticationAuditLevel="SuccessAndFailure" />

+ Observed Examples
server does not log failed authentication attempts, making it easier for attackers to perform brute force password guessing without being detected
admin interface does not log failed authentication attempts, making it easier for attackers to perform brute force password guessing without being detected
default configuration for POP server does not log source IP or username for login attempts
proxy does not log requests without "http://" in the URL, allowing web surfers to access restricted web content without detection
web server does not log requests for a non-standard request type
+ Potential Mitigations

Phase: Architecture and Design

Use a centralized logging mechanism that supports multiple levels of detail. Ensure that all security-related successes and failures can be logged.

Phase: Operation

Be sure to set the level of logging appropriately in a production environment. Sufficient data should be logged to enable system administrators to detect attacks, diagnose errors, and recover from attacks. At the same time, logging too much data (CWE-779) can cause the same problems.
+ 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.1036OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A10 - Insufficient Logging & Monitoring
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1308CISQ Quality Measures - Security
+ References
[REF-62] Mark Dowd, John McDonald and Justin Schuh. "The Art of Software Security Assessment". Chapter 2, "Accountability", Page 40. 1st Edition. Addison Wesley. 2006.
+ Content History
+ Submissions
Submission DateSubmitterOrganization
2009-07-02CWE Content TeamMITRE
+ Contributions
Contribution DateContributorOrganization
2009-07-02Fortify Software
Provided code example and additional information for description and consequences.
+ Modifications
Modification DateModifierOrganization
2011-06-01CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences
2012-05-11CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated References
2017-11-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Modes_of_Introduction, Relationships
2018-03-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2020-02-24CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2020-08-20CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
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Page Last Updated: March 15, 2021