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Home > CWE List > VIEW SLICE: CWE-1026: Weaknesses in OWASP Top Ten (2017) (4.14)  
ID

CWE VIEW: Weaknesses in OWASP Top Ten (2017)

View ID: 1026
Vulnerability Mapping: PROHIBITEDThis CWE ID must not be used to map to real-world vulnerabilities
Type: Graph
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+ Objective
CWE nodes in this view (graph) are associated with the OWASP Top Ten, as released in 2017.
+ Audience
StakeholderDescription
Software DevelopersThis view outlines the most important issues as identified by the OWASP Top Ten (2017 version), providing a good starting point for web application developers who want to code more securely.
Product CustomersThis view outlines the most important issues as identified by the OWASP Top Ten (2017 version), providing product customers with a way of asking their software development teams to follow minimum expectations for secure code.
EducatorsSince the OWASP Top Ten covers the most frequently encountered issues, this view can be used by educators as training material for students.
+ Relationships
The following graph shows the tree-like relationships between weaknesses that exist at different levels of abstraction. At the highest level, categories and pillars exist to group weaknesses. Categories (which are not technically weaknesses) are special CWE entries used to group weaknesses that share a common characteristic. Pillars are weaknesses that are described in the most abstract fashion. Below these top-level entries are weaknesses are varying levels of abstraction. Classes are still very abstract, typically independent of any specific language or technology. Base level weaknesses are used to present a more specific type of weakness. A variant is a weakness that is described at a very low level of detail, typically limited to a specific language or technology. A chain is a set of weaknesses that must be reachable consecutively in order to produce an exploitable vulnerability. While a composite is a set of weaknesses that must all be present simultaneously in order to produce an exploitable vulnerability.
Show Details:
1026 - Weaknesses in OWASP Top Ten (2017)
+CategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A1 - Injection - (1027)
1026 (Weaknesses in OWASP Top Ten (2017)) > 1027 (OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A1 - Injection)
Weaknesses in this category are related to the A1 category in the OWASP Top Ten 2017.
*ClassClass - a weakness that is described in a very abstract fashion, typically independent of any specific language or technology. More specific than a Pillar Weakness, but more general than a Base Weakness. Class level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 1 or 2 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, and resource.Improper Neutralization of Special Elements used in a Command ('Command Injection') - (77)
1026 (Weaknesses in OWASP Top Ten (2017)) > 1027 (OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A1 - Injection) > 77 (Improper Neutralization of Special Elements used in a Command ('Command Injection'))
The product constructs all or part of a command using externally-influenced input from an upstream component, but it does not neutralize or incorrectly neutralizes special elements that could modify the intended command when it is sent to a downstream component.
*BaseBase - 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.Improper Neutralization of Special Elements used in an OS Command ('OS Command Injection') - (78)
1026 (Weaknesses in OWASP Top Ten (2017)) > 1027 (OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A1 - Injection) > 78 (Improper Neutralization of Special Elements used in an OS Command ('OS Command Injection'))
The product constructs all or part of an OS command using externally-influenced input from an upstream component, but it does not neutralize or incorrectly neutralizes special elements that could modify the intended OS command when it is sent to a downstream component.Shell injectionShell metacharacters
*BaseBase - 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.Improper Neutralization of Argument Delimiters in a Command ('Argument Injection') - (88)
1026 (Weaknesses in OWASP Top Ten (2017)) > 1027 (OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A1 - Injection) > 88 (Improper Neutralization of Argument Delimiters in a Command ('Argument Injection'))
The product constructs a string for a command to be executed by a separate component in another control sphere, but it does not properly delimit the intended arguments, options, or switches within that command string.
*BaseBase - 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.Improper Neutralization of Special Elements used in an SQL Command ('SQL Injection') - (89)
1026 (Weaknesses in OWASP Top Ten (2017)) > 1027 (OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A1 - Injection) > 89 (Improper Neutralization of Special Elements used in an SQL Command ('SQL Injection'))
The product constructs all or part of an SQL command using externally-influenced input from an upstream component, but it does not neutralize or incorrectly neutralizes special elements that could modify the intended SQL command when it is sent to a downstream component.
*BaseBase - 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.Improper Neutralization of Special Elements used in an LDAP Query ('LDAP Injection') - (90)
1026 (Weaknesses in OWASP Top Ten (2017)) > 1027 (OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A1 - Injection) > 90 (Improper Neutralization of Special Elements used in an LDAP Query ('LDAP Injection'))
The product constructs all or part of an LDAP query using externally-influenced input from an upstream component, but it does not neutralize or incorrectly neutralizes special elements that could modify the intended LDAP query when it is sent to a downstream component.
*BaseBase - 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.XML Injection (aka Blind XPath Injection) - (91)
1026 (Weaknesses in OWASP Top Ten (2017)) > 1027 (OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A1 - Injection) > 91 (XML Injection (aka Blind XPath Injection))
The product does not properly neutralize special elements that are used in XML, allowing attackers to modify the syntax, content, or commands of the XML before it is processed by an end system.
*VariantVariant - a weakness that is linked to a certain type of product, typically involving a specific language or technology. More specific than a Base weakness. Variant level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 3 to 5 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.SQL Injection: Hibernate - (564)
1026 (Weaknesses in OWASP Top Ten (2017)) > 1027 (OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A1 - Injection) > 564 (SQL Injection: Hibernate)
Using Hibernate to execute a dynamic SQL statement built with user-controlled input can allow an attacker to modify the statement's meaning or to execute arbitrary SQL commands.
*BaseBase - 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.Improper Neutralization of Special Elements used in an Expression Language Statement ('Expression Language Injection') - (917)
1026 (Weaknesses in OWASP Top Ten (2017)) > 1027 (OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A1 - Injection) > 917 (Improper Neutralization of Special Elements used in an Expression Language Statement ('Expression Language Injection'))
The product constructs all or part of an expression language (EL) statement in a framework such as a Java Server Page (JSP) using externally-influenced input from an upstream component, but it does not neutralize or incorrectly neutralizes special elements that could modify the intended EL statement before it is executed.EL Injection
*ClassClass - a weakness that is described in a very abstract fashion, typically independent of any specific language or technology. More specific than a Pillar Weakness, but more general than a Base Weakness. Class level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 1 or 2 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, and resource.Improper Neutralization of Special Elements in Data Query Logic - (943)
1026 (Weaknesses in OWASP Top Ten (2017)) > 1027 (OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A1 - Injection) > 943 (Improper Neutralization of Special Elements in Data Query Logic)
The product generates a query intended to access or manipulate data in a data store such as a database, but it does not neutralize or incorrectly neutralizes special elements that can modify the intended logic of the query.
+CategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A2 - Broken Authentication - (1028)
1026 (Weaknesses in OWASP Top Ten (2017)) > 1028 (OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A2 - Broken Authentication)
Weaknesses in this category are related to the A2 category in the OWASP Top Ten 2017.
*ClassClass - a weakness that is described in a very abstract fashion, typically independent of any specific language or technology. More specific than a Pillar Weakness, but more general than a Base Weakness. Class level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 1 or 2 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, and resource.Improper Authentication - (287)
1026 (Weaknesses in OWASP Top Ten (2017)) > 1028 (OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A2 - Broken Authentication) > 287 (Improper Authentication)
When an actor claims to have a given identity, the product does not prove or insufficiently proves that the claim is correct.authentificationAuthNAuthC
*BaseBase - 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.Plaintext Storage of a Password - (256)
1026 (Weaknesses in OWASP Top Ten (2017)) > 1028 (OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A2 - Broken Authentication) > 256 (Plaintext Storage of a Password)
Storing a password in plaintext may result in a system compromise.
*BaseBase - 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.Use of Single-factor Authentication - (308)
1026 (Weaknesses in OWASP Top Ten (2017)) > 1028 (OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A2 - Broken Authentication) > 308 (Use of Single-factor Authentication)
The use of single-factor authentication can lead to unnecessary risk of compromise when compared with the benefits of a dual-factor authentication scheme.
*CompositeComposite - a Compound Element that consists of two or more distinct weaknesses, in which all weaknesses must be present at the same time in order for a potential vulnerability to arise. Removing any of the weaknesses eliminates or sharply reduces the risk. One weakness, X, can be "broken down" into component weaknesses Y and Z. There can be cases in which one weakness might not be essential to a composite, but changes the nature of the composite when it becomes a vulnerability.Session Fixation - (384)
1026 (Weaknesses in OWASP Top Ten (2017)) > 1028 (OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A2 - Broken Authentication) > 384 (Session Fixation)
Authenticating a user, or otherwise establishing a new user session, without invalidating any existing session identifier gives an attacker the opportunity to steal authenticated sessions.
*ClassClass - a weakness that is described in a very abstract fashion, typically independent of any specific language or technology. More specific than a Pillar Weakness, but more general than a Base Weakness. Class level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 1 or 2 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, and resource.Insufficiently Protected Credentials - (522)
1026 (Weaknesses in OWASP Top Ten (2017)) > 1028 (OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A2 - Broken Authentication) > 522 (Insufficiently Protected Credentials)
The product transmits or stores authentication credentials, but it uses an insecure method that is susceptible to unauthorized interception and/or retrieval.
*BaseBase - 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.Unprotected Transport of Credentials - (523)
1026 (Weaknesses in OWASP Top Ten (2017)) > 1028 (OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A2 - Broken Authentication) > 523 (Unprotected Transport of Credentials)
Login pages do not use adequate measures to protect the user name and password while they are in transit from the client to the server.
*BaseBase - 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.Insufficient Session Expiration - (613)
1026 (Weaknesses in OWASP Top Ten (2017)) > 1028 (OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A2 - Broken Authentication) > 613 (Insufficient Session Expiration)
According to WASC, "Insufficient Session Expiration is when a web site permits an attacker to reuse old session credentials or session IDs for authorization."
*BaseBase - 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.Unverified Password Change - (620)
1026 (Weaknesses in OWASP Top Ten (2017)) > 1028 (OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A2 - Broken Authentication) > 620 (Unverified Password Change)
When setting a new password for a user, the product does not require knowledge of the original password, or using another form of authentication.
*BaseBase - 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.Weak Password Recovery Mechanism for Forgotten Password - (640)
1026 (Weaknesses in OWASP Top Ten (2017)) > 1028 (OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A2 - Broken Authentication) > 640 (Weak Password Recovery Mechanism for Forgotten Password)
The product contains a mechanism for users to recover or change their passwords without knowing the original password, but the mechanism is weak.
+CategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A3 - Sensitive Data Exposure - (1029)
1026 (Weaknesses in OWASP Top Ten (2017)) > 1029 (OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A3 - Sensitive Data Exposure)
Weaknesses in this category are related to the A3 category in the OWASP Top Ten 2017.
*VariantVariant - a weakness that is linked to a certain type of product, typically involving a specific language or technology. More specific than a Base weakness. Variant level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 3 to 5 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.Storage of File With Sensitive Data Under FTP Root - (220)
1026 (Weaknesses in OWASP Top Ten (2017)) > 1029 (OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A3 - Sensitive Data Exposure) > 220 (Storage of File With Sensitive Data Under FTP Root)
The product stores sensitive data under the FTP server root with insufficient access control, which might make it accessible to untrusted parties.
*BaseBase - 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.Improper Certificate Validation - (295)
1026 (Weaknesses in OWASP Top Ten (2017)) > 1029 (OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A3 - Sensitive Data Exposure) > 295 (Improper Certificate Validation)
The product does not validate, or incorrectly validates, a certificate.
*ClassClass - a weakness that is described in a very abstract fashion, typically independent of any specific language or technology. More specific than a Pillar Weakness, but more general than a Base Weakness. Class level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 1 or 2 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, and resource.Missing Encryption of Sensitive Data - (311)
1026 (Weaknesses in OWASP Top Ten (2017)) > 1029 (OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A3 - Sensitive Data Exposure) > 311 (Missing Encryption of Sensitive Data)
The product does not encrypt sensitive or critical information before storage or transmission.
*BaseBase - 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.Cleartext Storage of Sensitive Information - (312)
1026 (Weaknesses in OWASP Top Ten (2017)) > 1029 (OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A3 - Sensitive Data Exposure) > 312 (Cleartext Storage of Sensitive Information)
The product stores sensitive information in cleartext within a resource that might be accessible to another control sphere.
*BaseBase - 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.Cleartext Transmission of Sensitive Information - (319)
1026 (Weaknesses in OWASP Top Ten (2017)) > 1029 (OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A3 - Sensitive Data Exposure) > 319 (Cleartext Transmission of Sensitive Information)
The product transmits sensitive or security-critical data in cleartext in a communication channel that can be sniffed by unauthorized actors.
*CategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.Key Management Errors - (320)
1026 (Weaknesses in OWASP Top Ten (2017)) > 1029 (OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A3 - Sensitive Data Exposure) > 320 (Key Management Errors)
Weaknesses in this category are related to errors in the management of cryptographic keys.
*BaseBase - 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.Missing Cryptographic Step - (325)
1026 (Weaknesses in OWASP Top Ten (2017)) > 1029 (OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A3 - Sensitive Data Exposure) > 325 (Missing Cryptographic Step)
The product does not implement a required step in a cryptographic algorithm, resulting in weaker encryption than advertised by the algorithm.
*ClassClass - a weakness that is described in a very abstract fashion, typically independent of any specific language or technology. More specific than a Pillar Weakness, but more general than a Base Weakness. Class level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 1 or 2 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, and resource.Inadequate Encryption Strength - (326)
1026 (Weaknesses in OWASP Top Ten (2017)) > 1029 (OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A3 - Sensitive Data Exposure) > 326 (Inadequate Encryption Strength)
The product stores or transmits sensitive data using an encryption scheme that is theoretically sound, but is not strong enough for the level of protection required.
*ClassClass - a weakness that is described in a very abstract fashion, typically independent of any specific language or technology. More specific than a Pillar Weakness, but more general than a Base Weakness. Class level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 1 or 2 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, and resource.Use of a Broken or Risky Cryptographic Algorithm - (327)
1026 (Weaknesses in OWASP Top Ten (2017)) > 1029 (OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A3 - Sensitive Data Exposure) > 327 (Use of a Broken or Risky Cryptographic Algorithm)
The product uses a broken or risky cryptographic algorithm or protocol.
*BaseBase - 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.Use of Weak Hash - (328)
1026 (Weaknesses in OWASP Top Ten (2017)) > 1029 (OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A3 - Sensitive Data Exposure) > 328 (Use of Weak Hash)
The product uses an algorithm that produces a digest (output value) that does not meet security expectations for a hash function that allows an adversary to reasonably determine the original input (preimage attack), find another input that can produce the same hash (2nd preimage attack), or find multiple inputs that evaluate to the same hash (birthday attack).
*BaseBase - 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.Exposure of Private Personal Information to an Unauthorized Actor - (359)
1026 (Weaknesses in OWASP Top Ten (2017)) > 1029 (OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A3 - Sensitive Data Exposure) > 359 (Exposure of Private Personal Information to an Unauthorized Actor)
The product does not properly prevent a person's private, personal information from being accessed by actors who either (1) are not explicitly authorized to access the information or (2) do not have the implicit consent of the person about whom the information is collected.Privacy violationPrivacy leakPrivacy leakage
+CategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A4 - XML External Entities (XXE) - (1030)
1026 (Weaknesses in OWASP Top Ten (2017)) > 1030 (OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A4 - XML External Entities (XXE))
Weaknesses in this category are related to the A4 category in the OWASP Top Ten 2017.
*BaseBase - 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.Improper Restriction of XML External Entity Reference - (611)
1026 (Weaknesses in OWASP Top Ten (2017)) > 1030 (OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A4 - XML External Entities (XXE)) > 611 (Improper Restriction of XML External Entity Reference)
The product processes an XML document that can contain XML entities with URIs that resolve to documents outside of the intended sphere of control, causing the product to embed incorrect documents into its output.XXE
*BaseBase - 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.Improper Restriction of Recursive Entity References in DTDs ('XML Entity Expansion') - (776)
1026 (Weaknesses in OWASP Top Ten (2017)) > 1030 (OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A4 - XML External Entities (XXE)) > 776 (Improper Restriction of Recursive Entity References in DTDs ('XML Entity Expansion'))
The product uses XML documents and allows their structure to be defined with a Document Type Definition (DTD), but it does not properly control the number of recursive definitions of entities.XEEBillion Laughs AttackXML Bomb
+CategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A5 - Broken Access Control - (1031)
1026 (Weaknesses in OWASP Top Ten (2017)) > 1031 (OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A5 - Broken Access Control)
Weaknesses in this category are related to the A5 category in the OWASP Top Ten 2017.
*BaseBase - 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.Improper Limitation of a Pathname to a Restricted Directory ('Path Traversal') - (22)
1026 (Weaknesses in OWASP Top Ten (2017)) > 1031 (OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A5 - Broken Access Control) > 22 (Improper Limitation of a Pathname to a Restricted Directory ('Path Traversal'))
The product uses external input to construct a pathname that is intended to identify a file or directory that is located underneath a restricted parent directory, but the product does not properly neutralize special elements within the pathname that can cause the pathname to resolve to a location that is outside of the restricted directory.Directory traversalPath traversal
*PillarPillar - 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.Improper Access Control - (284)
1026 (Weaknesses in OWASP Top Ten (2017)) > 1031 (OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A5 - Broken Access Control) > 284 (Improper Access Control)
The product does not restrict or incorrectly restricts access to a resource from an unauthorized actor.Authorization
*ClassClass - a weakness that is described in a very abstract fashion, typically independent of any specific language or technology. More specific than a Pillar Weakness, but more general than a Base Weakness. Class level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 1 or 2 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, and resource.Improper Authorization - (285)
1026 (Weaknesses in OWASP Top Ten (2017)) > 1031 (OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A5 - Broken Access Control) > 285 (Improper Authorization)
The product does not perform or incorrectly performs an authorization check when an actor attempts to access a resource or perform an action.AuthZ
*BaseBase - 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.Direct Request ('Forced Browsing') - (425)
1026 (Weaknesses in OWASP Top Ten (2017)) > 1031 (OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A5 - Broken Access Control) > 425 (Direct Request ('Forced Browsing'))
The web application does not adequately enforce appropriate authorization on all restricted URLs, scripts, or files.forced browsing
*BaseBase - 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.Authorization Bypass Through User-Controlled Key - (639)
1026 (Weaknesses in OWASP Top Ten (2017)) > 1031 (OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A5 - Broken Access Control) > 639 (Authorization Bypass Through User-Controlled Key)
The system's authorization functionality does not prevent one user from gaining access to another user's data or record by modifying the key value identifying the data.Insecure Direct Object Reference / IDORBroken Object Level Authorization / BOLAHorizontal Authorization
+CategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A6 - Security Misconfiguration - (1032)
1026 (Weaknesses in OWASP Top Ten (2017)) > 1032 (OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A6 - Security Misconfiguration)
Weaknesses in this category are related to the A6 category in the OWASP Top Ten 2017.
*CategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.Configuration - (16)
1026 (Weaknesses in OWASP Top Ten (2017)) > 1032 (OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A6 - Security Misconfiguration) > 16 (Configuration)
Weaknesses in this category are typically introduced during the configuration of the software.
*BaseBase - 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.Generation of Error Message Containing Sensitive Information - (209)
1026 (Weaknesses in OWASP Top Ten (2017)) > 1032 (OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A6 - Security Misconfiguration) > 209 (Generation of Error Message Containing Sensitive Information)
The product generates an error message that includes sensitive information about its environment, users, or associated data.
*VariantVariant - a weakness that is linked to a certain type of product, typically involving a specific language or technology. More specific than a Base weakness. Variant level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 3 to 5 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.Exposure of Information Through Directory Listing - (548)
1026 (Weaknesses in OWASP Top Ten (2017)) > 1032 (OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A6 - Security Misconfiguration) > 548 (Exposure of Information Through Directory Listing)
A directory listing is inappropriately exposed, yielding potentially sensitive information to attackers.
+CategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A7 - Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) - (1033)
1026 (Weaknesses in OWASP Top Ten (2017)) > 1033 (OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A7 - Cross-Site Scripting (XSS))
Weaknesses in this category are related to the A7 category in the OWASP Top Ten 2017.
*BaseBase - 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.Improper Neutralization of Input During Web Page Generation ('Cross-site Scripting') - (79)
1026 (Weaknesses in OWASP Top Ten (2017)) > 1033 (OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A7 - Cross-Site Scripting (XSS)) > 79 (Improper Neutralization of Input During Web Page Generation ('Cross-site Scripting'))
The product does not neutralize or incorrectly neutralizes user-controllable input before it is placed in output that is used as a web page that is served to other users.XSSHTML InjectionCSS
+CategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A8 - Insecure Deserialization - (1034)
1026 (Weaknesses in OWASP Top Ten (2017)) > 1034 (OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A8 - Insecure Deserialization)
Weaknesses in this category are related to the A8 category in the OWASP Top Ten 2017.
*BaseBase - 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.Deserialization of Untrusted Data - (502)
1026 (Weaknesses in OWASP Top Ten (2017)) > 1034 (OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A8 - Insecure Deserialization) > 502 (Deserialization of Untrusted Data)
The product deserializes untrusted data without sufficiently verifying that the resulting data will be valid.Marshaling, UnmarshalingPickling, UnpicklingPHP Object Injection
*CategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A9 - Using Components with Known Vulnerabilities - (1035)
1026 (Weaknesses in OWASP Top Ten (2017)) > 1035 (OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A9 - Using Components with Known Vulnerabilities)
Weaknesses in this category are related to the A9 category in the OWASP Top Ten 2017.
+CategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A10 - Insufficient Logging & Monitoring - (1036)
1026 (Weaknesses in OWASP Top Ten (2017)) > 1036 (OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A10 - Insufficient Logging & Monitoring)
Weaknesses in this category are related to the A10 category in the OWASP Top Ten 2017.
*BaseBase - 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.Omission of Security-relevant Information - (223)
1026 (Weaknesses in OWASP Top Ten (2017)) > 1036 (OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A10 - Insufficient Logging & Monitoring) > 223 (Omission of Security-relevant Information)
The product does not record or display information that would be important for identifying the source or nature of an attack, or determining if an action is safe.
*BaseBase - 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.Insufficient Logging - (778)
1026 (Weaknesses in OWASP Top Ten (2017)) > 1036 (OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A10 - Insufficient Logging & Monitoring) > 778 (Insufficient Logging)
When a security-critical event occurs, the product either does not record the event or omits important details about the event when logging it.
+ Vulnerability Mapping Notes

Usage: PROHIBITED

(this CWE ID must not be used to map to real-world vulnerabilities)

Reason: View

Rationale:

This entry is a View. Views are not weaknesses and therefore inappropriate to describe the root causes of vulnerabilities.

Comments:

Use this View or other Views to search and navigate for the appropriate weakness.
+ Notes

Relationship

The relationships in this view have been pulled directly from the 2017 OWASP Top 10 document, either from the explicit mapping section, or from weakness types alluded to in the written sections.
+ References
[REF-957] "Top 10 2017". OWASP. 2017-04-12. <https://owasp.org/www-pdf-archive/OWASP_Top_10-2017_%28en%29.pdf.pdf>.
+ View Metrics
CWEs in this viewTotal CWEs
Weaknesses41out of 938
Categories12out of 374
Views0out of 50
Total53out of1362
+ Content History
+ Submissions
Submission DateSubmitterOrganization
2018-01-22
(CWE 3.1, 2018-03-29)
CWE Content TeamMITRE
+ Modifications
Modification DateModifierOrganization
2017-11-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated References
2020-02-24CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated References, View_Audience
2023-06-29CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Mapping_Notes

View Components

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

CWE-639: Authorization Bypass Through User-Controlled Key

Weakness ID: 639
Vulnerability Mapping: ALLOWEDThis CWE ID may be used to map to real-world vulnerabilities
Abstraction: BaseBase - 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.
View customized information:
For users who are interested in more notional aspects of a weakness. Example: educators, technical writers, and project/program managers. For users who are concerned with the practical application and details about the nature of a weakness and how to prevent it from happening. Example: tool developers, security researchers, pen-testers, incident response analysts. For users who are mapping an issue to CWE/CAPEC IDs, i.e., finding the most appropriate CWE for a specific issue (e.g., a CVE record). Example: tool developers, security researchers. For users who wish to see all available information for the CWE/CAPEC entry. For users who want to customize what details are displayed.
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+ Description
The system's authorization functionality does not prevent one user from gaining access to another user's data or record by modifying the key value identifying the data.
+ Extended Description

Retrieval of a user record occurs in the system based on some key value that is under user control. The key would typically identify a user-related record stored in the system and would be used to lookup that record for presentation to the user. It is likely that an attacker would have to be an authenticated user in the system. However, the authorization process would not properly check the data access operation to ensure that the authenticated user performing the operation has sufficient entitlements to perform the requested data access, hence bypassing any other authorization checks present in the system.

For example, attackers can look at places where user specific data is retrieved (e.g. search screens) and determine whether the key for the item being looked up is controllable externally. The key may be a hidden field in the HTML form field, might be passed as a URL parameter or as an unencrypted cookie variable, then in each of these cases it will be possible to tamper with the key value.

One manifestation of this weakness is when a system uses sequential or otherwise easily-guessable session IDs that would allow one user to easily switch to another user's session and read/modify their data.

+ Alternate Terms
Insecure Direct Object Reference / IDOR:
The "Insecure Direct Object Reference" term, as described in the OWASP Top Ten, is broader than this CWE because it also covers path traversal (CWE-22). Within the context of vulnerability theory, there is a similarity between the OWASP concept and CWE-706: Use of Incorrectly-Resolved Name or Reference.
Broken Object Level Authorization / BOLA:
BOLA is used in the 2019 OWASP API Security Top 10 and is said to be the same as IDOR.
Horizontal Authorization:
"Horizontal Authorization" is used to describe situations in which two users have the same privilege level, but must be prevented from accessing each other's resources. This is fairly common when using key-based access to resources in a multi-user context.
+ 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
ChildOfClassClass - a weakness that is described in a very abstract fashion, typically independent of any specific language or technology. More specific than a Pillar Weakness, but more general than a Base Weakness. Class level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 1 or 2 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, and resource.863Incorrect Authorization
ParentOfVariantVariant - a weakness that is linked to a certain type of product, typically involving a specific language or technology. More specific than a Base weakness. Variant level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 3 to 5 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.566Authorization Bypass Through User-Controlled SQL Primary Key
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 "Software Development" (CWE-699)
NatureTypeIDName
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1212Authorization Errors
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.840Business Logic Errors
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 "Weaknesses for Simplified Mapping of Published Vulnerabilities" (CWE-1003)
NatureTypeIDName
ChildOfClassClass - a weakness that is described in a very abstract fashion, typically independent of any specific language or technology. More specific than a Pillar Weakness, but more general than a Base Weakness. Class level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 1 or 2 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, and resource.863Incorrect Authorization
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.1011Authorize Actors
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 "CISQ Data Protection Measures" (CWE-1340)
NatureTypeIDName
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.284Improper Access Control
+ 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 DesignREALIZATION: 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: Not Language-Specific (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
Access Control

Technical Impact: Bypass Protection Mechanism

Access control checks for specific user data or functionality can be bypassed.
Access Control

Technical Impact: Gain Privileges or Assume Identity

Horizontal escalation of privilege is possible (one user can view/modify information of another user).
Access Control

Technical Impact: Gain Privileges or Assume Identity

Vertical escalation of privilege is possible if the user-controlled key is actually a flag that indicates administrator status, allowing the attacker to gain administrative access.
+ Likelihood Of Exploit
High
+ Demonstrative Examples

Example 1

The following code uses a parameterized statement, which escapes metacharacters and prevents SQL injection vulnerabilities, to construct and execute a SQL query that searches for an invoice matching the specified identifier [1]. The identifier is selected from a list of all invoices associated with the current authenticated user.

(bad code)
Example Language: C# 
...
conn = new SqlConnection(_ConnectionString);
conn.Open();
int16 id = System.Convert.ToInt16(invoiceID.Text);
SqlCommand query = new SqlCommand( "SELECT * FROM invoices WHERE id = @id", conn);
query.Parameters.AddWithValue("@id", id);
SqlDataReader objReader = objCommand.ExecuteReader();
...

The problem is that the developer has not considered all of the possible values of id. Although the interface generates a list of invoice identifiers that belong to the current user, an attacker can bypass this interface to request any desired invoice. Because the code in this example does not check to ensure that the user has permission to access the requested invoice, it will display any invoice, even if it does not belong to the current user.

+ Observed Examples
ReferenceDescription
An educational application does not appropriately restrict file IDs to a particular user. The attacker can brute-force guess IDs, indicating IDOR.
+ Potential Mitigations

Phase: Architecture and Design

For each and every data access, ensure that the user has sufficient privilege to access the record that is being requested.

Phases: Architecture and Design; Implementation

Make sure that the key that is used in the lookup of a specific user's record is not controllable externally by the user or that any tampering can be detected.

Phase: Architecture and Design

Use encryption in order to make it more difficult to guess other legitimate values of the key or associate a digital signature with the key so that the server can verify that there has been no tampering.
+ Detection Methods

Automated Static Analysis

Automated static analysis, commonly referred to as Static Application Security Testing (SAST), can find some instances of this weakness by analyzing source code (or binary/compiled code) without having to execute it. Typically, this is done by building a model of data flow and control flow, then searching for potentially-vulnerable patterns that connect "sources" (origins of input) with "sinks" (destinations where the data interacts with external components, a lower layer such as the OS, etc.)

Effectiveness: High

+ 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.715OWASP Top Ten 2007 Category A4 - Insecure Direct Object Reference
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.723OWASP Top Ten 2004 Category A2 - Broken Access Control
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.813OWASP Top Ten 2010 Category A4 - Insecure Direct Object References
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.932OWASP Top Ten 2013 Category A4 - Insecure Direct Object References
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.945SFP Secondary Cluster: Insecure Resource Access
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1031OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A5 - Broken Access Control
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
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1396Comprehensive Categorization: Access Control
+ Vulnerability Mapping Notes

Usage: ALLOWED

(this CWE ID could be used to map to real-world vulnerabilities)

Reason: Acceptable-Use

Rationale:

This CWE entry is at the Base level of abstraction, which is a preferred level of abstraction for mapping to the root causes of vulnerabilities.

Comments:

Carefully read both the name and description to ensure that this mapping is an appropriate fit. Do not try to 'force' a mapping to a lower-level Base/Variant simply to comply with this preferred level of abstraction.
+ Content History
+ Submissions
Submission DateSubmitterOrganization
2008-01-30
(CWE Draft 8, 2008-01-30)
Evgeny LebanidzeCigital
+ Modifications
Modification DateModifierOrganization
2008-09-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences, Relationships, Type
2008-10-14CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Description
2009-03-10CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2009-05-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2009-10-29CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences
2010-06-21CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2011-03-29CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Alternate_Terms, Applicable_Platforms, Description, Name, Potential_Mitigations, Relationships
2011-06-01CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences, Relationships
2012-05-11CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2013-02-21CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Alternate_Terms, Common_Consequences
2013-07-17CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2014-07-30CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2017-11-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Description, Enabling_Factors_for_Exploitation, Modes_of_Introduction, Relationships
2018-03-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2019-06-20CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2020-02-24CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2020-06-25CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Alternate_Terms
2020-12-10CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2021-03-15CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Alternate_Terms
2021-10-28CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2023-04-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Detection_Factors, Relationships
2023-06-29CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Mapping_Notes
2023-10-26CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Observed_Examples
2024-02-29
(CWE 4.14, 2024-02-29)
CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Demonstrative_Examples
+ Previous Entry Names
Change DatePrevious Entry Name
2011-03-29Access Control Bypass Through User-Controlled Key

CWE-312: Cleartext Storage of Sensitive Information

Weakness ID: 312
Vulnerability Mapping: ALLOWEDThis CWE ID may be used to map to real-world vulnerabilities
Abstraction: BaseBase - 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.
View customized information:
For users who are interested in more notional aspects of a weakness. Example: educators, technical writers, and project/program managers. For users who are concerned with the practical application and details about the nature of a weakness and how to prevent it from happening. Example: tool developers, security researchers, pen-testers, incident response analysts. For users who are mapping an issue to CWE/CAPEC IDs, i.e., finding the most appropriate CWE for a specific issue (e.g., a CVE record). Example: tool developers, security researchers. For users who wish to see all available information for the CWE/CAPEC entry. For users who want to customize what details are displayed.
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Edit Custom Filter


+ Description
The product stores sensitive information in cleartext within a resource that might be accessible to another control sphere.
+ Extended Description

Because the information is stored in cleartext (i.e., unencrypted), attackers could potentially read it. Even if the information is encoded in a way that is not human-readable, certain techniques could determine which encoding is being used, then decode the information.

When organizations adopt cloud services, it can be easier for attackers to access the data from anywhere on the Internet.

In some systems/environments such as cloud, the use of "double encryption" (at both the software and hardware layer) might be required, and the developer might be solely responsible for both layers, instead of shared responsibility with the administrator of the broader system/environment.

+ 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
ChildOfClassClass - a weakness that is described in a very abstract fashion, typically independent of any specific language or technology. More specific than a Pillar Weakness, but more general than a Base Weakness. Class level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 1 or 2 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, and resource.922Insecure Storage of Sensitive Information
ChildOfClassClass - a weakness that is described in a very abstract fashion, typically independent of any specific language or technology. More specific than a Pillar Weakness, but more general than a Base Weakness. Class level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 1 or 2 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, and resource.311Missing Encryption of Sensitive Data
ParentOfVariantVariant - a weakness that is linked to a certain type of product, typically involving a specific language or technology. More specific than a Base weakness. Variant level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 3 to 5 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.313Cleartext Storage in a File or on Disk
ParentOfVariantVariant - a weakness that is linked to a certain type of product, typically involving a specific language or technology. More specific than a Base weakness. Variant level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 3 to 5 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.314Cleartext Storage in the Registry
ParentOfVariantVariant - a weakness that is linked to a certain type of product, typically involving a specific language or technology. More specific than a Base weakness. Variant level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 3 to 5 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.315Cleartext Storage of Sensitive Information in a Cookie
ParentOfVariantVariant - a weakness that is linked to a certain type of product, typically involving a specific language or technology. More specific than a Base weakness. Variant level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 3 to 5 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.316Cleartext Storage of Sensitive Information in Memory
ParentOfVariantVariant - a weakness that is linked to a certain type of product, typically involving a specific language or technology. More specific than a Base weakness. Variant level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 3 to 5 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.317Cleartext Storage of Sensitive Information in GUI
ParentOfVariantVariant - a weakness that is linked to a certain type of product, typically involving a specific language or technology. More specific than a Base weakness. Variant level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 3 to 5 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.318Cleartext Storage of Sensitive Information in Executable
ParentOfVariantVariant - a weakness that is linked to a certain type of product, typically involving a specific language or technology. More specific than a Base weakness. Variant level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 3 to 5 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.526Cleartext Storage of Sensitive Information in an Environment Variable
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 "Software Development" (CWE-699)
NatureTypeIDName
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.199Information Management Errors
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 "Weaknesses for Simplified Mapping of Published Vulnerabilities" (CWE-1003)
NatureTypeIDName
ChildOfClassClass - a weakness that is described in a very abstract fashion, typically independent of any specific language or technology. More specific than a Pillar Weakness, but more general than a Base Weakness. Class level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 1 or 2 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, and resource.311Missing Encryption of Sensitive Data
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 DesignOMISSION: This weakness is caused by missing a security tactic during the architecture and design phase.
+ 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: Not Language-Specific (Undetermined Prevalence)

Technologies

Class: Cloud Computing (Undetermined Prevalence)

Class: ICS/OT (Undetermined Prevalence)

Class: Mobile (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
Confidentiality

Technical Impact: Read Application Data

An attacker with access to the system could read sensitive information stored in cleartext.
+ Demonstrative Examples

Example 1

The following code excerpt stores a plaintext user account ID in a browser cookie.

(bad code)
Example Language: Java 
response.addCookie( new Cookie("userAccountID", acctID);

Because the account ID is in plaintext, the user's account information is exposed if their computer is compromised by an attacker.

Example 2

This code writes a user's login information to a cookie so the user does not have to login again later.

(bad code)
Example Language: PHP 
function persistLogin($username, $password){
$data = array("username" => $username, "password"=> $password);
setcookie ("userdata", $data);
}

The code stores the user's username and password in plaintext in a cookie on the user's machine. This exposes the user's login information if their computer is compromised by an attacker. Even if the user's machine is not compromised, this weakness combined with cross-site scripting (CWE-79) could allow an attacker to remotely copy the cookie.

Also note this example code also exhibits Plaintext Storage in a Cookie (CWE-315).

Example 3

The following code attempts to establish a connection, read in a password, then store it to a buffer.

(bad code)
Example Language:
server.sin_family = AF_INET; hp = gethostbyname(argv[1]);
if (hp==NULL) error("Unknown host");
memcpy( (char *)&server.sin_addr,(char *)hp->h_addr,hp->h_length);
if (argc < 3) port = 80;
else port = (unsigned short)atoi(argv[3]);
server.sin_port = htons(port);
if (connect(sock, (struct sockaddr *)&server, sizeof server) < 0) error("Connecting");
...
while ((n=read(sock,buffer,BUFSIZE-1))!=-1) {

write(dfd,password_buffer,n);
...

While successful, the program does not encrypt the data before writing it to a buffer, possibly exposing it to unauthorized actors.

Example 4

The following examples show a portion of properties and configuration files for Java and ASP.NET applications. The files include username and password information but they are stored in cleartext.

This Java example shows a properties file with a cleartext username / password pair.

(bad code)
Example Language: Java 

# Java Web App ResourceBundle properties file
...
webapp.ldap.username=secretUsername
webapp.ldap.password=secretPassword
...

The following example shows a portion of a configuration file for an ASP.Net application. This configuration file includes username and password information for a connection to a database but the pair is stored in cleartext.

(bad code)
Example Language: ASP.NET 
...
<connectionStrings>
<add name="ud_DEV" connectionString="connectDB=uDB; uid=db2admin; pwd=password; dbalias=uDB;" providerName="System.Data.Odbc" />
</connectionStrings>
...

Username and password information should not be included in a configuration file or a properties file in cleartext as this will allow anyone who can read the file access to the resource. If possible, encrypt this information.

Example 5

In 2022, the OT:ICEFALL study examined products by 10 different Operational Technology (OT) vendors. The researchers reported 56 vulnerabilities and said that the products were "insecure by design" [REF-1283]. If exploited, these vulnerabilities often allowed adversaries to change how the products operated, ranging from denial of service to changing the code that the products executed. Since these products were often used in industries such as power, electrical, water, and others, there could even be safety implications.

At least one OT product stored a password in plaintext.

Example 6

In 2021, a web site operated by PeopleGIS stored data of US municipalities in Amazon Web Service (AWS) Simple Storage Service (S3) buckets.

(bad code)
Example Language: Other 
A security researcher found 86 S3 buckets that could be accessed without authentication (CWE-306) and stored data unencrypted (CWE-312). These buckets exposed over 1000 GB of data and 1.6 million files including physical addresses, phone numbers, tax documents, pictures of driver's license IDs, etc. [REF-1296] [REF-1295]

While it was not publicly disclosed how the data was protected after discovery, multiple options could have been considered.

(good code)
Example Language: Other 
The sensitive information could have been protected by ensuring that the buckets did not have public read access, e.g., by enabling the s3-account-level-public-access-blocks-periodic rule to Block Public Access. In addition, the data could have been encrypted at rest using the appropriate S3 settings, e.g., by enabling server-side encryption using the s3-bucket-server-side-encryption-enabled setting. Other settings are available to further prevent bucket data from being leaked. [REF-1297]

Example 7

Consider the following PowerShell command examples for encryption scopes of Azure storage objects. In the first example, an encryption scope is set for the storage account.

(bad code)
Example Language: Shell 
New-AzStorageEncryptionScope -ResourceGroupName "MyResourceGroup" -AccountName "MyStorageAccount" -EncryptionScopeName testscope -StorageEncryption

The result (edited and formatted for readability) might be:

(bad code)
Example Language: Other 
ResourceGroupName: MyResourceGroup, StorageAccountName: MyStorageAccount

Name State Source RequireInfrastructureEncryption
testscope Enabled Microsoft.Storage

However, the empty string under RequireInfrastructureEncryption indicates this service was not enabled at the time of creation, because the -RequireInfrastructureEncryption argument was not specified in the command.

Including the -RequireInfrastructureEncryption argument addresses the issue:

(good code)
Example Language: Shell 
New-AzStorageEncryptionScope -ResourceGroupName "MyResourceGroup" -AccountName "MyStorageAccount" -EncryptionScopeName testscope -StorageEncryption -RequireInfrastructureEncryption

This produces the report:

(result)
Example Language: Other 
ResourceGroupName: MyResourceGroup, StorageAccountName: MyStorageAccount

Name State Source RequireInfrastructureEncryption
testscope Enabled Microsoft.Keyvault True

In a scenario where both software and hardware layer encryption is required ("double encryption"), Azure's infrastructure encryption setting can be enabled via the CLI or Portal. An important note is that infrastructure hardware encryption cannot be enabled or disabled after a blob is created. Furthermore, the default value for infrastructure encryption is disabled in blob creations.

+ Observed Examples
ReferenceDescription
Remote Terminal Unit (RTU) uses a driver that relies on a password stored in plaintext.
password and username stored in cleartext in a cookie
password stored in cleartext in a file with insecure permissions
chat program disables SSL in some circumstances even when the user says to use SSL.
Chain: product uses an incorrect public exponent when generating an RSA key, which effectively disables the encryption
storage of unencrypted passwords in a database
storage of unencrypted passwords in a database
product stores a password in cleartext in memory
storage of a secret key in cleartext in a temporary file
SCADA product uses HTTP Basic Authentication, which is not encrypted
login credentials stored unencrypted in a registry key
Plaintext credentials in world-readable file.
Password in cleartext in config file.
Password in cleartext in config file.
Decrypted copy of a message written to disk given a combination of options and when user replies to an encrypted message.
Plaintext storage of private key and passphrase in log file when user imports the key.
Admin password in plaintext in a cookie.
Default configuration has cleartext usernames/passwords in cookie.
Usernames/passwords in cleartext in cookies.
Authentication information stored in cleartext in a cookie.
+ Potential Mitigations

Phases: Implementation; System Configuration; Operation

When storing data in the cloud (e.g., S3 buckets, Azure blobs, Google Cloud Storage, etc.), use the provider's controls to encrypt the data at rest. [REF-1297] [REF-1299] [REF-1301]
+ Detection Methods

Automated Static Analysis

Automated static analysis, commonly referred to as Static Application Security Testing (SAST), can find some instances of this weakness by analyzing source code (or binary/compiled code) without having to execute it. Typically, this is done by building a model of data flow and control flow, then searching for potentially-vulnerable patterns that connect "sources" (origins of input) with "sinks" (destinations where the data interacts with external components, a lower layer such as the OS, etc.)

Effectiveness: High

+ 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.816OWASP Top Ten 2010 Category A7 - Insecure Cryptographic Storage
MemberOfViewView - a subset of CWE entries that provides a way of examining CWE content. The two main view structures are Slices (flat lists) and Graphs (containing relationships between entries).884CWE Cross-section
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.934OWASP Top Ten 2013 Category A6 - Sensitive Data Exposure
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.963SFP Secondary Cluster: Exposed Data
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1029OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A3 - Sensitive Data Exposure
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1348OWASP Top Ten 2021 Category A04:2021 - Insecure Design
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1366ICS Communications: Frail Security in Protocols
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1368ICS Dependencies (& Architecture): External Digital Systems
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1402Comprehensive Categorization: Encryption
+ Vulnerability Mapping Notes

Usage: ALLOWED

(this CWE ID could be used to map to real-world vulnerabilities)

Reason: Acceptable-Use

Rationale:

This CWE entry is at the Base level of abstraction, which is a preferred level of abstraction for mapping to the root causes of vulnerabilities.

Comments:

Carefully read both the name and description to ensure that this mapping is an appropriate fit. Do not try to 'force' a mapping to a lower-level Base/Variant simply to comply with this preferred level of abstraction.
+ Notes

Terminology

Different people use "cleartext" and "plaintext" to mean the same thing: the lack of encryption. However, within cryptography, these have more precise meanings. Plaintext is the information just before it is fed into a cryptographic algorithm, including already-encrypted text. Cleartext is any information that is unencrypted, although it might be in an encoded form that is not easily human-readable (such as base64 encoding).
+ Taxonomy Mappings
Mapped Taxonomy NameNode IDFitMapped Node Name
PLOVERPlaintext Storage of Sensitive Information
Software Fault PatternsSFP23Exposed Data
ISA/IEC 62443Part 4-2Req CR 4.1 a)
ISA/IEC 62443Part 3-3Req SR 4.1
+ References
[REF-7] Michael Howard and David LeBlanc. "Writing Secure Code". Chapter 9, "Protecting Secret Data" Page 299. 2nd Edition. Microsoft Press. 2002-12-04. <https://www.microsoftpressstore.com/store/writing-secure-code-9780735617223>.
[REF-62] Mark Dowd, John McDonald and Justin Schuh. "The Art of Software Security Assessment". Chapter 2, "Common Vulnerabilities of Encryption", Page 43. 1st Edition. Addison Wesley. 2006.
[REF-172] Chris Wysopal. "Mobile App Top 10 List". 2010-12-13. <https://www.veracode.com/blog/2010/12/mobile-app-top-10-list>. URL validated: 2023-04-07.
[REF-1283] Forescout Vedere Labs. "OT:ICEFALL: The legacy of "insecure by design" and its implications for certifications and risk management". 2022-06-20. <https://www.forescout.com/resources/ot-icefall-report/>.
[REF-1295] WizCase. "Over 80 US Municipalities' Sensitive Information, Including Resident's Personal Data, Left Vulnerable in Massive Data Breach". 2021-07-20. <https://www.wizcase.com/blog/us-municipality-breach-report/>.
[REF-1296] Jonathan Greig. "1,000 GB of local government data exposed by Massachusetts software company". 2021-07-22. <https://www.zdnet.com/article/1000-gb-of-local-government-data-exposed-by-massachusetts-software-company/>.
[REF-1297] Amazon. "AWS Foundational Security Best Practices controls". 2022. <https://docs.aws.amazon.com/securityhub/latest/userguide/securityhub-controls-reference.html>. URL validated: 2023-04-07.
[REF-1299] Microsoft. "Azure encryption overview". 2022-08-18. <https://learn.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/security/fundamentals/encryption-overview>. URL validated: 2022-10-11.
[REF-1301] Google Cloud. "Default encryption at rest". 2022-10-11. <https://cloud.google.com/docs/security/encryption/default-encryption>. URL validated: 2022-10-11.
[REF-1307] Center for Internet Security. "CIS Microsoft Azure Foundations Benchmark version 1.5.0". Section 3.2. 2022-08-16. <https://www.cisecurity.org/benchmark/azure>. URL validated: 2023-01-19.
[REF-1310] Microsoft. "Enable infrastructure encryption for double encryption of data". 2022-07-14. <https://learn.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/storage/common/infrastructure-encryption-enable>. URL validated: 2023-01-24.
+ Content History
+ Submissions
Submission DateSubmitterOrganization
2006-07-19
(CWE Draft 3, 2006-07-19)
PLOVER
+ Contributions
Contribution DateContributorOrganization
2023-04-25"Mapping CWE to 62443" Sub-Working GroupCWE-CAPEC ICS/OT SIG
Suggested mappings to ISA/IEC 62443.
+ Modifications
Modification DateModifierOrganization
2008-07-01Eric DalciCigital
updated Time_of_Introduction
2008-09-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2009-01-12CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Description, Name
2010-02-16CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated References
2010-06-21CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2011-06-01CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences
2012-05-11CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences, Demonstrative_Examples, Observed_Examples, References, Related_Attack_Patterns, Relationships
2013-02-21CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Applicable_Platforms, References
2013-07-17CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Description, Relationships, Terminology_Notes
2014-07-30CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Demonstrative_Examples, Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2017-05-03CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Related_Attack_Patterns
2017-11-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Modes_of_Introduction, References, Relationships
2018-01-23CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Abstraction, Relationships
2018-03-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated References, Relationships, Type
2019-06-20CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships, Type
2020-02-24CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Applicable_Platforms, Relationships
2021-03-15CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Demonstrative_Examples
2021-10-28CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2022-10-13CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Applicable_Platforms, Demonstrative_Examples, Description, Observed_Examples, Potential_Mitigations, References
2023-01-31CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Applicable_Platforms, Demonstrative_Examples, Description, References, Relationships
2023-04-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Detection_Factors, References, Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2023-06-29CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Mapping_Notes, Relationships
2024-02-29
(CWE 4.14, 2024-02-29)
CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Taxonomy_Mappings
+ Previous Entry Names
Change DatePrevious Entry Name
2009-01-12Plaintext Storage of Sensitive Information

CWE-319: Cleartext Transmission of Sensitive Information

Weakness ID: 319
Vulnerability Mapping: ALLOWEDThis CWE ID may be used to map to real-world vulnerabilities
Abstraction: BaseBase - 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.
View customized information:
For users who are interested in more notional aspects of a weakness. Example: educators, technical writers, and project/program managers. For users who are concerned with the practical application and details about the nature of a weakness and how to prevent it from happening. Example: tool developers, security researchers, pen-testers, incident response analysts. For users who are mapping an issue to CWE/CAPEC IDs, i.e., finding the most appropriate CWE for a specific issue (e.g., a CVE record). Example: tool developers, security researchers. For users who wish to see all available information for the CWE/CAPEC entry. For users who want to customize what details are displayed.
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+ Description
The product transmits sensitive or security-critical data in cleartext in a communication channel that can be sniffed by unauthorized actors.
+ Extended Description

Many communication channels can be "sniffed" (monitored) by adversaries during data transmission. For example, in networking, packets can traverse many intermediary nodes from the source to the destination, whether across the internet, an internal network, the cloud, etc. Some actors might have privileged access to a network interface or any link along the channel, such as a router, but they might not be authorized to collect the underlying data. As a result, network traffic could be sniffed by adversaries, spilling security-critical data.

Applicable communication channels are not limited to software products. Applicable channels include hardware-specific technologies such as internal hardware networks and external debug channels, supporting remote JTAG debugging. When mitigations are not applied to combat adversaries within the product's threat model, this weakness significantly lowers the difficulty of exploitation by such adversaries.

When full communications are recorded or logged, such as with a packet dump, an adversary could attempt to obtain the dump long after the transmission has occurred and try to "sniff" the cleartext from the recorded communications in the dump itself. Even if the information is encoded in a way that is not human-readable, certain techniques could determine which encoding is being used, then decode the information.

+ 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
ChildOfClassClass - a weakness that is described in a very abstract fashion, typically independent of any specific language or technology. More specific than a Pillar Weakness, but more general than a Base Weakness. Class level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 1 or 2 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, and resource.311Missing Encryption of Sensitive Data
ParentOfVariantVariant - a weakness that is linked to a certain type of product, typically involving a specific language or technology. More specific than a Base weakness. Variant level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 3 to 5 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.5J2EE Misconfiguration: Data Transmission Without Encryption
ParentOfVariantVariant - a weakness that is linked to a certain type of product, typically involving a specific language or technology. More specific than a Base weakness. Variant level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 3 to 5 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.614Sensitive Cookie in HTTPS Session Without 'Secure' Attribute
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 "Software Development" (CWE-699)
NatureTypeIDName
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.199Information Management Errors
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 "Hardware Design" (CWE-1194)
NatureTypeIDName
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1207Debug and Test Problems
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 "Weaknesses for Simplified Mapping of Published Vulnerabilities" (CWE-1003)
NatureTypeIDName
ChildOfClassClass - a weakness that is described in a very abstract fashion, typically independent of any specific language or technology. More specific than a Pillar Weakness, but more general than a Base Weakness. Class level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 1 or 2 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, and resource.311Missing Encryption of Sensitive Data
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 DesignOMISSION: This weakness is caused by missing a security tactic during the architecture and design phase.
Architecture and DesignFor hardware, this may be introduced when design does not plan for an attacker having physical access while a legitimate user is remotely operating the device.
Operation
System Configuration
+ 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: Not Language-Specific (Undetermined Prevalence)

Technologies

Class: Cloud Computing (Undetermined Prevalence)

Class: Mobile (Undetermined Prevalence)

Class: ICS/OT (Often Prevalent)

Class: System on Chip (Undetermined Prevalence)

Test/Debug Hardware (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.
ScopeImpactLikelihood
Integrity
Confidentiality

Technical Impact: Read Application Data; Modify Files or Directories

Anyone can read the information by gaining access to the channel being used for communication.
+ Likelihood Of Exploit
High
+ Demonstrative Examples

Example 1

The following code attempts to establish a connection to a site to communicate sensitive information.

(bad code)
Example Language: Java 
try {
URL u = new URL("http://www.secret.example.org/");
HttpURLConnection hu = (HttpURLConnection) u.openConnection();
hu.setRequestMethod("PUT");
hu.connect();
OutputStream os = hu.getOutputStream();
hu.disconnect();
}
catch (IOException e) {
//...
}

Though a connection is successfully made, the connection is unencrypted and it is possible that all sensitive data sent to or received from the server will be read by unintended actors.

Example 2

In 2022, the OT:ICEFALL study examined products by 10 different Operational Technology (OT) vendors. The researchers reported 56 vulnerabilities and said that the products were "insecure by design" [REF-1283]. If exploited, these vulnerabilities often allowed adversaries to change how the products operated, ranging from denial of service to changing the code that the products executed. Since these products were often used in industries such as power, electrical, water, and others, there could even be safety implications.

Multiple vendors used cleartext transmission of sensitive information in their OT products.

Example 3

A TAP accessible register is read/written by a JTAG based tool, for internal use by authorized users. However, an adversary can connect a probing device and collect the values from the unencrypted channel connecting the JTAG interface to the authorized user, if no additional protections are employed.

Example 4

The following Azure CLI command lists the properties of a particular storage account:

(informative)
Example Language: Shell 
az storage account show -g {ResourceGroupName} -n {StorageAccountName}

The JSON result might be:

(bad code)
Example Language: JSON 
{
"name": "{StorageAccountName}",
"enableHttpsTrafficOnly": false,
"type": "Microsoft.Storage/storageAccounts"
}

The enableHttpsTrafficOnly value is set to false, because the default setting for Secure transfer is set to Disabled. This allows cloud storage resources to successfully connect and transfer data without the use of encryption (e.g., HTTP, SMB 2.1, SMB 3.0, etc.).

Azure's storage accounts can be configured to only accept requests from secure connections made over HTTPS. The secure transfer setting can be enabled using Azure's Portal (GUI) or programmatically by setting the enableHttpsTrafficOnly property to True on the storage account, such as:

(good code)
Example Language: Shell 
az storage account update -g {ResourceGroupName} -n {StorageAccountName} --https-only true

The change can be confirmed from the result by verifying that the enableHttpsTrafficOnly value is true:

(good code)
Example Language: JSON 
{
"name": "{StorageAccountName}",
"enableHttpsTrafficOnly": true,
"type": "Microsoft.Storage/storageAccounts"
}

Note: to enable secure transfer using Azure's Portal instead of the command line:

  1. Open the Create storage account pane in the Azure portal.
  2. In the Advanced page, select the Enable secure transfer checkbox.

+ Observed Examples
ReferenceDescription
Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) sends sensitive information in plaintext, including passwords and session tokens.
Building Controller uses a protocol that transmits authentication credentials in plaintext.
Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) sends password in plaintext.
Passwords transmitted in cleartext.
Chain: Use of HTTPS cookie without "secure" flag causes it to be transmitted across unencrypted HTTP.
Product sends password hash in cleartext in violation of intended policy.
Remote management feature sends sensitive information including passwords in cleartext.
Backup routine sends password in cleartext in email.
Product transmits Blowfish encryption key in cleartext.
Printer sends configuration information, including administrative password, in cleartext.
Chain: cleartext transmission of the MD5 hash of password enables attacks against a server that is susceptible to replay (CWE-294).
Product sends passwords in cleartext to a log server.
Product sends file with cleartext passwords in e-mail message intended for diagnostic purposes.
+ Potential Mitigations

Phase: Architecture and Design

Before transmitting, encrypt the data using reliable, confidentiality-protecting cryptographic protocols.

Phase: Implementation

When using web applications with SSL, use SSL for the entire session from login to logout, not just for the initial login page.

Phase: Implementation

When designing hardware platforms, ensure that approved encryption algorithms (such as those recommended by NIST) protect paths from security critical data to trusted user applications.

Phase: Testing

Use tools and techniques that require manual (human) analysis, such as penetration testing, threat modeling, and interactive tools that allow the tester to record and modify an active session. These may be more effective than strictly automated techniques. This is especially the case with weaknesses that are related to design and business rules.

Phase: Operation

Configure servers to use encrypted channels for communication, which may include SSL or other secure protocols.
+ Detection Methods

Black Box

Use monitoring tools that examine the software's process as it interacts with the operating system and the network. This technique is useful in cases when source code is unavailable, if the software was not developed by you, or if you want to verify that the build phase did not introduce any new weaknesses. Examples include debuggers that directly attach to the running process; system-call tracing utilities such as truss (Solaris) and strace (Linux); system activity monitors such as FileMon, RegMon, Process Monitor, and other Sysinternals utilities (Windows); and sniffers and protocol analyzers that monitor network traffic.

Attach the monitor to the process, trigger the feature that sends the data, and look for the presence or absence of common cryptographic functions in the call tree. Monitor the network and determine if the data packets contain readable commands. Tools exist for detecting if certain encodings are in use. If the traffic contains high entropy, this might indicate the usage of encryption.

Automated Static Analysis

Automated static analysis, commonly referred to as Static Application Security Testing (SAST), can find some instances of this weakness by analyzing source code (or binary/compiled code) without having to execute it. Typically, this is done by building a model of data flow and control flow, then searching for potentially-vulnerable patterns that connect "sources" (origins of input) with "sinks" (destinations where the data interacts with external components, a lower layer such as the OS, etc.)

Effectiveness: High

+ 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.7512009 Top 25 - Insecure Interaction Between Components
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.818OWASP Top Ten 2010 Category A9 - Insufficient Transport Layer Protection
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.858The CERT Oracle Secure Coding Standard for Java (2011) Chapter 15 - Serialization (SER)
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.859The CERT Oracle Secure Coding Standard for Java (2011) Chapter 16 - Platform Security (SEC)
MemberOfViewView - a subset of CWE entries that provides a way of examining CWE content. The two main view structures are Slices (flat lists) and Graphs (containing relationships between entries).884CWE Cross-section
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.934OWASP Top Ten 2013 Category A6 - Sensitive Data Exposure
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.963SFP Secondary Cluster: Exposed Data
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1029OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A3 - Sensitive Data Exposure
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1148SEI CERT Oracle Secure Coding Standard for Java - Guidelines 14. Serialization (SER)
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
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1366ICS Communications: Frail Security in Protocols
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1402Comprehensive Categorization: Encryption
+ Vulnerability Mapping Notes

Usage: ALLOWED

(this CWE ID could be used to map to real-world vulnerabilities)

Reason: Acceptable-Use

Rationale:

This CWE entry is at the Base level of abstraction, which is a preferred level of abstraction for mapping to the root causes of vulnerabilities.

Comments:

Carefully read both the name and description to ensure that this mapping is an appropriate fit. Do not try to 'force' a mapping to a lower-level Base/Variant simply to comply with this preferred level of abstraction.
+ Notes

Maintenance

The Taxonomy_Mappings to ISA/IEC 62443 were added in CWE 4.10, but they are still under review and might change in future CWE versions. These draft mappings were performed by members of the "Mapping CWE to 62443" subgroup of the CWE-CAPEC ICS/OT Special Interest Group (SIG), and their work is incomplete as of CWE 4.10. The mappings are included to facilitate discussion and review by the broader ICS/OT community, and they are likely to change in future CWE versions.
+ Taxonomy Mappings
Mapped Taxonomy NameNode IDFitMapped Node Name
PLOVERPlaintext Transmission of Sensitive Information
The CERT Oracle Secure Coding Standard for Java (2011)SEC06-JDo not rely on the default automatic signature verification provided by URLClassLoader and java.util.jar
The CERT Oracle Secure Coding Standard for Java (2011)SER02-JSign then seal sensitive objects before sending them outside a trust boundary
Software Fault PatternsSFP23Exposed Data
ISA/IEC 62443Part 3-3Req SR 4.1
ISA/IEC 62443Part 4-2Req CR 4.1B
+ References
[REF-271] OWASP. "Top 10 2007-Insecure Communications". 2007. <http://www.owasp.org/index.php/Top_10_2007-A9>.
[REF-7] Michael Howard and David LeBlanc. "Writing Secure Code". Chapter 9, "Protecting Secret Data" Page 299. 2nd Edition. Microsoft Press. 2002-12-04. <https://www.microsoftpressstore.com/store/writing-secure-code-9780735617223>.
[REF-44] Michael Howard, David LeBlanc and John Viega. "24 Deadly Sins of Software Security". "Sin 22: Failing to Protect Network Traffic." Page 337. McGraw-Hill. 2010.
[REF-172] Chris Wysopal. "Mobile App Top 10 List". 2010-12-13. <https://www.veracode.com/blog/2010/12/mobile-app-top-10-list>. URL validated: 2023-04-07.
[REF-1283] Forescout Vedere Labs. "OT:ICEFALL: The legacy of "insecure by design" and its implications for certifications and risk management". 2022-06-20. <https://www.forescout.com/resources/ot-icefall-report/>.
[REF-1307] Center for Internet Security. "CIS Microsoft Azure Foundations Benchmark version 1.5.0". Sections 3.1 and 3.10. 2022-08-16. <https://www.cisecurity.org/benchmark/azure>. URL validated: 2023-01-19.
[REF-1309] Microsoft. "Require secure transfer to ensure secure connections". 2022-07-24. <https://learn.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/storage/common/storage-require-secure-transfer>. URL validated: 2023-01-24.
+ Content History
+ Submissions
Submission DateSubmitterOrganization
2006-07-19
(CWE Draft 3, 2006-07-19)
PLOVER
+ Contributions
Contribution DateContributorOrganization
2023-01-24Accellera IP Security Assurance (IPSA) Working GroupAccellera Systems Initiative
Submitted original contents of CWE-1324 and reviewed its integration into this entry.
+ Modifications
Modification DateModifierOrganization
2008-07-01Eric DalciCigital
updated Time_of_Introduction
2008-09-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2009-01-12CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences, Description, Likelihood_of_Exploit, Name, Observed_Examples, Potential_Mitigations, References, Relationships
2009-03-10CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Potential_Mitigations
2009-05-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Related_Attack_Patterns
2010-02-16CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated References
2010-04-05CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Applicable_Platforms, Common_Consequences, Time_of_Introduction
2010-06-21CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Detection_Factors, Relationships
2010-12-13CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Observed_Examples, Related_Attack_Patterns
2011-03-29CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Potential_Mitigations
2011-06-01CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences, Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2012-05-11CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Demonstrative_Examples, References, Related_Attack_Patterns, Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2013-02-21CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Applicable_Platforms, References
2013-07-17CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2014-02-18CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Related_Attack_Patterns
2014-06-23CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2014-07-30CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2017-05-03CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Related_Attack_Patterns
2017-11-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Likelihood_of_Exploit, Modes_of_Introduction, References, Relationships
2018-01-23CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Abstraction
2018-03-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated References, Relationships, Type
2019-01-03CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2019-06-20CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships, Type
2020-02-24CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Applicable_Platforms, Related_Attack_Patterns, Relationships
2021-10-28CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2022-06-28CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2022-10-13CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Applicable_Platforms, Demonstrative_Examples, Observed_Examples, References
2023-01-31CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Applicable_Platforms, Demonstrative_Examples, Description, Maintenance_Notes, Modes_of_Introduction, Potential_Mitigations, References, Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2023-04-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Detection_Factors, References, Relationships
2023-06-29CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Description, Mapping_Notes, Relationships
2024-02-29
(CWE 4.14, 2024-02-29)
CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Demonstrative_Examples
+ Previous Entry Names
Change DatePrevious Entry Name
2009-01-12Plaintext Transmission of Sensitive Information

CWE CATEGORY: Configuration

Category ID: 16
Vulnerability Mapping: PROHIBITEDThis CWE ID must not be used to map to real-world vulnerabilities
+ Summary
Weaknesses in this category are typically introduced during the configuration of the software.
+ Membership
NatureTypeIDName
MemberOfViewView - a subset of CWE entries that provides a way of examining CWE content. The two main view structures are Slices (flat lists) and Graphs (containing relationships between entries).635Weaknesses Originally Used by NVD from 2008 to 2016
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.933OWASP Top Ten 2013 Category A5 - Security Misconfiguration
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1032OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A6 - Security Misconfiguration
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1349OWASP Top Ten 2021 Category A05:2021 - Security Misconfiguration
+ Vulnerability Mapping Notes

Usage: PROHIBITED

(this CWE ID must not be used to map to real-world vulnerabilities)

Reason: Category

Rationale:

This entry is a Category. Using categories for mapping has been discouraged since 2019. Categories are informal organizational groupings of weaknesses that can help CWE users with data aggregation, navigation, and browsing. However, they are not weaknesses in themselves [REF-1287]. This CWE entry may have become widely-used because of NIST's usage in NVD from 2008 to 2016 (see CWE-635 view, updated to the CWE-1003 view in 2016). Mapping is also Prohibited because this entry's status is Obsolete.

Comments:

As of CWE 4.9, "Configuration" is beginning to be treated as an aspect of the SDLC in which a product is directed (by a human or automated process) to perform an insecure behavior. CWE mapping should be conducted by analyzing the weakness in the behavior that has been set by the configuration, such as those related to access control (descendants of CWE-284) or resource management (CWE-400), etc.
+ Notes

Maintenance

Further discussion about this category was held over the CWE Research mailing list in early 2020. No definitive action has been decided.

Maintenance

This entry is a Category, but various sources map to it anyway, despite CWE guidance that Categories should not be mapped. In this case, there are no clear CWE Weaknesses that can be utilized. "Inappropriate Configuration" sounds more like a Weakness in CWE's style, but it still does not indicate actual behavior of the product. Further research is still required, however, as a "configuration weakness" might be Primary to many other CWEs, i.e., it might be better described in terms of chaining relationships.
+ References
[REF-1287] MITRE. "Supplemental Details - 2022 CWE Top 25". Details of Problematic Mappings. 2022-06-28. <https://cwe.mitre.org/top25/archive/2022/2022_cwe_top25_supplemental.html#problematicMappingDetails>.
+ Content History
+ Submissions
Submission DateSubmitterOrganization
2006-07-19
(CWE Draft 3, 2006-07-19)
CWE Community
Submitted by members of the CWE community to extend early CWE versions
+ Modifications
Modification DateModifierOrganization
2008-09-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2010-02-16CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Taxonomy_Mappings
2013-07-17CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2014-07-30CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Detection_Factors
2015-12-07CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2017-01-19CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Maintenance_Notes, Relationships
2017-11-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Detection_Factors
2018-03-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2019-06-20CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2020-02-24CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Maintenance_Notes, Relationships
2021-10-28CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2022-10-13CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Maintenance_Notes, References
2023-06-29CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Mapping_Notes

CWE-502: Deserialization of Untrusted Data

Weakness ID: 502
Vulnerability Mapping: ALLOWEDThis CWE ID may be used to map to real-world vulnerabilities
Abstraction: BaseBase - 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.
View customized information:
For users who are interested in more notional aspects of a weakness. Example: educators, technical writers, and project/program managers. For users who are concerned with the practical application and details about the nature of a weakness and how to prevent it from happening. Example: tool developers, security researchers, pen-testers, incident response analysts. For users who are mapping an issue to CWE/CAPEC IDs, i.e., finding the most appropriate CWE for a specific issue (e.g., a CVE record). Example: tool developers, security researchers. For users who wish to see all available information for the CWE/CAPEC entry. For users who want to customize what details are displayed.
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Edit Custom Filter


+ Description
The product deserializes untrusted data without sufficiently verifying that the resulting data will be valid.
+ Extended Description

It is often convenient to serialize objects for communication or to save them for later use. However, deserialized data or code can often be modified without using the provided accessor functions if it does not use cryptography to protect itself. Furthermore, any cryptography would still be client-side security -- which is a dangerous security assumption.

Data that is untrusted can not be trusted to be well-formed.

When developers place no restrictions on "gadget chains," or series of instances and method invocations that can self-execute during the deserialization process (i.e., before the object is returned to the caller), it is sometimes possible for attackers to leverage them to perform unauthorized actions, like generating a shell.

+ Alternate Terms
Marshaling, Unmarshaling:
Marshaling and unmarshaling are effectively synonyms for serialization and deserialization, respectively.
Pickling, Unpickling:
In Python, the "pickle" functionality is used to perform serialization and deserialization.
PHP Object Injection:
Some PHP application researchers use this term when attacking unsafe use of the unserialize() function; but it is also used for CWE-915.
+ 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
ChildOfClassClass - a weakness that is described in a very abstract fashion, typically independent of any specific language or technology. More specific than a Pillar Weakness, but more general than a Base Weakness. Class level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 1 or 2 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, and resource.913Improper Control of Dynamically-Managed Code Resources
PeerOfBaseBase - 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.915Improperly Controlled Modification of Dynamically-Determined Object Attributes
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 "Software Development" (CWE-699)
NatureTypeIDName
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.399Resource Management Errors
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 "Weaknesses for Simplified Mapping of Published Vulnerabilities" (CWE-1003)
NatureTypeIDName
ChildOfClassClass - a weakness that is described in a very abstract fashion, typically independent of any specific language or technology. More specific than a Pillar Weakness, but more general than a Base Weakness. Class level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 1 or 2 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, and resource.913Improper Control of Dynamically-Managed Code Resources
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.1019Validate Inputs
+ Background Details
Serialization and deserialization refer to the process of taking program-internal object-related data, packaging it in a way that allows the data to be externally stored or transferred ("serialization"), then extracting the serialized data to reconstruct the original object ("deserialization").
+ 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 DesignOMISSION: This weakness is caused by missing a security tactic during the architecture and design phase.
Implementation
+ 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

Java (Undetermined Prevalence)

Ruby (Undetermined Prevalence)

PHP (Undetermined Prevalence)

Python (Undetermined Prevalence)

JavaScript (Undetermined Prevalence)

Technologies

Class: ICS/OT (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.
ScopeImpactLikelihood
Integrity

Technical Impact: Modify Application Data; Unexpected State

Attackers can modify unexpected objects or data that was assumed to be safe from modification.
Availability

Technical Impact: DoS: Resource Consumption (CPU)

If a function is making an assumption on when to terminate, based on a sentry in a string, it could easily never terminate.
Other

Technical Impact: Varies by Context

The consequences can vary widely, because it depends on which objects or methods are being deserialized, and how they are used. Making an assumption that the code in the deserialized object is valid is dangerous and can enable exploitation.
+ Likelihood Of Exploit
Medium
+ Demonstrative Examples

Example 1

This code snippet deserializes an object from a file and uses it as a UI button:

(bad code)
Example Language: Java 
try {
File file = new File("object.obj");
ObjectInputStream in = new ObjectInputStream(new FileInputStream(file));
javax.swing.JButton button = (javax.swing.JButton) in.readObject();
in.close();
}

This code does not attempt to verify the source or contents of the file before deserializing it. An attacker may be able to replace the intended file with a file that contains arbitrary malicious code which will be executed when the button is pressed.

To mitigate this, explicitly define final readObject() to prevent deserialization. An example of this is:

(good code)
Example Language: Java 
private final void readObject(ObjectInputStream in) throws java.io.IOException {
throw new java.io.IOException("Cannot be deserialized"); }

Example 2

In Python, the Pickle library handles the serialization and deserialization processes. In this example derived from [REF-467], the code receives and parses data, and afterwards tries to authenticate a user based on validating a token.

(bad code)
Example Language: Python 
try {
class ExampleProtocol(protocol.Protocol):
def dataReceived(self, data):

# Code that would be here would parse the incoming data
# After receiving headers, call confirmAuth() to authenticate

def confirmAuth(self, headers):
try:
token = cPickle.loads(base64.b64decode(headers['AuthToken']))
if not check_hmac(token['signature'], token['data'], getSecretKey()):
raise AuthFail
self.secure_data = token['data']
except:
raise AuthFail
}

Unfortunately, the code does not verify that the incoming data is legitimate. An attacker can construct a illegitimate, serialized object "AuthToken" that instantiates one of Python's subprocesses to execute arbitrary commands. For instance,the attacker could construct a pickle that leverages Python's subprocess module, which spawns new processes and includes a number of arguments for various uses. Since Pickle allows objects to define the process for how they should be unpickled, the attacker can direct the unpickle process to call Popen in the subprocess module and execute /bin/sh.

+ Observed Examples
ReferenceDescription
chain: bypass of untrusted deserialization issue (CWE-502) by using an assumed-trusted class (CWE-183)
Deserialization issue in commonly-used Java library allows remote execution.
Deserialization issue in commonly-used Java library allows remote execution.
Use of PHP unserialize function on untrusted input allows attacker to modify application configuration.
Use of PHP unserialize function on untrusted input in content management system might allow code execution.
Use of PHP unserialize function on untrusted input in content management system allows code execution using a crafted cookie value.
Content management system written in PHP allows unserialize of arbitrary objects, possibly allowing code execution.
Python script allows local users to execute code via pickled data.
Unsafe deserialization using pickle in a Python script.
Web browser allows execution of native methods via a crafted string to a JavaScript function that deserializes the string.
+ Potential Mitigations

Phases: Architecture and Design; Implementation

If available, use the signing/sealing features of the programming language to assure that deserialized data has not been tainted. For example, a hash-based message authentication code (HMAC) could be used to ensure that data has not been modified.

Phase: Implementation

When deserializing data, populate a new object rather than just deserializing. The result is that the data flows through safe input validation and that the functions are safe.

Phase: Implementation

Explicitly define a final object() to prevent deserialization.

Phases: Architecture and Design; Implementation

Make fields transient to protect them from deserialization.

An attempt to serialize and then deserialize a class containing transient fields will result in NULLs where the transient data should be. This is an excellent way to prevent time, environment-based, or sensitive variables from being carried over and used improperly.

Phase: Implementation

Avoid having unnecessary types or gadgets available that can be leveraged for malicious ends. This limits the potential for unintended or unauthorized types and gadgets to be leveraged by the attacker. Add only acceptable classes to an allowlist. Note: new gadgets are constantly being discovered, so this alone is not a sufficient mitigation.
+ Detection Methods

Automated Static Analysis

Automated static analysis, commonly referred to as Static Application Security Testing (SAST), can find some instances of this weakness by analyzing source code (or binary/compiled code) without having to execute it. Typically, this is done by building a model of data flow and control flow, then searching for potentially-vulnerable patterns that connect "sources" (origins of input) with "sinks" (destinations where the data interacts with external components, a lower layer such as the OS, etc.)

Effectiveness: High

+ 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.858The CERT Oracle Secure Coding Standard for Java (2011) Chapter 15 - Serialization (SER)
MemberOfViewView - a subset of CWE entries that provides a way of examining CWE content. The two main view structures are Slices (flat lists) and Graphs (containing relationships between entries).884CWE Cross-section
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.994SFP Secondary Cluster: Tainted Input to Variable
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1034OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A8 - Insecure Deserialization
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1148SEI CERT Oracle Secure Coding Standard for Java - Guidelines 14. Serialization (SER)
MemberOfViewView - a subset of CWE entries that provides a way of examining CWE content. The two main view structures are Slices (flat lists) and Graphs (containing relationships between entries).1200Weaknesses in the 2019 CWE Top 25 Most Dangerous Software Errors
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1308CISQ Quality Measures - Security
MemberOfViewView - a subset of CWE entries that provides a way of examining CWE content. The two main view structures are Slices (flat lists) and Graphs (containing relationships between entries).1337Weaknesses in the 2021 CWE Top 25 Most Dangerous Software Weaknesses
MemberOfViewView - a subset of CWE entries that provides a way of examining CWE content. The two main view structures are Slices (flat lists) and Graphs (containing relationships between entries).1340CISQ Data Protection Measures
MemberOfViewView - a subset of CWE entries that provides a way of examining CWE content. The two main view structures are Slices (flat lists) and Graphs (containing relationships between entries).1350Weaknesses in the 2020 CWE Top 25 Most Dangerous Software Weaknesses
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1354OWASP Top Ten 2021 Category A08:2021 - Software and Data Integrity Failures
MemberOfViewView - a subset of CWE entries that provides a way of examining CWE content. The two main view structures are Slices (flat lists) and Graphs (containing relationships between entries).1387Weaknesses in the 2022 CWE Top 25 Most Dangerous Software Weaknesses
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1415Comprehensive Categorization: Resource Control
MemberOfViewView - a subset of CWE entries that provides a way of examining CWE content. The two main view structures are Slices (flat lists) and Graphs (containing relationships between entries).1425Weaknesses in the 2023 CWE Top 25 Most Dangerous Software Weaknesses
+ Vulnerability Mapping Notes

Usage: ALLOWED

(this CWE ID could be used to map to real-world vulnerabilities)

Reason: Acceptable-Use

Rationale:

This CWE entry is at the Base level of abstraction, which is a preferred level of abstraction for mapping to the root causes of vulnerabilities.

Comments:

Carefully read both the name and description to ensure that this mapping is an appropriate fit. Do not try to 'force' a mapping to a lower-level Base/Variant simply to comply with this preferred level of abstraction.
+ Notes

Maintenance

The relationships between CWE-502 and CWE-915 need further exploration. CWE-915 is more narrowly scoped to object modification, and is not necessarily used for deserialization.
+ Taxonomy Mappings
Mapped Taxonomy NameNode IDFitMapped Node Name
CLASPDeserialization of untrusted data
The CERT Oracle Secure Coding Standard for Java (2011)SER01-JDo not deviate from the proper signatures of serialization methods
The CERT Oracle Secure Coding Standard for Java (2011)SER03-JDo not serialize unencrypted, sensitive data
The CERT Oracle Secure Coding Standard for Java (2011)SER06-JMake defensive copies of private mutable components during deserialization
The CERT Oracle Secure Coding Standard for Java (2011)SER08-JDo not use the default serialized form for implementation defined invariants
Software Fault PatternsSFP25Tainted input to variable
+ References
[REF-18] Secure Software, Inc.. "The CLASP Application Security Process". 2005. <https://cwe.mitre.org/documents/sources/TheCLASPApplicationSecurityProcess.pdf>.
[REF-461] Matthias Kaiser. "Exploiting Deserialization Vulnerabilities in Java". 2015-10-28. <https://www.slideshare.net/codewhitesec/exploiting-deserialization-vulnerabilities-in-java-54707478>. URL validated: 2023-04-07.
[REF-462] Sam Thomas. "PHP unserialization vulnerabilities: What are we missing?". 2015-08-27. <https://www.slideshare.net/_s_n_t/php-unserialization-vulnerabilities-what-are-we-missing>. URL validated: 2023-04-07.
[REF-463] Gabriel Lawrence and Chris Frohoff. "Marshalling Pickles: How deserializing objects can ruin your day". 2015-01-28. <https://www.slideshare.net/frohoff1/appseccali-2015-marshalling-pickles>. URL validated: 2023-04-07.
[REF-464] Heine Deelstra. "Unserializing user-supplied data, a bad idea". 2010-08-25. <https://drupalsun.com/heine/2010/08/25/unserializing-user-supplied-data-bad-idea>. URL validated: 2023-04-07.
[REF-465] Manish S. Saindane. "Black Hat EU 2010 - Attacking Java Serialized Communication". 2010-04-26. <https://www.slideshare.net/msaindane/black-hat-eu-2010-attacking-java-serialized-communication>. URL validated: 2023-04-07.
[REF-466] Nadia Alramli. "Why Python Pickle is Insecure". 2009-09-09. <http://michael-rushanan.blogspot.com/2012/10/why-python-pickle-is-insecure.html>. URL validated: 2023-04-07.
[REF-467] Nelson Elhage. "Exploiting misuse of Python's "pickle"". 2011-03-20. <https://blog.nelhage.com/2011/03/exploiting-pickle/>.
[REF-468] Chris Frohoff. "Deserialize My Shorts: Or How I Learned to Start Worrying and Hate Java Object Deserialization". 2016-03-21. <https://speakerdeck.com/frohoff/owasp-sd-deserialize-my-shorts-or-how-i-learned-to-start-worrying-and-hate-java-object-deserialization>. URL validated: 2023-04-07.
+ Content History
+ Submissions
Submission DateSubmitterOrganization
2006-07-19
(CWE Draft 3, 2006-07-19)
CLASP
+ Modifications
Modification DateModifierOrganization
2008-07-01Eric DalciCigital
updated Time_of_Introduction
2008-09-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences, Description, Relationships, Other_Notes, Taxonomy_Mappings
2009-10-29CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Description, Other_Notes, Potential_Mitigations
2011-06-01CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences, Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2012-05-11CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2012-10-30CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Demonstrative_Examples
2013-02-21CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Alternate_Terms, Applicable_Platforms, Background_Details, Common_Consequences, Maintenance_Notes, Observed_Examples, Potential_Mitigations, References, Relationships
2014-07-30CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2015-12-07CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Observed_Examples, References, Relationships
2017-05-03CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Applicable_Platforms, Demonstrative_Examples, Description, Potential_Mitigations, References
2017-11-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Applicable_Platforms, Common_Consequences, Demonstrative_Examples, Modes_of_Introduction, Potential_Mitigations, References, Relationships
2018-03-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2019-01-03CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Related_Attack_Patterns, Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2019-06-20CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Type
2019-09-19CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2020-02-24CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Observed_Examples, References, Relationships
2020-06-25CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Alternate_Terms, Potential_Mitigations
2020-08-20CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2020-12-10CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2021-07-20CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2021-10-28CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2022-06-28CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2022-10-13CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Applicable_Platforms
2023-01-31CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Description
2023-04-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Detection_Factors, References, Relationships
2023-06-29CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Mapping_Notes, Relationships

CWE-425: Direct Request ('Forced Browsing')

Weakness ID: 425
Vulnerability Mapping: ALLOWEDThis CWE ID may be used to map to real-world vulnerabilities
Abstraction: BaseBase - 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.
View customized information:
For users who are interested in more notional aspects of a weakness. Example: educators, technical writers, and project/program managers. For users who are concerned with the practical application and details about the nature of a weakness and how to prevent it from happening. Example: tool developers, security researchers, pen-testers, incident response analysts. For users who are mapping an issue to CWE/CAPEC IDs, i.e., finding the most appropriate CWE for a specific issue (e.g., a CVE record). Example: tool developers, security researchers. For users who wish to see all available information for the CWE/CAPEC entry. For users who want to customize what details are displayed.
×

Edit Custom Filter


+ Description
The web application does not adequately enforce appropriate authorization on all restricted URLs, scripts, or files.
+ Extended Description
Web applications susceptible to direct request attacks often make the false assumption that such resources can only be reached through a given navigation path and so only apply authorization at certain points in the path.
+ Alternate Terms
forced browsing:
The "forced browsing" term could be misinterpreted to include weaknesses such as CSRF or XSS, so its use is discouraged.
+ 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.288Authentication Bypass Using an Alternate Path or Channel
ChildOfClassClass - a weakness that is described in a very abstract fashion, typically independent of any specific language or technology. More specific than a Pillar Weakness, but more general than a Base Weakness. Class level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 1 or 2 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, and resource.424Improper Protection of Alternate Path
ChildOfClassClass - a weakness that is described in a very abstract fashion, typically independent of any specific language or technology. More specific than a Pillar Weakness, but more general than a Base Weakness. Class level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 1 or 2 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, and resource.862Missing Authorization
CanPrecedeVariantVariant - a weakness that is linked to a certain type of product, typically involving a specific language or technology. More specific than a Base weakness. Variant level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 3 to 5 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.98Improper Control of Filename for Include/Require Statement in PHP Program ('PHP Remote File Inclusion')
CanPrecedeBaseBase - 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.471Modification of Assumed-Immutable Data (MAID)
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 "Software Development" (CWE-699)
NatureTypeIDName
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1212Authorization Errors
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.417Communication Channel Errors
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 "Weaknesses for Simplified Mapping of Published Vulnerabilities" (CWE-1003)
NatureTypeIDName
ChildOfClassClass - a weakness that is described in a very abstract fashion, typically independent of any specific language or technology. More specific than a Pillar Weakness, but more general than a Base Weakness. Class level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 1 or 2 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, and resource.862Missing Authorization
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.1011Authorize Actors
+ 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
Implementation
Operation
+ 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: Not Language-Specific (Undetermined Prevalence)

Technologies

Class: Web Based (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
Confidentiality
Integrity
Availability
Access Control

Technical Impact: Read Application Data; Modify Application Data; Execute Unauthorized Code or Commands; Gain Privileges or Assume Identity

+ Demonstrative Examples

Example 1

If forced browsing is possible, an attacker may be able to directly access a sensitive page by entering a URL similar to the following.

(attack code)
Example Language: JSP 
http://somesite.com/someapplication/admin.jsp
+ Observed Examples
ReferenceDescription
Access-control setting in web-based document collaboration tool is not properly implemented by the code, which prevents listing hidden directories but does not prevent direct requests to files in those directories.
Python-based HTTP library did not scope cookies to a particular domain such that "supercookies" could be sent to any domain on redirect.
Bypass authentication via direct request.
Infinite loop or infoleak triggered by direct requests.
Bypass auth/auth via direct request.
Direct request leads to infoleak by error.
Direct request leads to infoleak by error.
Direct request leads to infoleak by error.
Authentication bypass via direct request.
Authentication bypass via direct request.
Authorization bypass using direct request.
Access privileged functionality using direct request.
Upload arbitrary files via direct request.
+ Potential Mitigations

Phases: Architecture and Design; Operation

Apply appropriate access control authorizations for each access to all restricted URLs, scripts or files.

Phase: Architecture and Design

Consider using MVC based frameworks such as Struts.
+ 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.721OWASP Top Ten 2007 Category A10 - Failure to Restrict URL Access
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.722OWASP Top Ten 2004 Category A1 - Unvalidated Input
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.723OWASP Top Ten 2004 Category A2 - Broken Access Control
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.953SFP Secondary Cluster: Missing Endpoint Authentication
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1031OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A5 - Broken Access Control
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
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1396Comprehensive Categorization: Access Control
+ Vulnerability Mapping Notes

Usage: ALLOWED

(this CWE ID could be used to map to real-world vulnerabilities)

Reason: Acceptable-Use

Rationale:

This CWE entry is at the Base level of abstraction, which is a preferred level of abstraction for mapping to the root causes of vulnerabilities.

Comments:

Carefully read both the name and description to ensure that this mapping is an appropriate fit. Do not try to 'force' a mapping to a lower-level Base/Variant simply to comply with this preferred level of abstraction.
+ Notes

Relationship

Overlaps Modification of Assumed-Immutable Data (MAID), authorization errors, container errors; often primary to other weaknesses such as XSS and SQL injection.

Theoretical

"Forced browsing" is a step-based manipulation involving the omission of one or more steps, whose order is assumed to be immutable. The application does not verify that the first step was performed successfully before the second step. The consequence is typically "authentication bypass" or "path disclosure," although it can be primary to all kinds of weaknesses, especially in languages such as PHP, which allow external modification of assumed-immutable variables.
+ Taxonomy Mappings
Mapped Taxonomy NameNode IDFitMapped Node Name
PLOVERDirect Request aka 'Forced Browsing'
OWASP Top Ten 2007A10CWE More SpecificFailure to Restrict URL Access
OWASP Top Ten 2004A1CWE More SpecificUnvalidated Input
OWASP Top Ten 2004A2CWE More SpecificBroken Access Control
WASC34Predictable Resource Location
Software Fault PatternsSFP30Missing endpoint authentication
+ Content History
+ Submissions
Submission DateSubmitterOrganization
2006-07-19
(CWE Draft 3, 2006-07-19)
PLOVER
+ Modifications
Modification DateModifierOrganization
2008-07-01Sean EidemillerCigital
added/updated demonstrative examples
2008-07-01Eric DalciCigital
updated Potential_Mitigations, Time_of_Introduction
2008-08-15Veracode
Suggested OWASP Top Ten 2004 mapping
2008-09-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Alternate_Terms, Relationships, Relationship_Notes, Taxonomy_Mappings, Theoretical_Notes
2008-10-14CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Description
2010-02-16CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2011-03-29CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Applicable_Platforms, Description, Relationships
2011-06-01CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences, Relationships
2012-05-11CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Related_Attack_Patterns, Relationships
2012-10-30CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Potential_Mitigations
2014-07-30CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2017-11-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Modes_of_Introduction, Relationships
2018-03-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2019-06-20CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2020-02-24CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Applicable_Platforms, Relationships
2021-07-20CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Related_Attack_Patterns
2021-10-28CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2022-10-13CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2023-01-31CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Observed_Examples, Related_Attack_Patterns
2023-04-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Modes_of_Introduction, Relationships, Time_of_Introduction
2023-06-29CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Mapping_Notes

CWE-548: Exposure of Information Through Directory Listing

Weakness ID: 548
Vulnerability Mapping: ALLOWEDThis CWE ID may be used to map to real-world vulnerabilities
Abstraction: VariantVariant - a weakness that is linked to a certain type of product, typically involving a specific language or technology. More specific than a Base weakness. Variant level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 3 to 5 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.
View customized information:
For users who are interested in more notional aspects of a weakness. Example: educators, technical writers, and project/program managers. For users who are concerned with the practical application and details about the nature of a weakness and how to prevent it from happening. Example: tool developers, security researchers, pen-testers, incident response analysts. For users who are mapping an issue to CWE/CAPEC IDs, i.e., finding the most appropriate CWE for a specific issue (e.g., a CVE record). Example: tool developers, security researchers. For users who wish to see all available information for the CWE/CAPEC entry. For users who want to customize what details are displayed.
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Edit Custom Filter


+ Description
A directory listing is inappropriately exposed, yielding potentially sensitive information to attackers.
+ Extended Description
A directory listing provides an attacker with the complete index of all the resources located inside of the directory. The specific risks and consequences vary depending on which files are listed and 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)
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.497Exposure of Sensitive System Information to an Unauthorized Control Sphere
+ 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
Implementation
Operation
+ 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
Confidentiality

Technical Impact: Read Files or Directories

Exposing the contents of a directory can lead to an attacker gaining access to source code or providing useful information for the attacker to devise exploits, such as creation times of files or any information that may be encoded in file names. The directory listing may also compromise private or confidential data.
+ Potential Mitigations

Phases: Architecture and Design; System Configuration

Recommendations include restricting access to important directories or files by adopting a need to know requirement for both the document and server root, and turning off features such as Automatic Directory Listings that could expose private files and provide information that could be utilized by an attacker when formulating or conducting an attack.
+ Detection Methods

Automated Static Analysis

Automated static analysis, commonly referred to as Static Application Security Testing (SAST), can find some instances of this weakness by analyzing source code (or binary/compiled code) without having to execute it. Typically, this is done by building a model of data flow and control flow, then searching for potentially-vulnerable patterns that connect "sources" (origins of input) with "sinks" (destinations where the data interacts with external components, a lower layer such as the OS, etc.)

Effectiveness: High

+ 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.731OWASP Top Ten 2004 Category A10 - Insecure Configuration Management
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.933OWASP Top Ten 2013 Category A5 - Security Misconfiguration
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.963SFP Secondary Cluster: Exposed Data
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1032OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A6 - Security Misconfiguration
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
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1417Comprehensive Categorization: Sensitive Information Exposure
+ Vulnerability Mapping Notes

Usage: ALLOWED

(this CWE ID could be used to map to real-world vulnerabilities)

Reason: Acceptable-Use

Rationale:

This CWE entry is at the Variant level of abstraction, which is a preferred level of abstraction for mapping to the root causes of vulnerabilities.

Comments:

Carefully read both the name and description to ensure that this mapping is an appropriate fit. Do not try to 'force' a mapping to a lower-level Base/Variant simply to comply with this preferred level of abstraction.
+ Taxonomy Mappings
Mapped Taxonomy NameNode IDFitMapped Node Name
OWASP Top Ten 2004A10CWE More SpecificInsecure Configuration Management
WASC16Directory Indexing
+ Content History
+ Submissions
Submission DateSubmitterOrganization
2006-07-19
(CWE Draft 3, 2006-07-19)
Anonymous Tool Vendor (under NDA)
+ Modifications
Modification DateModifierOrganization
2008-07-01Eric DalciCigital
updated Time_of_Introduction
2008-08-15Veracode
Suggested OWASP Top Ten 2004 mapping
2008-09-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships, Other_Notes, Taxonomy_Mappings
2008-10-14CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Other_Notes
2009-10-29CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Description, Other_Notes
2009-12-28CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences, Description
2010-02-16CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Taxonomy_Mappings
2011-03-29CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Name
2011-06-01CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences
2012-05-11CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2012-10-30CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Potential_Mitigations
2014-06-23CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2014-07-30CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2017-11-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Taxonomy_Mappings
2018-03-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2020-02-24CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Name, Relationships
2021-10-28CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2023-04-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Detection_Factors, Relationships
2023-06-29CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Mapping_Notes
+ Previous Entry Names
Change DatePrevious Entry Name
2011-03-29Information Leak Through Directory Listing
2020-02-24Information Exposure Through Directory Listing

CWE-359: Exposure of Private Personal Information to an Unauthorized Actor

Weakness ID: 359
Vulnerability Mapping: ALLOWEDThis CWE ID may be used to map to real-world vulnerabilities
Abstraction: BaseBase - 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.
View customized information:
For users who are interested in more notional aspects of a weakness. Example: educators, technical writers, and project/program managers. For users who are concerned with the practical application and details about the nature of a weakness and how to prevent it from happening. Example: tool developers, security researchers, pen-testers, incident response analysts. For users who are mapping an issue to CWE/CAPEC IDs, i.e., finding the most appropriate CWE for a specific issue (e.g., a CVE record). Example: tool developers, security researchers. For users who wish to see all available information for the CWE/CAPEC entry. For users who want to customize what details are displayed.
×

Edit Custom Filter


+ Description
The product does not properly prevent a person's private, personal information from being accessed by actors who either (1) are not explicitly authorized to access the information or (2) do not have the implicit consent of the person about whom the information is collected.
+ Extended Description

There are many types of sensitive information that products must protect from attackers, including system data, communications, configuration, business secrets, intellectual property, and an individual's personal (private) information. Private personal information may include a password, phone number, geographic location, personal messages, credit card number, etc. Private information is important to consider whether the person is a user of the product, or part of a data set that is processed by the product. An exposure of private information does not necessarily prevent the product from working properly, and in fact the exposure might be intended by the developer, e.g. as part of data sharing with other organizations. However, the exposure of personal private information can still be undesirable or explicitly prohibited by law or regulation.

Some types of private information include:

  • Government identifiers, such as Social Security Numbers
  • Contact information, such as home addresses and telephone numbers
  • Geographic location - where the user is (or was)
  • Employment history
  • Financial data - such as credit card numbers, salary, bank accounts, and debts
  • Pictures, video, or audio
  • Behavioral patterns - such as web surfing history, when certain activities are performed, etc.
  • Relationships (and types of relationships) with others - family, friends, contacts, etc.
  • Communications - e-mail addresses, private messages, text messages, chat logs, etc.
  • Health - medical conditions, insurance status, prescription records
  • Account passwords and other credentials

Some of this information may be characterized as PII (Personally Identifiable Information), Protected Health Information (PHI), etc. Categories of private information may overlap or vary based on the intended usage or the policies and practices of a particular industry.

Sometimes data that is not labeled as private can have a privacy implication in a different context. For example, student identification numbers are usually not considered private because there is no explicit and publicly-available mapping to an individual student's personal information. However, if a school generates identification numbers based on student social security numbers, then the identification numbers should be considered private.

+ Alternate Terms
Privacy violation
Privacy leak
Privacy leakage
+ 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
ChildOfClassClass - a weakness that is described in a very abstract fashion, typically independent of any specific language or technology. More specific than a Pillar Weakness, but more general than a Base Weakness. Class level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 1 or 2 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, and resource.200Exposure of Sensitive Information to an Unauthorized Actor
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 "Software Development" (CWE-699)
NatureTypeIDName
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.199Information Management Errors
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.1011Authorize Actors
+ 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 DesignOMISSION: This weakness is caused by missing a security tactic during the architecture and design phase.
Implementation
Operation
+ 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: Not Language-Specific (Undetermined Prevalence)

Technologies

Class: Mobile (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
Confidentiality

Technical Impact: Read Application Data

+ Demonstrative Examples

Example 1

The following code contains a logging statement that tracks the contents of records added to a database by storing them in a log file. Among other values that are stored, the getPassword() function returns the user-supplied plaintext password associated with the account.

(bad code)
Example Language: C# 
pass = GetPassword();
...
dbmsLog.WriteLine(id + ":" + pass + ":" + type + ":" + tstamp);

The code in the example above logs a plaintext password to the filesystem. Although many developers trust the filesystem as a safe storage location for data, it should not be trusted implicitly, particularly when privacy is a concern.

Example 2

This code uses location to determine the user's current US State location.

First the application must declare that it requires the ACCESS_FINE_LOCATION permission in the application's manifest.xml:

(bad code)
Example Language: XML 
<uses-permission android:name="android.permission.ACCESS_FINE_LOCATION"/>

During execution, a call to getLastLocation() will return a location based on the application's location permissions. In this case the application has permission for the most accurate location possible:

(bad code)
Example Language: Java 
locationClient = new LocationClient(this, this, this);
locationClient.connect();
Location userCurrLocation;
userCurrLocation = locationClient.getLastLocation();
deriveStateFromCoords(userCurrLocation);

While the application needs this information, it does not need to use the ACCESS_FINE_LOCATION permission, as the ACCESS_COARSE_LOCATION permission will be sufficient to identify which US state the user is in.

Example 3

In 2004, an employee at AOL sold approximately 92 million private customer e-mail addresses to a spammer marketing an offshore gambling web site [REF-338]. In response to such high-profile exploits, the collection and management of private data is becoming increasingly regulated.

+ Potential Mitigations

Phase: Requirements

Identify and consult all relevant regulations for personal privacy. An organization may be required to comply with certain federal and state regulations, depending on its location, the type of business it conducts, and the nature of any private data it handles. Regulations may include Safe Harbor Privacy Framework [REF-340], Gramm-Leach Bliley Act (GLBA) [REF-341], Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) [REF-342], General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) [REF-1047], California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) [REF-1048], and others.

Phase: Architecture and Design

Carefully evaluate how secure design may interfere with privacy, and vice versa. Security and privacy concerns often seem to compete with each other. From a security perspective, all important operations should be recorded so that any anomalous activity can later be identified. However, when private data is involved, this practice can in fact create risk. Although there are many ways in which private data can be handled unsafely, a common risk stems from misplaced trust. Programmers often trust the operating environment in which a program runs, and therefore believe that it is acceptable store private information on the file system, in the registry, or in other locally-controlled resources. However, even if access to certain resources is restricted, this does not guarantee that the individuals who do have access can be trusted.

+ Detection Methods

Architecture or Design Review

Private personal data can enter a program in a variety of ways:

  • Directly from the user in the form of a password or personal information
  • Accessed from a database or other data store by the application
  • Indirectly from a partner or other third party

If the data is written to an external location - such as the console, file system, or network - a privacy violation may occur.

Effectiveness: High

Automated Static Analysis

Automated static analysis, commonly referred to as Static Application Security Testing (SAST), can find some instances of this weakness by analyzing source code (or binary/compiled code) without having to execute it. Typically, this is done by building a model of data flow and control flow, then searching for potentially-vulnerable patterns that connect "sources" (origins of input) with "sinks" (destinations where the data interacts with external components, a lower layer such as the OS, etc.)

Effectiveness: High

+ 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.2547PK - Security Features
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.857The CERT Oracle Secure Coding Standard for Java (2011) Chapter 14 - Input Output (FIO)
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.975SFP Secondary Cluster: Architecture
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1029OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A3 - Sensitive Data Exposure
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1147SEI CERT Oracle Secure Coding Standard for Java - Guidelines 13. Input Output (FIO)
MemberOfViewView - a subset of CWE entries that provides a way of examining CWE content. The two main view structures are Slices (flat lists) and Graphs (containing relationships between entries).1340CISQ Data Protection Measures
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
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1417Comprehensive Categorization: Sensitive Information Exposure
+ Vulnerability Mapping Notes

Usage: ALLOWED

(this CWE ID could be used to map to real-world vulnerabilities)

Reason: Acceptable-Use

Rationale:

This CWE entry is at the Base level of abstraction, which is a preferred level of abstraction for mapping to the root causes of vulnerabilities.

Comments:

Carefully read both the name and description to ensure that this mapping is an appropriate fit. Do not try to 'force' a mapping to a lower-level Base/Variant simply to comply with this preferred level of abstraction.
+ Notes

Maintenance

This entry overlaps many other entries that are not organized around the kind of sensitive information that is exposed. However, because privacy is treated with such importance due to regulations and other factors, and it may be useful for weakness-finding tools to highlight capabilities that detect personal private information instead of system information, it is not clear whether - and how - this entry should be deprecated.
+ Taxonomy Mappings
Mapped Taxonomy NameNode IDFitMapped Node Name
7 Pernicious KingdomsPrivacy Violation
The CERT Oracle Secure Coding Standard for Java (2011)FIO13-JDo not log sensitive information outside a trust boundary
+ References
[REF-6] Katrina Tsipenyuk, Brian Chess and Gary McGraw. "Seven Pernicious Kingdoms: A Taxonomy of Software Security Errors". NIST Workshop on Software Security Assurance Tools Techniques and Metrics. NIST. 2005-11-07. <https://samate.nist.gov/SSATTM_Content/papers/Seven%20Pernicious%20Kingdoms%20-%20Taxonomy%20of%20Sw%20Security%20Errors%20-%20Tsipenyuk%20-%20Chess%20-%20McGraw.pdf>.
[REF-338] J. Oates. "AOL man pleads guilty to selling 92m email addies". The Register. 2005. <https://www.theregister.com/2005/02/07/aol_email_theft/>. URL validated: 2023-04-07.
[REF-339] NIST. "Guide to Protecting the Confidentiality of Personally Identifiable Information (SP 800-122)". 2010-04. <https://nvlpubs.nist.gov/nistpubs/Legacy/SP/nistspecialpublication800-122.pdf>. URL validated: 2023-04-07.
[REF-340] U.S. Department of Commerce. "Safe Harbor Privacy Framework". <https://web.archive.org/web/20010223203241/http://www.export.gov/safeharbor/>. URL validated: 2023-04-07.
[REF-341] Federal Trade Commission. "Financial Privacy: The Gramm-Leach Bliley Act (GLBA)". <https://www.ftc.gov/business-guidance/privacy-security/gramm-leach-bliley-act>. URL validated: 2023-04-07.
[REF-342] U.S. Department of Human Services. "Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)". <https://www.hhs.gov/hipaa/index.html>. URL validated: 2023-04-07.
[REF-343] Government of the State of California. "California SB-1386". 2002. <http://info.sen.ca.gov/pub/01-02/bill/sen/sb_1351-1400/sb_1386_bill_20020926_chaptered.html>.
[REF-267] Information Technology Laboratory, National Institute of Standards and Technology. "SECURITY REQUIREMENTS FOR CRYPTOGRAPHIC MODULES". 2001-05-25. <https://csrc.nist.gov/csrc/media/publications/fips/140/2/final/documents/fips1402.pdf>. URL validated: 2023-04-07.
[REF-172] Chris Wysopal. "Mobile App Top 10 List". 2010-12-13. <https://www.veracode.com/blog/2010/12/mobile-app-top-10-list>. URL validated: 2023-04-07.
[REF-1047] Wikipedia. "General Data Protection Regulation". <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_Data_Protection_Regulation>.
[REF-1048] State of California Department of Justice, Office of the Attorney General. "California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA)". <https://oag.ca.gov/privacy/ccpa>.
+ Content History
+ Submissions
Submission DateSubmitterOrganization
2006-07-19
(CWE Draft 3, 2006-07-19)
7 Pernicious Kingdoms
+ Modifications
Modification DateModifierOrganization
2008-07-01Eric DalciCigital
updated Time_of_Introduction
2008-09-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships, Other_Notes, Taxonomy_Mappings
2009-03-10CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Other_Notes
2009-07-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Demonstrative_Examples
2009-12-28CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Other_Notes, References
2010-02-16CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Other_Notes, References
2011-03-29CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Other_Notes
2011-06-01CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences, Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2011-09-13CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Other_Notes, References
2012-05-11CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Related_Attack_Patterns, Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2013-02-21CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Applicable_Platforms, References
2014-02-18CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Alternate_Terms, Demonstrative_Examples, Description, Name, Other_Notes, References
2014-07-30CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2017-11-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Modes_of_Introduction, References, Relationships
2018-03-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2019-01-03CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2020-02-24CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Alternate_Terms, Applicable_Platforms, Demonstrative_Examples, Description, Detection_Factors, Maintenance_Notes, Name, Potential_Mitigations, References, Relationships, Type
2020-08-20CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Related_Attack_Patterns
2020-12-10CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2021-03-15CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated References
2021-10-28CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2023-01-31CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Related_Attack_Patterns
2023-04-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Detection_Factors, References, Relationships
2023-06-29CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Mapping_Notes
+ Previous Entry Names
Change DatePrevious Entry Name
2014-02-18Privacy Violation
2020-02-24Exposure of Private Information ('Privacy Violation')

CWE-209: Generation of Error Message Containing Sensitive Information

Weakness ID: 209
Vulnerability Mapping: ALLOWEDThis CWE ID may be used to map to real-world vulnerabilities
Abstraction: BaseBase - 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.
View customized information:
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+ Description
The product generates an error message that includes sensitive information about its environment, users, or associated data.
+ Extended Description

The sensitive information may be valuable information on its own (such as a password), or it may be useful for launching other, more serious attacks. The error message may be created in different ways:

  • self-generated: the source code explicitly constructs the error message and delivers it
  • externally-generated: the external environment, such as a language interpreter, handles the error and constructs its own message, whose contents are not under direct control by the programmer

An attacker may use the contents of error messages to help launch another, more focused attack. For example, an attempt to exploit a path traversal weakness (CWE-22) might yield the full pathname of the installed application. In turn, this could be used to select the proper number of ".." sequences to navigate to the targeted file. An attack using SQL injection (CWE-89) might not initially succeed, but an error message could reveal the malformed query, which would expose query logic and possibly even passwords or other sensitive information used within the query.

+ 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
ChildOfClassClass - a weakness that is described in a very abstract fashion, typically independent of any specific language or technology. More specific than a Pillar Weakness, but more general than a Base Weakness. Class level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 1 or 2 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, and resource.755Improper Handling of Exceptional Conditions
ChildOfClassClass - a weakness that is described in a very abstract fashion, typically independent of any specific language or technology. More specific than a Pillar Weakness, but more general than a Base Weakness. Class level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 1 or 2 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, and resource.200Exposure of Sensitive Information to an Unauthorized Actor
ParentOfBaseBase - 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.210Self-generated Error Message Containing Sensitive Information
ParentOfBaseBase - 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.211Externally-Generated Error Message Containing Sensitive Information
ParentOfVariantVariant - a weakness that is linked to a certain type of product, typically involving a specific language or technology. More specific than a Base weakness. Variant level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 3 to 5 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.550Server-generated Error Message Containing Sensitive Information
PeerOfBaseBase - 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.1295Debug Messages Revealing Unnecessary Information
CanFollowVariantVariant - a weakness that is linked to a certain type of product, typically involving a specific language or technology. More specific than a Base weakness. Variant level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 3 to 5 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.600Uncaught Exception in Servlet
CanFollowBaseBase - 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.756Missing Custom Error Page
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 "Software Development" (CWE-699)
NatureTypeIDName
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.199Information Management Errors
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.389Error Conditions, Return Values, Status Codes
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 "Weaknesses for Simplified Mapping of Published Vulnerabilities" (CWE-1003)
NatureTypeIDName
ChildOfClassClass - a weakness that is described in a very abstract fashion, typically independent of any specific language or technology. More specific than a Pillar Weakness, but more general than a Base Weakness. Class level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 1 or 2 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, and resource.200Exposure of Sensitive Information to an Unauthorized Actor
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.1015Limit Access
+ 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.
System Configuration
Operation
+ 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

PHP (Often Prevalent)

Java (Often Prevalent)

Class: Not Language-Specific (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
Confidentiality

Technical Impact: Read Application Data

Often this will either reveal sensitive information which may be used for a later attack or private information stored in the server.
+ Likelihood Of Exploit
High
+ Demonstrative Examples

Example 1

In the following example, sensitive information might be printed depending on the exception that occurs.

(bad code)
Example Language: Java 
try {
/.../
}
catch (Exception e) {
System.out.println(e);
}

If an exception related to SQL is handled by the catch, then the output might contain sensitive information such as SQL query structure or private information. If this output is redirected to a web user, this may represent a security problem.

Example 2

This code tries to open a database connection, and prints any exceptions that occur.

(bad code)
Example Language: PHP 
try {
openDbConnection();
}
//print exception message that includes exception message and configuration file location
catch (Exception $e) {
echo 'Caught exception: ', $e->getMessage(), '\n';
echo 'Check credentials in config file at: ', $Mysql_config_location, '\n';
}

If an exception occurs, the printed message exposes the location of the configuration file the script is using. An attacker can use this information to target the configuration file (perhaps exploiting a Path Traversal weakness). If the file can be read, the attacker could gain credentials for accessing the database. The attacker may also be able to replace the file with a malicious one, causing the application to use an arbitrary database.

Example 3

The following code generates an error message that leaks the full pathname of the configuration file.

(bad code)
Example Language: Perl 
$ConfigDir = "/home/myprog/config";
$uname = GetUserInput("username");

# avoid CWE-22, CWE-78, others.
ExitError("Bad hacker!") if ($uname !~ /^\w+$/);
$file = "$ConfigDir/$uname.txt";
if (! (-e $file)) {
ExitError("Error: $file does not exist");
}
...

If this code is running on a server, such as a web application, then the person making the request should not know what the full pathname of the configuration directory is. By submitting a username that does not produce a $file that exists, an attacker could get this pathname. It could then be used to exploit path traversal or symbolic link following problems that may exist elsewhere in the application.

Example 4

In the example below, the method getUserBankAccount retrieves a bank account object from a database using the supplied username and account number to query the database. If an SQLException is raised when querying the database, an error message is created and output to a log file.

(bad code)
Example Language: Java 
public BankAccount getUserBankAccount(String username, String accountNumber) {
BankAccount userAccount = null;
String query = null;
try {
if (isAuthorizedUser(username)) {
query = "SELECT * FROM accounts WHERE owner = "
+ username + " AND accountID = " + accountNumber;
DatabaseManager dbManager = new DatabaseManager();
Connection conn = dbManager.getConnection();
Statement stmt = conn.createStatement();
ResultSet queryResult = stmt.executeQuery(query);
userAccount = (BankAccount)queryResult.getObject(accountNumber);
}
} catch (SQLException ex) {
String logMessage = "Unable to retrieve account information from database,\nquery: " + query;
Logger.getLogger(BankManager.class.getName()).log(Level.SEVERE, logMessage, ex);
}
return userAccount;
}

The error message that is created includes information about the database query that may contain sensitive information about the database or query logic. In this case, the error message will expose the table name and column names used in the database. This data could be used to simplify other attacks, such as SQL injection (CWE-89) to directly access the database.

+ Observed Examples
ReferenceDescription
POP3 server reveals a password in an error message after multiple APOP commands are sent. Might be resultant from another weakness.
Program reveals password in error message if attacker can trigger certain database errors.
Composite: application running with high privileges (CWE-250) allows user to specify a restricted file to process, which generates a parsing error that leaks the contents of the file (CWE-209).
Existence of user names can be determined by requesting a nonexistent blog and reading the error message.
Direct request to library file in web application triggers pathname leak in error message.
Malformed input to login page causes leak of full path when IMAP call fails.
Malformed regexp syntax leads to information exposure in error message.
verbose logging stores admin credentials in a world-readablelog file
SSH password for private key stored in build log
+ Potential Mitigations

Phase: Implementation

Ensure that error messages only contain minimal details that are useful to the intended audience and no one else. The messages need to strike the balance between being too cryptic (which can confuse users) or being too detailed (which may reveal more than intended). The messages should not reveal the methods that were used to determine the error. Attackers can use detailed information to refine or optimize their original attack, thereby increasing their chances of success.

If errors must be captured in some detail, record them in log messages, but consider what could occur if the log messages can be viewed by attackers. Highly sensitive information such as passwords should never be saved to log files.

Avoid inconsistent messaging that might accidentally tip off an attacker about internal state, such as whether a user account exists or not.

Phase: Implementation

Handle exceptions internally and do not display errors containing potentially sensitive information to a user.

Phase: Implementation

Strategy: Attack Surface Reduction

Use naming conventions and strong types to make it easier to spot when sensitive data is being used. When creating structures, objects, or other complex entities, separate the sensitive and non-sensitive data as much as possible.

Effectiveness: Defense in Depth

Note: This makes it easier to spot places in the code where data is being used that is unencrypted.

Phases: Implementation; Build and Compilation

Strategy: Compilation or Build Hardening

Debugging information should not make its way into a production release.

Phases: Implementation; Build and Compilation

Strategy: Environment Hardening

Debugging information should not make its way into a production release.

Phase: System Configuration

Where available, configure the environment to use less verbose error messages. For example, in PHP, disable the display_errors setting during configuration, or at runtime using the error_reporting() function.

Phase: System Configuration

Create default error pages or messages that do not leak any information.
+ Weakness Ordinalities
OrdinalityDescription
Primary
(where the weakness exists independent of other weaknesses)
Resultant
(where the weakness is typically related to the presence of some other weaknesses)
+ Detection Methods

Manual Analysis

This weakness generally requires domain-specific interpretation using manual analysis. However, the number of potential error conditions may be too large to cover completely within limited time constraints.

Effectiveness: High

Automated Analysis

Automated methods may be able to detect certain idioms automatically, such as exposed stack traces or pathnames, but violation of business rules or privacy requirements is not typically feasible.

Effectiveness: Moderate

Automated Dynamic Analysis

This weakness can be detected using dynamic tools and techniques that interact with the software using large test suites with many diverse inputs, such as fuzz testing (fuzzing), robustness testing, and fault injection. The software's operation may slow down, but it should not become unstable, crash, or generate incorrect results.

Error conditions may be triggered with a stress-test by calling the software simultaneously from a large number of threads or processes, and look for evidence of any unexpected behavior.

Effectiveness: Moderate

Manual Dynamic Analysis

Identify error conditions that are not likely to occur during normal usage and trigger them. For example, run the program under low memory conditions, run with insufficient privileges or permissions, interrupt a transaction before it is completed, or disable connectivity to basic network services such as DNS. Monitor the software for any unexpected behavior. If you trigger an unhandled exception or similar error that was discovered and handled by the application's environment, it may still indicate unexpected conditions that were not handled by the application itself.

Automated Static Analysis

Automated static analysis, commonly referred to as Static Application Security Testing (SAST), can find some instances of this weakness by analyzing source code (or binary/compiled code) without having to execute it. Typically, this is done by building a model of data flow and control flow, then searching for potentially-vulnerable patterns that connect "sources" (origins of input) with "sinks" (destinations where the data interacts with external components, a lower layer such as the OS, etc.)
+ 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.717OWASP Top Ten 2007 Category A6 - Information Leakage and Improper Error Handling
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.728OWASP Top Ten 2004 Category A7 - Improper Error Handling
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.731OWASP Top Ten 2004 Category A10 - Insecure Configuration Management
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.7512009 Top 25 - Insecure Interaction Between Components
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.8012010 Top 25 - Insecure Interaction Between Components
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.815OWASP Top Ten 2010 Category A6 - Security Misconfiguration
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.851The CERT Oracle Secure Coding Standard for Java (2011) Chapter 8 - Exceptional Behavior (ERR)
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.8672011 Top 25 - Weaknesses On the Cusp
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.880CERT C++ Secure Coding Section 12 - Exceptions and Error Handling (ERR)
MemberOfViewView - a subset of CWE entries that provides a way of examining CWE content. The two main view structures are Slices (flat lists) and Graphs (containing relationships between entries).884CWE Cross-section
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.933OWASP Top Ten 2013 Category A5 - Security Misconfiguration
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.963SFP Secondary Cluster: Exposed Data
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1032OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A6 - Security Misconfiguration
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1348OWASP Top Ten 2021 Category A04:2021 - Insecure Design
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1417Comprehensive Categorization: Sensitive Information Exposure
+ Vulnerability Mapping Notes

Usage: ALLOWED

(this CWE ID could be used to map to real-world vulnerabilities)

Reason: Acceptable-Use

Rationale:

This CWE entry is at the Base level of abstraction, which is a preferred level of abstraction for mapping to the root causes of vulnerabilities.

Comments:

Carefully read both the name and description to ensure that this mapping is an appropriate fit. Do not try to 'force' a mapping to a lower-level Base/Variant simply to comply with this preferred level of abstraction.
+ Taxonomy Mappings
Mapped Taxonomy NameNode IDFitMapped Node Name
CLASPAccidental leaking of sensitive information through error messages
OWASP Top Ten 2007A6CWE More SpecificInformation Leakage and Improper Error Handling
OWASP Top Ten 2004A7CWE More SpecificImproper Error Handling
OWASP Top Ten 2004A10CWE More SpecificInsecure Configuration Management
The CERT Oracle Secure Coding Standard for Java (2011)ERR01-JDo not allow exceptions to expose sensitive information
Software Fault PatternsSFP23Exposed Data
+ References
[REF-174] Web Application Security Consortium. "Information Leakage". <http://projects.webappsec.org/w/page/13246936/Information%20Leakage>. URL validated: 2023-04-07.
[REF-175] Brian Chess and Jacob West. "Secure Programming with Static Analysis". Section 9.2, Page 326. Addison-Wesley. 2007.
[REF-176] Michael Howard and David LeBlanc. "Writing Secure Code". Chapter 16, "General Good Practices." Page 415. 1st Edition. Microsoft Press. 2001-11-13.
[REF-44] Michael Howard, David LeBlanc and John Viega. "24 Deadly Sins of Software Security". "Sin 11: Failure to Handle Errors Correctly." Page 183. McGraw-Hill. 2010.
[REF-44] Michael Howard, David LeBlanc and John Viega. "24 Deadly Sins of Software Security". "Sin 12: Information Leakage." Page 191. McGraw-Hill. 2010.
[REF-179] Johannes Ullrich. "Top 25 Series - Rank 16 - Information Exposure Through an Error Message". SANS Software Security Institute. 2010-03-17. <http://software-security.sans.org/blog/2010/03/17/top-25-series-rank-16-information-exposure-through-an-error-message>.
[REF-62] Mark Dowd, John McDonald and Justin Schuh. "The Art of Software Security Assessment". Chapter 3, "Overly Verbose Error Messages", Page 75. 1st Edition. Addison Wesley. 2006.
[REF-18] Secure Software, Inc.. "The CLASP Application Security Process". 2005. <https://cwe.mitre.org/documents/sources/TheCLASPApplicationSecurityProcess.pdf>.
+ Content History
+ Submissions
Submission DateSubmitterOrganization
2006-07-19
(CWE Draft 3, 2006-07-19)
CLASP
+ Contributions
Contribution DateContributorOrganization
2022-07-11Nick Johnston
Identified incorrect language tag in demonstrative example.
+ Modifications
Modification DateModifierOrganization
2008-07-01Eric DalciCigital
updated Time_of_Introduction
2008-08-15Veracode
Suggested OWASP Top Ten 2004 mapping
2008-09-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Applicable_Platforms, Common_Consequences, Relationships, Other_Notes, Taxonomy_Mappings
2008-10-14CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2009-01-12CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Demonstrative_Examples, Description, Name, Observed_Examples, Other_Notes, Potential_Mitigations, Relationships, Time_of_Introduction
2009-03-10CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Demonstrative_Examples, Potential_Mitigations, Relationships
2009-12-28CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Demonstrative_Examples, Name, Potential_Mitigations, References, Time_of_Introduction
2010-02-16CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Detection_Factors, References, Relationships
2010-04-05CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Related_Attack_Patterns
2010-06-21CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences, Detection_Factors, Potential_Mitigations, References
2010-09-09Veracode
Suggested OWASP Top Ten mapping
2010-09-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Potential_Mitigations, Relationships
2011-03-29CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Demonstrative_Examples, Observed_Examples, Relationships
2011-06-01CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2011-06-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2011-09-13CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2012-05-11CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated References, Related_Attack_Patterns, Relationships
2013-07-17CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated References
2014-06-23CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2014-07-30CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2017-11-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Applicable_Platforms, Modes_of_Introduction, References, Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2018-03-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated References, Relationships
2019-01-03CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Taxonomy_Mappings
2019-06-20CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2019-09-19CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Demonstrative_Examples, Observed_Examples
2020-02-24CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Applicable_Platforms, Description, Name, Observed_Examples, References, Relationships, Weakness_Ordinalities
2020-12-10CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Potential_Mitigations, Related_Attack_Patterns
2021-07-20CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2021-10-28CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2022-10-13CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Demonstrative_Examples
2023-01-31CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Description
2023-04-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Detection_Factors, References, Relationships
2023-06-29CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Mapping_Notes
+ Previous Entry Names
Change DatePrevious Entry Name
2009-01-12Error Message Information Leaks
2009-12-28Error Message Information Leak
2020-02-24Information Exposure Through an Error Message

CWE-284: Improper Access Control

Weakness ID: 284
Vulnerability Mapping: DISCOURAGEDThis CWE ID should not be used to map to real-world vulnerabilities
Abstraction: PillarPillar - 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.
View customized information:
For users who are interested in more notional aspects of a weakness. Example: educators, technical writers, and project/program managers. For users who are concerned with the practical application and details about the nature of a weakness and how to prevent it from happening. Example: tool developers, security researchers, pen-testers, incident response analysts. For users who are mapping an issue to CWE/CAPEC IDs, i.e., finding the most appropriate CWE for a specific issue (e.g., a CVE record). Example: tool developers, security researchers. For users who wish to see all available information for the CWE/CAPEC entry. For users who want to customize what details are displayed.
×

Edit Custom Filter


+ Description
The product does not restrict or incorrectly restricts access to a resource from an unauthorized actor.
+ Extended Description

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 product 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.
+ Alternate Terms
Authorization:
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.
+ 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
MemberOfViewView - a subset of CWE entries that provides a way of examining CWE content. The two main view structures are Slices (flat lists) and Graphs (containing relationships between entries).1000Research Concepts
ParentOfClassClass - a weakness that is described in a very abstract fashion, typically independent of any specific language or technology. More specific than a Pillar Weakness, but more general than a Base Weakness. Class level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 1 or 2 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, and resource.269Improper Privilege Management
ParentOfClassClass - a weakness that is described in a very abstract fashion, typically independent of any specific language or technology. More specific than a Pillar Weakness, but more general than a Base Weakness. Class level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 1 or 2 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, and resource.282Improper Ownership Management
ParentOfClassClass - a weakness that is described in a very abstract fashion, typically independent of any specific language or technology. More specific than a Pillar Weakness, but more general than a Base Weakness. Class level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 1 or 2 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, and resource.285Improper Authorization
ParentOfClassClass - a weakness that is described in a very abstract fashion, typically independent of any specific language or technology. More specific than a Pillar Weakness, but more general than a Base Weakness. Class level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 1 or 2 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, and resource.286Incorrect User Management
ParentOfClassClass - a weakness that is described in a very abstract fashion, typically independent of any specific language or technology. More specific than a Pillar Weakness, but more general than a Base Weakness. Class level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 1 or 2 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, and resource.287Improper Authentication
ParentOfClassClass - a weakness that is described in a very abstract fashion, typically independent of any specific language or technology. More specific than a Pillar Weakness, but more general than a Base Weakness. Class level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 1 or 2 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, and resource.346Origin Validation Error
ParentOfBaseBase - 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.749Exposed Dangerous Method or Function
ParentOfClassClass - a weakness that is described in a very abstract fashion, typically independent of any specific language or technology. More specific than a Pillar Weakness, but more general than a Base Weakness. Class level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 1 or 2 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, and resource.923Improper Restriction of Communication Channel to Intended Endpoints
ParentOfBaseBase - 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.1191On-Chip Debug and Test Interface With Improper Access Control
ParentOfBaseBase - 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.1220Insufficient Granularity of Access Control
ParentOfBaseBase - 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.1224Improper Restriction of Write-Once Bit Fields
ParentOfBaseBase - 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.1231Improper Prevention of Lock Bit Modification
ParentOfBaseBase - 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.1233Security-Sensitive Hardware Controls with Missing Lock Bit Protection
ParentOfBaseBase - 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.1242Inclusion of Undocumented Features or Chicken Bits
ParentOfBaseBase - 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.1252CPU Hardware Not Configured to Support Exclusivity of Write and Execute Operations
ParentOfBaseBase - 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.1257Improper Access Control Applied to Mirrored or Aliased Memory Regions
ParentOfBaseBase - 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.1259Improper Restriction of Security Token Assignment
ParentOfBaseBase - 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.1260Improper Handling of Overlap Between Protected Memory Ranges
ParentOfBaseBase - 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.1262Improper Access Control for Register Interface
ParentOfClassClass - a weakness that is described in a very abstract fashion, typically independent of any specific language or technology. More specific than a Pillar Weakness, but more general than a Base Weakness. Class level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 1 or 2 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, and resource.1263Improper Physical Access Control
ParentOfBaseBase - 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.1267Policy Uses Obsolete Encoding
ParentOfBaseBase - 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.1268Policy Privileges are not Assigned Consistently Between Control and Data Agents
ParentOfBaseBase - 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.1270Generation of Incorrect Security Tokens
ParentOfBaseBase - 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.1274Improper Access Control for Volatile Memory Containing Boot Code
ParentOfBaseBase - 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.1276Hardware Child Block Incorrectly Connected to Parent System
ParentOfBaseBase - 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.1280Access Control Check Implemented After Asset is Accessed
ParentOfBaseBase - 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.1283Mutable Attestation or Measurement Reporting Data
ParentOfBaseBase - 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.1290Incorrect Decoding of Security Identifiers
ParentOfBaseBase - 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.1292Incorrect Conversion of Security Identifiers
ParentOfClassClass - a weakness that is described in a very abstract fashion, typically independent of any specific language or technology. More specific than a Pillar Weakness, but more general than a Base Weakness. Class level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 1 or 2 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, and resource.1294Insecure Security Identifier Mechanism
ParentOfBaseBase - 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.1296Incorrect Chaining or Granularity of Debug Components
ParentOfBaseBase - 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.1304Improperly Preserved Integrity of Hardware Configuration State During a Power Save/Restore Operation
ParentOfBaseBase - 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.1311Improper Translation of Security Attributes by Fabric Bridge
ParentOfBaseBase - 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.1312Missing Protection for Mirrored Regions in On-Chip Fabric Firewall
ParentOfBaseBase - 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.1313Hardware Allows Activation of Test or Debug Logic at Runtime
ParentOfBaseBase - 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.1315Improper Setting of Bus Controlling Capability in Fabric End-point
ParentOfBaseBase - 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.1316Fabric-Address Map Allows Programming of Unwarranted Overlaps of Protected and Unprotected Ranges
ParentOfBaseBase - 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.1317Improper Access Control in Fabric Bridge
ParentOfBaseBase - 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.1320Improper Protection for Outbound Error Messages and Alert Signals
ParentOfBaseBase - 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.1323Improper Management of Sensitive Trace Data
ParentOfBaseBase - 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.1334Unauthorized Error Injection Can Degrade Hardware Redundancy
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.1011Authorize Actors
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 "CISQ Data Protection Measures" (CWE-1340)
NatureTypeIDName
ParentOfClassClass - a weakness that is described in a very abstract fashion, typically independent of any specific language or technology. More specific than a Pillar Weakness, but more general than a Base Weakness. Class level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 1 or 2 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, and resource.285Improper Authorization
ParentOfClassClass - a weakness that is described in a very abstract fashion, typically independent of any specific language or technology. More specific than a Pillar Weakness, but more general than a Base Weakness. Class level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 1 or 2 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, and resource.287Improper Authentication
ParentOfBaseBase - 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.288Authentication Bypass Using an Alternate Path or Channel
ParentOfBaseBase - 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.639Authorization Bypass Through User-Controlled Key
ParentOfClassClass - a weakness that is described in a very abstract fashion, typically independent of any specific language or technology. More specific than a Pillar Weakness, but more general than a Base Weakness. Class level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 1 or 2 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, and resource.862Missing Authorization
ParentOfClassClass - a weakness that is described in a very abstract fashion, typically independent of any specific language or technology. More specific than a Pillar Weakness, but more general than a Base Weakness. Class level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 1 or 2 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, and resource.863Incorrect Authorization
+ 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.
Operation
+ 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.

Technologies

Class: Not Technology-Specific (Undetermined Prevalence)

Class: ICS/OT (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

+ Observed Examples
ReferenceDescription
A form hosting website only checks the session authentication status for a single form, making it possible to bypass authentication when there are multiple forms
Access-control setting in web-based document collaboration tool is not properly implemented by the code, which prevents listing hidden directories but does not prevent direct requests to files in those directories.
Python-based HTTP library did not scope cookies to a particular domain such that "supercookies" could be sent to any domain on redirect
Chain: Cloud computing virtualization platform does not require authentication for upload of a tar format file (CWE-306), then uses .. path traversal sequences (CWE-23) in the file to access unexpected files, as exploited in the wild per CISA KEV.
IT management product does not perform authentication for some REST API requests, as exploited in the wild per CISA KEV.
Firmware for a WiFi router uses a hard-coded password for a BusyBox shell, allowing bypass of authentication through the UART port
Bluetooth speaker does not require authentication for the debug functionality on the UART port, allowing root shell access
Default setting in workflow management product allows all API requests without authentication, as exploited in the wild per CISA KEV.
Bulletin board applies restrictions on number of images during post creation, but does not enforce this on editing.
+ Potential Mitigations

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 the compartmentalization allows for and reinforces privilege separation functionality. Architects and designers should rely on the principle of least privilege to decide the appropriate time to use privileges and the time to drop privileges.

+ Affected Resources
  • File or Directory
+ 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.2547PK - Security Features
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.723OWASP Top Ten 2004 Category A2 - Broken Access Control
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.944SFP Secondary Cluster: Access Management
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1031OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A5 - Broken Access Control
MemberOfViewView - a subset of CWE entries that provides a way of examining CWE content. The two main view structures are Slices (flat lists) and Graphs (containing relationships between entries).1340CISQ Data Protection Measures
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
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1369ICS Supply Chain: IT/OT Convergence/Expansion
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1372ICS Supply Chain: OT Counterfeit and Malicious Corruption
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1396Comprehensive Categorization: Access Control
+ Vulnerability Mapping Notes

Usage: DISCOURAGED

(this CWE ID should not be used to map to real-world vulnerabilities)

Reasons: Frequent Misuse, Abstraction

Rationale:

CWE-284 is extremely high-level, a Pillar. Its name, "Improper Access Control," is often misused in low-information vulnerability reports [REF-1287] or by active use of the OWASP Top Ten, such as "A01:2021-Broken Access Control". It is not useful for trend analysis.

Comments:

Consider using descendants of CWE-284 that are more specific to the kind of access control involved, such as those involving authorization (Missing Authorization (CWE-862), Incorrect Authorization (CWE-863), Incorrect Permission Assignment for Critical Resource (CWE-732), etc.); authentication (Missing Authentication (CWE-306) or Weak Authentication (CWE-1390)); Incorrect User Management (CWE-286); Improper Restriction of Communication Channel to Intended Endpoints (CWE-923); etc.
Suggestions:
CWE-IDComment
CWE-862Missing Authorization
CWE-863Incorrect Authorization
CWE-732Incorrect Permission Assignment for Critical Resource
CWE-306Missing Authentication
CWE-1390Weak Authentication
CWE-923Improper Restriction of Communication Channel to Intended Endpoints
+ Notes

Maintenance

This entry needs more work. Possible sub-categories include:

  • Trusted group includes undesired entities (partially covered by CWE-286)
  • Group can perform undesired actions
  • ACL parse error does not fail closed
+ Taxonomy Mappings
Mapped Taxonomy NameNode IDFitMapped Node Name
PLOVERAccess Control List (ACL) errors
WASC2Insufficient Authorization
7 Pernicious KingdomsMissing Access Control
+ References
[REF-7] Michael Howard and David LeBlanc. "Writing Secure Code". Chapter 6, "Determining Appropriate Access Control" Page 171. 2nd Edition. Microsoft Press. 2002-12-04. <https://www.microsoftpressstore.com/store/writing-secure-code-9780735617223>.
[REF-44] Michael Howard, David LeBlanc and John Viega. "24 Deadly Sins of Software Security". "Sin 17: Failure to Protect Stored Data." Page 253. McGraw-Hill. 2010.
[REF-1287] MITRE. "Supplemental Details - 2022 CWE Top 25". Details of Problematic Mappings. 2022-06-28. <https://cwe.mitre.org/top25/archive/2022/2022_cwe_top25_supplemental.html#problematicMappingDetails>.
+ Content History
+ Submissions
Submission DateSubmitterOrganization
2006-07-19
(CWE Draft 3, 2006-07-19)
PLOVER
+ Modifications
Modification DateModifierOrganization
2008-07-01Eric DalciCigital
updated Time_of_Introduction
2008-09-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Alternate_Terms, Background_Details, Description, Maintenance_Notes, Name, Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2008-10-14CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2009-03-10CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2009-07-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Alternate_Terms, Relationships
2009-12-28CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Potential_Mitigations
2010-02-16CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated References, Taxonomy_Mappings
2010-06-21CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Potential_Mitigations
2011-03-24CWE Content TeamMITRE
Changed name and description; clarified difference between "access control" and "authorization."
2011-03-29CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Alternate_Terms, Background_Details, Description, Maintenance_Notes, Name, Relationships
2011-06-01CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences
2011-06-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences
2012-05-11CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated References, Relationships
2012-10-30CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Potential_Mitigations
2014-02-18CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Related_Attack_Patterns, Relationships
2014-06-23CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2014-07-30CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2015-12-07CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2017-11-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Affected_Resources, Modes_of_Introduction, Observed_Examples, References, Relationships
2018-03-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated References, Relationships
2019-01-03CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Related_Attack_Patterns
2019-06-20CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Related_Attack_Patterns, Relationships
2020-02-24CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings, Type
2020-06-25CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2020-08-20CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2020-12-10CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Potential_Mitigations, Relationships
2021-03-15CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Maintenance_Notes, Relationships
2021-07-20CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Observed_Examples
2021-10-28CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2022-06-28CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Observed_Examples
2022-10-13CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated References
2023-01-31CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Applicable_Platforms, Description, Observed_Examples, Relationships
2023-04-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2023-06-29CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Mapping_Notes
2023-10-26CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Observed_Examples
2024-02-29
(CWE 4.14, 2024-02-29)
CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Observed_Examples
+ Previous Entry Names
Change DatePrevious Entry Name
2008-09-09Access Control Issues
2011-03-29Access Control (Authorization) Issues

CWE-287: Improper Authentication

Weakness ID: 287
Vulnerability Mapping: DISCOURAGEDThis CWE ID should not be used to map to real-world vulnerabilities
Abstraction: ClassClass - a weakness that is described in a very abstract fashion, typically independent of any specific language or technology. More specific than a Pillar Weakness, but more general than a Base Weakness. Class level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 1 or 2 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, and resource.
View customized information:
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+ Description
When an actor claims to have a given identity, the product does not prove or insufficiently proves that the claim is correct.
+ Alternate Terms
authentification:
An alternate term is "authentification", which appears to be most commonly used by people from non-English-speaking countries.
AuthN:
"AuthN" is typically used as an abbreviation of "authentication" within the web application security community. It is also distinct from "AuthZ," which is an abbreviation of "authorization." The use of "Auth" as an abbreviation is discouraged, since it could be used for either authentication or authorization.
AuthC:
"AuthC" is used as an abbreviation of "authentication," but it appears to used less frequently than "AuthN."
+ 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
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.284Improper Access Control
ParentOfBaseBase - 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.295Improper Certificate Validation
ParentOfBaseBase - 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.306Missing Authentication for Critical Function
ParentOfBaseBase - 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.645Overly Restrictive Account Lockout Mechanism
ParentOfClassClass - a weakness that is described in a very abstract fashion, typically independent of any specific language or technology. More specific than a Pillar Weakness, but more general than a Base Weakness. Class level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 1 or 2 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, and resource.1390Weak Authentication
CanFollowBaseBase - 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.613Insufficient Session Expiration
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 "Weaknesses for Simplified Mapping of Published Vulnerabilities" (CWE-1003)
NatureTypeIDName
ParentOfBaseBase - 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.290Authentication Bypass by Spoofing
ParentOfBaseBase - 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.294Authentication Bypass by Capture-replay
ParentOfBaseBase - 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.295Improper Certificate Validation
ParentOfBaseBase - 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.306Missing Authentication for Critical Function
ParentOfBaseBase - 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.307Improper Restriction of Excessive Authentication Attempts
ParentOfBaseBase - 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.521Weak Password Requirements
ParentOfClassClass - a weakness that is described in a very abstract fashion, typically independent of any specific language or technology. More specific than a Pillar Weakness, but more general than a Base Weakness. Class level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 1 or 2 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, and resource.522Insufficiently Protected Credentials
ParentOfBaseBase - 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.640Weak Password Recovery Mechanism for Forgotten Password
ParentOfBaseBase - 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.798Use of Hard-coded Credentials
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.1010Authenticate Actors
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 "CISQ Data Protection Measures" (CWE-1340)
NatureTypeIDName
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.284Improper Access Control
+ 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: Not Language-Specific (Undetermined Prevalence)

Technologies

Class: ICS/OT (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.
ScopeImpactLikelihood
Integrity
Confidentiality
Availability
Access Control

Technical Impact: Read Application Data; Gain Privileges or Assume Identity; Execute Unauthorized Code or Commands

This weakness can lead to the exposure of resources or functionality to unintended actors, possibly providing attackers with sensitive information or even execute arbitrary code.
+ Likelihood Of Exploit
High
+ Demonstrative Examples

Example 1

The following code intends to ensure that the user is already logged in. If not, the code performs authentication with the user-provided username and password. If successful, it sets the loggedin and user cookies to "remember" that the user has already logged in. Finally, the code performs administrator tasks if the logged-in user has the "Administrator" username, as recorded in the user cookie.

(bad code)
Example Language: Perl 
my $q = new CGI;

if ($q->cookie('loggedin') ne "true") {
if (! AuthenticateUser($q->param('username'), $q->param('password'))) {
ExitError("Error: you need to log in first");
}
else {
# Set loggedin and user cookies.
$q->cookie(
-name => 'loggedin',
-value => 'true'
);

$q->cookie(
-name => 'user',
-value => $q->param('username')
);
}
}

if ($q->cookie('user') eq "Administrator") {
DoAdministratorTasks();
}

Unfortunately, this code can be bypassed. The attacker can set the cookies independently so that the code does not check the username and password. The attacker could do this with an HTTP request containing headers such as:

(attack code)
 
GET /cgi-bin/vulnerable.cgi HTTP/1.1
Cookie: user=Administrator
Cookie: loggedin=true

[body of request]

By setting the loggedin cookie to "true", the attacker bypasses the entire authentication check. By using the "Administrator" value in the user cookie, the attacker also gains privileges to administer the software.

Example 2

In January 2009, an attacker was able to gain administrator access to a Twitter server because the server did not restrict the number of login attempts [REF-236]. The attacker targeted a member of Twitter's support team and was able to successfully guess the member's password using a brute force attack by guessing a large number of common words. After gaining access as the member of the support staff, the attacker used the administrator panel to gain access to 33 accounts that belonged to celebrities and politicians. Ultimately, fake Twitter messages were sent that appeared to come from the compromised accounts.

Example 2 References:
[REF-236] Kim Zetter. "Weak Password Brings 'Happiness' to Twitter Hacker". 2009-01-09. <https://www.wired.com/2009/01/professed-twitt/>. URL validated: 2023-04-07.

Example 3

In 2022, the OT:ICEFALL study examined products by 10 different Operational Technology (OT) vendors. The researchers reported 56 vulnerabilities and said that the products were "insecure by design" [REF-1283]. If exploited, these vulnerabilities often allowed adversaries to change how the products operated, ranging from denial of service to changing the code that the products executed. Since these products were often used in industries such as power, electrical, water, and others, there could even be safety implications.

Multiple vendors did not use any authentication or used client-side authentication for critical functionality in their OT products.

+ Observed Examples
ReferenceDescription
Chat application skips validation when Central Authentication Service (CAS) is enabled, effectively removing the second factor from two-factor authentication
Python-based authentication proxy does not enforce password authentication during the initial handshake, allowing the client to bypass authentication by specifying a 'None' authentication type.
Chain: Web UI for a Python RPC framework does not use regex anchors to validate user login emails (CWE-777), potentially allowing bypass of OAuth (CWE-1390).
TCP-based protocol in Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) has no authentication.
Condition Monitor uses a protocol that does not require authentication.
Safety Instrumented System uses proprietary TCP protocols with no authentication.
Distributed Control System (DCS) uses a protocol that has no authentication.
SCADA system only uses client-side authentication, allowing adversaries to impersonate other users.
Chain: Python-based HTTP Proxy server uses the wrong boolean operators (CWE-480) causing an incorrect comparison (CWE-697) that identifies an authN failure if all three conditions are met instead of only one, allowing bypass of the proxy authentication (CWE-1390)
Chain: Cloud computing virtualization platform does not require authentication for upload of a tar format file (CWE-306), then uses .. path traversal sequences (CWE-23) in the file to access unexpected files, as exploited in the wild per CISA KEV.
IT management product does not perform authentication for some REST API requests, as exploited in the wild per CISA KEV.
Firmware for a WiFi router uses a hard-coded password for a BusyBox shell, allowing bypass of authentication through the UART port
Bluetooth speaker does not require authentication for the debug functionality on the UART port, allowing root shell access
Default setting in workflow management product allows all API requests without authentication, as exploited in the wild per CISA KEV.
Stack-based buffer overflows in SFK for wifi chipset used for IoT/embedded devices, as exploited in the wild per CISA KEV.
Mail server does not properly check an access token before executing a Powershell command, as exploited in the wild per CISA KEV.
Chain: user is not prompted for a second authentication factor (CWE-287) when changing the case of their username (CWE-178), as exploited in the wild per CISA KEV.
Authentication bypass by appending specific parameters and values to a URI, as exploited in the wild per CISA KEV.
Mail server does not generate a unique key during installation, as exploited in the wild per CISA KEV.
LDAP Go package allows authentication bypass using an empty password, causing an unauthenticated LDAP bind
login script for guestbook allows bypassing authentication by setting a "login_ok" parameter to 1.
admin script allows authentication bypass by setting a cookie value to "LOGGEDIN".
VOIP product allows authentication bypass using 127.0.0.1 in the Host header.
product uses default "Allow" action, instead of default deny, leading to authentication bypass.
chain: redirect without exit (CWE-698) leads to resultant authentication bypass.
product does not restrict access to a listening port for a critical service, allowing authentication to be bypassed.
product does not properly implement a security-related configuration setting, allowing authentication bypass.
authentication routine returns "nil" instead of "false" in some situations, allowing authentication bypass using an invalid username.
authentication update script does not properly handle when admin does not select any authentication modules, allowing authentication bypass.
use of LDAP authentication with anonymous binds causes empty password to result in successful authentication
product authentication succeeds if user-provided MD5 hash matches the hash in its database; this can be subjected to replay attacks.
chain: product generates predictable MD5 hashes using a constant value combined with username, allowing authentication bypass.
+ Potential Mitigations

Phase: Architecture and Design

Strategy: Libraries or Frameworks

Use an authentication framework or library such as the OWASP ESAPI Authentication feature.
+ Detection Methods

Automated Static Analysis

Automated static analysis is useful for detecting certain types of authentication. A tool may be able to analyze related configuration files, such as .htaccess in Apache web servers, or detect the usage of commonly-used authentication libraries.

Generally, automated static analysis tools have difficulty detecting custom authentication schemes. In addition, the software's design may include some functionality that is accessible to any user and does not require an established identity; an automated technique that detects the absence of authentication may report false positives.

Effectiveness: Limited

Manual Static Analysis

This weakness can be detected using tools and techniques that require manual (human) analysis, such as penetration testing, threat modeling, and interactive tools that allow the tester to record and modify an active session.

Manual static analysis is useful for evaluating the correctness of custom authentication mechanisms.

Effectiveness: High

Note: These may be more effective than strictly automated techniques. This is especially the case with weaknesses that are related to design and business rules.

Manual Static Analysis - Binary or Bytecode

According to SOAR, the following detection techniques may be useful:

Cost effective for partial coverage:
  • Binary / Bytecode disassembler - then use manual analysis for vulnerabilities & anomalies

Effectiveness: SOAR Partial

Dynamic Analysis with Automated Results Interpretation

According to SOAR, the following detection techniques may be useful:

Cost effective for partial coverage:
  • Web Application Scanner
  • Web Services Scanner
  • Database Scanners

Effectiveness: SOAR Partial

Dynamic Analysis with Manual Results Interpretation

According to SOAR, the following detection techniques may be useful:

Cost effective for partial coverage:
  • Fuzz Tester
  • Framework-based Fuzzer

Effectiveness: SOAR Partial

Manual Static Analysis - Source Code

According to SOAR, the following detection techniques may be useful:

Cost effective for partial coverage:
  • Manual Source Code Review (not inspections)

Effectiveness: SOAR Partial

Automated Static Analysis - Source Code

According to SOAR, the following detection techniques may be useful:

Cost effective for partial coverage:
  • Source code Weakness Analyzer
  • Context-configured Source Code Weakness Analyzer

Effectiveness: SOAR Partial

Automated Static Analysis

According to SOAR, the following detection techniques may be useful:

Cost effective for partial coverage:
  • Configuration Checker

Effectiveness: SOAR Partial

Architecture or Design Review

According to SOAR, the following detection techniques may be useful:

Highly cost effective:
  • Inspection (IEEE 1028 standard) (can apply to requirements, design, source code, etc.)
  • Formal Methods / Correct-By-Construction

Effectiveness: High

+ Functional Areas
  • Authentication
+ 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
MemberOfViewView - a subset of CWE entries that provides a way of examining CWE content. The two main view structures are Slices (flat lists) and Graphs (containing relationships between entries).635Weaknesses Originally Used by NVD from 2008 to 2016
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.718OWASP Top Ten 2007 Category A7 - Broken Authentication and Session Management
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.724OWASP Top Ten 2004 Category A3 - Broken Authentication and Session Management
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.812OWASP Top Ten 2010 Category A3 - Broken Authentication and Session Management
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.930OWASP Top Ten 2013 Category A2 - Broken Authentication and Session Management
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.947SFP Secondary Cluster: Authentication Bypass
MemberOfViewView - a subset of CWE entries that provides a way of examining CWE content. The two main view structures are Slices (flat lists) and Graphs (containing relationships between entries).1003Weaknesses for Simplified Mapping of Published Vulnerabilities
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1028OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A2 - Broken Authentication
MemberOfViewView - a subset of CWE entries that provides a way of examining CWE content. The two main view structures are Slices (flat lists) and Graphs (containing relationships between entries).1200Weaknesses in the 2019 CWE Top 25 Most Dangerous Software Errors
MemberOfViewView - a subset of CWE entries that provides a way of examining CWE content. The two main view structures are Slices (flat lists) and Graphs (containing relationships between entries).1337Weaknesses in the 2021 CWE Top 25 Most Dangerous Software Weaknesses
MemberOfViewView - a subset of CWE entries that provides a way of examining CWE content. The two main view structures are Slices (flat lists) and Graphs (containing relationships between entries).1350Weaknesses in the 2020 CWE Top 25 Most Dangerous Software Weaknesses
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1353OWASP Top Ten 2021 Category A07:2021 - Identification and Authentication Failures
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1364ICS Communications: Zone Boundary Failures
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1368ICS Dependencies (& Architecture): External Digital Systems
MemberOfViewView - a subset of CWE entries that provides a way of examining CWE content. The two main view structures are Slices (flat lists) and Graphs (containing relationships between entries).1387Weaknesses in the 2022 CWE Top 25 Most Dangerous Software Weaknesses
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1396Comprehensive Categorization: Access Control
MemberOfViewView - a subset of CWE entries that provides a way of examining CWE content. The two main view structures are Slices (flat lists) and Graphs (containing relationships between entries).1425Weaknesses in the 2023 CWE Top 25 Most Dangerous Software Weaknesses
+ Vulnerability Mapping Notes

Usage: DISCOURAGED

(this CWE ID should not be used to map to real-world vulnerabilities)

Reason: Frequent Misuse

Rationale:

This CWE entry might be misused when lower-level CWE entries are likely to be applicable. It is a level-1 Class (i.e., a child of a Pillar).

Comments:

Consider children or descendants, beginning with CWE-1390: Weak Authentication or CWE-306: Missing Authentication for Critical Function.
Suggestions:
CWE-IDComment
CWE-1390Weak Authentication
CWE-306Missing Authentication for Critical Function
+ Notes

Relationship

This can be resultant from SQL injection vulnerabilities and other issues.

Maintenance

The Taxonomy_Mappings to ISA/IEC 62443 were added in CWE 4.10, but they are still under review and might change in future CWE versions. These draft mappings were performed by members of the "Mapping CWE to 62443" subgroup of the CWE-CAPEC ICS/OT Special Interest Group (SIG), and their work is incomplete as of CWE 4.10. The mappings are included to facilitate discussion and review by the broader ICS/OT community, and they are likely to change in future CWE versions.
+ Taxonomy Mappings
Mapped Taxonomy NameNode IDFitMapped Node Name
PLOVERAuthentication Error
OWASP Top Ten 2007A7CWE More SpecificBroken Authentication and Session Management
OWASP Top Ten 2004A3CWE More SpecificBroken Authentication and Session Management
WASC1Insufficient Authentication
ISA/IEC 62443Part 3-3Req SR 1.1
ISA/IEC 62443Part 3-3Req SR 1.2
ISA/IEC 62443Part 4-2Req CR 1.1
ISA/IEC 62443Part 4-2Req CR 1.2
+ References
[REF-236] Kim Zetter. "Weak Password Brings 'Happiness' to Twitter Hacker". 2009-01-09. <https://www.wired.com/2009/01/professed-twitt/>. URL validated: 2023-04-07.
[REF-237] OWASP. "Top 10 2007-Broken Authentication and Session Management". 2007. <http://www.owasp.org/index.php/Top_10_2007-A7>.
[REF-238] OWASP. "Guide to Authentication". <http://www.owasp.org/index.php/Guide_to_Authentication>.
[REF-239] Microsoft. "Authentication". <http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa374735(VS.85).aspx>.
[REF-7] Michael Howard and David LeBlanc. "Writing Secure Code". Chapter 4, "Authentication" Page 109. 2nd Edition. Microsoft Press. 2002-12-04. <https://www.microsoftpressstore.com/store/writing-secure-code-9780735617223>.
[REF-1283] Forescout Vedere Labs. "OT:ICEFALL: The legacy of "insecure by design" and its implications for certifications and risk management". 2022-06-20. <https://www.forescout.com/resources/ot-icefall-report/>.
+ Content History
+ Submissions
Submission DateSubmitterOrganization
2006-07-19
(CWE Draft 3, 2006-07-19)
PLOVER
+ Modifications
Modification DateModifierOrganization
2008-07-01Eric DalciCigital
updated Time_of_Introduction
2008-08-15Veracode
Suggested OWASP Top Ten 2004 mapping
2008-09-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Alternate_Terms, Common_Consequences, Relationships, Relationship_Notes, Taxonomy_Mappings
2008-10-14CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2009-01-12CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Name
2009-05-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Description, Related_Attack_Patterns
2009-07-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2009-10-29CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences, Observed_Examples
2009-12-28CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Applicable_Platforms, Common_Consequences, Demonstrative_Examples, Detection_Factors, Likelihood_of_Exploit, References
2010-02-16CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Alternate_Terms, Detection_Factors, Potential_Mitigations, References, Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2010-06-21CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2011-03-29CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2011-06-01CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences
2012-05-11CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2013-07-17CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2014-02-18CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2014-06-23CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2014-07-30CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Detection_Factors, Relationships
2015-12-07CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2017-01-19CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2017-05-03CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Related_Attack_Patterns, Relationships
2017-11-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Demonstrative_Examples, Likelihood_of_Exploit, Modes_of_Introduction, References, Relationships
2018-03-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated References, Relationships
2019-01-03CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Related_Attack_Patterns
2019-06-20CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Demonstrative_Examples, Related_Attack_Patterns, Relationships
2019-09-19CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2020-02-24CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2020-08-20CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2020-12-10CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2021-03-15CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Alternate_Terms, Demonstrative_Examples
2021-07-20CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2021-10-28CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2022-06-28CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Observed_Examples, Relationships
2022-10-13CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Applicable_Platforms, Demonstrative_Examples, Observed_Examples, References, Relationships
2023-01-31CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Description, Maintenance_Notes, Observed_Examples, Taxonomy_Mappings
2023-04-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Demonstrative_Examples, References, Relationships
2023-06-29CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Mapping_Notes, Relationships
2023-10-26CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Observed_Examples
2024-02-29
(CWE 4.14, 2024-02-29)
CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Observed_Examples
+ Previous Entry Names
Change DatePrevious Entry Name
2008-04-11Authentication Issues
2009-01-12Insufficient Authentication

CWE-285: Improper Authorization

Weakness ID: 285
Vulnerability Mapping: DISCOURAGEDThis CWE ID should not be used to map to real-world vulnerabilities
Abstraction: ClassClass - a weakness that is described in a very abstract fashion, typically independent of any specific language or technology. More specific than a Pillar Weakness, but more general than a Base Weakness. Class level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 1 or 2 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, and resource.
View customized information:
For users who are interested in more notional aspects of a weakness. Example: educators, technical writers, and project/program managers. For users who are concerned with the practical application and details about the nature of a weakness and how to prevent it from happening. Example: tool developers, security researchers, pen-testers, incident response analysts. For users who are mapping an issue to CWE/CAPEC IDs, i.e., finding the most appropriate CWE for a specific issue (e.g., a CVE record). Example: tool developers, security researchers. For users who wish to see all available information for the CWE/CAPEC entry. For users who want to customize what details are displayed.
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Edit Custom Filter


+ Description
The product does not perform or incorrectly performs an authorization check when an actor attempts to access a resource or perform an action.
+ Extended Description

Assuming a user with a given identity, authorization is the process of determining whether that user can access a given resource, based on the user's privileges and any permissions or other access-control specifications that apply to the resource.

When access control checks are not applied consistently - or not at all - users are able to access data or perform actions that they should not be allowed to perform. This can lead to a wide range of problems, including information exposures, denial of service, and arbitrary code execution.

+ Alternate Terms
AuthZ:
"AuthZ" is typically used as an abbreviation of "authorization" within the web application security community. It is distinct from "AuthN" (or, sometimes, "AuthC") which is an abbreviation of "authentication." The use of "Auth" as an abbreviation is discouraged, since it could be used for either authentication or authorization.
+ 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
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.284Improper Access Control
ParentOfBaseBase - 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.552Files or Directories Accessible to External Parties
ParentOfClassClass - a weakness that is described in a very abstract fashion, typically independent of any specific language or technology. More specific than a Pillar Weakness, but more general than a Base Weakness. Class level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 1 or 2 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, and resource.732Incorrect Permission Assignment for Critical Resource
ParentOfClassClass - a weakness that is described in a very abstract fashion, typically independent of any specific language or technology. More specific than a Pillar Weakness, but more general than a Base Weakness. Class level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 1 or 2 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, and resource.862Missing Authorization
ParentOfClassClass - a weakness that is described in a very abstract fashion, typically independent of any specific language or technology. More specific than a Pillar Weakness, but more general than a Base Weakness. Class level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 1 or 2 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, and resource.863Incorrect Authorization
ParentOfVariantVariant - a weakness that is linked to a certain type of product, typically involving a specific language or technology. More specific than a Base weakness. Variant level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 3 to 5 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.926Improper Export of Android Application Components
ParentOfVariantVariant - a weakness that is linked to a certain type of product, typically involving a specific language or technology. More specific than a Base weakness. Variant level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 3 to 5 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.927Use of Implicit Intent for Sensitive Communication
ParentOfBaseBase - 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.1230Exposure of Sensitive Information Through Metadata
ParentOfBaseBase - 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.1256Improper Restriction of Software Interfaces to Hardware Features
ParentOfBaseBase - 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.1297Unprotected Confidential Information on Device is Accessible by OSAT Vendors
ParentOfBaseBase - 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.1328Security Version Number Mutable to Older Versions
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.1011Authorize Actors
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 "CISQ Data Protection Measures" (CWE-1340)
NatureTypeIDName
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.284Improper Access Control
+ Background Details
An access control list (ACL) represents who/what has permissions to a given object. Different operating systems implement (ACLs) in different ways. In UNIX, there are three types of permissions: read, write, and execute. Users are divided into three classes for file access: owner, group owner, and all other users where each class has a separate set of rights. In Windows NT, there are four basic types of permissions for files: "No access", "Read access", "Change access", and "Full control". Windows NT extends the concept of three types of users in UNIX to include a list of users and groups along with their associated permissions. A user can create an object (file) and assign specified permissions to that object.
+ 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
Implementation

REALIZATION: This weakness is caused during implementation of an architectural security tactic.

A developer may introduce authorization weaknesses because of a lack of understanding about the underlying technologies. For example, a developer may assume that attackers cannot modify certain inputs such as headers or cookies.

Architecture and Design

Authorization weaknesses may arise when a single-user application is ported to a multi-user environment.

Operation
+ 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: Not Language-Specific (Undetermined Prevalence)

Technologies

Web Server (Often Prevalent)

Database 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.
ScopeImpactLikelihood
Confidentiality

Technical Impact: Read Application Data; Read Files or Directories

An attacker could read sensitive data, either by reading the data directly from a data store that is not properly restricted, or by accessing insufficiently-protected, privileged functionality to read the data.
Integrity

Technical Impact: Modify Application Data; Modify Files or Directories

An attacker could modify sensitive data, either by writing the data directly to a data store that is not properly restricted, or by accessing insufficiently-protected, privileged functionality to write the data.
Access Control

Technical Impact: Gain Privileges or Assume Identity

An attacker could gain privileges by modifying or reading critical data directly, or by accessing insufficiently-protected, privileged functionality.
+ Likelihood Of Exploit
High
+ Demonstrative Examples

Example 1

This function runs an arbitrary SQL query on a given database, returning the result of the query.

(bad code)
Example Language: PHP 
function runEmployeeQuery($dbName, $name){
mysql_select_db($dbName,$globalDbHandle) or die("Could not open Database".$dbName);
//Use a prepared statement to avoid CWE-89
$preparedStatement = $globalDbHandle->prepare('SELECT * FROM employees WHERE name = :name');
$preparedStatement->execute(array(':name' => $name));
return $preparedStatement->fetchAll();
}
/.../

$employeeRecord = runEmployeeQuery('EmployeeDB',$_GET['EmployeeName']);

While this code is careful to avoid SQL Injection, the function does not confirm the user sending the query is authorized to do so. An attacker may be able to obtain sensitive employee information from the database.

Example 2

The following program could be part of a bulletin board system that allows users to send private messages to each other. This program intends to authenticate the user before deciding whether a private message should be displayed. Assume that LookupMessageObject() ensures that the $id argument is numeric, constructs a filename based on that id, and reads the message details from that file. Also assume that the program stores all private messages for all users in the same directory.

(bad code)
Example Language: Perl 
sub DisplayPrivateMessage {
my($id) = @_;
my $Message = LookupMessageObject($id);
print "From: " . encodeHTML($Message->{from}) . "<br>\n";
print "Subject: " . encodeHTML($Message->{subject}) . "\n";
print "<hr>\n";
print "Body: " . encodeHTML($Message->{body}) . "\n";
}

my $q = new CGI;
# For purposes of this example, assume that CWE-309 and


# CWE-523 do not apply.
if (! AuthenticateUser($q->param('username'), $q->param('password'))) {
ExitError("invalid username or password");
}

my $id = $q->param('id');
DisplayPrivateMessage($id);

While the program properly exits if authentication fails, it does not ensure that the message is addressed to the user. As a result, an authenticated attacker could provide any arbitrary identifier and read private messages that were intended for other users.

One way to avoid this problem would be to ensure that the "to" field in the message object matches the username of the authenticated user.

+ Observed Examples
ReferenceDescription
Go-based continuous deployment product does not check that a user has certain privileges to update or create an app, allowing adversaries to read sensitive repository information
Web application does not restrict access to admin scripts, allowing authenticated users to reset administrative passwords.
Web application does not restrict access to admin scripts, allowing authenticated users to modify passwords of other users.
Web application stores database file under the web root with insufficient access control (CWE-219), allowing direct request.
Terminal server does not check authorization for guest access.
Database server does not use appropriate privileges for certain sensitive operations.
Gateway uses default "Allow" configuration for its authorization settings.
Chain: product does not properly interpret a configuration option for a system group, allowing users to gain privileges.
Chain: SNMP product does not properly parse a configuration option for which hosts are allowed to connect, allowing unauthorized IP addresses to connect.
System monitoring software allows users to bypass authorization by creating custom forms.
Chain: reliance on client-side security (CWE-602) allows attackers to bypass authorization using a custom client.
Chain: product does not properly handle wildcards in an authorization policy list, allowing unintended access.
Content management system does not check access permissions for private files, allowing others to view those files.
ACL-based protection mechanism treats negative access rights as if they are positive, allowing bypass of intended restrictions.
Product does not check the ACL of a page accessed using an "include" directive, allowing attackers to read unauthorized files.
Default ACL list for a DNS server does not set certain ACLs, allowing unauthorized DNS queries.
Product relies on the X-Forwarded-For HTTP header for authorization, allowing unintended access by spoofing the header.
OS kernel does not check for a certain privilege before setting ACLs for files.
Chain: file-system code performs an incorrect comparison (CWE-697), preventing default ACLs from being properly applied.
Chain: product does not properly check the result of a reverse DNS lookup because of operator precedence (CWE-783), allowing bypass of DNS-based access restrictions.
+ Potential Mitigations

Phase: Architecture and Design

Divide the product into anonymous, normal, privileged, and administrative areas. Reduce the attack surface by carefully mapping roles with data and functionality. Use role-based access control (RBAC) to enforce the roles at the appropriate boundaries.

Note that this approach may not protect against horizontal authorization, i.e., it will not protect a user from attacking others with the same role.

Phase: Architecture and Design

Ensure that you perform access control checks related to your business logic. These checks may be different than the access control checks that you apply to more generic resources such as files, connections, processes, memory, and database records. For example, a database may restrict access for medical records to a specific database user, but each record might only be intended to be accessible to the patient and the patient's doctor.

Phase: Architecture and Design

Strategy: Libraries or Frameworks

Use a vetted library or framework that does not allow this weakness to occur or provides constructs that make this weakness easier to avoid.

For example, consider using authorization frameworks such as the JAAS Authorization Framework [REF-233] and the OWASP ESAPI Access Control feature [REF-45].

Phase: Architecture and Design

For web applications, make sure that the access control mechanism is enforced correctly at the server side on every page. Users should not be able to access any unauthorized functionality or information by simply requesting direct access to that page.

One way to do this is to ensure that all pages containing sensitive information are not cached, and that all such pages restrict access to requests that are accompanied by an active and authenticated session token associated with a user who has the required permissions to access that page.

Phases: System Configuration; Installation

Use the access control capabilities of your operating system and server environment and define your access control lists accordingly. Use a "default deny" policy when defining these ACLs.
+ Detection Methods

Automated Static Analysis

Automated static analysis is useful for detecting commonly-used idioms for authorization. A tool may be able to analyze related configuration files, such as .htaccess in Apache web servers, or detect the usage of commonly-used authorization libraries.

Generally, automated static analysis tools have difficulty detecting custom authorization schemes. In addition, the software's design may include some functionality that is accessible to any user and does not require an authorization check; an automated technique that detects the absence of authorization may report false positives.

Effectiveness: Limited

Automated Dynamic Analysis

Automated dynamic analysis may find many or all possible interfaces that do not require authorization, but manual analysis is required to determine if the lack of authorization violates business logic

Manual Analysis

This weakness can be detected using tools and techniques that require manual (human) analysis, such as penetration testing, threat modeling, and interactive tools that allow the tester to record and modify an active session.

Specifically, manual static analysis is useful for evaluating the correctness of custom authorization mechanisms.

Effectiveness: Moderate

Note: These may be more effective than strictly automated techniques. This is especially the case with weaknesses that are related to design and business rules. However, manual efforts might not achieve desired code coverage within limited time constraints.

Manual Static Analysis - Binary or Bytecode

According to SOAR, the following detection techniques may be useful:

Cost effective for partial coverage:
  • Binary / Bytecode disassembler - then use manual analysis for vulnerabilities & anomalies

Effectiveness: SOAR Partial

Dynamic Analysis with Automated Results Interpretation

According to SOAR, the following detection techniques may be useful:

Cost effective for partial coverage:
  • Web Application Scanner
  • Web Services Scanner
  • Database Scanners

Effectiveness: SOAR Partial

Dynamic Analysis with Manual Results Interpretation

According to SOAR, the following detection techniques may be useful:

Cost effective for partial coverage:
  • Host Application Interface Scanner
  • Fuzz Tester
  • Framework-based Fuzzer
  • Forced Path Execution
  • Monitored Virtual Environment - run potentially malicious code in sandbox / wrapper / virtual machine, see if it does anything suspicious

Effectiveness: SOAR Partial

Manual Static Analysis - Source Code

According to SOAR, the following detection techniques may be useful:

Cost effective for partial coverage:
  • Focused Manual Spotcheck - Focused manual analysis of source
  • Manual Source Code Review (not inspections)

Effectiveness: SOAR Partial

Automated Static Analysis - Source Code

According to SOAR, the following detection techniques may be useful:

Cost effective for partial coverage:
  • Context-configured Source Code Weakness Analyzer

Effectiveness: SOAR Partial

Architecture or Design Review

According to SOAR, the following detection techniques may be useful:

Highly cost effective:
  • Formal Methods / Correct-By-Construction
Cost effective for partial coverage:
  • Inspection (IEEE 1028 standard) (can apply to requirements, design, source code, etc.)

Effectiveness: High

+ 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.2547PK - Security Features
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.721OWASP Top Ten 2007 Category A10 - Failure to Restrict URL Access
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.723OWASP Top Ten 2004 Category A2 - Broken Access Control
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.7532009 Top 25 - Porous Defenses
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.8032010 Top 25 - Porous Defenses
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.817OWASP Top Ten 2010 Category A8 - Failure to Restrict URL Access
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.935OWASP Top Ten 2013 Category A7 - Missing Function Level Access Control
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.945SFP Secondary Cluster: Insecure Resource Access
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1031OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A5 - Broken Access Control
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
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1382ICS Operations (& Maintenance): Emerging Energy Technologies
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1396Comprehensive Categorization: Access Control
+ Vulnerability Mapping Notes

Usage: DISCOURAGED

(this CWE ID should not be used to map to real-world vulnerabilities)

Reason: Abstraction

Rationale:

CWE-285 is high-level and lower-level CWEs can frequently be used instead. It is a level-1 Class (i.e., a child of a Pillar).

Comments:

Look at CWE-285's children and consider mapping to CWEs such as CWE-862: Missing Authorization, CWE-863: Incorrect Authorization, CWE-732: Incorrect Permission Assignment for Critical Resource, or others.
Suggestions:
CWE-IDComment
CWE-862Missing Authorization
CWE-863Incorrect Authorization
CWE-732Incorrect Permission Assignment for Critical Resource
+ Taxonomy Mappings
Mapped Taxonomy NameNode IDFitMapped Node Name
7 Pernicious KingdomsMissing Access Control
OWASP Top Ten 2007A10CWE More SpecificFailure to Restrict URL Access
OWASP Top Ten 2004A2CWE More SpecificBroken Access Control
Software Fault PatternsSFP35Insecure resource access
+ References
[REF-6] Katrina Tsipenyuk, Brian Chess and Gary McGraw. "Seven Pernicious Kingdoms: A Taxonomy of Software Security Errors". NIST Workshop on Software Security Assurance Tools Techniques and Metrics. NIST. 2005-11-07. <https://samate.nist.gov/SSATTM_Content/papers/Seven%20Pernicious%20Kingdoms%20-%20Taxonomy%20of%20Sw%20Security%20Errors%20-%20Tsipenyuk%20-%20Chess%20-%20McGraw.pdf>.
[REF-229] NIST. "Role Based Access Control and Role Based Security". <https://csrc.nist.gov/projects/role-based-access-control>. URL validated: 2023-04-07.
[REF-7] Michael Howard and David LeBlanc. "Writing Secure Code". Chapter 4, "Authorization" Page 114; Chapter 6, "Determining Appropriate Access Control" Page 171. 2nd Edition. Microsoft Press. 2002-12-04. <https://www.microsoftpressstore.com/store/writing-secure-code-9780735617223>.
[REF-231] Frank Kim. "Top 25 Series - Rank 5 - Improper Access Control (Authorization)". SANS Software Security Institute. 2010-03-04. <https://www.sans.org/blog/top-25-series-rank-5-improper-access-control-authorization/>. URL validated: 2023-04-07.
[REF-45] OWASP. "OWASP Enterprise Security API (ESAPI) Project". <http://www.owasp.org/index.php/ESAPI>.
[REF-233] Rahul Bhattacharjee. "Authentication using JAAS". <https://javaranch.com/journal/2008/04/authentication-using-JAAS.html>. URL validated: 2023-04-07.
[REF-62] Mark Dowd, John McDonald and Justin Schuh. "The Art of Software Security Assessment". Chapter 2, "Common Vulnerabilities of Authorization", Page 39. 1st Edition. Addison Wesley. 2006.
[REF-62] Mark Dowd, John McDonald and Justin Schuh. "The Art of Software Security Assessment". Chapter 11, "ACL Inheritance", Page 649. 1st Edition. Addison Wesley. 2006.
+ Content History
+ Submissions
Submission DateSubmitterOrganization
2006-07-19
(CWE Draft 3, 2006-07-19)
7 Pernicious Kingdoms
+ Modifications
Modification DateModifierOrganization
2008-07-01Eric DalciCigital
updated Time_of_Introduction
2008-08-15Veracode
Suggested OWASP Top Ten 2004 mapping
2008-09-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships, Other_Notes, Taxonomy_Mappings
2009-01-12CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences, Description, Likelihood_of_Exploit, Name, Other_Notes, Potential_Mitigations, References, Relationships
2009-03-10CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Potential_Mitigations
2009-05-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Description, Related_Attack_Patterns
2009-07-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2009-10-29CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Type
2009-12-28CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Applicable_Platforms, Common_Consequences, Demonstrative_Examples, Detection_Factors, Modes_of_Introduction, Observed_Examples, Relationships
2010-02-16CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Alternate_Terms, Detection_Factors, Potential_Mitigations, References, Relationships
2010-04-05CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Potential_Mitigations
2010-06-21CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences, References, Relationships
2010-09-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Description
2011-03-24CWE Content TeamMITRE
Changed name and description; clarified difference between "access control" and "authorization."
2011-03-29CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Background_Details, Demonstrative_Examples, Description, Name, Relationships
2011-06-01CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences, Observed_Examples, Relationships
2012-05-11CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Demonstrative_Examples, Potential_Mitigations, References, Related_Attack_Patterns, Relationships
2012-10-30CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Potential_Mitigations
2013-07-17CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2014-07-30CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Detection_Factors, Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2015-12-07CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2017-11-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Applicable_Platforms, Modes_of_Introduction, References, Relationships
2018-03-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated References, Relationships
2019-01-03CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Related_Attack_Patterns
2019-06-20CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Related_Attack_Patterns, Relationships
2020-02-24CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated References, Relationships
2020-08-20CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2020-12-10CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2021-03-15CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Alternate_Terms
2021-07-20CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Related_Attack_Patterns
2021-10-28CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2022-04-28CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2022-10-13CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Observed_Examples
2023-01-31CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Description, Potential_Mitigations
2023-04-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated References, Relationships
2023-06-29CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Mapping_Notes
+ Previous Entry Names
Change DatePrevious Entry Name
2009-01-12Missing or Inconsistent Access Control
2011-03-29Improper Access Control (Authorization)

CWE-295: Improper Certificate Validation

Weakness ID: 295
Vulnerability Mapping: ALLOWEDThis CWE ID may be used to map to real-world vulnerabilities
Abstraction: BaseBase - 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.
View customized information:
For users who are interested in more notional aspects of a weakness. Example: educators, technical writers, and project/program managers. For users who are concerned with the practical application and details about the nature of a weakness and how to prevent it from happening. Example: tool developers, security researchers, pen-testers, incident response analysts. For users who are mapping an issue to CWE/CAPEC IDs, i.e., finding the most appropriate CWE for a specific issue (e.g., a CVE record). Example: tool developers, security researchers. For users who wish to see all available information for the CWE/CAPEC entry. For users who want to customize what details are displayed.
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+ Description
The product does not validate, or incorrectly validates, a certificate.
+ Extended Description
When a certificate is invalid or malicious, it might allow an attacker to spoof a trusted entity by interfering in the communication path between the host and client. The product might connect to a malicious host while believing it is a trusted host, or the product might be deceived into accepting spoofed data that appears to originate from a trusted host.
+ 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
ChildOfClassClass - a weakness that is described in a very abstract fashion, typically independent of any specific language or technology. More specific than a Pillar Weakness, but more general than a Base Weakness. Class level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 1 or 2 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, and resource.287Improper Authentication
ParentOfBaseBase - 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.296Improper Following of a Certificate's Chain of Trust
ParentOfVariantVariant - a weakness that is linked to a certain type of product, typically involving a specific language or technology. More specific than a Base weakness. Variant level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 3 to 5 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.297Improper Validation of Certificate with Host Mismatch
ParentOfVariantVariant - a weakness that is linked to a certain type of product, typically involving a specific language or technology. More specific than a Base weakness. Variant level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 3 to 5 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.298Improper Validation of Certificate Expiration
ParentOfBaseBase - 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.299Improper Check for Certificate Revocation
ParentOfVariantVariant - a weakness that is linked to a certain type of product, typically involving a specific language or technology. More specific than a Base weakness. Variant level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 3 to 5 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.599Missing Validation of OpenSSL Certificate
PeerOfBaseBase - 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.322Key Exchange without Entity Authentication
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 "Software Development" (CWE-699)
NatureTypeIDName
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1211Authentication Errors
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 "Weaknesses for Simplified Mapping of Published Vulnerabilities" (CWE-1003)
NatureTypeIDName
ChildOfClassClass - a weakness that is described in a very abstract fashion, typically independent of any specific language or technology. More specific than a Pillar Weakness, but more general than a Base Weakness. Class level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 1 or 2 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, and resource.287Improper Authentication
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.1014Identify Actors
+ Background Details
A certificate is a token that associates an identity (principal) to a cryptographic key. Certificates can be used to check if a public key belongs to the assumed owner.
+ 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.
ImplementationWhen the product uses certificate pinning, the developer might not properly validate all relevant components of the certificate before pinning the certificate. This can make it difficult or expensive to test after the pinning is complete.
+ 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: Not Language-Specific (Undetermined Prevalence)

Technologies

Class: Mobile (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
Integrity
Authentication

Technical Impact: Bypass Protection Mechanism; Gain Privileges or Assume Identity

+ Demonstrative Examples

Example 1

This code checks the certificate of a connected peer.

(bad code)
Example Language:
if ((cert = SSL_get_peer_certificate(ssl)) && host)
foo=SSL_get_verify_result(ssl);

if ((X509_V_OK==foo) || X509_V_ERR_SELF_SIGNED_CERT_IN_CHAIN==foo))

// certificate looks good, host can be trusted

In this case, because the certificate is self-signed, there was no external authority that could prove the identity of the host. The program could be communicating with a different system that is spoofing the host, e.g. by poisoning the DNS cache or using an Adversary-in-the-Middle (AITM) attack to modify the traffic from server to client.

Example 2

The following OpenSSL code obtains a certificate and verifies it.

(bad code)
Example Language:
cert = SSL_get_peer_certificate(ssl);
if (cert && (SSL_get_verify_result(ssl)==X509_V_OK)) {

// do secret things
}

Even though the "verify" step returns X509_V_OK, this step does not include checking the Common Name against the name of the host. That is, there is no guarantee that the certificate is for the desired host. The SSL connection could have been established with a malicious host that provided a valid certificate.

Example 3

The following OpenSSL code ensures that there is a certificate and allows the use of expired certificates.

(bad code)
Example Language:
if (cert = SSL_get_peer(certificate(ssl)) {
foo=SSL_get_verify_result(ssl);
if ((X509_V_OK==foo) || (X509_V_ERR_CERT_HAS_EXPIRED==foo))

//do stuff

If the call to SSL_get_verify_result() returns X509_V_ERR_CERT_HAS_EXPIRED, this means that the certificate has expired. As time goes on, there is an increasing chance for attackers to compromise the certificate.

Example 4

The following OpenSSL code ensures that there is a certificate before continuing execution.

(bad code)
Example Language:
if (cert = SSL_get_peer_certificate(ssl)) {

// got a certificate, do secret things

Because this code does not use SSL_get_verify_results() to check the certificate, it could accept certificates that have been revoked (X509_V_ERR_CERT_REVOKED). The software could be communicating with a malicious host.

Example 5

The following OpenSSL code ensures that the host has a certificate.

(bad code)
Example Language:
if (cert = SSL_get_peer_certificate(ssl)) {

// got certificate, host can be trusted

//foo=SSL_get_verify_result(ssl);

//if (X509_V_OK==foo) ...
}

Note that the code does not call SSL_get_verify_result(ssl), which effectively disables the validation step that checks the certificate.

+ Observed Examples
ReferenceDescription
A Go framework for robotics, drones, and IoT devices skips verification of root CA certificates by default.
chain: incorrect "goto" in Apple SSL product bypasses certificate validation, allowing Adversary-in-the-Middle (AITM) attack (Apple "goto fail" bug). CWE-705 (Incorrect Control Flow Scoping) -> CWE-561 (Dead Code) -> CWE-295 (Improper Certificate Validation) -> CWE-393 (Return of Wrong Status Code) -> CWE-300 (Channel Accessible by Non-Endpoint).
Chain: router's firmware update procedure uses curl with "-k" (insecure) option that disables certificate validation (CWE-295), allowing adversary-in-the-middle (AITM) compromise with a malicious firmware image (CWE-494).
Verification function trusts certificate chains in which the last certificate is self-signed.
Web browser uses a TLS-related function incorrectly, preventing it from verifying that a server's certificate is signed by a trusted certification authority (CA)
Web browser does not check if any intermediate certificates are revoked.
Operating system does not check Certificate Revocation List (CRL) in some cases, allowing spoofing using a revoked certificate.
Mobile banking application does not verify hostname, leading to financial loss.
Cloud-support library written in Python uses incorrect regular expression when matching hostname.
Web browser does not correctly handle '\0' character (NUL) in Common Name, allowing spoofing of https sites.
Smartphone device does not verify hostname, allowing spoofing of mail services.
Application uses third-party library that does not validate hostname.
Cloud storage management application does not validate hostname.
Java library uses JSSE SSLSocket and SSLEngine classes, which do not verify the hostname.
chain: incorrect calculation allows attackers to bypass certificate checks.
LDAP client accepts certificates even if they are not from a trusted CA.
chain: DNS server does not correctly check return value from the OpenSSL EVP_VerifyFinal function allows bypass of validation of the certificate chain.
chain: product checks if client is trusted when it intended to check if the server is trusted, allowing validation of signed code.
Cryptographic API, as used in web browsers, mail clients, and other software, does not properly validate Basic Constraints.
chain: OS package manager does not check properly check the return value, allowing bypass using a revoked certificate.
+ Potential Mitigations

Phases: Architecture and Design; Implementation

Certificates should be carefully managed and checked to assure that data are encrypted with the intended owner's public key.

Phase: Implementation

If certificate pinning is being used, ensure that all relevant properties of the certificate are fully validated before the certificate is pinned, including the hostname.
+ Detection Methods

Automated Static Analysis - Binary or Bytecode

According to SOAR, the following detection techniques may be useful:

Cost effective for partial coverage:
  • Bytecode Weakness Analysis - including disassembler + source code weakness analysis
  • Binary Weakness Analysis - including disassembler + source code weakness analysis

Effectiveness: SOAR Partial

Manual Static Analysis - Binary or Bytecode

According to SOAR, the following detection techniques may be useful:

Cost effective for partial coverage:
  • Binary / Bytecode disassembler - then use manual analysis for vulnerabilities & anomalies

Effectiveness: SOAR Partial

Dynamic Analysis with Automated Results Interpretation

According to SOAR, the following detection techniques may be useful:

Cost effective for partial coverage:
  • Web Application Scanner

Effectiveness: SOAR Partial

Dynamic Analysis with Manual Results Interpretation

According to SOAR, the following detection techniques may be useful:

Highly cost effective:
  • Man-in-the-middle attack tool

Effectiveness: High

Manual Static Analysis - Source Code

According to SOAR, the following detection techniques may be useful:

Highly cost effective:
  • Focused Manual Spotcheck - Focused manual analysis of source
  • Manual Source Code Review (not inspections)

Effectiveness: High

Automated Static Analysis - Source Code

According to SOAR, the following detection techniques may be useful:

Cost effective for partial coverage:
  • Source code Weakness Analyzer
  • Context-configured Source Code Weakness Analyzer

Effectiveness: SOAR Partial

Architecture or Design Review

According to SOAR, the following detection techniques may be useful:

Highly cost effective:
  • Inspection (IEEE 1028 standard) (can apply to requirements, design, source code, etc.)

Effectiveness: High

+ 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.731OWASP Top Ten 2004 Category A10 - Insecure Configuration Management
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1029OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A3 - Sensitive Data Exposure
MemberOfViewView - a subset of CWE entries that provides a way of examining CWE content. The two main view structures are Slices (flat lists) and Graphs (containing relationships between entries).1200Weaknesses in the 2019 CWE Top 25 Most Dangerous Software Errors
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1353OWASP Top Ten 2021 Category A07:2021 - Identification and Authentication Failures
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1382ICS Operations (& Maintenance): Emerging Energy Technologies
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1396Comprehensive Categorization: Access Control
+ Vulnerability Mapping Notes

Usage: ALLOWED

(this CWE ID could be used to map to real-world vulnerabilities)

Reason: Acceptable-Use

Rationale:

This CWE entry is at the Base level of abstraction, which is a preferred level of abstraction for mapping to the root causes of vulnerabilities.

Comments:

Carefully read both the name and description to ensure that this mapping is an appropriate fit. Do not try to 'force' a mapping to a lower-level Base/Variant simply to comply with this preferred level of abstraction.
+ Taxonomy Mappings
Mapped Taxonomy NameNode IDFitMapped Node Name
OWASP Top Ten 2004A10CWE More SpecificInsecure Configuration Management
+ References
[REF-243] Sascha Fahl, Marian Harbach, Thomas Muders, Matthew Smith and Lars Baumgärtner, Bernd Freisleben. "Why Eve and Mallory Love Android: An Analysis of Android SSL (In)Security". 2012-10-16. <http://www2.dcsec.uni-hannover.de/files/android/p50-fahl.pdf>.
[REF-244] M. Bishop. "Computer Security: Art and Science". Addison-Wesley. 2003.
+ Content History
+ Submissions
Submission DateSubmitterOrganization
2006-07-19
(CWE Draft 3, 2006-07-19)
CWE Community
Submitted by members of the CWE community to extend early CWE versions
+ Modifications
Modification DateModifierOrganization
2008-08-15Veracode
Suggested OWASP Top Ten 2004 mapping
2008-09-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2008-10-14CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Background_Details, Description
2012-05-11CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Related_Attack_Patterns
2012-12-28CWE Content TeamMITRE
Converted from category to weakness class.
2013-02-21CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Applicable_Platforms, Common_Consequences, Description, Name, Observed_Examples, Potential_Mitigations, References, Relationships, Time_of_Introduction, Type
2014-06-23CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Observed_Examples
2014-07-30CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Detection_Factors
2015-12-07CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2017-01-19CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2017-11-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Modes_of_Introduction, References, Relationships
2018-03-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Background_Details, Modes_of_Introduction, Potential_Mitigations, Relationships
2019-06-20CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2019-09-19CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Demonstrative_Examples, Relationships
2020-02-24CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Applicable_Platforms, Demonstrative_Examples, Description, Observed_Examples, Relationships
2020-08-20CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Related_Attack_Patterns
2021-07-20CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Demonstrative_Examples, Observed_Examples
2021-10-28CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Observed_Examples, Relationships
2022-04-28CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2022-10-13CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Observed_Examples, References
2023-01-31CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Description, Modes_of_Introduction
2023-04-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2023-06-29CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Mapping_Notes
+ Previous Entry Names
Change DatePrevious Entry Name
2013-02-21Certificate Issues

CWE-22: Improper Limitation of a Pathname to a Restricted Directory ('Path Traversal')

Weakness ID: 22
Vulnerability Mapping: ALLOWEDThis CWE ID may be used to map to real-world vulnerabilities
Abstraction: BaseBase - 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.
View customized information:
For users who are interested in more notional aspects of a weakness. Example: educators, technical writers, and project/program managers. For users who are concerned with the practical application and details about the nature of a weakness and how to prevent it from happening. Example: tool developers, security researchers, pen-testers, incident response analysts. For users who are mapping an issue to CWE/CAPEC IDs, i.e., finding the most appropriate CWE for a specific issue (e.g., a CVE record). Example: tool developers, security researchers. For users who wish to see all available information for the CWE/CAPEC entry. For users who want to customize what details are displayed.
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Edit Custom Filter


+ Description
The product uses external input to construct a pathname that is intended to identify a file or directory that is located underneath a restricted parent directory, but the product does not properly neutralize special elements within the pathname that can cause the pathname to resolve to a location that is outside of the restricted directory.
+ Extended Description

Many file operations are intended to take place within a restricted directory. By using special elements such as ".." and "/" separators, attackers can escape outside of the restricted location to access files or directories that are elsewhere on the system. One of the most common special elements is the "../" sequence, which in most modern operating systems is interpreted as the parent directory of the current location. This is referred to as relative path traversal. Path traversal also covers the use of absolute pathnames such as "/usr/local/bin", which may also be useful in accessing unexpected files. This is referred to as absolute path traversal.

In many programming languages, the injection of a null byte (the 0 or NUL) may allow an attacker to truncate a generated filename to widen the scope of attack. For example, the product may add ".txt" to any pathname, thus limiting the attacker to text files, but a null injection may effectively remove this restriction.

+ Alternate Terms
Directory traversal
Path traversal:
"Path traversal" is preferred over "directory traversal," but both terms are attack-focused.
+ 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
ChildOfClassClass - a weakness that is described in a very abstract fashion, typically independent of any specific language or technology. More specific than a Pillar Weakness, but more general than a Base Weakness. Class level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 1 or 2 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, and resource.668Exposure of Resource to Wrong Sphere
ChildOfClassClass - a weakness that is described in a very abstract fashion, typically independent of any specific language or technology. More specific than a Pillar Weakness, but more general than a Base Weakness. Class level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 1 or 2 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, and resource.706Use of Incorrectly-Resolved Name or Reference
ParentOfBaseBase - 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.23Relative Path Traversal
ParentOfBaseBase - 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.36Absolute Path Traversal
CanFollowClassClass - a weakness that is described in a very abstract fashion, typically independent of any specific language or technology. More specific than a Pillar Weakness, but more general than a Base Weakness. Class level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 1 or 2 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, and resource.20Improper Input Validation
CanFollowBaseBase - 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.73External Control of File Name or Path
CanFollowClassClass - a weakness that is described in a very abstract fashion, typically independent of any specific language or technology. More specific than a Pillar Weakness, but more general than a Base Weakness. Class level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 1 or 2 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, and resource.172Encoding Error
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 "Software Development" (CWE-699)
NatureTypeIDName
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1219File Handling Issues
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 "Weaknesses for Simplified Mapping of Published Vulnerabilities" (CWE-1003)
NatureTypeIDName
ChildOfClassClass - a weakness that is described in a very abstract fashion, typically independent of any specific language or technology. More specific than a Pillar Weakness, but more general than a Base Weakness. Class level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 1 or 2 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, and resource.706Use of Incorrectly-Resolved Name or Reference
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 "CISQ Quality Measures (2020)" (CWE-1305)
NatureTypeIDName
ParentOfBaseBase - 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.23Relative Path Traversal
ParentOfBaseBase - 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.36Absolute Path Traversal
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 "CISQ Data Protection Measures" (CWE-1340)
NatureTypeIDName
ParentOfBaseBase - 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.23Relative Path Traversal
ParentOfBaseBase - 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.36Absolute Path Traversal
+ 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
Implementation
+ 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: Not Language-Specific (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
Integrity
Confidentiality
Availability

Technical Impact: Execute Unauthorized Code or Commands

The attacker may be able to create or overwrite critical files that are used to execute code, such as programs or libraries.
Integrity

Technical Impact: Modify Files or Directories

The attacker may be able to overwrite or create critical files, such as programs, libraries, or important data. If the targeted file is used for a security mechanism, then the attacker may be able to bypass that mechanism. For example, appending a new account at the end of a password file may allow an attacker to bypass authentication.
Confidentiality

Technical Impact: Read Files or Directories

The attacker may be able read the contents of unexpected files and expose sensitive data. If the targeted file is used for a security mechanism, then the attacker may be able to bypass that mechanism. For example, by reading a password file, the attacker could conduct brute force password guessing attacks in order to break into an account on the system.
Availability

Technical Impact: DoS: Crash, Exit, or Restart

The attacker may be able to overwrite, delete, or corrupt unexpected critical files such as programs, libraries, or important data. This may prevent the product from working at all and in the case of a protection mechanisms such as authentication, it has the potential to lockout every user of the product.
+ Likelihood Of Exploit
High
+ Demonstrative Examples

Example 1

The following code could be for a social networking application in which each user's profile information is stored in a separate file. All files are stored in a single directory.

(bad code)
Example Language: Perl 
my $dataPath = "/users/cwe/profiles";
my $username = param("user");
my $profilePath = $dataPath . "/" . $username;

open(my $fh, "<", $profilePath) || ExitError("profile read error: $profilePath");
print "<ul>\n";
while (<$fh>) {
print "<li>$_</li>\n";
}
print "</ul>\n";

While the programmer intends to access files such as "/users/cwe/profiles/alice" or "/users/cwe/profiles/bob", there is no verification of the incoming user parameter. An attacker could provide a string such as:

(attack code)
 
../../../etc/passwd

The program would generate a profile pathname like this:

(result)
 
/users/cwe/profiles/../../../etc/passwd

When the file is opened, the operating system resolves the "../" during path canonicalization and actually accesses this file:

(result)
 
/etc/passwd

As a result, the attacker could read the entire text of the password file.

Notice how this code also contains an error message information leak (CWE-209) if the user parameter does not produce a file that exists: the full pathname is provided. Because of the lack of output encoding of the file that is retrieved, there might also be a cross-site scripting problem (CWE-79) if profile contains any HTML, but other code would need to be examined.

Example 2

In the example below, the path to a dictionary file is read from a system property and used to initialize a File object.

(bad code)
Example Language: Java 
String filename = System.getProperty("com.domain.application.dictionaryFile");
File dictionaryFile = new File(filename);

However, the path is not validated or modified to prevent it from containing relative or absolute path sequences before creating the File object. This allows anyone who can control the system property to determine what file is used. Ideally, the path should be resolved relative to some kind of application or user home directory.

Example 3

The following code takes untrusted input and uses a regular expression to filter "../" from the input. It then appends this result to the /home/user/ directory and attempts to read the file in the final resulting path.

(bad code)
Example Language: Perl 
my $Username = GetUntrustedInput();
$Username =~ s/\.\.\///;
my $filename = "/home/user/" . $Username;
ReadAndSendFile($filename);

Since the regular expression does not have the /g global match modifier, it only removes the first instance of "../" it comes across. So an input value such as:

(attack code)
 
../../../etc/passwd

will have the first "../" stripped, resulting in:

(result)
 
../../etc/passwd

This value is then concatenated with the /home/user/ directory:

(result)
 
/home/user/../../etc/passwd

which causes the /etc/passwd file to be retrieved once the operating system has resolved the ../ sequences in the pathname. This leads to relative path traversal (CWE-23).

Example 4

The following code attempts to validate a given input path by checking it against an allowlist and once validated delete the given file. In this specific case, the path is considered valid if it starts with the string "/safe_dir/".

(bad code)
Example Language: Java 
String path = getInputPath();
if (path.startsWith("/safe_dir/"))
{
File f = new File(path);
f.delete()
}

An attacker could provide an input such as this:

(attack code)
 
/safe_dir/../important.dat

The software assumes that the path is valid because it starts with the "/safe_path/" sequence, but the "../" sequence will cause the program to delete the important.dat file in the parent directory

Example 5

The following code demonstrates the unrestricted upload of a file with a Java servlet and a path traversal vulnerability. The action attribute of an HTML form is sending the upload file request to the Java servlet.

(good code)
Example Language: HTML 
<form action="FileUploadServlet" method="post" enctype="multipart/form-data">

Choose a file to upload:
<input type="file" name="filename"/>
<br/>
<input type="submit" name="submit" value="Submit"/>

</form>

When submitted the Java servlet's doPost method will receive the request, extract the name of the file from the Http request header, read the file contents from the request and output the file to the local upload directory.

(bad code)
Example Language: Java 
public class FileUploadServlet extends HttpServlet {
...

protected void doPost(HttpServletRequest request, HttpServletResponse response) throws ServletException, IOException {
response.setContentType("text/html");
PrintWriter out = response.getWriter();
String contentType = request.getContentType();

// the starting position of the boundary header
int ind = contentType.indexOf("boundary=");
String boundary = contentType.substring(ind+9);

String pLine = new String();
String uploadLocation = new String(UPLOAD_DIRECTORY_STRING); //Constant value

// verify that content type is multipart form data
if (contentType != null && contentType.indexOf("multipart/form-data") != -1) {
// extract the filename from the Http header
BufferedReader br = new BufferedReader(new InputStreamReader(request.getInputStream()));
...
pLine = br.readLine();
String filename = pLine.substring(pLine.lastIndexOf("\\"), pLine.lastIndexOf("\""));
...

// output the file to the local upload directory
try {
BufferedWriter bw = new BufferedWriter(new FileWriter(uploadLocation+filename, true));
for (String line; (line=br.readLine())!=null; ) {
if (line.indexOf(boundary) == -1) {
bw.write(line);
bw.newLine();
bw.flush();
}
} //end of for loop
bw.close();


} catch (IOException ex) {...}
// output successful upload response HTML page
}
// output unsuccessful upload response HTML page
else
{...}
}
...
}

This code does not perform a check on the type of the file being uploaded (CWE-434). This could allow an attacker to upload any executable file or other file with malicious code.

Additionally, the creation of the BufferedWriter object is subject to relative path traversal (CWE-23). Since the code does not check the filename that is provided in the header, an attacker can use "../" sequences to write to files outside of the intended directory. Depending on the executing environment, the attacker may be able to specify arbitrary files to write to, leading to a wide variety of consequences, from code execution, XSS (CWE-79), or system crash.

Example 6

This script intends to read a user-supplied file from the current directory. The user inputs the relative path to the file and the script uses Python's os.path.join() function to combine the path to the current working directory with the provided path to the specified file. This results in an absolute path to the desired file. If the file does not exist when the script attempts to read it, an error is printed to the user.

(bad code)
Example Language: Python 
import os
import sys
def main():
filename = sys.argv[1]
path = os.path.join(os.getcwd(), filename)
try:
with open(path, 'r') as f:
file_data = f.read()
except FileNotFoundError as e:
print("Error - file not found")
main()

However, if the user supplies an absolute path, the os.path.join() function will discard the path to the current working directory and use only the absolute path provided. For example, if the current working directory is /home/user/documents, but the user inputs /etc/passwd, os.path.join() will use only /etc/passwd, as it is considered an absolute path. In the above scenario, this would cause the script to access and read the /etc/passwd file.

(good code)
Example Language: Python 
import os
import sys
def main():
filename = sys.argv[1]
path = os.path.normpath(f"{os.getcwd()}{os.sep}{filename}")
try:
with open(path, 'r') as f:
file_data = f.read()
except FileNotFoundError as e:
print("Error - file not found")
main()

The constructed path string uses os.sep to add the appropriate separation character for the given operating system (e.g. '\' or '/') and the call to os.path.normpath() removes any additional slashes that may have been entered - this may occur particularly when using a Windows path. By putting the pieces of the path string together in this fashion, the script avoids a call to os.path.join() and any potential issues that might arise if an absolute path is entered. With this version of the script, if the current working directory is /home/user/documents, and the user inputs /etc/passwd, the resulting path will be /home/user/documents/etc/passwd. The user is therefore contained within the current working directory as intended.

+ Observed Examples
ReferenceDescription
Chain: a learning management tool debugger uses external input to locate previous session logs (CWE-73) and does not properly validate the given path (CWE-20), allowing for filesystem path traversal using "../" sequences (CWE-24)
Python package manager does not correctly restrict the filename specified in a Content-Disposition header, allowing arbitrary file read using path traversal sequences such as "../"
Python package constructs filenames using an unsafe os.path.join call on untrusted input, allowing absolute path traversal because os.path.join resets the pathname to an absolute path that is specified as part of the input.
directory traversal in Go-based Kubernetes operator app allows accessing data from the controller's pod file system via ../ sequences in a yaml file
Chain: Cloud computing virtualization platform does not require authentication for upload of a tar format file (CWE-306), then uses .. path traversal sequences (CWE-23) in the file to access unexpected files, as exploited in the wild per CISA KEV.
a Kubernetes package manager written in Go allows malicious plugins to inject path traversal sequences into a plugin archive ("Zip slip") to copy a file outside the intended directory
Chain: security product has improper input validation (CWE-20) leading to directory traversal (CWE-22), as exploited in the wild per CISA KEV.
Go-based archive library allows extraction of files to locations outside of the target folder with "../" path traversal sequences in filenames in a zip file, aka "Zip Slip"
Newsletter module allows reading arbitrary files using "../" sequences.
Chain: PHP app uses extract for register_globals compatibility layer (CWE-621), enabling path traversal (CWE-22)
FTP server allows deletion of arbitrary files using ".." in the DELE command.
FTP server allows creation of arbitrary directories using ".." in the MKD command.
FTP service for a Bluetooth device allows listing of directories, and creation or reading of files using ".." sequences.
Software package maintenance program allows overwriting arbitrary files using "../" sequences.
Bulletin board allows attackers to determine the existence of files using the avatar.
PHP program allows arbitrary code execution using ".." in filenames that are fed to the include() function.
Overwrite of files using a .. in a Torrent file.
Chat program allows overwriting files using a custom smiley request.
Chain: external control of values for user's desired language and theme enables path traversal.
Chain: library file sends a redirect if it is directly requested but continues to execute, allowing remote file inclusion and path traversal.
+ Potential Mitigations

Phase: Implementation

Strategy: Input Validation

Assume all input is malicious. Use an "accept known good" input validation strategy, i.e., use a list of acceptable inputs that strictly conform to specifications. Reject any input that does not strictly conform to specifications, or transform it into something that does.

When performing input validation, consider all potentially relevant properties, including length, type of input, the full range of acceptable values, missing or extra inputs, syntax, consistency across related fields, and conformance to business rules. As an example of business rule logic, "boat" may be syntactically valid because it only contains alphanumeric characters, but it is not valid if the input is only expected to contain colors such as "red" or "blue."

Do not rely exclusively on looking for malicious or malformed inputs. This is likely to miss at least one undesirable input, especially if the code's environment changes. This can give attackers enough room to bypass the intended validation. However, denylists can be useful for detecting potential attacks or determining which inputs are so malformed that they should be rejected outright.

When validating filenames, use stringent allowlists that limit the character set to be used. If feasible, only allow a single "." character in the filename to avoid weaknesses such as CWE-23, and exclude directory separators such as "/" to avoid CWE-36. Use a list of allowable file extensions, which will help to avoid CWE-434.

Do not rely exclusively on a filtering mechanism that removes potentially dangerous characters. This is equivalent to a denylist, which may be incomplete (CWE-184). For example, filtering "/" is insufficient protection if the filesystem also supports the use of "\" as a directory separator. Another possible error could occur when the filtering is applied in a way that still produces dangerous data (CWE-182). For example, if "../" sequences are removed from the ".../...//" string in a sequential fashion, two instances of "../" would be removed from the original string, but the remaining characters would still form the "../" string.

Phase: Architecture and Design

For any security checks that are performed on the client side, ensure that these checks are duplicated on the server side, in order to avoid CWE-602. Attackers can bypass the client-side checks by modifying values after the checks have been performed, or by changing the client to remove the client-side checks entirely. Then, these modified values would be submitted to the server.

Phase: Implementation

Strategy: Input Validation

Inputs should be decoded and canonicalized to the application's current internal representation before being validated (CWE-180). Make sure that the application does not decode the same input twice (CWE-174). Such errors could be used to bypass allowlist validation schemes by introducing dangerous inputs after they have been checked.

Use a built-in path canonicalization function (such as realpath() in C) that produces the canonical version of the pathname, which effectively removes ".." sequences and symbolic links (CWE-23, CWE-59). This includes:

  • realpath() in C
  • getCanonicalPath() in Java
  • GetFullPath() in ASP.NET
  • realpath() or abs_path() in Perl
  • realpath() in PHP

Phase: Architecture and Design

Strategy: Libraries or Frameworks

Use a vetted library or framework that does not allow this weakness to occur or provides constructs that make this weakness easier to avoid.

Phase: Operation

Strategy: Firewall

Use an application firewall that can detect attacks against this weakness. It can be beneficial in cases in which the code cannot be fixed (because it is controlled by a third party), as an emergency prevention measure while more comprehensive software assurance measures are applied, or to provide defense in depth.

Effectiveness: Moderate

Note: An application firewall might not cover all possible input vectors. In addition, attack techniques might be available to bypass the protection mechanism, such as using malformed inputs that can still be processed by the component that receives those inputs. Depending on functionality, an application firewall might inadvertently reject or modify legitimate requests. Finally, some manual effort may be required for customization.

Phases: Architecture and Design; Operation

Strategy: Environment Hardening

Run your code using the lowest privileges that are required to accomplish the necessary tasks [REF-76]. If possible, create isolated accounts with limited privileges that are only used for a single task. That way, a successful attack will not immediately give the attacker access to the rest of the software or its environment. For example, database applications rarely need to run as the database administrator, especially in day-to-day operations.

Phase: Architecture and Design

Strategy: Enforcement by Conversion

When the set of acceptable objects, such as filenames or URLs, is limited or known, create a mapping from a set of fixed input values (such as numeric IDs) to the actual filenames or URLs, and reject all other inputs.

For example, ID 1 could map to "inbox.txt" and ID 2 could map to "profile.txt". Features such as the ESAPI AccessReferenceMap [REF-185] provide this capability.

Phases: Architecture and Design; Operation

Strategy: Sandbox or Jail

Run the code in a "jail" or similar sandbox environment that enforces strict boundaries between the process and the operating system. This may effectively restrict which files can be accessed in a particular directory or which commands can be executed by the software.

OS-level examples include the Unix chroot jail, AppArmor, and SELinux. In general, managed code may provide some protection. For example, java.io.FilePermission in the Java SecurityManager allows the software to specify restrictions on file operations.

This may not be a feasible solution, and it only limits the impact to the operating system; the rest of the application may still be subject to compromise.

Be careful to avoid CWE-243 and other weaknesses related to jails.

Effectiveness: Limited

Note: The effectiveness of this mitigation depends on the prevention capabilities of the specific sandbox or jail being used and might only help to reduce the scope of an attack, such as restricting the attacker to certain system calls or limiting the portion of the file system that can be accessed.

Phases: Architecture and Design; Operation

Strategy: Attack Surface Reduction

Store library, include, and utility files outside of the web document root, if possible. Otherwise, store them in a separate directory and use the web server's access control capabilities to prevent attackers from directly requesting them. One common practice is to define a fixed constant in each calling program, then check for the existence of the constant in the library/include file; if the constant does not exist, then the file was directly requested, and it can exit immediately.

This significantly reduces the chance of an attacker being able to bypass any protection mechanisms that are in the base program but not in the include files. It will also reduce the attack surface.

Phase: Implementation

Ensure that error messages only contain minimal details that are useful to the intended audience and no one else. The messages need to strike the balance between being too cryptic (which can confuse users) or being too detailed (which may reveal more than intended). The messages should not reveal the methods that were used to determine the error. Attackers can use detailed information to refine or optimize their original attack, thereby increasing their chances of success.

If errors must be captured in some detail, record them in log messages, but consider what could occur if the log messages can be viewed by attackers. Highly sensitive information such as passwords should never be saved to log files.

Avoid inconsistent messaging that might accidentally tip off an attacker about internal state, such as whether a user account exists or not.

In the context of path traversal, error messages which disclose path information can help attackers craft the appropriate attack strings to move through the file system hierarchy.

Phases: Operation; Implementation

Strategy: Environment Hardening

When using PHP, configure the application so that it does not use register_globals. During implementation, develop the application so that it does not rely on this feature, but be wary of implementing a register_globals emulation that is subject to weaknesses such as CWE-95, CWE-621, and similar issues.
+ Weakness Ordinalities
OrdinalityDescription
Primary
(where the weakness exists independent of other weaknesses)
Resultant
(where the weakness is typically related to the presence of some other weaknesses)
+ Detection Methods

Automated Static Analysis

Automated techniques can find areas where path traversal weaknesses exist. However, tuning or customization may be required to remove or de-prioritize path-traversal problems that are only exploitable by the product's administrator - or other privileged users - and thus potentially valid behavior or, at worst, a bug instead of a vulnerability.

Effectiveness: High

Manual Static Analysis

Manual white box techniques may be able to provide sufficient code coverage and reduction of false positives if all file access operations can be assessed within limited time constraints.

Effectiveness: High

Automated Static Analysis - Binary or Bytecode

According to SOAR, the following detection techniques may be useful:

Highly cost effective:
  • Bytecode Weakness Analysis - including disassembler + source code weakness analysis
Cost effective for partial coverage:
  • Binary Weakness Analysis - including disassembler + source code weakness analysis

Effectiveness: High

Manual Static Analysis - Binary or Bytecode

According to SOAR, the following detection techniques may be useful:

Cost effective for partial coverage:
  • Binary / Bytecode disassembler - then use manual analysis for vulnerabilities & anomalies

Effectiveness: SOAR Partial

Dynamic Analysis with Automated Results Interpretation

According to SOAR, the following detection techniques may be useful:

Highly cost effective:
  • Web Application Scanner
  • Web Services Scanner
  • Database Scanners

Effectiveness: High

Dynamic Analysis with Manual Results Interpretation

According to SOAR, the following detection techniques may be useful:

Highly cost effective:
  • Fuzz Tester
  • Framework-based Fuzzer

Effectiveness: High

Manual Static Analysis - Source Code

According to SOAR, the following detection techniques may be useful:

Highly cost effective:
  • Manual Source Code Review (not inspections)
Cost effective for partial coverage:
  • Focused Manual Spotcheck - Focused manual analysis of source

Effectiveness: High

Automated Static Analysis - Source Code

According to SOAR, the following detection techniques may be useful:

Highly cost effective:
  • Source code Weakness Analyzer
  • Context-configured Source Code Weakness Analyzer

Effectiveness: High

Architecture or Design Review

According to SOAR, the following detection techniques may be useful:

Highly cost effective:
  • Formal Methods / Correct-By-Construction
Cost effective for partial coverage:
  • Inspection (IEEE 1028 standard) (can apply to requirements, design, source code, etc.)

Effectiveness: High

+ Functional Areas
  • File Processing
+ Affected Resources
  • File or Directory
+ 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
MemberOfViewView - a subset of CWE entries that provides a way of examining CWE content. The two main view structures are Slices (flat lists) and Graphs (containing relationships between entries).635Weaknesses Originally Used by NVD from 2008 to 2016
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.715OWASP Top Ten 2007 Category A4 - Insecure Direct Object Reference
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.723OWASP Top Ten 2004 Category A2 - Broken Access Control
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.743CERT C Secure Coding Standard (2008) Chapter 10 - Input Output (FIO)
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.8022010 Top 25 - Risky Resource Management
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.813OWASP Top Ten 2010 Category A4 - Insecure Direct Object References
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.8652011 Top 25 - Risky Resource Management
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.877CERT C++ Secure Coding Section 09 - Input Output (FIO)
MemberOfViewView - a subset of CWE entries that provides a way of examining CWE content. The two main view structures are Slices (flat lists) and Graphs (containing relationships between entries).884CWE Cross-section
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.932OWASP Top Ten 2013 Category A4 - Insecure Direct Object References
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.981SFP Secondary Cluster: Path Traversal
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic