Cleartext Storage in a File or on Disk

The application stores sensitive information in cleartext in a file, or on disk.


The sensitive information could be read by attackers with access to the file, or with physical or administrator access to the raw disk. 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.


The following examples help to illustrate the nature of this weakness and describe methods or techniques which can be used to mitigate the risk.

Note that the examples here are by no means exhaustive and any given weakness may have many subtle varieties, each of which may require different detection methods or runtime controls.

Example One

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.

# Java Web App ResourceBundle properties file

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.

  <add name="ud_DEV" connectionString="connectDB=uDB; uid=db2admin; pwd=password; dbalias=uDB;" providerName="System.Data.Odbc" />

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 and avoid CWE-260 and CWE-13

See Also

Encrypt Data

Weaknesses in this category are related to the design and architecture of data confidentiality in a system. Frequently these deal with the use of encryption libraries....

SFP Secondary Cluster: Exposed Data

This category identifies Software Fault Patterns (SFPs) within the Exposed Data cluster (SFP23).

Comprehensive CWE Dictionary

This view (slice) covers all the elements in CWE.

Weaknesses Introduced During Design

This view (slice) lists weaknesses that can be introduced during design.

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