Cleartext Transmission of Sensitive Information

The software transmits sensitive or security-critical data in cleartext in a communication channel that can be sniffed by unauthorized actors.


Description

Many communication channels can be "sniffed" by attackers during data transmission. For example, network traffic can often be sniffed by any attacker who has access to a network interface. This significantly lowers the difficulty of exploitation by attackers.

Demonstrations

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

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.

See Also

SEI CERT Oracle Secure Coding Standard for Java - Guidelines 14. Serialization (SER)

Weaknesses in this category are related to the rules and recommendations in the Serialization (SER) section of the SEI CERT Oracle Secure Coding Standard for Java.

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.

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....

Comprehensive CWE Dictionary

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

Weaknesses in Mobile Applications

CWE entries in this view (slice) are often seen in mobile applications.

CWE Cross-section

This view contains a selection of weaknesses that represent the variety of weaknesses that are captured in CWE, at a level of abstraction that is likely to be useful t...


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