Authorization Bypass Through User-Controlled SQL Primary Key

The software uses a database table that includes records that should not be accessible to an actor, but it executes a SQL statement with a primary key that can be controlled by that actor.


When a user can set a primary key to any value, then the user can modify the key to point to unauthorized records.

Database access control errors occur when:

Data enters a program from an untrusted source.

The data is used to specify the value of a primary key in a SQL query.

The untrusted source does not have the permissions to be able to access all rows in the associated table.


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 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.

conn = new SqlConnection(_ConnectionString);
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.

See Also

Authorize Actors

Weaknesses in this category are related to the design and architecture of a system's authorization components. Frequently these deal with enforcing that agents have th...

SFP Secondary Cluster: Tainted Input to Variable

This category identifies Software Fault Patterns (SFPs) within the Tainted Input to Variable cluster (SFP25).

Comprehensive CWE Dictionary

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

Weaknesses Introduced During Implementation

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

Weaknesses Introduced During Design

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

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