Storing Passwords in a Recoverable Format
The storage of passwords in a recoverable format makes them subject to password reuse attacks by malicious users. In fact, it should be noted that recoverable encrypted passwords provide no significant benefit over plaintext passwords since they are subject not only to reuse by malicious attackers but also by malicious insiders. If a system administrator can recover a password directly, or use a brute force search on the available information, the administrator can use the password on other accounts.
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.
Both of these examples verify a password by comparing it to a stored compressed version.
Because a compression algorithm is used instead of a one way hashing algorithm, an attacker can recover compressed passwords stored in the database.
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.
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.
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.
Weaknesses in this category are related to the A04 "Insecure Design" category in the OWASP Top Ten 2021.
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....
This category identifies Software Fault Patterns (SFPs) within the Exposed Data cluster (SFP23).
This view (slice) covers all the elements in CWE.
CWE entries in this view have maintenance notes. Maintenance notes are an indicator that an entry might change significantly in future versions. This view was created...
This view (slice) lists weaknesses that can be introduced during design.