Weak Encoding for Password
Obscuring a password with a trivial encoding does not protect the password.
Password management issues occur when a password is stored in plaintext in an application's properties or configuration file. A programmer can attempt to remedy the password management problem by obscuring the password with an encoding function, such as base 64 encoding, but this effort does not adequately protect the password.
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.
The following code reads a password from a properties file and uses the password to connect to a database.
This code will run successfully, but anyone with access to config.properties can read the value of password and easily determine that the value has been base 64 encoded. If a devious employee has access to this information, they can use it to break into the system.
The following code reads a password from the registry and uses the password to create a new network credential.
This code will run successfully, but anyone who has access to the registry key used to store the password can read the value of password. If a devious employee has access to this information, they can use it to break into the system.
Weaknesses in this category are related to access control.
Weaknesses in this category are related to the A02 category "Cryptographic Failures" 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....
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