Client-Side Enforcement of Server-Side Security
The product is composed of a server that relies on the client to implement a mechanism that is intended to protect the server.
When the server relies on protection mechanisms placed on the client side, an attacker can modify the client-side behavior to bypass the protection mechanisms, resulting in potentially unexpected interactions between the client and server. The consequences will vary, depending on what the mechanisms are trying to protect.
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.
This example contains client-side code that checks if the user authenticated successfully before sending a command. The server-side code performs the authentication in one step, and executes the command in a separate step.
The server accepts 2 commands, "AUTH" which authenticates the user, and "CHANGE-ADDRESS" which updates the address field for the username. The client performs the authentication and only sends a CHANGE-ADDRESS for that user if the authentication succeeds. Because the client has already performed the authentication, the server assumes that the username in the CHANGE-ADDRESS is the same as the authenticated user. An attacker could modify the client by removing the code that sends the "AUTH" command and simply executing the CHANGE-ADDRESS.
In 2022, the OT:ICEFALL study examined products by 10 different Operational Technology (OT) vendors. The researchers reported 56 vulnerabilities and said that the products were "insecure by design" [REF-1283]. If exploited, these vulnerabilities often allowed adversaries to change how the products operated, ranging from denial of service to changing the code that the products executed. Since these products were often used in industries such as power, electrical, water, and others, there could even be safety implications.
Multiple vendors used client-side authentication in their OT products.
Weaknesses in this category are related to protection mechanism failure.
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 multiple security tactics and how they affect a system. For example, information exposure can...
This view (slice) covers all the elements in CWE.
CWE entries in this view (slice) are often seen in mobile applications.
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...