Failure to encrypt data

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This is a Vulnerability. To view all vulnerabilities, please see the Vulnerability Category page.


Last revision (mm/dd/yy): 08/10/2012

Vulnerabilities Table of Contents

Description

The failure to encrypt data passes up the guarantees of confidentiality, integrity, and accountability that properly implemented encryption conveys.

Consequences

  • Confidentiality: Properly encrypted data channels ensure data confidentiality.
  • Integrity: Properly encrypted data channels ensure data integrity.
  • Accountability: Properly encrypted data channels ensure accountability.

Exposure period

  • Requirements specification: Encryption should be a requirement of systems that transmit data.
  • Design: Encryption should be designed into the system at the architectural and design phases

Platform

  • Languages: Any
  • Operating platform: Any

Required resources

Any

Severity

High

Likelihood of exploit

Very High

Omitting the use of encryption in any program which transfers data over a network of any kind should be considered on par with delivering the data sent to each user on the local networks of both the sender and receiver.

Worse, this omission allows for the injection of data into a stream of communication between two parties - with no means for the victims to separate valid data from invalid.

In this day of widespread network attacks and password collection sniffers, it is an unnecessary risk to omit encryption from the design of any system which might benefit from it.

Risk Factors

Examples

In C:

server.sin_family = AF_INET;
hp = gethostbyname(argv[1]);
if (hp==NULL) error("Unknown host");
memcpy( (char *)&server.sin_addr,(char *)hp->h_addr,hp->h_length);
if (argc < 3) port = 80;
else port = (unsigned short)atoi(argv[3]);
server.sin_port = htons(port); 
	if (connect(sock, (struct sockaddr *)&server, sizeof server) < 0)
         error("Connecting");
...

  while ((n=read(sock,buffer,BUFSIZE-1))!=-1){
          write(dfd,password_buffer,n);
.
.
.

In Java:

try {
  URL u = new URL("http://www.importantsecretsite.org/");
  HttpURLConnection hu = (HttpURLConnection) u.openConnection();
  hu.setRequestMethod("PUT");
  hu.connect();
  OutputStream os = hu.getOutputStream();
  hu.disconnect();
}
catch (IOException e) { //...


Related Attacks


Related Vulnerabilities


Related Controls

  • Requirements specification: require that encryption be integrated into the system.
  • Design: Ensure that encryption is properly integrated into the system design, not simply as a drop-in replacement for sockets.


Related Technical Impacts


References

TBD