Password Management: Weak Cryptography
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Last revision (mm/dd/yy): 02/27/2009
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 code reads a password from a properties file and uses the password to connect to a database.
... Properties prop = new Properties(); prop.load(new FileInputStream("config.properties")); String password = Base64.decode(prop.getProperty("password")); DriverManager.getConnection(url, usr, password); ...
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.
Related Technical Impacts