Channel Accessible by Non-Endpoint ('Man-in-the-Middle')
Weakness ID: 300 (Weakness Class)Status: Draft
+ Description

Description Summary

The product does not adequately verify the identity of actors at both ends of a communication channel, or does not adequately ensure the integrity of the channel, in a way that allows the channel to be accessed or influenced by an actor that is not an endpoint.

Extended Description

In order to establish secure communication between two parties, it is often important to adequately verify the identity of entities at each end of the communication channel. Failure to do so adequately or consistently may result in insufficient or incorrect identification of either communicating entity. This can have negative consequences such as misplaced trust in the entity at the other end of the channel. An attacker can leverage this by interposing between the communicating entities and masquerading as the original entity. In the absence of sufficient verification of identity, such an attacker can eavesdrop and potentially modify the communication between the original entities.

+ Time of Introduction
  • Architecture and Design
+ Applicable Platforms



+ Demonstrative Examples

Example 1

In the Java snippet below, data is sent over an unencrypted channel to a remote server. By eavesdropping on the communication channel or posing as the endpoint, an attacker would be able to read all of the transmitted data.

(Bad Code)
Example Language: Java 
Socket sock;
PrintWriter out;

try {
sock = new Socket(REMOTE_HOST, REMOTE_PORT);
out = new PrintWriter(echoSocket.getOutputStream(), true);

// Write data to remote host via socket output stream.
+ Potential Mitigations

Always fully authenticate both ends of any communications channel.

Adhere to the principle of complete mediation.

A certificate binds an identity to a cryptographic key to authenticate a communicating party. Often, the certificate takes the encrypted form of the hash of the identity of the subject, the public key, and information such as time of issue or expiration using the issuer's private key. The certificate can be validated by deciphering the certificate with the issuer's public key. See also X.509 certificate signature chains and the PGP certification structure.

+ Relationships
NatureTypeIDNameView(s) this relationship pertains toView(s)
ChildOfWeakness ClassWeakness Class287Improper Authentication
Development Concepts (primary)699
Research Concepts (primary)1000
PeerOfWeakness BaseWeakness Base602Client-Side Enforcement of Server-Side Security
Research Concepts1000
PeerOfWeakness BaseWeakness Base603Use of Client-Side Authentication
Research Concepts1000
+ Taxonomy Mappings
Mapped Taxonomy NameNode IDFitMapped Node Name
PLOVERMan-in-the-middle (MITM)
WASC32Routing Detour
+ Related Attack Patterns
CAPEC-IDAttack Pattern Name
(CAPEC Version: 1.4)
94Man in the Middle Attack
57Utilizing REST's Trust in the System Resource to Register Man in the Middle
+ References
M. Bishop. "Computer Security: Art and Science". Addison-Wesley. 2003.
+ Maintenance Notes

The summary identifies multiple distinct possibilities, suggesting that this is a category that must be broken into more specific weaknesses.

+ Content History
Submission DateSubmitterOrganizationSource
PLOVERExternally Mined
Modification DateModifierOrganizationSource
2008-07-01Sean EidemillerCigitalExternal
added/updated demonstrative examples
2008-07-01Eric DalciCigitalExternal
updated Time of Introduction
2008-09-08CWE Content TeamMITREInternal
updated Description, Maintenance Notes, Relationships, Taxonomy Mappings
2009-05-27CWE Content TeamMITREInternal
updated Name
Previous Entry Names
Change DatePrevious Entry Name
2008-04-11Man-in-the-middle (MITM)
2009-05-27Channel Accessible by Non-Endpoint (aka 'Man-in-the-Middle')