Use of Single-factor Authentication
Weakness ID: 308 (Weakness Base)Status: Draft
+ Description

Description Summary

The use of single-factor authentication can lead to unnecessary risk of compromise when compared with the benefits of a dual-factor authentication scheme.

Extended Description

While the use of multiple authentication schemes is simply piling on more complexity on top of authentication, it is inestimably valuable to have such measures of redundancy. The use of weak, reused, and common passwords is rampant on the internet. Without the added protection of multiple authentication schemes, a single mistake can result in the compromise of an account. For this reason, if multiple schemes are possible and also easy to use, they should be implemented and required.

+ Time of Introduction
  • Architecture and Design
+ Applicable Platforms



+ Common Consequences

If the secret in a single-factor authentication scheme gets compromised, full authentication is possible.

+ Likelihood of Exploit


+ Demonstrative Examples

Example 1

Example Language:
unsigned char *check_passwd(char *plaintext) {
if (ctext==secret_password()) // Log me in
Example Language: Java 
String plainText = new String(plainTextIn) MessageDigest encer = MessageDigest.getInstance("SHA"); encer.update(plainTextIn);
byte[] digest = password.digest();
if (digest==secret_password()) //log me in
+ Potential Mitigations

Phase: Architecture and Design

Use multiple independent authentication schemes, which ensures that -- if one of the methods is compromised -- the system itself is still likely safe from compromise.

+ Relationships
NatureTypeIDNameView(s) this relationship pertains toView(s)
ChildOfWeakness ClassWeakness Class287Improper Authentication
Development Concepts (primary)699
Research Concepts (primary)1000
ChildOfWeakness BaseWeakness Base654Reliance on a Single Factor in a Security Decision
Research Concepts1000
PeerOfWeakness BaseWeakness Base309Use of Password System for Primary Authentication
Research Concepts1000
+ Taxonomy Mappings
Mapped Taxonomy NameNode IDFitMapped Node Name
CLASPUsing single-factor authentication
+ Content History
Submission DateSubmitterOrganizationSource
CLASPExternally Mined
Modification DateModifierOrganizationSource
2008-09-08CWE Content TeamMITREInternal
updated Common Consequences, Relationships, Other Notes, Taxonomy Mappings
Previous Entry Names
Change DatePrevious Entry Name
2008-04-11Using Single-factor Authentication