Authentication / Improper Authentication

Web and APICWE Top 25 (2022)


Improper Authentication is a vulnerability category in the CWE Top 25 (2022) and is defined as "failure to properly authenticate users, resulting in the ability to access unauthorized resources" (CWE, n.d.). This vulnerability typically occurs in web and API applications. According to the OWASP Testing Guide, there are two main types of improper authentication: weak authentication and broken authentication (OWASP, n.d.). Weak authentication refers to a lack of proper authentication, such as using simple passwords or no authentication at all. Broken authentication refers to authentication that is incomplete, incorrect, or otherwise not functioning properly.


Improper Authentication can have serious consequences. It can lead to unauthorized access, data theft, and malicious activity on the system. It is important to assess the risk of improper authentication and take steps to mitigate it.


The best way to fix this vulnerability is to ensure that authentication is properly implemented. This includes using strong passwords, multi-factor authentication, and utilizing best practices such as regularly changing passwords and using encryption. Additionally, it is important to ensure that authentication is regularly tested and monitored to identify any potential issues.


The following code is an example of a vulnerable authentication system:

function validateUser(username, password) {
  if (username === "admin" && password === "password") {
    return true;
  } else {
    return false;

In this example, the authentication system is vulnerable because it is using a static username and password. This means that anyone with knowledge of the credentials can easily gain access to the system.

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