Authentication / Missing Critical Step in Authentication

Web and API


Missing Critical Step in Authentication is a type of authentication vulnerability, which is categorized as CWE-287 (Authentication Issues) according to the CWE directory. This vulnerability occurs when authentication steps are either missing or incomplete, leaving the system vulnerable to attack. This vulnerability is common in web and API applications, where the authentication process is not complete or is missing. The OWASP Testing Guide outlines different testing scenarios that can be used to identify this vulnerability.


Missing Critical Step in Authentication can lead to a variety of security risks, such as unauthorized access to sensitive information or systems, unauthorized manipulation of data, and data theft. It is important to properly assess the risk of this vulnerability and take appropriate steps to mitigate it.


The best way to mitigate this vulnerability is to ensure that the authentication process is complete and secure. This can include implementing two-factor authentication, using strong passwords, and ensuring that all authentication steps are properly implemented. It is also important to regularly test the authentication process to ensure that it is functioning as expected.


Below is an example of a vulnerable authentication process that is missing a critical step.

// vulnerable authentication process
if (username == "admin" && password == "password") {

This code fails to check if the user is an authorized user before logging them in, leaving the system vulnerable to attack.

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