MITRE has recently released its annual list of the top 25 most dangerous software weaknesses for the year 2023.
These weaknesses pose significant risks to software systems, allowing attackers to exploit vulnerabilities, compromise systems, steal sensitive data, or disrupt critical applications.
The list is based on an analysis of public vulnerability data in the National Vulnerability Data (NVD) and provides valuable insights for organizations in prioritizing their vulnerability management efforts.
The Top 10 Most Dangerous Software Weaknesses From The List
- Out-of-bounds Write: This vulnerability allows an attacker to write data beyond the boundaries of a buffer, potentially leading to memory corruption and arbitrary code execution.
- Cross-site Scripting (XSS): XSS enables attackers to inject malicious scripts into web pages viewed by users, leading to session hijacking, defacement, or theft of sensitive information.
- SQL Injection: By exploiting SQL injection vulnerabilities, attackers can manipulate SQL queries and gain unauthorized access to databases, retrieve sensitive information, or modify data.
- Use After Free: This vulnerability occurs when a program continues to use memory after it has been freed, potentially leading to code execution or a system crash.
- OS Command Injection: Attackers exploit OS command injection weaknesses to execute arbitrary commands on a target system, allowing them to gain unauthorized access or perform malicious actions.
- Improper Input Validation: This weakness refers to inadequate validation of user input, enabling attackers to inject malicious data or bypass security measures.
- Out-of-bounds Read: Similar to out-of-bounds write, this vulnerability allows an attacker to read data beyond the bounds of a buffer, potentially leaking sensitive information or causing a system crash.
- Path Traversal: Path traversal vulnerabilities enable attackers to access files and directories outside of the intended scope, potentially exposing sensitive data or executing arbitrary code.
- Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF): CSRF attacks trick authenticated users into unknowingly performing malicious actions on a web application, leading to unauthorized operations or data manipulation.
- Unrestricted Upload of File with Dangerous Type: This vulnerability allows attackers to upload malicious files with dangerous extensions, which can lead to remote code execution or system compromise.
Trends and Insights
The top-ranked weakness, Out-of-bounds Write, retains its position from the previous year. This highlights the persistent prevalence of this vulnerability and the importance of addressing it in software development and vulnerability management practices.
Additionally, the Known Exploited Vulnerabilities (KEV) catalog identified 70 vulnerabilities related to Out-of-bounds Write bugs in 2021 and 2022, further underscoring its significance.
However, it’s worth noting that one weakness category, Improper Restriction of XML External Entity Reference, has fallen off the top 25 list. This emphasizes the dynamic nature of software vulnerabilities and the evolving landscape of cybersecurity threats.
The Common Weakness Enumeration (CWE) research team emphasizes the value of trend analysis on vulnerability data, enabling organizations to make informed decisions regarding vulnerability management investments and policies. By understanding the prevalent weaknesses, organizations can prioritize remediation efforts and allocate resources effectively.
Dimitris is an Information Technology and Cybersecurity professional with more than 20 years of experience in designing, building and maintaining efficient and secure IT infrastructures.
Among others, he is a certified: CISSP, CISA, CISM, ITIL, COBIT and PRINCE2, but his wide set of knowledge and technical management capabilities go beyond these certifications. He likes acquiring new skills on penetration testing, cloud technologies, virtualization, network security, IoT and many more.