CWE-274 is about when software “incorrectly handles when it has insufficient 
privileges to perform an operation” which appears to be a relatively rare 
phenomenon. See the CVE examples – for example, CVE-2001-1564 is about the 
product trying to enforce resource limits after dropping privileges, but it can 
no longer do that operation because it’s running at lower privileges, thus 
allowing a bypass of quota.

I’ve had a general impression that CWE-274 gets incorrectly mapped fairly 
frequently, although it isn’t quite clear to me why this confusion happens.

CWE-250 “Execution with Unnecessary Privileges” seems appropriate for 
PrintNightmare, although I haven’t studied that vuln deeply.

- Steve

From: Steve Battista <>
Sent: Friday, September 24, 2021 8:16 AM
To: Steven M Christey <>
Cc: Seifried, Kurt <>; Walton, Jeffrey <>; 
CWE Research Discussion <>
Subject: Re: Cross-configuration attacks

Print nightmare allows for non admins to install a driver that runs as admin. 
Current patch partially fixes this. I would vote for CWE-274.

Get Outlook for iOS<>
From: SebastianGanson 
Sent: Friday, September 24, 2021 4:28:07 AM
To: Steven M Christey <<>>
Cc: Seifried, Kurt <<>>; Walton, 
Jeffrey <<>>; CWE Research 
Discussion <<>>
Subject: Re: Cross-configuration attacks

About configurations, I’m still scratching my head about where PrintNightmare’s 
“Insecure by design” would fall (fail?).

On Sep 24, 2021, at 1:01 AM, Steven M Christey 
<<>> wrote:

Just a couple quick comments since it’s late for me :)

CWE-435: Improper Interaction Between Multiple Correctly-Behaving Entities 
seems to cover the original question. CWE-435’s description says “An 
interaction error occurs when two entities have correct behavior when running 
independently of each other, but when they are integrated as components in a 
larger system or process, they introduce incorrect behaviors that may cause 
resultant weaknesses.” It’s interesting that this weakness is not so easily 
found with keyword searches on the CWE web site, but I suspect that part of the 
difficulty is that there is no widely-used term for this kind of issue. 
(Similar for, say, “confused deputy” – you can only find it if you know the 
term.) CWE-435 *is* a Pillar, however, so hierarchical-based browsing in view 
1000 might have allowed it to be discovered more quickly.

Over the years, I’ve had a general unease about the desire to describe 
weaknesses as “configuration” problems, but in the past year or two, I’ve 
started thinking more about characterizing the mistake that’s reflected in 
“what the configuration does” – just like what a coding error does, or a design 
flaw. For example, “running with excessive privileges” can be done in coding or 
in configuration (or be required by design) – the behavior/mistake is still the 
same, regardless of the phase of the SDLC in which it occurs or who introduced 
the mistake.

- Steve

From: Kurt Seifried <<>>
Sent: Thursday, September 23, 2021 11:20 PM
To: Walton, Jeffrey <<>>
Cc: CWE Research Discussion 
Subject: Re: Cross-configuration attacks

I assume by CVE you meant CWE, and no there isn't a CWE for "intersection" or 
"mismatch" attacks. I don't like the term cross-configuration unless it's 
actually applied to issues that are created by configuration issues, my concern 
would be technically any intersection vulnerability can be classed as a config 
issue because you could disable most things somehow/somwhere.

Perhaps we need CWE to not just cover weaknesses but normal behaviours so we 
can better describe "normal behaviour A + normal behavior B = weakness 
[described if not specific term exists).

Do we have a list of CVE "intersection" vulns to look at as a data set to see 
what is causing these? E.g. configs? badly written specifications that result 
in different interpretations? One good keyword is "conjunction" but also a lot 
of false positives:

On Thu, Sep 23, 2021 at 8:16 PM Jeffrey Walton 
<<>> wrote:

Hi Everyone,

This made my radar recently: The
interesting thing about the attack is, App A is considered secure in
isolation, and App B is considered secure in isolation, but when
interacting App A and B produce an insecure result.

We've seen bad interactions among components within the same app
before, like incorrectly combining authentication and encryption. But
in this case it is not the same app. Rather, the vulnerability is a
product of two distinct apps using slightly different implementation
details sharing data.

I'm wondering if there's a CVE to cover the scenario. Looking through
existing CVEs I don't see one that jumps out at me.


Here's from the abstract of the paper:

... ElGamal encryption has been used in many
different contexts, chiefly among them by the OpenPGP standard.
Despite its simplicity, or perhaps because of it, in reality there is a
large degree of ambiguity on several key aspects of the cipher. Each
library in the OpenPGP ecosystem seems to have implemented a
slightly different “flavour” of ElGamal encryption. While –taken in
isolation– each implementation may be secure, we reveal that in the
interoperable world of OpenPGP, unforeseen cross-configuration
attacks become possible. Concretely, we propose different such
attacks and show their practical efficacy by recovering plaintexts
and even secret keys.


Kurt Seifried (He/Him)<>

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