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OWASP Periodic Table of Vulnerabilities - Application Misconfiguration

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Application Misconfiguration

Root Cause Summary

Software applications are very complex; to ease installation and configuration of the application, many software packages come preconfigured with vulnerabilities right out of the box. Application misconfigurations are not coding issues. They are options and/or features in the application that can be easily exploited, such as:

  • Special access mechanisms
  • Default usernames and passwords
  • Default configuration file settings
  • Security settings at the lowest possible level

Due to the complexity of configuration, certain combinations of settings might expose vulnerabilities, though each individual setting may be safe on its own.

Browser / Standards Solution


Perimeter Solution

All application permissions, configurable components and files should be given least privilege for the specific platform and technology stack. The application should prominently warn users/administrators when an insecure setting is in use (as it might be temporarily during deployment or in a staging environment).

Generic Framework Solution


Custom Framework Solution


Custom Code Solution


Discussion / Controversy

Application misconfiguration is not a coding issue and can be difficult secure due to the complexities of applications and networks and is a perfect example of the “Security, Functionality, and Ease of Use Triangle”. The easier the application is to use the less secure it may be.


Application Misconfiguration WASC TC

CAPEC-348 WASC Threat Classification 2.0 – WASC – 15 Application Misconfiguration