The 2023 CWE Top 25 Most Dangerous Software Weaknesses: An Analysis


Published on Jul 14, 2023   —   2 min read

A Deep Dive into the Most Critical Software Weaknesses of the Year

In the realm of software and hardware, weaknesses can lead to significant security vulnerabilities. The Common Weakness Enumeration (CWE) is a community-developed list that identifies and categorizes these weaknesses. Every year, CWE releases a list of the top 25 most dangerous software weaknesses. This blog post will delve into the 2023 CWE Top 25 list.

The Top Five

  1. Out-of-bounds Write (CWE-787): Holding its position from last year, out-of-bounds write is still the most dangerous software weakness. It involves writing data past the end of the intended buffer, which can lead to the execution of arbitrary code or cause a system crash.
  2. Cross-site Scripting (CWE-79): This weakness, also known as XSS, involves the improper neutralization of input during web page generation. It allows attackers to inject client-side scripts into web pages viewed by other users, leading to a variety of attacks.
  3. SQL Injection (CWE-89): This weakness involves the improper neutralization of special elements used in an SQL command. Attackers can manipulate the SQL queries of a web application by injecting malicious SQL code, leading to unauthorized access to sensitive data.
  4. Use After Free (CWE-416): Climbing up three spots from last year, this weakness involves the use of memory after it has been freed, which can lead to a variety of adverse impacts, including the execution of arbitrary code.
  5. OS Command Injection (CWE-78): This weakness involves the improper neutralization of special elements used in an OS command. It allows attackers to execute arbitrary commands on a host operating system.

Notable Risers and Fallers

Improper Privilege Management (CWE-269) made a significant jump this year, moving up seven spots. This weakness involves the assignment of privileges or access rights to an actor in a way that can negatively impact the security of the system.

On the other hand, Incorrect Default Permissions (CWE-276) fell five spots from last year. This weakness involves the assignment of insecure default permissions, which can expose resources to unauthorized actors.

The Complete 2023 CWE Top 25 List

Here is the complete list of the 2023 CWE Top 25 Most Dangerous Software Weaknesses:

  1. Out-of-bounds Write (CWE-787)
  2. Cross-site Scripting (CWE-79)
  3. SQL Injection (CWE-89)
  4. Use After Free (CWE-416)
  5. OS Command Injection (CWE-78)
  6. Improper Input Validation (CWE-20)
  7. Out-of-bounds Read (CWE-125)
  8. Path Traversal (CWE-22)
  9. Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF) (CWE-352)
  10. Unrestricted Upload of File with Dangerous Type (CWE-434)
  11. Missing Authorization (CWE-862)
  12. NULL Pointer Dereference (CWE-476)
  13. Improper Authentication (CWE-287)
  14. Integer Overflow or Wraparound (CWE-190)
  15. Deserialization of Untrusted Data (CWE-502)
  16. Command Injection (CWE-77)
  17. Improper Restriction of Operations within the Bounds of a Memory Buffer (CWE-119)
  18. Use of Hard-coded Credentials (CWE-798)
  19. Server-Side Request Forgery (SSRF) (CWE-918)
  20. Missing Authentication for Critical Function (CWE-306)
  21. Race Condition (CWE-362)
  22. Improper Privilege Management (CWE-269)
  23. Code Injection (CWE-94)
  24. Incorrect Authorization (CWE-863)
  25. Incorrect Default Permissions (CWE-276)


The CWE Top 25 list provides valuable insights into the most dangerous software weaknesses. By understanding these weaknesses, developers and security professionals can prioritize their efforts to mitigate these risks. Stay tuned for more updates and analyses on software and hardware weaknesses.

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