CWE

Common Weakness Enumeration

A Community-Developed List of Software & Hardware Weakness Types

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ID

CWE-1250: Improper Preservation of Consistency Between Independent Representations of Shared State

Weakness ID: 1250
Abstraction: Base
Structure: Simple
Status: Incomplete
Presentation Filter:
+ Description
The product has or supports multiple distributed components or sub-systems that are each required to keep their own local copy of shared data - such as state or cache - but the product does not ensure that all local copies remain consistent with each other.
+ Extended Description

In highly distributed environments, or on systems with distinct physical components that operate independently, there is often a need for each component to store and update its own local copy of key data such as state or cache, so that all components have the same "view" of the overall system and operate in a coordinated fashion. For example, users of a social media service or a massively multiplayer online game might be using their own personal computers while also interacting with different physical hosts in a globally distributed service, but all participants must be able to have the same "view" of the world. Alternately, a processor's Memory Management Unit (MMU) might have "shadow" MMUs to distribute its workload, and all shadow MMUs are expected to have the same accessible ranges of memory.

In such environments, it becomes critical for the product to ensure that this "shared state" is consistently modified across all distributed systems. If state is not consistently maintained across all systems, then critical transactions might take place out of order, or some users might not get the same data as other users. When this inconsistency affects correctness of operations, it can introduce vulnerabilities in mechanisms that depend on consistent state.

+ Relationships

The table(s) below shows the weaknesses and high level categories that are related to this weakness. These relationships are defined as ChildOf, ParentOf, MemberOf and give insight to similar items that may exist at higher and lower levels of abstraction. In addition, relationships such as PeerOf and CanAlsoBe are defined to show similar weaknesses that the user may want to explore.

+ Relevant to the view "Research Concepts" (CWE-1000)
NatureTypeIDName
ChildOfPillarPillar - a weakness that is the most abstract type of weakness and represents a theme for all class/base/variant weaknesses related to it. A Pillar is different from a Category as a Pillar is still technically a type of weakness that describes a mistake, while a Category represents a common characteristic used to group related things.664Improper Control of a Resource Through its Lifetime
ParentOfBaseBase - a weakness that is still mostly independent of a resource or technology, but with sufficient details to provide specific methods for detection and prevention. Base level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 2 or 3 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.1249Application-Level Admin Tool with Inconsistent View of Underlying Operating System
ParentOfBaseBase - a weakness that is still mostly independent of a resource or technology, but with sufficient details to provide specific methods for detection and prevention. Base level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 2 or 3 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.1251Mirrored Regions with Different Values
+ Applicable Platforms
The listings below show possible areas for which the given weakness could appear. These may be for specific named Languages, Operating Systems, Architectures, Paradigms, Technologies, or a class of such platforms. The platform is listed along with how frequently the given weakness appears for that instance.

Languages

Class: Language-Independent (Undetermined Prevalence)

Operating Systems

Class: OS-Independent (Undetermined Prevalence)

Architectures

Class: Architecture-Independent (Undetermined Prevalence)

Technologies

Class: Cloud Computing (Undetermined Prevalence)

Security IP (Undetermined Prevalence)

+ Demonstrative Examples

Example 1

Suppose a processor's Memory Management Unit (MMU) has 5 other shadow MMUs to distribute its workload for its various cores. Each MMU has the start address and end address of "accessible" memory. Any time this accessible range changes (as per the processor's boot status), the main MMU sends an update message to all the shadow MMUs.

Suppose the interconnect fabric does not prioritize such "update" packets over other general traffic packets. This introduces a race condition. If an attacker can flood the target with enough messages so that some of those attack packets reach the target before the new access ranges gets updated, then the attacker can leverage this scenario.

+ Notes

Research Gap

Issues related to state and cache - creation, preservation, and update - are a significant gap in CWE that is expected to be addressed in future versions. It likely has relationships to concurrency and synchronization, incorrect behavior order, and other areas that already have some coverage in CWE, although the focus has typically been on independent processes on the same operating system - not on independent systems that are all a part of a larger system-of-systems.
+ References
[REF-1069] Tanakorn Leesatapornwongsa, Jeffrey F. Lukman, Shan Lu and Haryadi S. Gunawi. "TaxDC: A Taxonomy of Non-Deterministic Concurrency Bugs in Datacenter Distributed Systems". 2016. <https://ucare.cs.uchicago.edu/pdf/asplos16-TaxDC.pdf>.
+ Content History
+ Submissions
Submission DateSubmitterOrganization
2020-02-13CWE Content TeamCWE Content Team
+ Modifications
Modification DateModifierOrganization
2020-06-25CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Applicable_Platforms
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Page Last Updated: June 25, 2020