CWE

Common Weakness Enumeration

A Community-Developed List of Software Weakness Types

CWE/SANS Top 25 Most Dangerous Software Errors
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ID

CWE-230: Improper Handling of Missing Values

Weakness ID: 230
Abstraction: Variant
Structure: Simple
Status: Draft
Presentation Filter:
+ Description
The software does not handle or incorrectly handles when a parameter, field, or argument name is specified, but the associated value is missing, i.e. it is empty, blank, or null.
+ 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
ChildOfBaseBase229Improper Handling of Values
+ Relevant to the view "Development Concepts" (CWE-699)
NatureTypeIDName
ChildOfBaseBase229Improper Handling of Values
+ Modes Of Introduction

The different Modes of Introduction provide information about how and when this weakness may be introduced. The Phase identifies a point in the software life cycle at which introduction may occur, while the Note provides a typical scenario related to introduction during the given phase.

PhaseNote
Implementation
+ 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

(Language-Independent classes): (Undetermined Prevalence)

+ Common Consequences

The table below specifies different individual consequences associated with the weakness. The Scope identifies the application security area that is violated, while the Impact describes the negative technical impact that arises if an adversary succeeds in exploiting this weakness. The Likelihood provides information about how likely the specific consequence is expected to be seen relative to the other consequences in the list. For example, there may be high likelihood that a weakness will be exploited to achieve a certain impact, but a low likelihood that it will be exploited to achieve a different impact.

ScopeImpactLikelihood
Integrity

Technical Impact: Unexpected State

+ Demonstrative Examples

Example 1

This application has registered to handle a URL when sent an intent:

(bad)
Example Language: Java 
...
IntentFilter filter = new IntentFilter("com.example.URLHandler.openURL");
MyReceiver receiver = new MyReceiver();
registerReceiver(receiver, filter);
...

public class UrlHandlerReceiver extends BroadcastReceiver {
@Override
public void onReceive(Context context, Intent intent) {
if("com.example.URLHandler.openURL".equals(intent.getAction())) {
String URL = intent.getStringExtra("URLToOpen");
int length = URL.length();
...

}

}

}

The application assumes the URL will always be included in the intent. When the URL is not present, the call to getStringExtra() will return null, thus causing a null pointer exception when length() is called.

+ Observed Examples
ReferenceDescription
Blank Host header triggers resultant infoleak.
Blank "charset" attribute in MIME header triggers crash.
Blank parameter causes external error infoleak.
Blank parameter causes external error infoleak.
+ Memberships
This MemberOf Relationships table shows additional CWE Categories and Views that reference this weakness as a member. This information is often useful in understanding where a weakness fits within the context of external information sources.
+ Notes

Research Gap

Some "crash by port scan" bugs are probably due to this, but lack of diagnosis makes it difficult to be certain.
+ Taxonomy Mappings
Mapped Taxonomy NameNode IDFitMapped Node Name
PLOVERMissing Value Error
CERT Java Secure CodingERR08-JDo not catch NullPointerException or any of its ancestors
+ Content History
Submissions
Submission DateSubmitterOrganizationSource
PLOVER
Modifications
Modification DateModifierOrganizationSource
2008-07-01Eric DalciCigital
updated Time_of_Introduction
2008-09-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships, Other_Notes, Taxonomy_Mappings
2009-03-10CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Description, Name
2009-10-29CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Other_Notes, Research_Gaps
2011-06-01CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences, Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2011-06-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences
2012-05-11CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2013-07-17CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Type
2014-02-18CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Demonstrative_Examples
2014-07-30CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2017-11-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Applicable_Platforms
Previous Entry Names
Change DatePrevious Entry Name
2008-04-11Missing Value Error
2009-03-10Failure to Handle Missing Value

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Page Last Updated: November 14, 2017