Common Weakness Enumeration

A Community-Developed List of Software Weakness Types

CWE/SANS Top 25 Most Dangerous Software Errors
Home > CWE List > CWE- Individual Dictionary Definition (3.0)  

CWE-368: Context Switching Race Condition

Weakness ID: 368
Abstraction: Base
Structure: Simple
Status: Draft
Presentation Filter:
+ Description
A product performs a series of non-atomic actions to switch between contexts that cross privilege or other security boundaries, but a race condition allows an attacker to modify or misrepresent the product's behavior during the switch.
+ Extended Description
This is commonly seen in web browser vulnerabilities in which the attacker can perform certain actions while the browser is transitioning from a trusted to an untrusted domain, or vice versa, and the browser performs the actions on one domain using the trust level and resources of the other domain.
+ 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)
+ Relevant to the view "Development Concepts" (CWE-699)
+ 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.

Architecture and Design
+ 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.


Class: Language-Independent (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.


Technical Impact: Modify Application Data; Read Application Data

+ Observed Examples
Chain: race condition (CWE-362) from improper handling of a page transition in web client while an applet is loading (CWE-368) leads to use after free (CWE-416)
Browser updates address bar as soon as user clicks on a link instead of when the page has loaded, allowing spoofing by redirecting to another page using onUnload method. ** this is one example of the role of "hooks" and context switches, and should be captured somehow - also a race condition of sorts **
XSS when web browser executes Javascript events in the context of a new page while it's being loaded, allowing interaction with previous page in different domain.
Web browser fills in address bar of clicked-on link before page has been loaded, and doesn't update afterward.
+ Weakness Ordinalities
+ 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.
MemberOfCategoryCategory986SFP Secondary Cluster: Missing Lock
+ Notes


Can overlap signal handler race conditions.

Research Gap

Under-studied as a concept. Frequency unknown; few vulnerability reports give enough detail to know when a context switching race condition is a factor.
+ Taxonomy Mappings
Mapped Taxonomy NameNode IDFitMapped Node Name
PLOVERContext Switching Race Condition
+ References
[REF-44] Michael Howard, David LeBlanc and John Viega. "24 Deadly Sins of Software Security". "Sin 13: Race Conditions." Page 205. McGraw-Hill. 2010.
+ Content History
Submission DateSubmitterOrganization
Modification DateModifierOrganization
2008-07-01Eric DalciCigital
updated Time_of_Introduction
2008-09-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships, Other_Notes, Taxonomy_Mappings
2009-07-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Description, Other_Notes, Relationship_Notes, Weakness_Ordinalities
2010-12-13CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Observed_Examples
2011-06-01CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences
2012-05-11CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated References, Relationships
2014-07-30CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2017-11-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Applicable_Platforms

More information is available — Please select a different filter.
Page Last Updated: January 18, 2018