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-393: Return of Wrong Status Code

Weakness ID: 393
Abstraction: Base
Structure: Simple
Status: Draft
Presentation Filter:
+ Description
A function or operation returns an incorrect return value or status code that does not indicate an error, but causes the product to modify its behavior based on the incorrect result.
+ Extended Description
This can lead to unpredictable behavior. If the function is used to make security-critical decisions or provide security-critical information, then the wrong status code can cause the software to assume that an action is safe, even when it is not.
+ 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)
NatureTypeIDName
MemberOfCategoryCategory389Error Conditions, Return Values, Status Codes
+ 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
Architecture and Design
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

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.

ScopeImpactLikelihood
Integrity
Other

Technical Impact: Unexpected State; Alter Execution Logic

This weakness could place the system in a state that could lead unexpected logic to be executed or other unintended behaviors.
+ Demonstrative Examples

Example 1

In the following example, an HTTP 404 status code is returned in the event of an IOException encountered in a Java servlet. A 404 code is typically meant to indicate a non-existent resource and would be somewhat misleading in this case.

(bad code)
Example Language: Java 
try {
// something that might throw IOException
...

} catch (IOException ioe) {
response.sendError(SC_NOT_FOUND);

}
+ Observed Examples
ReferenceDescription
DNS server returns wrong response code for non-existent AAAA record, which effectively says that the domain is inaccessible.
Hardware-specific implementation of system call causes incorrect results from geteuid.
System call returns wrong value, leading to a resultant NULL dereference.
chain: incorrect "goto" in Apple SSL product bypasses certificate validation, allowing man-in-the-middle attack (Apple "goto fail" bug). CWE-705 (Incorrect Control Flow Scoping) -> CWE-561 (Dead Code) -> CWE-295 (Improper Certificate Validation) -> CWE-393 (Return of Wrong Status Code) -> CWE-300 (Channel Accessible by Non-Endpoint ('Man-in-the-Middle')).
+ 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.
NatureTypeIDName
MemberOfViewView884CWE Cross-section
MemberOfCategoryCategory961SFP Secondary Cluster: Incorrect Exception Behavior
+ Notes

Maintenance

This probably overlaps various categories, especially those related to error handling.

Relationship

This can be primary or resultant, but it is probably most often primary to other issues.
+ Taxonomy Mappings
Mapped Taxonomy NameNode IDFitMapped Node Name
PLOVERWrong Status Code
Software Fault PatternsSFP6Incorrect Exception Behavior
+ Content History
Submissions
Submission DateSubmitterOrganization
PLOVER
Modifications
Modification DateModifierOrganization
2008-07-01Sean EidemillerCigital
added/updated demonstrative examples
2008-07-01Eric DalciCigital
updated Time_of_Introduction
2008-09-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Maintenance_Notes, Relationships, Other_Notes, Taxonomy_Mappings
2008-10-14CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Description
2009-03-10CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2010-02-16CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Other_Notes, Relationship_Notes
2011-06-01CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences
2011-06-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences
2012-05-11CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences, Relationships
2014-06-23CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Observed_Examples
2014-07-30CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2017-11-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Applicable_Platforms
Previous Entry Names
Change DatePrevious Entry Name
2008-04-11Wrong Status Code

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Page Last Updated: January 18, 2018