Common Weakness Enumeration

A Community-Developed List of Software Weakness Types

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CWE-409: Improper Handling of Highly Compressed Data (Data Amplification)

Weakness ID: 409
Abstraction: Base
Structure: Simple
Status: Incomplete
Presentation Filter:
+ Description
The software does not handle or incorrectly handles a compressed input with a very high compression ratio that produces a large output.
+ Extended Description
An example of data amplification is a "decompression bomb," a small ZIP file that can produce a large amount of data when it is decompressed.
+ 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: DoS: Amplification; DoS: Crash, Exit, or Restart; DoS: Resource Consumption (CPU); DoS: Resource Consumption (Memory)

System resources, CPU and memory, can be quickly consumed. This can lead to poor system performance or system crash.
+ Demonstrative Examples

Example 1

The DTD and the very brief XML below illustrate what is meant by an XML bomb. The ZERO entity contains one character, the letter A. The choice of entity name ZERO is being used to indicate length equivalent to that exponent on two, that is, the length of ZERO is 2^0. Similarly, ONE refers to ZERO twice, therefore the XML parser will expand ONE to a length of 2, or 2^1. Ultimately, we reach entity THIRTYTWO, which will expand to 2^32 characters in length, or 4 GB, probably consuming far more data than expected.

(attack code)
Example Language: XML 
<?xml version="1.0"?>
<!DOCTYPE MaliciousDTD [
+ Observed Examples
XML bomb in web server module
Parsing library allows XML bomb
+ 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.
+ Taxonomy Mappings
Mapped Taxonomy NameNode IDFitMapped Node Name
PLOVERData Amplification
CERT Java Secure CodingIDS04-JLimit the size of files passed to ZipInputStream
+ Content History
Submission DateSubmitterOrganization
Modification DateModifierOrganization
2008-07-01Eric DalciCigital
updated Time_of_Introduction
2008-09-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2008-10-14CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Description
2009-05-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Description, Name
2009-07-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2011-06-01CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences, Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2012-05-11CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences, Demonstrative_Examples, Observed_Examples, Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2014-07-30CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2017-11-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Applicable_Platforms
Previous Entry Names
Change DatePrevious Entry Name
2008-04-11Data Amplification
2009-05-27Failure to Handle Highly Compressed Data (Data Amplification)

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Page Last Updated: January 18, 2018