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-455: Non-exit on Failed Initialization

Weakness ID: 455
Abstraction: Base
Structure: Simple
Status: Draft
Presentation Filter:
+ Description
The software does not exit or otherwise modify its operation when security-relevant errors occur during initialization, such as when a configuration file has a format error, which can cause the software to execute in a less secure fashion than intended by the administrator.
+ 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
ChildOfClassClass636Not Failing Securely ('Failing Open')
ChildOfClassClass665Improper Initialization
ChildOfClassClass705Incorrect Control Flow Scoping
+ Relevant to the view "Development Concepts" (CWE-699)
NatureTypeIDName
MemberOfCategoryCategory452Initialization and Cleanup Errors
+ 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: Modify Application Data; Alter Execution Logic

The application could be placed in an insecure state that may allow an attacker to modify sensitive data or allow unintended logic to be executed.
+ Demonstrative Examples

Example 1

The following code intends to limit certain operations to the administrator only.

(bad code)
Example Language: Perl 
$username = GetCurrentUser();
$state = GetStateData($username);
if (defined($state)) {
$uid = ExtractUserID($state);

}
# do stuff

if ($uid == 0) {
DoAdminThings();

}

If the application is unable to extract the state information - say, due to a database timeout - then the $uid variable will not be explicitly set by the programmer. This will cause $uid to be regarded as equivalent to "0" in the conditional, allowing the original user to perform administrator actions. Even if the attacker cannot directly influence the state data, unexpected errors could cause incorrect privileges to be assigned to a user just by accident.

+ Observed Examples
ReferenceDescription
Product does not trigger a fatal error if missing or invalid ACLs are in a configuration file.
+ Potential Mitigations

Phase: Implementation

Follow the principle of failing securely when an error occurs. The system should enter a state where it is not vulnerable and will not display sensitive error messages to a potential attacker.
+ 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

Research Gap

Under-studied. These issues are not frequently reported, and it is difficult to find published examples.
+ Taxonomy Mappings
Mapped Taxonomy NameNode IDFitMapped Node Name
PLOVERNon-exit on Failed Initialization
+ Content History
Submissions
Submission DateSubmitterOrganization
PLOVER
Modifications
Modification DateModifierOrganization
2008-07-01Eric DalciCigital
updated Time_of_Introduction
2008-09-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2011-06-01CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences
2012-05-11CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences, Demonstrative_Examples, Relationships
2012-10-30CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Potential_Mitigations
2014-07-30CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2017-11-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Applicable_Platforms

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Page Last Updated: January 18, 2018