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
Status: Draft
Presentation Filter:
+ Description

Description Summary

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.
+ Time of Introduction
  • Architecture and Design
  • Implementation
+ Applicable Platforms

Languages

All

+ Common Consequences
ScopeEffect
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.

+ Relationships
NatureTypeIDNameView(s) this relationship pertains toView(s)
ChildOfCategoryCategory452Initialization and Cleanup Errors
Development Concepts (primary)699
ChildOfWeakness ClassWeakness Class636Not Failing Securely ('Failing Open')
Research Concepts1000
ChildOfWeakness ClassWeakness Class665Improper Initialization
Research Concepts1000
ChildOfWeakness ClassWeakness Class705Incorrect Control Flow Scoping
Research Concepts (primary)1000
ChildOfCategoryCategory961SFP Secondary Cluster: Incorrect Exception Behavior
Software Fault Pattern (SFP) Clusters (primary)888
MemberOfViewView884CWE Cross-section
CWE Cross-section (primary)884
+ Research Gaps

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 DateSubmitterOrganizationSource
PLOVERExternally Mined
Modifications
Modification DateModifierOrganizationSource
2008-07-01Eric DalciCigitalExternal
updated Time_of_Introduction
2008-09-08CWE Content TeamMITREInternal
updated Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2011-06-01CWE Content TeamMITREInternal
updated Common_Consequences
2012-05-11CWE Content TeamMITREInternal
updated Common_Consequences, Demonstrative_Examples, Relationships
2012-10-30CWE Content TeamMITREInternal
updated Potential_Mitigations
2014-07-30CWE Content TeamMITREInternal
updated Relationships

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Page Last Updated: May 05, 2017