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-462: Duplicate Key in Associative List (Alist)

Weakness ID: 462
Abstraction: Base
Structure: Simple
Status: Incomplete
Presentation Filter:
+ Description
Duplicate keys in associative lists can lead to non-unique keys being mistaken for an error.
+ Extended Description
A duplicate key entry -- if the alist is designed properly -- could be used as a constant time replace function. However, duplicate key entries could be inserted by mistake. Because of this ambiguity, duplicate key entries in an association list are not recommended and should not be allowed.
+ 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
MemberOfCategoryCategory461Data Structure Issues
+ 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

C (Undetermined Prevalence)

C++ (Undetermined Prevalence)

Java (Undetermined Prevalence)

C# (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
Other

Technical Impact: Quality Degradation; Varies by Context

+ Likelihood Of Exploit
Low
+ Demonstrative Examples

Example 1

The following code adds data to a list and then attempts to sort the data.

(bad code)
Example Language: Python 
alist = []
while (foo()): #now assume there is a string data with a key basename
queue.append(basename,data)
queue.sort()

Since basename is not necessarily unique, this may not sort how one would like it to be.

+ Potential Mitigations

Phase: Architecture and Design

Use a hash table instead of an alist.

Phase: Architecture and Design

Use an alist which checks the uniqueness of hash keys with each entry before inserting the entry.
+ 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
CLASPDuplicate key in associative list (alist)
CERT C Secure CodingENV02-CBeware of multiple environment variables with the same effective name
+ Content History
Submissions
Submission DateSubmitterOrganization
CLASP
Modifications
Modification DateModifierOrganization
2008-07-01Eric DalciCigital
updated Time_of_Introduction
2008-09-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Applicable_Platforms, Relationships, Other_Notes, Taxonomy_Mappings
2008-11-24CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2009-10-29CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Demonstrative_Examples, Description, Other_Notes
2011-06-01CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences
2011-06-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences
2011-09-13CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2012-05-11CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2014-07-30CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2017-11-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Taxonomy_Mappings

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Page Last Updated: January 18, 2018