CWE

Common Weakness Enumeration

A Community-Developed List of Software Weakness Types

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ID

CWE-482: Comparing instead of Assigning

Weakness ID: 482
Abstraction: Variant
Structure: Simple
Status: Draft
Presentation Filter:
+ Description
The code uses an operator for comparison when the intention was to perform an assignment.
+ Extended Description
In many languages, the compare statement is very close in appearance to the assignment statement; they are often confused.
+ 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
ChildOfBaseBase - a weakness that is described in an abstract fashion, but with sufficient details to infer specific methods for detection and prevention. More general than a Variant weakness, but more specific than a Class weakness.480Use of Incorrect Operator
+ Relevant to the view "Development Concepts" (CWE-699)
NatureTypeIDName
ChildOfBaseBase - a weakness that is described in an abstract fashion, but with sufficient details to infer specific methods for detection and prevention. More general than a Variant weakness, but more specific than a Class weakness.480Use of Incorrect Operator
+ 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
ImplementationThis bug primarily originates from a typo.
+ 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)

+ 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
Availability
Integrity

Technical Impact: Unexpected State

The assignment will not take place, which should cause obvious program execution problems.
+ Likelihood Of Exploit
Low
+ Demonstrative Examples

Example 1

The following example demonstrates the weakness.

(bad code)
Example Language: Java 
void called(int foo) {
foo==1;
if (foo==1) System.out.println("foo\n");
}
int main() {

called(2);
return 0;
}

Example 2

The following C/C++ example shows a simple implementation of a stack that includes methods for adding and removing integer values from the stack. The example uses pointers to add and remove integer values to the stack array variable.

(bad code)
Example Language:
#define SIZE 50
int *tos, *p1, stack[SIZE];

void push(int i) {
p1++;
if(p1==(tos+SIZE)) {

// Print stack overflow error message and exit
}
*p1 == i;
}

int pop(void) {
if(p1==tos) {

// Print stack underflow error message and exit
}
p1--;
return *(p1+1);
}

int main(int argc, char *argv[]) {

// initialize tos and p1 to point to the top of stack
tos = stack;
p1 = stack;
// code to add and remove items from stack
...
return 0;
}

The push method includes an expression to assign the integer value to the location in the stack pointed to by the pointer variable.

However, this expression uses the comparison operator "==" rather than the assignment operator "=". The result of using the comparison operator instead of the assignment operator causes erroneous values to be entered into the stack and can cause unexpected results.

+ Potential Mitigations

Phase: Testing

Many IDEs and static analysis products will detect this problem.
+ 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
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.747CERT C Secure Coding (2008 Version) Section 49 - Miscellaneous (MSC)
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.883CERT C++ Secure Coding Section 49 - Miscellaneous (MSC)
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.886SFP Primary Cluster: Unused entities
+ Taxonomy Mappings
Mapped Taxonomy NameNode IDFitMapped Node Name
CLASPComparing instead of assigning
Software Fault PatternsSFP2Unused Entities
+ References
[REF-62] Mark Dowd, John McDonald and Justin Schuh. "The Art of Software Security Assessment". Chapter 6, "Typos", Page 289. 1st Edition. Addison Wesley. 2006.
+ 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, Description, Relationships, Other_Notes, Taxonomy_Mappings
2008-11-24CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2009-07-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences, Modes_of_Introduction
2009-10-29CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated 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 References, Relationships
2012-10-30CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Demonstrative_Examples, Potential_Mitigations
2014-07-30CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Taxonomy_Mappings
2017-01-19CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2017-11-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Demonstrative_Examples, Taxonomy_Mappings

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Page Last Updated: March 29, 2018