Common Weakness Enumeration

A Community-Developed List of Software Weakness Types

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CWE-585: Empty Synchronized Block

Weakness ID: 585
Abstraction: Variant
Status: Draft
Presentation Filter:
+ Description

Description Summary

The software contains an empty synchronized block.

Extended Description

An empty synchronized block does not actually accomplish any synchronization and may indicate a troubled section of code. An empty synchronized block can occur because code no longer needed within the synchronized block is commented out without removing the synchronized block.

+ Time of Introduction
  • Implementation
+ Applicable Platforms



+ Common Consequences

Technical Impact: Other

An empty synchronized block will wait until nobody else is using the synchronizer being specified. While this may be part of the desired behavior, because you haven't protected the subsequent code by placing it inside the synchronized block, nothing is stopping somebody else from modifying whatever it was you were waiting for while you run the subsequent code.

+ Demonstrative Examples

Example 1

The following code attempts to synchronize on an object, but does not execute anything in the synchronized block. This does not actually accomplish anything and may be a sign that a programmer is wrestling with synchronization but has not yet achieved the result they intend.

(Bad Code)
Example Language: Java 
synchronized(this) { }

Instead, in a correct usage, the synchronized statement should contain procedures that access or modify data that is exposed to multiple threads. For example, consider a scenario in which several threads are accessing student records at the same time. The method which sets the student ID to a new value will need to make sure that nobody else is accessing this data at the same time and will require synchronization.

(Good Code)
public void setID(int ID){
this.ID = ID;
+ Potential Mitigations

Phase: Implementation

When you come across an empty synchronized statement, or a synchronized statement in which the code has been commented out, try to determine what the original intentions were and whether or not the synchronized block is still necessary.

+ Relationships
NatureTypeIDNameView(s) this relationship pertains toView(s)
ChildOfCategoryCategory371State Issues
Development Concepts699
ChildOfWeakness ClassWeakness Class398Indicator of Poor Code Quality
Development Concepts (primary)699
Research Concepts (primary)1000
ChildOfCategoryCategory987SFP Secondary Cluster: Multiple Locks/Unlocks
Software Fault Pattern (SFP) Clusters (primary)888
+ Taxonomy Mappings
Mapped Taxonomy NameNode IDFitMapped Node Name
Software Fault PatternsSFP21Multiple locks/unlocks
+ References
"Intrinsic Locks and Synchronization (in Java)". <>.
+ Content History
Modification DateModifierOrganizationSource
2008-07-01Eric DalciCigitalExternal
updated Potential_Mitigations, Time_of_Introduction
2008-09-08CWE Content TeamMITREInternal
updated Relationships, Other_Notes
2009-05-27CWE Content TeamMITREInternal
updated Common_Consequences, Demonstrative_Examples, Description, Other_Notes, Potential_Mitigations, References
2011-06-01CWE Content TeamMITREInternal
updated Common_Consequences
2012-05-11CWE Content TeamMITREInternal
updated Relationships
2014-07-30CWE Content TeamMITREInternal
updated Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings

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Page Last Updated: January 18, 2017