Common Weakness Enumeration

A Community-Developed List of Software Weakness Types

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CWE-587: Assignment of a Fixed Address to a Pointer

Weakness ID: 587
Abstraction: Base
Structure: Simple
Status: Draft
Presentation Filter:
+ Description
The software sets a pointer to a specific address other than NULL or 0.
+ Extended Description
Using a fixed address is not portable because that address will probably not be valid in all environments or platforms.
+ 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)
MemberOfCategoryCategory465Pointer 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.

Architecture and Design
+ 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.


C (Undetermined Prevalence)

C++ (Undetermined Prevalence)

C# (Undetermined Prevalence)

Class: Assembly (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.


Technical Impact: Execute Unauthorized Code or Commands

If one executes code at a known location, an attacker might be able to inject code there beforehand.

Technical Impact: DoS: Crash, Exit, or Restart

If the code is ported to another platform or environment, the pointer is likely to be invalid and cause a crash.

Technical Impact: Read Memory; Modify Memory

The data at a known pointer location can be easily read or influenced by an attacker.
+ Demonstrative Examples

Example 1

This code assumes a particular function will always be found at a particular address. It assigns a pointer to that address and calls the function.

(bad code)
Example Language:
int (*pt2Function) (float, char, char)=0x08040000;
int result2 = (*pt2Function) (12, 'a', 'b');
// Here we can inject code to execute.

The same function may not always be found at the same memory address. This could lead to a crash, or an attacker may alter the memory at the expected address, leading to arbitrary code execution.

+ Potential Mitigations

Phase: Implementation

Never set a pointer to a fixed address.
+ Weakness Ordinalities
(where the weakness exists independent of other weaknesses)
+ 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
CERT C Secure CodingINT36-CImpreciseConverting a pointer to integer or integer to pointer
Software Fault PatternsSFP1Glitch in computation
+ Content History
Modification DateModifierOrganization
2008-07-01Eric DalciCigital
updated Time_of_Introduction
2008-08-01KDM Analytics
added/updated white box definitions
2008-09-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Applicable_Platforms, Description, Relationships, Other_Notes, Weakness_Ordinalities
2008-11-24CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2009-03-10CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2009-07-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences, Description, Other_Notes
2011-06-01CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences
2011-09-13CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2012-05-11CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Demonstrative_Examples, Relationships
2014-07-30CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2017-11-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Applicable_Platforms, Taxonomy_Mappings, White_Box_Definitions

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Page Last Updated: January 18, 2018