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-588: Attempt to Access Child of a Non-structure Pointer

Weakness ID: 588
Abstraction: Variant
Structure: Simple
Status: Incomplete
Presentation Filter:
+ Description
Casting a non-structure type to a structure type and accessing a field can lead to memory access errors or data corruption.
+ 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
MemberOfCategoryCategory465Pointer Issues
MemberOfCategoryCategory569Expression 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
+ 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
Integrity

Technical Impact: Modify Memory

Adjacent variables in memory may be corrupted by assignments performed on fields after the cast.
Availability

Technical Impact: DoS: Crash, Exit, or Restart

Execution may end due to a memory access error.
+ Demonstrative Examples

Example 1

The following example demonstrates the weakness.

(bad code)
Example Language:
struct foo
{
int i;

}
...
int main(int argc, char **argv)
{
*foo = (struct foo *)main;
foo->i = 2;
return foo->i;

}
+ Potential Mitigations

Phase: Requirements

The choice could be made to use a language that is not susceptible to these issues.

Phase: Implementation

Review of type casting operations can identify locations where incompatible types are cast.
+ 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
MemberOfCategoryCategory971SFP Secondary Cluster: Faulty Pointer Use
+ Taxonomy Mappings
Mapped Taxonomy NameNode IDFitMapped Node Name
Software Fault PatternsSFP7Faulty Pointer Use
+ Content History
Modifications
Modification DateModifierOrganization
2008-07-01Eric DalciCigital
updated Time_of_Introduction
2008-09-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships, Other_Notes
2009-03-10CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2009-07-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences, Other_Notes
2011-06-01CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences
2012-05-11CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2012-10-30CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Potential_Mitigations
2014-07-30CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2017-11-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Demonstrative_Examples

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Page Last Updated: January 18, 2018