Common Weakness Enumeration

A Community-Developed List of Software Weakness Types

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CWE-594: J2EE Framework: Saving Unserializable Objects to Disk

Weakness ID: 594
Abstraction: Variant
Structure: Simple
Status: Incomplete
Presentation Filter:
+ Description
When the J2EE container attempts to write unserializable objects to disk there is no guarantee that the process will complete successfully.
+ Extended Description
In heavy load conditions, most J2EE application frameworks flush objects to disk to manage memory requirements of incoming requests. For example, session scoped objects, and even application scoped objects, are written to disk when required. While these application frameworks do the real work of writing objects to disk, they do not enforce that those objects be serializable, thus leaving the web application vulnerable to crashes induced by serialization failure. An attacker may be able to mount a denial of service attack by sending enough requests to the server to force the web application to save objects to disk.
+ 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)
ChildOfClassClass710Improper Adherence to Coding Standards
+ Relevant to the view "Development Concepts" (CWE-699)
MemberOfCategoryCategory1006Bad Coding Practices
+ 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.


Java (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: Modify Application Data

Data represented by unserializable objects can be corrupted.

Technical Impact: DoS: Crash, Exit, or Restart

Non-serializability of objects can lead to system crash.
+ Demonstrative Examples

Example 1

In the following Java example, a Customer Entity JavaBean provides access to customer information in a database for a business application. The Customer Entity JavaBean is used as a session scoped object to return customer information to a Session EJB.

(bad code)
Example Language: Java 
public class Customer {
private String id;
private String firstName;
private String lastName;
private Address address;

public Customer() {

public Customer(String id, String firstName, String lastName) {...}

public String getCustomerId() {...}

public void setCustomerId(String id) {...}

public String getFirstName() {...}

public void setFirstName(String firstName) {...}

public String getLastName() {...}

public void setLastName(String lastName) {...}

public Address getAddress() {...}

public void setAddress(Address address) {...}


However, the Customer Entity JavaBean is an unserialized object which can cause serialization failure and crash the application when the J2EE container attempts to write the object to the system. Session scoped objects must implement the Serializable interface to ensure that the objects serialize properly.

(good code)
Example Language: Java 
public class Customer implements Serializable {...}
+ Potential Mitigations

Phases: Architecture and Design; Implementation

All objects that become part of session and application scope must implement the interface to ensure serializability of containing objects.
+ 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.
MemberOfCategoryCategory998SFP Secondary Cluster: Glitch in Computation
+ Taxonomy Mappings
Mapped Taxonomy NameNode IDFitMapped Node Name
Software Fault PatternsSFP1Glitch in computation
+ Content History
Modification DateModifierOrganization
2008-07-01Eric DalciCigital
updated Time_of_Introduction
2008-09-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences, Relationships, Other_Notes
2010-02-16CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Demonstrative_Examples
2011-06-01CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences
2012-05-11CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2012-10-30CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Potential_Mitigations
2014-06-23CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Description, Other_Notes
2014-07-30CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2017-11-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
Previous Entry Names
Change DatePrevious Entry Name
2008-04-11Persistence in J2EE Frameworks

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Page Last Updated: January 18, 2018