Common Weakness Enumeration

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CWE-628: Function Call with Incorrectly Specified Arguments

Weakness ID: 628
Abstraction: Base
Structure: Simple
Status: Draft
Presentation Filter:
+ Description
The product calls a function, procedure, or routine with arguments that are not correctly specified, leading to always-incorrect behavior and resultant weaknesses.
+ Extended Description

There are multiple ways in which this weakness can be introduced, including:

  • the wrong variable or reference;
  • an incorrect number of arguments;
  • incorrect order of arguments;
  • wrong type of arguments; or
  • wrong value.
+ 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.

+ 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.

+ 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.


Class: Language-Independent (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.

Access Control

Technical Impact: Quality Degradation; Gain Privileges or Assume Identity

This weakness can cause unintended behavior and can lead to additional weaknesses such as allowing an attacker to gain unintended access to system resources.
+ Demonstrative Examples

Example 1

The following PHP method authenticates a user given a username/password combination but is called with the parameters in reverse order.

(bad code)
Example Language: PHP 
function authenticate($username, $password) {
// authenticate user


authenticate($_POST['password'], $_POST['username']);

Example 2

This Perl code intends to record whether a user authenticated successfully or not, and to exit if the user fails to authenticate. However, when it calls ReportAuth(), the third argument is specified as 0 instead of 1, so it does not exit.

(bad code)
Example Language: Perl 
sub ReportAuth {
my ($username, $result, $fatal) = @_;
PrintLog("auth: username=%s, result=%d", $username, $result);
if (($result ne "success") && $fatal) {
die "Failed!\n";



sub PrivilegedFunc
my $result = CheckAuth($username);
ReportAuth($username, $result, 0);


Example 3

In the following Java snippet, the accessGranted() method is accidentally called with the static ADMIN_ROLES array rather than the user roles.

(bad code)
Example Language: Java 
private static final String[] ADMIN_ROLES = ...;
public boolean void accessGranted(String resource, String user) {
String[] userRoles = getUserRoles(user);
return accessGranted(resource, ADMIN_ROLES);


private boolean void accessGranted(String resource, String[] userRoles) {
// grant or deny access based on user roles

+ Observed Examples
The method calls the functions with the wrong argument order, which allows remote attackers to bypass intended access restrictions.
+ Potential Mitigations

Phase: Build and Compilation

Once found, these issues are easy to fix. Use code inspection tools and relevant compiler features to identify potential violations. Pay special attention to code that is not likely to be exercised heavily during QA.

Phase: Architecture and Design

Make sure your API's are stable before you use them in production code.
+ Weakness Ordinalities
+ Detection Methods


Since these bugs typically introduce obviously incorrect behavior, they are found quickly, unless they occur in rarely-tested code paths. Managing the correct number of arguments can be made more difficult in cases where format strings are used, or when variable numbers of arguments are supported.
+ 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 CodingDCL10-CMaintain the contract between the writer and caller of variadic functions
CERT C Secure CodingEXP37-CCWE More AbstractCall functions with the correct number and type of arguments
CERT Perl Secure CodingDCL00-PLCWE More AbstractDo not use subroutine prototypes
CERT Perl Secure CodingEXP33-PLImpreciseDo not invoke a function in a context for which it is not defined
+ Content History
Modification DateModifierOrganization
2008-09-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Description, Relationships, Other_Notes, Weakness_Ordinalities
2008-11-24CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2009-10-29CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Detection_Factors, Other_Notes, Weakness_Ordinalities
2010-02-16CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Detection_Factors
2010-06-21CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Description
2011-06-01CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences
2011-06-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences
2012-05-11CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences, Demonstrative_Examples, Relationships
2012-10-30CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Potential_Mitigations
2014-07-30CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2017-11-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Applicable_Platforms, Taxonomy_Mappings
Previous Entry Names
Change DatePrevious Entry Name
2008-04-11Incorrectly Specified Arguments

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Page Last Updated: January 18, 2018