CWE

Common Weakness Enumeration

A Community-Developed List of Software Weakness Types

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ID

CWE-682: Incorrect Calculation

Weakness ID: 682
Abstraction: Class
Structure: Simple
Status: Draft
Presentation Filter:
+ Description
The software performs a calculation that generates incorrect or unintended results that are later used in security-critical decisions or resource management.
+ Extended Description
When software performs a security-critical calculation incorrectly, it might lead to incorrect resource allocations, incorrect privilege assignments, or failed comparisons among other things. Many of the direct results of an incorrect calculation can lead to even larger problems such as failed protection mechanisms or even arbitrary code execution.
+ 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 "Weaknesses for Simplified Mapping of Published Vulnerabilities" (CWE-1003)
NatureTypeIDName
ParentOfBaseBase190Integer Overflow or Wraparound
ParentOfBaseBase191Integer Underflow (Wrap or Wraparound)
ParentOfBaseBase369Divide By Zero
+ Relevant to the view "Development Concepts" (CWE-699)
NatureTypeIDName
MemberOfCategoryCategory189Numeric Errors
ParentOfBaseBase128Wrap-around Error
ParentOfBaseBase131Incorrect Calculation of Buffer Size
ParentOfBaseBase190Integer Overflow or Wraparound
ParentOfBaseBase191Integer Underflow (Wrap or Wraparound)
ParentOfClassClass192Integer Coercion Error
ParentOfBaseBase193Off-by-one Error
ParentOfBaseBase369Divide By Zero
+ 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
+ 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.

Languages

(Language-Independent classes): (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.

ScopeImpactLikelihood
Availability

Technical Impact: DoS: Crash, Exit, or Restart

If the incorrect calculation causes the program to move into an unexpected state, it may lead to a crash or impairment of service.
Integrity
Confidentiality
Availability

Technical Impact: DoS: Crash, Exit, or Restart; DoS: Resource Consumption (Other); Execute Unauthorized Code or Commands

If the incorrect calculation is used in the context of resource allocation, it could lead to an out-of-bounds operation (CWE-119) leading to a crash or even arbitrary code execution. Alternatively, it may result in an integer overflow (CWE-190) and / or a resource consumption problem (CWE-400).
Access Control

Technical Impact: Gain Privileges or Assume Identity

In the context of privilege or permissions assignment, an incorrect calculation can provide an attacker with access to sensitive resources.
Access Control

Technical Impact: Bypass Protection Mechanism

If the incorrect calculation leads to an insufficient comparison (CWE-697), it may compromise a protection mechanism such as a validation routine and allow an attacker to bypass the security-critical code.
+ Likelihood Of Exploit
High
+ Demonstrative Examples

Example 1

The following image processing code allocates a table for images.

(bad)
Example Language:
img_t table_ptr; /*struct containing img data, 10kB each*/
int num_imgs;
...
num_imgs = get_num_imgs();
table_ptr = (img_t*)malloc(sizeof(img_t)*num_imgs);
...

This code intends to allocate a table of size num_imgs, however as num_imgs grows large, the calculation determining the size of the list will eventually overflow (CWE-190). This will result in a very small list to be allocated instead. If the subsequent code operates on the list as if it were num_imgs long, it may result in many types of out-of-bounds problems (CWE-119).

Example 2

This code attempts to calculate a football team's average number of yards gained per touchdown.

(bad)
Example Language: Java 
...
int touchdowns = team.getTouchdowns();
int yardsGained = team.getTotalYardage();
System.out.println(team.getName() + " averages " + yardsGained / touchdowns + "yards gained for every touchdown scored");
...

The code does not consider the event that the team they are querying has not scored a touchdown, but has gained yardage. In that case, we should expect an ArithmeticException to be thrown by the JVM. This could lead to a loss of availability if our error handling code is not set up correctly.

Example 3

This example attempts to calculate the position of the second byte of a pointer.

(bad)
Example Language:
int *p = x;
char * second_char = (char *)(p + 1);

In this example, second_char is intended to point to the second byte of p. But, adding 1 to p actually adds sizeof(int) to p, giving a result that is incorrect (3 bytes off on 32-bit platforms). If the resulting memory address is read, this could potentially be an information leak. If it is a write, it could be a security-critical write to unauthorized memory-- whether or not it is a buffer overflow. Note that the above code may also be wrong in other ways, particularly in a little endian environment.

+ Potential Mitigations

Phase: Implementation

Understand your programming language's underlying representation and how it interacts with numeric calculation. Pay close attention to byte size discrepancies, precision, signed/unsigned distinctions, truncation, conversion and casting between types, "not-a-number" calculations, and how your language handles numbers that are too large or too small for its underlying representation.

Phase: Implementation

Strategy: Input Validation

Perform input validation on any numeric input by ensuring that it is within the expected range. Enforce that the input meets both the minimum and maximum requirements for the expected range.

Phase: Implementation

Use the appropriate type for the desired action. For example, in C/C++, only use unsigned types for values that could never be negative, such as height, width, or other numbers related to quantity.

Phase: Architecture and Design

Strategy: Language Selection

Use languages, libraries, or frameworks that make it easier to handle numbers without unexpected consequences. Examples include safe integer handling packages such as SafeInt (C++) or IntegerLib (C or C++).

Phase: Architecture and Design

Strategy: Libraries or Frameworks

Use languages, libraries, or frameworks that make it easier to handle numbers without unexpected consequences. Examples include safe integer handling packages such as SafeInt (C++) or IntegerLib (C or C++).

Phase: Implementation

Strategy: Compilation or Build Hardening

Examine compiler warnings closely and eliminate problems with potential security implications, such as signed / unsigned mismatch in memory operations, or use of uninitialized variables. Even if the weakness is rarely exploitable, a single failure may lead to the compromise of the entire system.

Phase: Testing

Use automated static analysis tools that target this type of weakness. Many modern techniques use data flow analysis to minimize the number of false positives. This is not a perfect solution, since 100% accuracy and coverage are not feasible.

Phase: Testing

Use dynamic tools and techniques that interact with the software using large test suites with many diverse inputs, such as fuzz testing (fuzzing), robustness testing, and fault injection. The software's operation may slow down, but it should not become unstable, crash, or generate incorrect results.
+ Detection Methods

Manual Analysis

This weakness can be detected using tools and techniques that require manual (human) analysis, such as penetration testing, threat modeling, and interactive tools that allow the tester to record and modify an active session.

Specifically, manual static analysis is useful for evaluating the correctness of allocation calculations. This can be useful for detecting overflow conditions (CWE-190) or similar weaknesses that might have serious security impacts on the program.

Effectiveness: High

These may be more effective than strictly automated techniques. This is especially the case with weaknesses that are related to design and business rules.
+ 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 CodingFLP32-CCWE More AbstractPrevent or detect domain and range errors in math functions
CERT C Secure CodingINT07-CUse only explicitly signed or unsigned char type for numeric values
CERT C Secure CodingINT13-CUse bitwise operators only on unsigned operands
CERT C Secure CodingINT33-CCWE More AbstractEnsure that division and remainder operations do not result in divide-by-zero errors
CERT C Secure CodingINT34-CCWE More AbstractDo not shift an expression by a negative number of bits or by greater than or equal to the number of bits that exist in the operand
+ References
[REF-106] David LeBlanc and Niels Dekker. "SafeInt". <http://safeint.codeplex.com/>.
[REF-44] Michael Howard, David LeBlanc and John Viega. "24 Deadly Sins of Software Security". "Sin 7: Integer Overflows." Page 119. McGraw-Hill. 2010.
[REF-62] Mark Dowd, John McDonald and Justin Schuh. "The Art of Software Security Assessment". Chapter 6, "Signed Integer Boundaries", Page 220.. 1st Edition. Addison Wesley. 2006.
+ Content History
Submissions
Submission DateSubmitterOrganizationSource
CWE Content TeamMITRE
Modifications
Modification DateModifierOrganizationSource
2008-07-01Eric DalciCigital
updated Potential_Mitigations, Time_of_Introduction
2008-09-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2008-10-14CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Type
2008-11-24CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2009-01-12CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Applicable_Platforms, Common_Consequences, Demonstrative_Examples, Description, Likelihood_of_Exploit, Potential_Mitigations, Relationships
2009-03-10CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Potential_Mitigations
2009-05-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Demonstrative_Examples
2009-07-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Demonstrative_Examples, Related_Attack_Patterns
2009-10-29CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Demonstrative_Examples, Relationships
2010-02-16CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Potential_Mitigations
2010-04-05CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Detection_Factors, Potential_Mitigations, References
2010-06-21CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Potential_Mitigations
2010-09-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Potential_Mitigations
2011-03-29CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
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, References, Relationships
2014-02-18CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2014-07-30CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2015-12-07CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2017-01-19CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Applicable_Platforms
2017-11-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Taxonomy_Mappings

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Page Last Updated: November 14, 2017