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-688: Function Call With Incorrect Variable or Reference as Argument

Weakness ID: 688
Abstraction: Variant
Status: Draft
Presentation Filter:
+ Description

Description Summary

The software calls a function, procedure, or routine, but the caller specifies the wrong variable or reference as one of the arguments, which may lead to undefined behavior and resultant weaknesses.
+ Time of Introduction
  • Implementation
+ Applicable Platforms

Languages

C

Perl

+ Modes of Introduction

This problem typically occurs when the programmer makes a typo, or copy and paste errors.

+ Common Consequences
ScopeEffect
Other

Technical Impact: Quality degradation

+ Detection Methods

Other

While this weakness might be caught by the compiler in some languages, it can occur more frequently in cases in which the called function accepts variable numbers of arguments, such as format strings in C. It also can occur in loosely typed languages or environments. This might require an understanding of intended program behavior or design to determine whether the value is incorrect.

+ Demonstrative Examples

Example 1

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
ReferenceDescription
Kernel code specifies the wrong variable in first argument, leading to resultant NULL pointer dereference.
+ Potential Mitigations

Phase: Testing

Because this function call often produces incorrect behavior it will usually be detected during testing or normal operation of the software. During testing exercise all possible control paths will typically expose this weakness except in rare cases when the incorrect function call accidentally produces the correct results or if the provided argument type is very similar to the expected argument type.

+ Weakness Ordinalities
OrdinalityDescription
Primary
(where the weakness exists independent of other weaknesses)
+ Relationships
NatureTypeIDNameView(s) this relationship pertains toView(s)
ChildOfWeakness BaseWeakness Base628Function Call with Incorrectly Specified Arguments
Development Concepts (primary)699
Research Concepts (primary)1000
ChildOfCategoryCategory998SFP Secondary Cluster: Glitch in Computation
Software Fault Pattern (SFP) Clusters (primary)888
+ Content History
Modifications
Modification DateModifierOrganizationSource
2008-07-01Sean EidemillerCigitalExternal
added/updated demonstrative examples
2008-07-01Eric DalciCigitalExternal
updated Potential_Mitigations
2008-09-08CWE Content TeamMITREInternal
updated Applicable_Platforms, Detection_Factors, Relationships, Other_Notes, Weakness_Ordinalities
2009-05-27CWE Content TeamMITREInternal
updated Description
2009-10-29CWE Content TeamMITREInternal
updated Modes_of_Introduction, Other_Notes, Potential_Mitigations
2010-02-16CWE Content TeamMITREInternal
updated Detection_Factors
2011-06-01CWE Content TeamMITREInternal
updated Common_Consequences
2011-06-27CWE Content TeamMITREInternal
updated Common_Consequences
2012-05-11CWE Content TeamMITREInternal
updated Demonstrative_Examples, Relationships
2012-10-30CWE Content TeamMITREInternal
updated Potential_Mitigations
2014-07-30CWE Content TeamMITREInternal
updated Relationships

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Page Last Updated: May 05, 2017