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-733: Compiler Optimization Removal or Modification of Security-critical Code

Weakness ID: 733
Abstraction: Base
Structure: Simple
Status: Incomplete
Presentation Filter:
+ Description
The developer builds a security-critical protection mechanism into the software, but the compiler optimizes the program such that the mechanism is removed or modified.
+ 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)
NatureTypeIDName
ChildOfClassClass - a weakness that is described in a very abstract fashion, typically independent of any specific language or technology. More general than a Base weakness.1038Insecure Automated Optimizations
ParentOfVariantVariant - a weakness that is described at a very low level of detail, typically limited to a specific language or technology. More specific than a Base weakness.14Compiler Removal of Code to Clear Buffers
+ Relevant to the view "Development Concepts" (CWE-699)
NatureTypeIDName
ChildOfClassClass - a weakness that is described in a very abstract fashion, typically independent of any specific language or technology. More general than a Base weakness.1038Insecure Automated Optimizations
ParentOfVariantVariant - a weakness that is described at a very low level of detail, typically limited to a specific language or technology. More specific than a Base weakness.14Compiler Removal of Code to Clear Buffers
+ 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

C (Often Prevalent)

C++ (Often Prevalent)

Class: Compiled (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
Access Control
Other

Technical Impact: Bypass Protection Mechanism; Other

+ Observed Examples
ReferenceDescription
C compiler optimization, as allowed by specifications, removes code that is used to perform checks to detect integer overflows.
+ Detection Methods

Black Box

This specific weakness is impossible to detect using black box methods. While an analyst could examine memory to see that it has not been scrubbed, an analysis of the executable would not be successful. This is because the compiler has already removed the relevant code. Only the source code shows whether the programmer intended to clear the memory or not, so this weakness is indistinguishable from others.

White Box

This weakness is only detectable using white box methods (see black box detection factor). Careful analysis is required to determine if the code is likely to be removed by the compiler.
+ 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
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.976SFP Secondary Cluster: Compiler
+ References
[REF-7] Michael Howard and David LeBlanc. "Writing Secure Code". Chapter 9, "A Compiler Optimization Caveat" Page 322. 2nd Edition. Microsoft Press. 2002-12-04. <https://www.microsoftpressstore.com/store/writing-secure-code-9780735617223>.
+ Content History
Submissions
Submission DateSubmitterOrganization
2008-10-01CWE Content TeamMITRE
new weakness-focused entry for Research view closes the gap between 14 and 435.
Modifications
Modification DateModifierOrganization
2008-11-24CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Detection_Factors
2009-03-10CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Applicable_Platforms, Observed_Examples, Related_Attack_Patterns, Relationships
2010-02-16CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated References
2011-06-01CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences
2012-05-11CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2014-07-30CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2017-01-19CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2017-11-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated References, Relationships
2018-03-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated References, Relationships

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Page Last Updated: March 29, 2018