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ID

CWE-774: Allocation of File Descriptors or Handles Without Limits or Throttling

Weakness ID: 774
Abstraction: Variant
Status: Incomplete
Presentation Filter:
+ Description

Description Summary

The software allocates file descriptors or handles on behalf of an actor without imposing any restrictions on how many descriptors can be allocated, in violation of the intended security policy for that actor.

Extended Description

This can cause the software to consume all available file descriptors or handles, which can prevent other processes from performing critical file processing operations.

+ Time of Introduction
  • Architecture and Design
  • Implementation
+ Common Consequences
ScopeEffect
Availability

Technical Impact: DoS: resource consumption (other)

When allocating resources without limits, an attacker could prevent all other processes from accessing the same type of resource.

+ Likelihood of Exploit

Medium to High

+ Potential Mitigations

Phases: Operation; Architecture and Design

Strategy: Limit Resource Consumption

Use resource-limiting settings provided by the operating system or environment. For example, when managing system resources in POSIX, setrlimit() can be used to set limits for certain types of resources, and getrlimit() can determine how many resources are available. However, these functions are not available on all operating systems.

When the current levels get close to the maximum that is defined for the application (see CWE-770), then limit the allocation of further resources to privileged users; alternately, begin releasing resources for less-privileged users. While this mitigation may protect the system from attack, it will not necessarily stop attackers from adversely impacting other users.

Ensure that the application performs the appropriate error checks and error handling in case resources become unavailable (CWE-703).

+ Relationships
NatureTypeIDNameView(s) this relationship pertains toView(s)
ChildOfCategoryCategory769File Descriptor Exhaustion
Development Concepts (primary)699
Weaknesses for Simplified Mapping of Published Vulnerabilities (primary)1003
ChildOfWeakness BaseWeakness Base770Allocation of Resources Without Limits or Throttling
Research Concepts (primary)1000
ChildOfCategoryCategory985SFP Secondary Cluster: Unrestricted Consumption
Software Fault Pattern (SFP) Clusters (primary)888
+ Theoretical Notes

Vulnerability theory is largely about how behaviors and resources interact. "Resource exhaustion" can be regarded as either a consequence or an attack, depending on the perspective. This entry is an attempt to reflect one of the underlying weaknesses that enable these attacks (or consequences) to take place.

+ Taxonomy Mappings
Mapped Taxonomy NameNode IDFitMapped Node Name
Software Fault PatternsSFP13Unrestricted Consumption
+ References
[REF-7] Mark Dowd, John McDonald and Justin Schuh. "The Art of Software Security Assessment". Chapter 10, "Resource Limits", Page 574.. 1st Edition. Addison Wesley. 2006.
+ Content History
Submissions
Submission DateSubmitterOrganizationSource
2009-05-13Internal CWE Team
Modifications
Modification DateModifierOrganizationSource
2010-04-05CWE Content TeamMITREInternal
updated Potential_Mitigations
2011-06-01CWE Content TeamMITREInternal
updated Common_Consequences
2012-05-11CWE Content TeamMITREInternal
updated References, Relationships
2012-10-30CWE Content TeamMITREInternal
updated Potential_Mitigations
2014-07-30CWE Content TeamMITREInternal
updated Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2015-12-07CWE Content TeamMITREInternal
updated Relationships

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Page Last Updated: May 05, 2017