Common Weakness Enumeration

A Community-Developed List of Software Weakness Types

CWE/SANS Top 25 Most Dangerous Software Errors
Home > CWE List > CWE- Individual Dictionary Definition (3.0)  

CWE-826: Premature Release of Resource During Expected Lifetime

Weakness ID: 826
Abstraction: Base
Structure: Simple
Status: Incomplete
Presentation Filter:
+ Description
The program releases a resource that is still intended to be used by the program itself or another actor.
+ Extended Description

This weakness focuses on errors in which the program should not release a resource, but performs the release anyway. This is different than a weakness in which the program releases a resource at the appropriate time, but it maintains a reference to the resource, which it later accesses. For this weaknesses, the resource should still be valid upon the subsequent access.

When a program releases a resource that is still being used, it is possible that operations will still be taken on this resource, which may have been repurposed in the meantime, leading to issues similar to CWE-825. Consequences may include denial of service, information exposure, or 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 "Research Concepts" (CWE-1000)
+ Relevant to the view "Development Concepts" (CWE-699)
+ 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.


Technical Impact: Read Application Data; Read Memory

If the released resource is subsequently reused or reallocated, then a read operation on the original resource might access sensitive data that is associated with a different user or entity.

Technical Impact: DoS: Crash, Exit, or Restart

When the resource is released, the software might modify some of its structure, or close associated channels (such as a file descriptor). When the software later accesses the resource as if it is valid, the resource might not be in an expected state, leading to resultant errors that may lead to a crash.

Technical Impact: Execute Unauthorized Code or Commands; Modify Application Data; Modify Memory

When the resource is released, the software might modify some of its structure. This might affect program logic in the sections of code that still assume the resource is active. If the released resource is related to memory and is used in a function call, or points to unexpected data in a write operation, then code execution may be possible upon subsequent accesses.
+ Observed Examples
chain: race condition might allow resource to be released before operating on it, leading to NULL dereference
+ Notes

Research Gap

Under-studied and under-reported as of September 2010. This weakness has been reported in high-visibility software, although the focus has been primarily on memory allocation and de-allocation. There are very few examples of this weakness that are not directly related to memory management, although such weaknesses are likely to occur in real-world software for other types of resources.
+ Content History
Submission DateSubmitterOrganization
2010-09-22CWE Content TeamMITRE
Modification DateModifierOrganization
2011-06-01CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences

More information is available — Please select a different filter.
Page Last Updated: January 18, 2018