CWE-915: Improperly Controlled Modification of Dynamically-Determined Object Attributes
Weakness ID: 915
Abstraction: Base Structure: Simple
The software receives input from an upstream component that specifies multiple attributes, properties, or fields that are to be initialized or updated in an object, but it does not properly control which attributes can be modified.
If the object contains attributes that were only intended for internal use, then their unexpected modification could lead to a vulnerability.
This weakness is sometimes known by the language-specific mechanisms that make it possible, such as mass assignment, autobinding, or object injection.
"Mass assignment" is the name of a feature in Ruby on Rails that allows simultaneous modification of multiple object attributes.
The "Autobinding" term is used in frameworks such as Spring MVC and ASP.NET MVC.
This term seems to be preferred by some PHP application researchers who attack unsafe use of the unserialize() function.
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)
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.
Architecture and Design
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.
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: Modify Application Data
An attacker could modify sensitive data or program variables.
Technical Impact: Execute Unauthorized Code or Commands
Technical Impact: Varies by Context; Alter Execution Logic
Media library allows deserialization of objects by untrusted Java applets, leading to arbitrary code execution.
If available, use features of the language or framework that allow specification of whitelists of attributes or fields that are allowed to be modified. If possible, prefer whitelists over black lists.
For applications written with Ruby on Rails, use the attr_accessible (whitelist) or attr_protected (blacklist) macros in each class that may be used in mass assignment.
Phases: Architecture and Design; Implementation
If available, use the signing/sealing features of the programming language to assure that deserialized data has not been tainted. For example, a hash-based message authentication code (HMAC) could be used to ensure that data has not been modified.
Strategy: Input Validation
For any externally-influenced input, check the input against a white list of internal object attributes or fields that are allowed to be modified.
Phases: Implementation; Architecture and Design
Refactor the code so that object attributes or fields do not need to be dynamically identified, and only expose getter/setter functionality for the intended attributes.
(where the weakness exists independent of other weaknesses)
The relationships between CWE-502 and CWE-915 need further exploration. CWE-915 is more narrowly scoped to object modification, and is not necessarily used for deserialization.