CWE-99: Improper Control of Resource Identifiers ('Resource Injection')
Weakness ID: 99
The software receives input from an upstream component, but it does not restrict or incorrectly restricts the input before it is used as an identifier for a resource that may be outside the intended sphere of control.
A resource injection issue occurs when the following two conditions are met:
An attacker can specify the identifier used to access a system resource. For example, an attacker might be able to specify part of the name of a file to be opened or a port number to be used.
By specifying the resource, the attacker gains a capability that would not otherwise be permitted. For example, the program may give the attacker the ability to overwrite the specified file, run with a configuration controlled by the attacker, or transmit sensitive information to a third-party server.
This may enable an attacker to access or modify otherwise protected system resources.
Insecure Direct Object Reference:
OWASP uses this term, although it is effectively the same as resource
Time of Introduction
Architecture and Design
Technical Impact: Read application
data; Modify application
data; Read files or
directories; Modify files or
An attacker could gain access to or modify sensitive data or system
resources. This could allow access to protected files or directories
including configuration files and files containing sensitive
Likelihood of Exploit
The following Java code uses input from an HTTP request to create a
file name. The programmer has not considered the possibility that an
attacker could provide a file name such as "../../tomcat/conf/server.xml",
which causes the application to delete one of its own configuration
File rFile = new File("/usr/local/apfr/reports/" + rName);
The following code uses input from the command line to determine
which file to open and echo back to the user. If the program runs with
privileges and malicious users can create soft links to the file, they can
use the program to read the first part of any file on the
ifs >> s;
cout << s;
The kind of resource the data affects indicates the kind of content
that may be dangerous. For example, data containing special characters
like period, slash, and backslash, are risky when used in methods that
interact with the file system. (Resource injection, when it is related
to file system resources, sometimes goes by the name "path
manipulation.") Similarly, data that contains URLs and URIs is risky for
functions that create remote connections.
Strategy: Input Validation
Assume all input is malicious. Use an "accept known good" input
validation strategy, i.e., use a whitelist of acceptable inputs that
strictly conform to specifications. Reject any input that does not
strictly conform to specifications, or transform it into something that
When performing input validation, consider all potentially relevant
properties, including length, type of input, the full range of
acceptable values, missing or extra inputs, syntax, consistency across
related fields, and conformance to business rules. As an example of
business rule logic, "boat" may be syntactically valid because it only
contains alphanumeric characters, but it is not valid if the input is
only expected to contain colors such as "red" or "blue."
Do not rely exclusively on looking for malicious or malformed inputs
(i.e., do not rely on a blacklist). A blacklist is likely to miss at
least one undesirable input, especially if the code's environment
changes. This can give attackers enough room to bypass the intended
validation. However, blacklists can be useful for detecting potential
attacks or determining which inputs are so malformed that they should be
A resource injection issue occurs when the following two conditions are
An attacker can specify the identifier used to access a system
resource. For example, an attacker might be able to specify part of the
name of a file to be opened or a port number to be used.
By specifying the resource, the attacker gains a capability that would
not otherwise be permitted. For example, the program may give the
attacker the ability to overwrite the specified file, run with a
configuration controlled by the attacker, or transmit sensitive
information to a third-party server.
Note: Resource injection that involves resources stored on the filesystem
goes by the name path manipulation and is reported in a separate category.
See the path manipulation description for further details of this
the weakness exists independent of other weaknesses)
2. a statement that allocates a System Resource using name where the
input is part of the name
3. end statement that accesses the System Resource where
a. the name of the System Resource violates protection
The relationship between CWE-99 and CWE-610 needs further investigation and clarification. They might be duplicates. CWE-99 "Resource Injection," as originally defined in Seven Pernicious Kingdoms taxonomy, emphasizes the "identifier used to access a system resource" such as a file name or port number, yet it explicitly states that the "resource injection" term does not apply to "path manipulation," which effectively identifies the path at which a resource can be found and could be considered to be one aspect of a resource identifier. Also, CWE-610 effectively covers any type of resource, whether that resource is at the system layer, the application layer, or the code layer.