CWE

Common Weakness Enumeration

A Community-Developed List of Software & Hardware Weakness Types

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Home > CWE List > CWE- Individual Dictionary Definition (4.10)  
ID

CWE-1116: Inaccurate Comments

Weakness ID: 1116
Abstraction: Base
Structure: Simple
View customized information:
+ Description
The source code contains comments that do not accurately describe or explain aspects of the portion of the code with which the comment is associated.
+ Extended Description

When a comment does not accurately reflect the associated code elements, this can introduce confusion to a reviewer (due to inconsistencies) or make it more difficult and less efficient to validate that the code is implementing the intended behavior correctly.

This issue makes it more difficult to maintain the product, which indirectly affects security by making it more difficult or time-consuming to find and/or fix vulnerabilities. It also might make it easier to introduce vulnerabilities.

+ Relationships
Section HelpThis table 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 specific than a Pillar Weakness, but more general than a Base Weakness. Class level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 1 or 2 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, and resource.1078Inappropriate Source Code Style or Formatting
Section HelpThis table 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 "Software Development" (CWE-699)
NatureTypeIDName
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1006Bad Coding Practices
+ Applicable Platforms
Section HelpThis listing shows 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

Class: Not Language-Specific (Undetermined Prevalence)

+ Common Consequences
Section HelpThis table 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
Other

Technical Impact: Reduce Maintainability

+ Demonstrative Examples

Example 1

In the following Java example the code performs a calculation to determine how much medicine to administer. A comment is provided to give insight into what the calculation shoud be doing. Unfortunately the comment does not match the actual code and thus leaves the reader to wonder which is correct.

(bad code)
Example Language: Java 
public class Main {
public static void main(String[] args) {
int pt_weight = 83;
int mg_per_kg = 3;
int daily_dose = 0;

// Add the patient weight and Mg/Kg to calculate the correct daily dose
daily_dose = pt_weight * mg_per_kg;
return dosage;
}
}

In the correction below, the code functionality has been verified, and the comment has been corrected to reflect the proper calculation.

(good code)
Example Language: Java 
public class Main {
public static void main(String[] args) {
int pt_weight = 83;
int mg_per_kg = 3;
int daily_dose = 0;

// Multiply the patient weight and Mg/Kg to calculate the correct daily dose
daily_dose = pt_weight * mg_per_kg;
return dosage;
}
}

Note that in real-world code, these values should be validated to disallow negative numbers, prevent integer overflow, etc.

+ Potential Mitigations

Phase: Implementation

Verify that each comment accurately reflects what is intended to happen during execution of the code.
+ Weakness Ordinalities
OrdinalityDescription
Indirect
(where the weakness is a quality issue that might indirectly make it easier to introduce security-relevant weaknesses or make them more difficult to detect)
+ References
[REF-963] Robert A. Martin and Lawrence H. Shafer. "Providing a Framework for Effective Software Quality Assessment". 1996-07. <https://www.researchgate.net/publication/285403022_PROVIDING_A_FRAMEWORK_FOR_EFFECTIVE_SOFTWARE_QUALITY_MEASUREMENT_MAKING_A_SCIENCE_OF_RISK_ASSESSMENT>.
+ Content History
+ Submissions
Submission DateSubmitterOrganization
2018-07-02CWE Content TeamMITRE
Entry derived from Common Quality Enumeration (CQE) Draft 0.9.
+ Contributions
Contribution DateContributorOrganization
2022-08-15Drew Buttner
Suggested new demonstrative examples, mitigations, and applicable platforms.
+ Modifications
Modification DateModifierOrganization
2020-02-24CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2022-10-13CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Applicable_Platforms, Demonstrative_Examples, Potential_Mitigations
2023-01-31CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Description
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Page Last Updated: January 31, 2023