CWE-135: Incorrect Calculation of Multi-Byte String Length
Weakness ID: 135
Abstraction: Base Structure: Simple
The software does not correctly calculate the length of strings that can contain wide or multi-byte characters.
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)
Class - a weakness that is described in a very abstract fashion, typically independent of any specific language or technology. More general than a Base weakness.
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.
There are several ways in which improper string length checking may result in an exploitable condition. All of these, however, involve the introduction of buffer overflow conditions in order to reach an exploitable state.
The first of these issues takes place when the output of a wide or multi-byte character string, string-length function is used as a size for the allocation of memory. While this will result in an output of the number of characters in the string, note that the characters are most likely not a single byte, as they are with standard character strings. So, using the size returned as the size sent to new or malloc and copying the string to this newly allocated memory will result in a buffer overflow.
Another common way these strings are misused involves the mixing of standard string and wide or multi-byte string functions on a single string. Invariably, this mismatched information will result in the creation of a possibly exploitable buffer overflow condition.
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.
C (Undetermined Prevalence)
C++ (Undetermined Prevalence)
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.
Integrity Confidentiality Availability
Technical Impact: Execute Unauthorized Code or Commands
This weakness may lead to a buffer overflow. Buffer overflows often can be used to execute arbitrary code, which is usually outside the scope of a program's implicit security policy. This can often be used to subvert any other security service.
Out of bounds memory access will very likely result in the corruption of relevant memory, and perhaps instructions, possibly leading to a crash. Other attacks leading to lack of availability are possible, including putting the program into an infinite loop.
Technical Impact: Read Memory
In the case of an out-of-bounds read, the attacker may have access to sensitive information. If the sensitive information contains system details, such as the current buffers position in memory, this knowledge can be used to craft further attacks, possibly with more severe consequences.
The following example would be exploitable if any of the commented incorrect malloc calls were used.
Always verify the length of the string unit character.
Strategy: Libraries or Frameworks
Use length computing functions (e.g. strlen, wcslen, etc.) appropriately with their equivalent type (e.g.: byte, wchar_t, etc.)
This MemberOf Relationships table shows additional CWE Categories and Views that reference this weakness as a member. This information is often useful in understanding where a weakness fits within the context of external information sources.
Category - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.