CWE

Common Weakness Enumeration

A Community-Developed List of Software & Hardware Weakness Types

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ID

CWE-248: Uncaught Exception

Weakness ID: 248
Abstraction: Base
Structure: Simple
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+ Description
An exception is thrown from a function, but it is not caught.
+ Extended Description
When an exception is not caught, it may cause the program to crash or expose sensitive information.
+ 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.755Improper Handling of Exceptional Conditions
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.705Incorrect Control Flow Scoping
ParentOfVariantVariant - a weakness that is linked to a certain type of product, typically involving a specific language or technology. More specific than a Base weakness. Variant level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 3 to 5 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.600Uncaught Exception in Servlet
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.389Error Conditions, Return Values, Status Codes
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 "CISQ Quality Measures (2020)" (CWE-1305)
NatureTypeIDName
ChildOfPillarPillar - a weakness that is the most abstract type of weakness and represents a theme for all class/base/variant weaknesses related to it. A Pillar is different from a Category as a Pillar is still technically a type of weakness that describes a mistake, while a Category represents a common characteristic used to group related things.703Improper Check or Handling of Exceptional Conditions
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 "CISQ Data Protection Measures" (CWE-1340)
NatureTypeIDName
ChildOfPillarPillar - a weakness that is the most abstract type of weakness and represents a theme for all class/base/variant weaknesses related to it. A Pillar is different from a Category as a Pillar is still technically a type of weakness that describes a mistake, while a Category represents a common characteristic used to group related things.703Improper Check or Handling of Exceptional Conditions
+ Modes Of Introduction
Section HelpThe different Modes of Introduction provide information about how and when this weakness may be introduced. The Phase identifies a point in the life cycle at which introduction may occur, while the Note provides a typical scenario related to introduction during the given phase.
PhaseNote
Implementation
+ 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

C++ (Undetermined Prevalence)

Java (Undetermined Prevalence)

C# (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
Availability
Confidentiality

Technical Impact: DoS: Crash, Exit, or Restart; Read Application Data

An uncaught exception could cause the system to be placed in a state that could lead to a crash, exposure of sensitive information or other unintended behaviors.
+ Demonstrative Examples

Example 1

The following example attempts to resolve a hostname.

(bad code)
Example Language: Java 
protected void doPost (HttpServletRequest req, HttpServletResponse res) throws IOException {
String ip = req.getRemoteAddr();
InetAddress addr = InetAddress.getByName(ip);
...
out.println("hello " + addr.getHostName());
}

A DNS lookup failure will cause the Servlet to throw an exception.

Example 2

The _alloca() function allocates memory on the stack. If an allocation request is too large for the available stack space, _alloca() throws an exception. If the exception is not caught, the program will crash, potentially enabling a denial of service attack. _alloca() has been deprecated as of Microsoft Visual Studio 2005(R). It has been replaced with the more secure _alloca_s().

Example 3

EnterCriticalSection() can raise an exception, potentially causing the program to crash. Under operating systems prior to Windows 2000, the EnterCriticalSection() function can raise an exception in low memory situations. If the exception is not caught, the program will crash, potentially enabling a denial of service attack.

+ Detection Methods

Automated Static Analysis

Automated static analysis, commonly referred to as Static Application Security Testing (SAST), can find some instances of this weakness by analyzing source code (or binary/compiled code) without having to execute it. Typically, this is done by building a model of data flow and control flow, then searching for potentially-vulnerable patterns that connect "sources" (origins of input) with "sinks" (destinations where the data interacts with external components, a lower layer such as the OS, etc.)

Effectiveness: High

+ Memberships
Section HelpThis 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.
NatureTypeIDName
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.2277PK - API Abuse
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.730OWASP Top Ten 2004 Category A9 - Denial of Service
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.851The CERT Oracle Secure Coding Standard for Java (2011) Chapter 8 - Exceptional Behavior (ERR)
MemberOfViewView - a subset of CWE entries that provides a way of examining CWE content. The two main view structures are Slices (flat lists) and Graphs (containing relationships between entries).884CWE Cross-section
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.962SFP Secondary Cluster: Unchecked Status Condition
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1141SEI CERT Oracle Secure Coding Standard for Java - Guidelines 07. Exceptional Behavior (ERR)
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1181SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard - Guidelines 03. Expressions (EXP)
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1410Comprehensive Categorization: Insufficient Control Flow Management
+ Vulnerability Mapping Notes

Usage: Allowed

(this CWE ID could be used to map to real-world vulnerabilities)

Reason: Acceptable-Use

Rationale:

This CWE entry is at the Base level of abstraction, which is a preferred level of abstraction for mapping to the root causes of vulnerabilities.

Comments:

Carefully read both the name and description to ensure that this mapping is an appropriate fit. Do not try to 'force' a mapping to a lower-level Base/Variant simply to comply with this preferred level of abstraction.
+ Taxonomy Mappings
Mapped Taxonomy NameNode IDFitMapped Node Name
7 Pernicious KingdomsOften Misused: Exception Handling
The CERT Oracle Secure Coding Standard for Java (2011)ERR05-JDo not let checked exceptions escape from a finally block
The CERT Oracle Secure Coding Standard for Java (2011)ERR06-JDo not throw undeclared checked exceptions
SEI CERT Perl Coding StandardEXP31-PLExactDo not suppress or ignore exceptions
Software Fault PatternsSFP4Unchecked Status Condition
+ References
[REF-6] Katrina Tsipenyuk, Brian Chess and Gary McGraw. "Seven Pernicious Kingdoms: A Taxonomy of Software Security Errors". NIST Workshop on Software Security Assurance Tools Techniques and Metrics. NIST. 2005-11-07. <https://samate.nist.gov/SSATTM_Content/papers/Seven%20Pernicious%20Kingdoms%20-%20Taxonomy%20of%20Sw%20Security%20Errors%20-%20Tsipenyuk%20-%20Chess%20-%20McGraw.pdf>.
+ Content History
+ Submissions
Submission DateSubmitterOrganization
2006-07-19
(CWE Draft 3, 2006-07-19)
7 Pernicious Kingdoms
+ Modifications
Modification DateModifierOrganization
2008-07-01Eric DalciCigital
updated Time_of_Introduction
2008-08-15Veracode
Suggested OWASP Top Ten 2004 mapping
2008-09-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Applicable_Platforms, Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2008-09-24CWE Content TeamMITRE
Removed C from Applicable_Platforms
2008-10-14CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Applicable_Platforms
2009-03-10CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2011-03-29CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Description, Relationships
2011-06-01CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences, Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2012-05-11CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences, Demonstrative_Examples, Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2014-07-30CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Demonstrative_Examples, Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2017-11-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2019-01-03CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2019-06-20CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Related_Attack_Patterns
2020-02-24CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated References
2020-08-20CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2020-12-10CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2021-03-15CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2023-04-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Detection_Factors, Relationships
2023-06-29CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Mapping_Notes, Relationships
+ Previous Entry Names
Change DatePrevious Entry Name
2008-01-30Often Misused: Exception Handling
Page Last Updated: October 26, 2023