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Common Weakness Enumeration

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ID

CWE-382: J2EE Bad Practices: Use of System.exit()

Weakness ID: 382
Abstraction: Variant
Structure: Simple
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+ Description
A J2EE application uses System.exit(), which also shuts down its container.
+ Extended Description
It is never a good idea for a web application to attempt to shut down the application container. Access to a function that can shut down the application is an avenue for Denial of Service (DoS) attacks.
+ 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.705Incorrect Control Flow Scoping
+ 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
ImplementationA call to System.exit() is probably part of leftover debug code or code imported from a non-J2EE application.
+ 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

Java (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

Technical Impact: DoS: Crash, Exit, or Restart

+ Demonstrative Examples

Example 1

Included in the doPost() method defined below is a call to System.exit() in the event of a specific exception.

(bad code)
Example Language: Java 
Public void doPost(HttpServletRequest request, HttpServletResponse response) throws ServletException, IOException {
try {
...
} catch (ApplicationSpecificException ase) {
logger.error("Caught: " + ase.toString());
System.exit(1);
}
}
+ Potential Mitigations

Phase: Architecture and Design

Strategy: Separation of Privilege

The shutdown function should be a privileged function available only to a properly authorized administrative user

Phase: Implementation

Web applications should not call methods that cause the virtual machine to exit, such as System.exit()

Phase: Implementation

Web applications should also not throw any Throwables to the application server as this may adversely affect the container.

Phase: Implementation

Non-web applications may have a main() method that contains a System.exit(), but generally should not call System.exit() from other locations in the code
+ 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.3617PK - Time and State
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)
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1001SFP Secondary Cluster: Use of an Improper API
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.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 Variant 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 KingdomsJ2EE Bad Practices: System.exit()
OWASP Top Ten 2004A9CWE More SpecificDenial of Service
The CERT Oracle Secure Coding Standard for Java (2011)ERR09-JDo not allow untrusted code to terminate the JVM
Software Fault PatternsSFP3Use of an improper API
+ 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
2008-07-01Sean EidemillerCigital
added/updated demonstrative examples
2008-07-01Eric DalciCigital
updated Time_of_Introduction
2008-09-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships, Other_Notes, Taxonomy_Mappings
2011-06-01CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences, Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2012-05-11CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2014-06-23CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Description, Modes_of_Introduction, Other_Notes, Potential_Mitigations
2014-07-30CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2017-11-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2019-01-03CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2020-02-24CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated References, Relationships
2023-04-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Detection_Factors, Relationships
2023-06-29CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Mapping_Notes
+ Previous Entry Names
Change DatePrevious Entry Name
2008-04-11J2EE Bad Practices: System.exit()
Page Last Updated: October 26, 2023