Common Weakness Enumeration

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CWE-482: Comparing instead of Assigning

Weakness ID: 482
Abstraction: Variant
Status: Draft
Presentation Filter:
+ Description

Description Summary

The code uses an operator for comparison when the intention was to perform an assignment.

Extended Description

In many languages, the compare statement is very close in appearance to the assignment statement; they are often confused.

+ Time of Introduction
  • Implementation
+ Applicable Platforms




+ Modes of Introduction

This bug primarily originates from a typo.

+ Common Consequences

Technical Impact: Unexpected state

The assignment will not take place, which should cause obvious program execution problems.

+ Likelihood of Exploit


+ Demonstrative Examples

Example 1

(Bad Code)
Example Languages: C and C++ and Java 
void called(int foo) {
if (foo==1) printf("foo\n");
int main() {

return 0;

Example 2

The following C/C++ example shows a simple implementation of a stack that includes methods for adding and removing integer values from the stack. The example uses pointers to add and remove integer values to the stack array variable.

(Bad Code)
Example Languages: C and C++ 
#define SIZE 50
int *tos, *p1, stack[SIZE];

void push(int i) {
if(p1==(tos+SIZE)) {
// Print stack overflow error message and exit
*p1 == i;

int pop(void) {
if(p1==tos) {
// Print stack underflow error message and exit
return *(p1+1);

int main(int argc, char *argv[]) {
// initialize tos and p1 to point to the top of stack
tos = stack;
p1 = stack;
// code to add and remove items from stack
return 0;

The push method includes an expression to assign the integer value to the location in the stack pointed to by the pointer variable.

However, this expression uses the comparison operator "==" rather than the assignment operator "=". The result of using the comparison operator instead of the assignment operator causes erroneous values to be entered into the stack and can cause unexpected results.

+ Potential Mitigations

Phase: Testing

Many IDEs and static analysis products will detect this problem.

+ Relationships
NatureTypeIDNameView(s) this relationship pertains toView(s)
ChildOfWeakness BaseWeakness Base480Use of Incorrect Operator
Development Concepts (primary)699
Research Concepts (primary)1000
ChildOfCategoryCategory747CERT C Secure Coding Section 49 - Miscellaneous (MSC)
Weaknesses Addressed by the CERT C Secure Coding Standard (primary)734
ChildOfCategoryCategory883CERT C++ Secure Coding Section 49 - Miscellaneous (MSC)
Weaknesses Addressed by the CERT C++ Secure Coding Standard (primary)868
ChildOfCategoryCategory886SFP Primary Cluster: Unused entities
Software Fault Pattern (SFP) Clusters (primary)888
+ Taxonomy Mappings
Mapped Taxonomy NameNode IDFitMapped Node Name
CLASPComparing instead of assigning
CERT C Secure CodingMSC02-CAvoid errors of omission
CERT C++ Secure CodingMSC02-CPPAvoid errors of omission
Software Fault PatternsSFP2Unused Entities
+ References
[REF-7] Mark Dowd, John McDonald and Justin Schuh. "The Art of Software Security Assessment". Chapter 6, "Typos", Page 289.. 1st Edition. Addison Wesley. 2006.
+ Content History
Submission DateSubmitterOrganizationSource
CLASPExternally Mined
Modification DateModifierOrganizationSource
2008-07-01Eric DalciCigitalExternal
updated Time_of_Introduction
2008-09-08CWE Content TeamMITREInternal
updated Applicable_Platforms, Description, Relationships, Other_Notes, Taxonomy_Mappings
2008-11-24CWE Content TeamMITREInternal
updated Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2009-07-27CWE Content TeamMITREInternal
updated Common_Consequences, Modes_of_Introduction
2009-10-29CWE Content TeamMITREInternal
updated Other_Notes
2011-06-01CWE Content TeamMITREInternal
updated Common_Consequences
2011-06-27CWE Content TeamMITREInternal
updated Common_Consequences
2011-09-13CWE Content TeamMITREInternal
updated Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2012-05-11CWE Content TeamMITREInternal
updated References, Relationships
2012-10-30CWE Content TeamMITREInternal
updated Demonstrative_Examples, Potential_Mitigations
2014-07-30CWE Content TeamMITREInternal
updated Taxonomy_Mappings
2017-01-19CWE Content TeamMITREInternal
updated Relationships

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Page Last Updated: May 05, 2017