Common Weakness Enumeration

A Community-Developed List of Software Weakness Types

CWE/SANS Top 25 Most Dangerous Software Errors
Home > CWE List > CWE- Individual Dictionary Definition (2.11)  

CWE-498: Cloneable Class Containing Sensitive Information

Weakness ID: 498
Abstraction: Variant
Status: Draft
Presentation Filter:
+ Description

Description Summary

The code contains a class with sensitive data, but the class is cloneable. The data can then be accessed by cloning the class.

Extended Description

Cloneable classes are effectively open classes, since data cannot be hidden in them. Classes that do not explicitly deny cloning can be cloned by any other class without running the constructor.

+ Time of Introduction
  • Implementation
+ Applicable Platforms





+ Common Consequences
Access Control

Technical Impact: Bypass protection mechanism

A class that can be cloned can be produced without executing the constructor. This is dangerous since the constructor may perform security-related checks. By allowing the object to be cloned, those checks may be bypassed.

+ Likelihood of Exploit


+ Demonstrative Examples

Example 1

(Bad Code)
Example Language: Java 
public class CloneClient {
public CloneClient() //throws
java.lang.CloneNotSupportedException {

Teacher t1 = new Teacher("guddu","22,nagar road");
// Do some stuff to remove the teacher.
Teacher t2 = (Teacher)t1.clone();
public static void main(String args[]) {

new CloneClient();
class Teacher implements Cloneable {

public Object clone() {

try {
return super.clone();
catch (java.lang.CloneNotSupportedException e) {

throw new RuntimeException(e.toString());
public String name;
public String clas;
public Teacher(String name,String clas) { = name;
this.clas = clas;
+ Potential Mitigations

Phase: Implementation

Make classes uncloneable by defining a clone function like:

(Mitigation Code)
Example Language: Java 
public final void clone() throws java.lang.CloneNotSupportedException {
throw new java.lang.CloneNotSupportedException();

Phase: Implementation

If you do make your classes clonable, ensure that your clone method is final and throw super.clone().

+ Relationships
NatureTypeIDNameView(s) this relationship pertains toView(s)
ChildOfWeakness ClassWeakness Class485Insufficient Encapsulation
Development Concepts (primary)699
Research Concepts (primary)1000
ChildOfCategoryCategory849CERT Java Secure Coding Section 04 - Object Orientation (OBJ)
Weaknesses Addressed by the CERT Java Secure Coding Standard (primary)844
ChildOfCategoryCategory963SFP Secondary Cluster: Exposed Data
Software Fault Pattern (SFP) Clusters (primary)888
CanPrecedeWeakness ClassWeakness Class200Information Exposure
Development Concepts699
Research Concepts1000
MemberOfViewView884CWE Cross-section
CWE Cross-section (primary)884
+ Taxonomy Mappings
Mapped Taxonomy NameNode IDFitMapped Node Name
CLASPInformation leak through class cloning
CERT Java Secure CodingOBJ07-JSensitive classes must not let themselves be copied
Software Fault PatternsSFP23Exposed Data
+ Content History
Submission DateSubmitterOrganizationSource
CLASPExternally Mined
Modification DateModifierOrganizationSource
2008-07-01Eric DalciCigitalExternal
updated Time_of_Introduction
2008-09-08CWE Content TeamMITREInternal
updated Applicable_Platforms, Common_Consequences, Description, Relationships, Other_Notes, Taxonomy_Mappings
2008-10-14CWE Content TeamMITREInternal
updated Other_Notes
2009-10-29CWE Content TeamMITREInternal
updated Common_Consequences, Description, Other_Notes, Potential_Mitigations
2011-03-29CWE Content TeamMITREInternal
updated Name
2011-06-01CWE Content TeamMITREInternal
updated Common_Consequences, Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2012-05-11CWE Content TeamMITREInternal
updated Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2014-07-30CWE Content TeamMITREInternal
updated Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
Previous Entry Names
Change DatePrevious Entry Name
2011-03-29Information Leak through Class Cloning

More information is available — Please select a different filter.
Page Last Updated: May 05, 2017