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CWE-578: EJB Bad Practices: Use of Class Loader

Weakness ID: 578
Abstraction: Variant
Status: Draft
Presentation Filter:
+ Description

Description Summary

The program violates the Enterprise JavaBeans (EJB) specification by using the class loader.

Extended Description

The Enterprise JavaBeans specification requires that every bean provider follow a set of programming guidelines designed to ensure that the bean will be portable and behave consistently in any EJB container. In this case, the program violates the following EJB guideline: "The enterprise bean must not attempt to create a class loader; obtain the current class loader; set the context class loader; set security manager; create a new security manager; stop the JVM; or change the input, output, and error streams." The specification justifies this requirement in the following way: "These functions are reserved for the EJB container. Allowing the enterprise bean to use these functions could compromise security and decrease the container's ability to properly manage the runtime environment."

+ Time of Introduction
  • Architecture and Design
  • Implementation
+ Applicable Platforms



+ Common Consequences

Technical Impact: Execute unauthorized code or commands; Varies by context

+ Demonstrative Examples

Example 1

The following Java example is a simple stateless Enterprise JavaBean that retrieves the interest rate for the number of points for a mortgage. The interest rates for various points are retrieved from an XML document on the local file system, and the EJB uses the Class Loader for the EJB class to obtain the XML document from the local file system as an input stream.

(Bad Code)
Example Language: Java 
public class InterestRateBean implements InterestRateRemote {

private Document interestRateXMLDocument = null;

public InterestRateBean() {
try {
// get XML document from the local filesystem as an input stream
// using the ClassLoader for this class
ClassLoader loader = this.getClass().getClassLoader();
InputStream in = loader.getResourceAsStream(Constants.INTEREST_RATE_FILE);

DocumentBuilderFactory dbf = DocumentBuilderFactory.newInstance();
DocumentBuilder db = dbf.newDocumentBuilder();
interestRateXMLDocument = db.parse(interestRateFile);
} catch (IOException ex) {...}

public BigDecimal getInterestRate(Integer points) {
return getInterestRateFromXML(points);

/* member function to retrieve interest rate from XML document on the local file system */
private BigDecimal getInterestRateFromXML(Integer points) {...}

This use of the Java Class Loader class within any kind of Enterprise JavaBean violates the restriction of the EJB specification against obtaining the current class loader as this could compromise the security of the application using the EJB.

Example 2

An EJB is also restricted from creating a custom class loader and creating a class and instance of a class from the class loader, as shown in the following example.

(Bad Code)
Example Language: Java 
public class LoaderSessionBean implements LoaderSessionRemote {

public LoaderSessionBean() {
try {
ClassLoader loader = new CustomClassLoader();
Class c = loader.loadClass("someClass");
Object obj = c.newInstance();
/* perform some task that uses the new class instance member variables or functions */
} catch (Exception ex) {...}

public class CustomClassLoader extends ClassLoader {

+ Potential Mitigations

Phases: Architecture and Design; Implementation

Do not use the Class Loader when writing EJBs.

+ Relationships
NatureTypeIDNameView(s) this relationship pertains toView(s)
ChildOfWeakness ClassWeakness Class573Improper Following of Specification by Caller
Development Concepts (primary)699
Research Concepts (primary)1000
ChildOfCategoryCategory1001SFP Secondary Cluster: Use of an Improper API
Software Fault Pattern (SFP) Clusters (primary)888
+ Taxonomy Mappings
Mapped Taxonomy NameNode IDFitMapped Node Name
Software Fault PatternsSFP3Use of an improper API
+ Content History
Modification DateModifierOrganizationSource
2008-07-01Eric DalciCigitalExternal
updated Potential_Mitigations, Time_of_Introduction
2008-09-08CWE Content TeamMITREInternal
updated Relationships, Other_Notes
2009-10-29CWE Content TeamMITREInternal
updated Description, Other_Notes
2009-12-28CWE Content TeamMITREInternal
updated Demonstrative_Examples, Potential_Mitigations
2011-06-01CWE Content TeamMITREInternal
updated Common_Consequences
2011-06-27CWE Content TeamMITREInternal
updated Common_Consequences
2012-05-11CWE Content TeamMITREInternal
updated Relationships
2014-07-30CWE Content TeamMITREInternal
updated Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings

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Page Last Updated: May 05, 2017