Common Weakness Enumeration

A Community-Developed List of Software Weakness Types

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CWE-826: Premature Release of Resource During Expected Lifetime

Weakness ID: 826
Abstraction: Base
Status: Incomplete
Presentation Filter:
+ Description

Description Summary

The program releases a resource that is still intended to be used by the program itself or another actor.

Extended Description

This weakness focuses on errors in which the program should not release a resource, but performs the release anyway. This is different than a weakness in which the program releases a resource at the appropriate time, but it maintains a reference to the resource, which it later accesses. For this weaknesses, the resource should still be valid upon the subsequent access.

When a program releases a resource that is still being used, it is possible that operations will still be taken on this resource, which may have been repurposed in the meantime, leading to issues similar to CWE-825. Consequences may include denial of service, information exposure, or code execution.

+ Common Consequences

Technical Impact: Read application data; Read memory

If the released resource is subsequently reused or reallocated, then a read operation on the original resource might access sensitive data that is associated with a different user or entity.


Technical Impact: DoS: crash / exit / restart

When the resource is released, the software might modify some of its structure, or close associated channels (such as a file descriptor). When the software later accesses the resource as if it is valid, the resource might not be in an expected state, leading to resultant errors that may lead to a crash.


Technical Impact: Execute unauthorized code or commands; Modify application data; Modify memory

When the resource is released, the software might modify some of its structure. This might affect program logic in the sections of code that still assume the resource is active.

If the released resource is related to memory and is used in a function call, or points to unexpected data in a write operation, then code execution may be possible upon subsequent accesses.

+ Observed Examples
chain: race condition might allow resource to be released before operating on it, leading to NULL dereference
+ Relationships
NatureTypeIDNameView(s) this relationship pertains toView(s)
ChildOfWeakness BaseWeakness Base666Operation on Resource in Wrong Phase of Lifetime
Development Concepts (primary)699
Research Concepts (primary)1000
CanPrecedeWeakness BaseWeakness Base672Operation on a Resource after Expiration or Release
Research Concepts1000
+ Research Gaps

Under-studied and under-reported as of September 2010. This weakness has been reported in high-visibility software, although the focus has been primarily on memory allocation and de-allocation. There are very few examples of this weakness that are not directly related to memory management, although such weaknesses are likely to occur in real-world software for other types of resources.

+ Content History
Submission DateSubmitterOrganizationSource
2010-09-22MITREInternal CWE Team
Modification DateModifierOrganizationSource
2011-06-01CWE Content TeamMITREInternal
updated Common_Consequences

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Page Last Updated: May 05, 2017