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A Community-Developed List of Software & Hardware Weakness Types

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Home > CWE List > VIEW SLICE: CWE-1178: Weaknesses Addressed by the SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard (4.5)  
ID

CWE VIEW: Weaknesses Addressed by the SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard

View ID: 1178
Type: Graph
Status: Stable
Downloads: Booklet | CSV | XML
+ Objective
CWE entries in this view (graph) are fully or partially eliminated by following the guidance presented in the online wiki that reflects that current rules and recommendations of the SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard.
+ Audience
StakeholderDescription
Software DevelopersBy following the SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard, developers will be able to fully or partially prevent the weaknesses that are identified in this view. In addition, developers can use a CWE coverage graph to determine which weaknesses are not directly addressed by the standard, which will help identify and resolve remaining gaps in training, tool acquisition, or other approaches for reducing weaknesses.
Product CustomersIf a software developer claims to be following the SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard, then customers can search for the weaknesses in this view in order to formulate independent evidence of that claim.
EducatorsEducators can use this view in multiple ways. For example, if there is a focus on teaching weaknesses, the educator could link them to the relevant Secure Coding Standard.
+ Relationships
The following graph shows the tree-like relationships between weaknesses that exist at different levels of abstraction. At the highest level, categories and pillars exist to group weaknesses. Categories (which are not technically weaknesses) are special CWE entries used to group weaknesses that share a common characteristic. Pillars are weaknesses that are described in the most abstract fashion. Below these top-level entries are weaknesses are varying levels of abstraction. Classes are still very abstract, typically independent of any specific language or technology. Base level weaknesses are used to present a more specific type of weakness. A variant is a weakness that is described at a very low level of detail, typically limited to a specific language or technology. A chain is a set of weaknesses that must be reachable consecutively in order to produce an exploitable vulnerability. While a composite is a set of weaknesses that must all be present simultaneously in order to produce an exploitable vulnerability.
Show Details:
1178 - Weaknesses Addressed by the SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard
+CategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard - Guidelines 01. Input Validation and Data Sanitization (IDS) - (1179)
1178 (Weaknesses Addressed by the SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard) > 1179 (SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard - Guidelines 01. Input Validation and Data Sanitization (IDS))
Weaknesses in this category are related to the rules and recommendations in the Input Validation and Data Sanitization (IDS) section of the SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard.
*BaseBase - a weakness that is still mostly independent of a resource or technology, but with sufficient details to provide specific methods for detection and prevention. Base level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 2 or 3 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.Improper Limitation of a Pathname to a Restricted Directory ('Path Traversal') - (22)
1178 (Weaknesses Addressed by the SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard) > 1179 (SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard - Guidelines 01. Input Validation and Data Sanitization (IDS)) > 22 (Improper Limitation of a Pathname to a Restricted Directory ('Path Traversal'))
The software uses external input to construct a pathname that is intended to identify a file or directory that is located underneath a restricted parent directory, but the software does not properly neutralize special elements within the pathname that can cause the pathname to resolve to a location that is outside of the restricted directory.Directory traversalPath traversal
*BaseBase - a weakness that is still mostly independent of a resource or technology, but with sufficient details to provide specific methods for detection and prevention. Base level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 2 or 3 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.Use of Externally-Controlled Format String - (134)
1178 (Weaknesses Addressed by the SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard) > 1179 (SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard - Guidelines 01. Input Validation and Data Sanitization (IDS)) > 134 (Use of Externally-Controlled Format String)
The software uses a function that accepts a format string as an argument, but the format string originates from an external source.
*VariantVariant - a weakness that is linked to a certain type of product, typically involving a specific language or technology. More specific than a Base weakness. Variant level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 3 to 5 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.Improper Validation of Array Index - (129)
1178 (Weaknesses Addressed by the SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard) > 1179 (SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard - Guidelines 01. Input Validation and Data Sanitization (IDS)) > 129 (Improper Validation of Array Index)
The product uses untrusted input when calculating or using an array index, but the product does not validate or incorrectly validates the index to ensure the index references a valid position within the array.out-of-bounds array indexindex-out-of-rangearray index underflow
*VariantVariant - a weakness that is linked to a certain type of product, typically involving a specific language or technology. More specific than a Base weakness. Variant level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 3 to 5 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.Memory Allocation with Excessive Size Value - (789)
1178 (Weaknesses Addressed by the SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard) > 1179 (SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard - Guidelines 01. Input Validation and Data Sanitization (IDS)) > 789 (Memory Allocation with Excessive Size Value)
The product allocates memory based on an untrusted, large size value, but it does not ensure that the size is within expected limits, allowing arbitrary amounts of memory to be allocated.Stack Exhaustion
*ClassClass - 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.Improper Encoding or Escaping of Output - (116)
1178 (Weaknesses Addressed by the SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard) > 1179 (SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard - Guidelines 01. Input Validation and Data Sanitization (IDS)) > 116 (Improper Encoding or Escaping of Output)
The software prepares a structured message for communication with another component, but encoding or escaping of the data is either missing or done incorrectly. As a result, the intended structure of the message is not preserved.Output SanitizationOutput ValidationOutput Encoding
*ClassClass - 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.Improper Neutralization of Special Elements used in a Command ('Command Injection') - (77)
1178 (Weaknesses Addressed by the SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard) > 1179 (SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard - Guidelines 01. Input Validation and Data Sanitization (IDS)) > 77 (Improper Neutralization of Special Elements used in a Command ('Command Injection'))
The software constructs all or part of a command using externally-influenced input from an upstream component, but it does not neutralize or incorrectly neutralizes special elements that could modify the intended command when it is sent to a downstream component.
*VariantVariant - a weakness that is linked to a certain type of product, typically involving a specific language or technology. More specific than a Base weakness. Variant level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 3 to 5 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.Improper Neutralization of Directives in Dynamically Evaluated Code ('Eval Injection') - (95)
1178 (Weaknesses Addressed by the SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard) > 1179 (SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard - Guidelines 01. Input Validation and Data Sanitization (IDS)) > 95 (Improper Neutralization of Directives in Dynamically Evaluated Code ('Eval Injection'))
The software receives input from an upstream component, but it does not neutralize or incorrectly neutralizes code syntax before using the input in a dynamic evaluation call (e.g. "eval").
+CategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard - Guidelines 02. Declarations and Initialization (DCL) - (1180)
1178 (Weaknesses Addressed by the SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard) > 1180 (SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard - Guidelines 02. Declarations and Initialization (DCL))
Weaknesses in this category are related to the rules and recommendations in the Declarations and Initialization (DCL) section of the SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard.
*BaseBase - a weakness that is still mostly independent of a resource or technology, but with sufficient details to provide specific methods for detection and prevention. Base level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 2 or 3 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.Function Call with Incorrectly Specified Arguments - (628)
1178 (Weaknesses Addressed by the SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard) > 1180 (SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard - Guidelines 02. Declarations and Initialization (DCL)) > 628 (Function Call with Incorrectly Specified Arguments)
The product calls a function, procedure, or routine with arguments that are not correctly specified, leading to always-incorrect behavior and resultant weaknesses.
*VariantVariant - a weakness that is linked to a certain type of product, typically involving a specific language or technology. More specific than a Base weakness. Variant level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 3 to 5 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.Missing Initialization of a Variable - (456)
1178 (Weaknesses Addressed by the SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard) > 1180 (SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard - Guidelines 02. Declarations and Initialization (DCL)) > 456 (Missing Initialization of a Variable)
The software does not initialize critical variables, which causes the execution environment to use unexpected values.
*VariantVariant - a weakness that is linked to a certain type of product, typically involving a specific language or technology. More specific than a Base weakness. Variant level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 3 to 5 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.Use of Uninitialized Variable - (457)
1178 (Weaknesses Addressed by the SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard) > 1180 (SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard - Guidelines 02. Declarations and Initialization (DCL)) > 457 (Use of Uninitialized Variable)
The code uses a variable that has not been initialized, leading to unpredictable or unintended results.
*BaseBase - a weakness that is still mostly independent of a resource or technology, but with sufficient details to provide specific methods for detection and prevention. Base level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 2 or 3 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.Use of Obsolete Function - (477)
1178 (Weaknesses Addressed by the SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard) > 1180 (SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard - Guidelines 02. Declarations and Initialization (DCL)) > 477 (Use of Obsolete Function)
The code uses deprecated or obsolete functions, which suggests that the code has not been actively reviewed or maintained.
+CategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard - Guidelines 03. Expressions (EXP) - (1181)
1178 (Weaknesses Addressed by the SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard) > 1181 (SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard - Guidelines 03. Expressions (EXP))
Weaknesses in this category are related to the rules and recommendations in the Expressions (EXP) section of the SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard.
*BaseBase - a weakness that is still mostly independent of a resource or technology, but with sufficient details to provide specific methods for detection and prevention. Base level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 2 or 3 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.Unexpected Status Code or Return Value - (394)
1178 (Weaknesses Addressed by the SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard) > 1181 (SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard - Guidelines 03. Expressions (EXP)) > 394 (Unexpected Status Code or Return Value)
The software does not properly check when a function or operation returns a value that is legitimate for the function, but is not expected by the software.
*BaseBase - a weakness that is still mostly independent of a resource or technology, but with sufficient details to provide specific methods for detection and prevention. Base level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 2 or 3 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.Operator Precedence Logic Error - (783)
1178 (Weaknesses Addressed by the SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard) > 1181 (SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard - Guidelines 03. Expressions (EXP)) > 783 (Operator Precedence Logic Error)
The program uses an expression in which operator precedence causes incorrect logic to be used.
*BaseBase - a weakness that is still mostly independent of a resource or technology, but with sufficient details to provide specific methods for detection and prevention. Base level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 2 or 3 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.Use of Obsolete Function - (477)
1178 (Weaknesses Addressed by the SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard) > 1181 (SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard - Guidelines 03. Expressions (EXP)) > 477 (Use of Obsolete Function)
The code uses deprecated or obsolete functions, which suggests that the code has not been actively reviewed or maintained.
*BaseBase - a weakness that is still mostly independent of a resource or technology, but with sufficient details to provide specific methods for detection and prevention. Base level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 2 or 3 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.Uncaught Exception - (248)
1178 (Weaknesses Addressed by the SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard) > 1181 (SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard - Guidelines 03. Expressions (EXP)) > 248 (Uncaught Exception)
An exception is thrown from a function, but it is not caught.
*BaseBase - a weakness that is still mostly independent of a resource or technology, but with sufficient details to provide specific methods for detection and prevention. Base level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 2 or 3 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.Unchecked Error Condition - (391)
1178 (Weaknesses Addressed by the SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard) > 1181 (SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard - Guidelines 03. Expressions (EXP)) > 391 (Unchecked Error Condition)
[PLANNED FOR DEPRECATION. SEE MAINTENANCE NOTES AND CONSIDER CWE-252, CWE-248, OR CWE-1069.] Ignoring exceptions and other error conditions may allow an attacker to induce unexpected behavior unnoticed.
*BaseBase - a weakness that is still mostly independent of a resource or technology, but with sufficient details to provide specific methods for detection and prevention. Base level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 2 or 3 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.Improper Cleanup on Thrown Exception - (460)
1178 (Weaknesses Addressed by the SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard) > 1181 (SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard - Guidelines 03. Expressions (EXP)) > 460 (Improper Cleanup on Thrown Exception)
The product does not clean up its state or incorrectly cleans up its state when an exception is thrown, leading to unexpected state or control flow.
*ClassClass - 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.Incorrect Control Flow Scoping - (705)
1178 (Weaknesses Addressed by the SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard) > 1181 (SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard - Guidelines 03. Expressions (EXP)) > 705 (Incorrect Control Flow Scoping)
The software does not properly return control flow to the proper location after it has completed a task or detected an unusual condition.
*ClassClass - 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.Improper Check for Unusual or Exceptional Conditions - (754)
1178 (Weaknesses Addressed by the SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard) > 1181 (SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard - Guidelines 03. Expressions (EXP)) > 754 (Improper Check for Unusual or Exceptional Conditions)
The software does not check or incorrectly checks for unusual or exceptional conditions that are not expected to occur frequently during day to day operation of the software.
*BaseBase - a weakness that is still mostly independent of a resource or technology, but with sufficient details to provide specific methods for detection and prevention. Base level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 2 or 3 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.Unchecked Return Value - (252)
1178 (Weaknesses Addressed by the SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard) > 1181 (SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard - Guidelines 03. Expressions (EXP)) > 252 (Unchecked Return Value)
The software does not check the return value from a method or function, which can prevent it from detecting unexpected states and conditions.
*ChainChain - a Compound Element that is a sequence of two or more separate weaknesses that can be closely linked together within software. One weakness, X, can directly create the conditions that are necessary to cause another weakness, Y, to enter a vulnerable condition. When this happens, CWE refers to X as "primary" to Y, and Y is "resultant" from X. Chains can involve more than two weaknesses, and in some cases, they might have a tree-like structure.Unchecked Return Value to NULL Pointer Dereference - (690)
1178 (Weaknesses Addressed by the SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard) > 1181 (SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard - Guidelines 03. Expressions (EXP)) > 690 (Unchecked Return Value to NULL Pointer Dereference)
The product does not check for an error after calling a function that can return with a NULL pointer if the function fails, which leads to a resultant NULL pointer dereference.
*BaseBase - a weakness that is still mostly independent of a resource or technology, but with sufficient details to provide specific methods for detection and prevention. Base level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 2 or 3 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.Function Call with Incorrectly Specified Arguments - (628)
1178 (Weaknesses Addressed by the SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard) > 1181 (SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard - Guidelines 03. Expressions (EXP)) > 628 (Function Call with Incorrectly Specified Arguments)
The product calls a function, procedure, or routine with arguments that are not correctly specified, leading to always-incorrect behavior and resultant weaknesses.
*BaseBase - a weakness that is still mostly independent of a resource or technology, but with sufficient details to provide specific methods for detection and prevention. Base level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 2 or 3 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.Returning a Mutable Object to an Untrusted Caller - (375)
1178 (Weaknesses Addressed by the SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard) > 1181 (SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard - Guidelines 03. Expressions (EXP)) > 375 (Returning a Mutable Object to an Untrusted Caller)
Sending non-cloned mutable data as a return value may result in that data being altered or deleted by the calling function.
*VariantVariant - a weakness that is linked to a certain type of product, typically involving a specific language or technology. More specific than a Base weakness. Variant level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 3 to 5 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.Use of Wrong Operator in String Comparison - (597)
1178 (Weaknesses Addressed by the SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard) > 1181 (SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard - Guidelines 03. Expressions (EXP)) > 597 (Use of Wrong Operator in String Comparison)
The product uses the wrong operator when comparing a string, such as using "==" when the .equals() method should be used instead.
+CategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard - Guidelines 04. Integers (INT) - (1182)
1178 (Weaknesses Addressed by the SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard) > 1182 (SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard - Guidelines 04. Integers (INT))
Weaknesses in this category are related to the rules and recommendations in the Integers (INT) section of the SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard.
*CategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.Numeric Errors - (189)
1178 (Weaknesses Addressed by the SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard) > 1182 (SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard - Guidelines 04. Integers (INT)) > 189 (Numeric Errors)
Weaknesses in this category are related to improper calculation or conversion of numbers.
*CategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard - Guidelines 05. Strings (STR) - (1183)
1178 (Weaknesses Addressed by the SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard) > 1183 (SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard - Guidelines 05. Strings (STR))
Weaknesses in this category are related to the rules and recommendations in the Strings (STR) section of the SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard.
+CategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard - Guidelines 06. Object-Oriented Programming (OOP) - (1184)
1178 (Weaknesses Addressed by the SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard) > 1184 (SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard - Guidelines 06. Object-Oriented Programming (OOP))
Weaknesses in this category are related to the rules and recommendations in the Object-Oriented Programming (OOP) section of the SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard.
*VariantVariant - a weakness that is linked to a certain type of product, typically involving a specific language or technology. More specific than a Base weakness. Variant level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 3 to 5 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.Access to Critical Private Variable via Public Method - (767)
1178 (Weaknesses Addressed by the SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard) > 1184 (SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard - Guidelines 06. Object-Oriented Programming (OOP)) > 767 (Access to Critical Private Variable via Public Method)
The software defines a public method that reads or modifies a private variable.
+CategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard - Guidelines 07. File Input and Output (FIO) - (1185)
1178 (Weaknesses Addressed by the SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard) > 1185 (SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard - Guidelines 07. File Input and Output (FIO))
Weaknesses in this category are related to the rules and recommendations in the File Input and Output (FIO) section of the SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard.
*BaseBase - a weakness that is still mostly independent of a resource or technology, but with sufficient details to provide specific methods for detection and prevention. Base level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 2 or 3 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.Improper Link Resolution Before File Access ('Link Following') - (59)
1178 (Weaknesses Addressed by the SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard) > 1185 (SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard - Guidelines 07. File Input and Output (FIO)) > 59 (Improper Link Resolution Before File Access ('Link Following'))
The software attempts to access a file based on the filename, but it does not properly prevent that filename from identifying a link or shortcut that resolves to an unintended resource.insecure temporary file
+CategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard - Guidelines 50. Miscellaneous (MSC) - (1186)
1178 (Weaknesses Addressed by the SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard) > 1186 (SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard - Guidelines 50. Miscellaneous (MSC))
Weaknesses in this category are related to the rules and recommendations in the Miscellaneous (MSC) section of the SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard.
*BaseBase - a weakness that is still mostly independent of a resource or technology, but with sufficient details to provide specific methods for detection and prevention. Base level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 2 or 3 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.Dead Code - (561)
1178 (Weaknesses Addressed by the SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard) > 1186 (SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard - Guidelines 50. Miscellaneous (MSC)) > 561 (Dead Code)
The software contains dead code, which can never be executed.
*VariantVariant - a weakness that is linked to a certain type of product, typically involving a specific language or technology. More specific than a Base weakness. Variant level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 3 to 5 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.Assignment to Variable without Use - (563)
1178 (Weaknesses Addressed by the SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard) > 1186 (SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard - Guidelines 50. Miscellaneous (MSC)) > 563 (Assignment to Variable without Use)
The variable's value is assigned but never used, making it a dead store.Unused Variable
+ Notes

Relationship

The relationships in this view were determined based on specific statements within the rules from the standard. Not all rules have direct relationships to individual weaknesses, although they likely have chaining relationships in specific circumstances.
+ References
[REF-1011] The Software Engineering Institute. "SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard". <https://wiki.sei.cmu.edu/confluence/display/perl/SEI+CERT+Perl+Coding+Standard>.
+ View Metrics
CWEs in this viewTotal CWEs
Weaknesses26out of 922
Categories9out of 316
Views0out of 44
Total35out of1282
+ Content History
+ Submissions
Submission DateSubmitterOrganization
2019-01-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
+ Modifications
Modification DateModifierOrganization
2020-02-24CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated View_Audience

View Components

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CWE-767: Access to Critical Private Variable via Public Method

Weakness ID: 767
Abstraction: Variant
Structure: Simple
Status: Incomplete
Presentation Filter:
+ Description
The software defines a public method that reads or modifies a private variable.
+ Extended Description
If an attacker modifies the variable to contain unexpected values, this could violate assumptions from other parts of the code. Additionally, if an attacker can read the private variable, it may expose sensitive information or make it easier to launch further 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.668Exposure of Resource to Wrong Sphere
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 "Software Development" (CWE-699)
NatureTypeIDName
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.275Permission Issues
+ 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
Architecture and Design
Implementation
+ 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

C++ (Undetermined Prevalence)

C# (Undetermined Prevalence)

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
Integrity
Other

Technical Impact: Modify Application Data; Other

+ Demonstrative Examples

Example 1

The following example declares a critical variable to be private, and then allows the variable to be modified by public methods.

(bad code)
Example Language: C++ 
private: float price;
public: void changePrice(float newPrice) {
price = newPrice;
}

Example 2

The following example could be used to implement a user forum where a single user (UID) can switch between multiple profiles (PID).

(bad code)
Example Language: Java 
public class Client {
private int UID;
public int PID;
private String userName;
public Client(String userName){
PID = getDefaultProfileID();
UID = mapUserNametoUID( userName );
this.userName = userName;
}
public void setPID(int ID) {
UID = ID;
}
}

The programmer implemented setPID with the intention of modifying the PID variable, but due to a typo. accidentally specified the critical variable UID instead. If the program allows profile IDs to be between 1 and 10, but a UID of 1 means the user is treated as an admin, then a user could gain administrative privileges as a result of this typo.

+ Potential Mitigations

Phase: Implementation

Use class accessor and mutator methods appropriately. Perform validation when accepting data from a public method that is intended to modify a critical private variable. Also be sure that appropriate access controls are being applied when a public method interfaces with critical data.
+ 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.963SFP Secondary Cluster: Exposed Data
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1184SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard - Guidelines 06. Object-Oriented Programming (OOP)
+ Notes

Maintenance

This entry is closely associated with access control for public methods. If the public methods are restricted with proper access controls, then the information in the private variable will not be exposed to unexpected parties. There may be chaining or composite relationships between improper access controls and this weakness.
+ Taxonomy Mappings
Mapped Taxonomy NameNode IDFitMapped Node Name
CLASPFailure to protect stored data from modification
Software Fault PatternsSFP23Exposed Data
SEI CERT Perl Coding StandardOOP31-PLImpreciseDo not access private variables or subroutines in other packages
+ Content History
+ Submissions
Submission DateSubmitterOrganization
2009-03-03CWE Content TeamMITRE
+ Modifications
Modification DateModifierOrganization
2011-06-01CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences
2012-05-11CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2014-07-30CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2017-11-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Likelihood_of_Exploit, Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2019-01-03CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Taxonomy_Mappings
2020-02-24CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2021-03-15CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships

CWE-563: Assignment to Variable without Use

Weakness ID: 563
Abstraction: Variant
Structure: Simple
Status: Draft
Presentation Filter:
+ Description
The variable's value is assigned but never used, making it a dead store.
+ Extended Description
After the assignment, the variable is either assigned another value or goes out of scope. It is likely that the variable is simply vestigial, but it is also possible that the unused variable points out a bug.
+ Alternate Terms
Unused Variable
+ 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.1164Irrelevant Code
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 "Software Development" (CWE-699)
NatureTypeIDName
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1006Bad Coding Practices
+ 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
Implementation
+ 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
Other

Technical Impact: Quality Degradation; Varies by Context

This weakness could be an indication of a bug in the program or a deprecated variable that was not removed and is an indication of poor quality. This could lead to further bugs and the introduction of weaknesses.
+ Demonstrative Examples

Example 1

The following code excerpt assigns to the variable r and then overwrites the value without using it.

(bad code)
Example Language:
r = getName();
r = getNewBuffer(buf);
+ Potential Mitigations

Phase: Implementation

Remove unused variables from the code.
+ Weakness Ordinalities
OrdinalityDescription
Indirect
(where the weakness is a quality issue that might indirectly make it easier to introduce security-relevant weaknesses or make them more difficult to detect)
+ 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.747CERT C Secure Coding Standard (2008) Chapter 14 - Miscellaneous (MSC)
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.883CERT C++ Secure Coding Section 49 - Miscellaneous (MSC)
MemberOfViewView - a subset of CWE entries that provides a way of examining CWE content. The two main view structures are Slices (flat lists) and Graphs (containing relationships between entries).884CWE Cross-section
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.886SFP Primary Cluster: Unused entities
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1186SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard - Guidelines 50. Miscellaneous (MSC)
+ Taxonomy Mappings
Mapped Taxonomy NameNode IDFitMapped Node Name
CERT C Secure CodingMSC00-CCompile cleanly at high warning levels
SEI CERT Perl Coding StandardMSC01-PLImpreciseDetect and remove unused variables
Software Fault PatternsSFP2Unused Entities
+ Content History
+ Submissions
Submission DateSubmitterOrganization
2006-07-19Anonymous Tool Vendor (under NDA)
+ Modifications
Modification DateModifierOrganization
2008-07-01Eric DalciCigital
updated Potential_Mitigations, Time_of_Introduction
2008-09-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Description, Relationships, Other_Notes, Taxonomy_Mappings
2008-11-24CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2009-05-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Demonstrative_Examples
2011-06-01CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences
2011-06-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences
2011-09-13CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2012-05-11CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences, Relationships
2012-10-30CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Potential_Mitigations
2014-06-23CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences, Description, Name, Other_Notes
2014-07-30CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Taxonomy_Mappings
2017-11-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Alternate_Terms, Name, Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2019-01-03CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings, Weakness_Ordinalities
2020-02-24CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2021-03-15CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
+ Previous Entry Names
Change DatePrevious Entry Name
2014-06-23Unused Variable
2017-11-08Assignment to Variable without Use ('Unused Variable')

CWE-561: Dead Code

Weakness ID: 561
Abstraction: Base
Structure: Simple
Status: Draft
Presentation Filter:
+ Description
The software contains dead code, which can never be executed.
+ Extended Description
Dead code is source code that can never be executed in a running program. The surrounding code makes it impossible for a section of code to ever be executed.
+ 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.1164Irrelevant Code
CanFollowBaseBase - a weakness that is still mostly independent of a resource or technology, but with sufficient details to provide specific methods for detection and prevention. Base level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 2 or 3 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.570Expression is Always False
CanFollowBaseBase - a weakness that is still mostly independent of a resource or technology, but with sufficient details to provide specific methods for detection and prevention. Base level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 2 or 3 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.571Expression is Always True
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 "Software Development" (CWE-699)
NatureTypeIDName
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1006Bad Coding Practices
+ 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
Implementation
+ 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

Class: Language-Independent (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
Other

Technical Impact: Quality Degradation

Dead code that results from code that can never be executed is an indication of problems with the source code that needs to be fixed and is an indication of poor quality.
Other

Technical Impact: Reduce Maintainability

+ Demonstrative Examples

Example 1

The condition for the second if statement is impossible to satisfy. It requires that the variables be non-null, while on the only path where s can be assigned a non-null value there is a return statement.

(bad code)
Example Language: C++ 
String s = null;
if (b) {
s = "Yes";
return;
}

if (s != null) {
Dead();
}

Example 2

In the following class, two private methods call each other, but since neither one is ever invoked from anywhere else, they are both dead code.

(bad code)
Example Language: Java 
public class DoubleDead {
private void doTweedledee() {
doTweedledumb();
}
private void doTweedledumb() {
doTweedledee();
}
public static void main(String[] args) {
System.out.println("running DoubleDead");
}
}

(In this case it is a good thing that the methods are dead: invoking either one would cause an infinite loop.)

Example 3

The field named glue is not used in the following class. The author of the class has accidentally put quotes around the field name, transforming it into a string constant.

(bad code)
Example Language: Java 
public class Dead {
String glue;

public String getGlue() {
return "glue";
}
}
+ Observed Examples
ReferenceDescription
chain: incorrect "goto" in Apple SSL product bypasses certificate validation, allowing Adversary-in-the-Middle (AITM) attack (Apple "goto fail" bug). CWE-705 (Incorrect Control Flow Scoping) -> CWE-561 (Dead Code) -> CWE-295 (Improper Certificate Validation) -> CWE-393 (Return of Wrong Status Code) -> CWE-300 (Channel Accessible by Non-Endpoint).
+ Potential Mitigations

Phase: Implementation

Remove dead code before deploying the application.

Phase: Testing

Use a static analysis tool to spot dead code.
+ Weakness Ordinalities
OrdinalityDescription
Indirect
(where the weakness is a quality issue that might indirectly make it easier to introduce security-relevant weaknesses or make them more difficult to detect)
+ Detection Methods

Architecture or Design Review

According to SOAR, the following detection techniques may be useful:

Highly cost effective:
  • Inspection (IEEE 1028 standard) (can apply to requirements, design, source code, etc.)
  • Formal Methods / Correct-By-Construction
Cost effective for partial coverage:
  • Attack Modeling

Effectiveness: High

Automated Static Analysis - Binary or Bytecode

According to SOAR, the following detection techniques may be useful:

Highly cost effective:
  • Binary / Bytecode Quality Analysis
  • Compare binary / bytecode to application permission manifest

Effectiveness: High

Dynamic Analysis with Manual Results Interpretation

According to SOAR, the following detection techniques may be useful:

Cost effective for partial coverage:
  • Automated Monitored Execution

Effectiveness: SOAR Partial

Automated Static Analysis

According to SOAR, the following detection techniques may be useful:

Cost effective for partial coverage:
  • Permission Manifest Analysis

Effectiveness: SOAR Partial

Automated Static Analysis - Source Code

According to SOAR, the following detection techniques may be useful:

Highly cost effective:
  • Source Code Quality Analyzer
Cost effective for partial coverage:
  • Warning Flags
  • Source code Weakness Analyzer
  • Context-configured Source Code Weakness Analyzer

Effectiveness: High

Dynamic Analysis with Automated Results Interpretation

According to SOAR, the following detection techniques may be useful:

Cost effective for partial coverage:
  • Web Application Scanner
  • Web Services Scanner
  • Database Scanners

Effectiveness: SOAR Partial

Manual Static Analysis - Source Code

According to SOAR, the following detection techniques may be useful:

Highly cost effective:
  • Manual Source Code Review (not inspections)
Cost effective for partial coverage:
  • Focused Manual Spotcheck - Focused manual analysis of source

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.747CERT C Secure Coding Standard (2008) Chapter 14 - Miscellaneous (MSC)
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.883CERT C++ Secure Coding Section 49 - Miscellaneous (MSC)
MemberOfViewView - a subset of CWE entries that provides a way of examining CWE content. The two main view structures are Slices (flat lists) and Graphs (containing relationships between entries).884CWE Cross-section
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.886SFP Primary Cluster: Unused entities
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1130CISQ Quality Measures (2016) - Maintainability
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1186SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard - Guidelines 50. Miscellaneous (MSC)
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1307CISQ Quality Measures - Maintainability
+ Taxonomy Mappings
Mapped Taxonomy NameNode IDFitMapped Node Name
CERT C Secure CodingMSC07-CDetect and remove dead code
SEI CERT Perl Coding StandardMSC00-PLExactDetect and remove dead code
Software Fault PatternsSFP2Unused Entities
OMG ASCMMASCMM-MNT-20
+ References
[REF-960] Object Management Group (OMG). "Automated Source Code Maintainability Measure (ASCMM)". ASCMM-MNT-20. 2016-01. <http://www.omg.org/spec/ASCMM/1.0>.
+ Content History
+ Submissions
Submission DateSubmitterOrganization
2006-07-19Anonymous Tool Vendor (under NDA)
+ Modifications
Modification DateModifierOrganization
2008-07-01Eric DalciCigital
updated Potential_Mitigations, Time_of_Introduction
2008-09-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Description, Relationships, Other_Notes, Taxonomy_Mappings
2008-11-24CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2009-05-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Demonstrative_Examples
2009-07-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Demonstrative_Examples
2009-10-29CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences, Other_Notes
2011-06-01CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences
2011-09-13CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2012-05-11CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences, Relationships
2012-10-30CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Potential_Mitigations
2014-06-23CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Observed_Examples
2014-07-30CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Detection_Factors, Taxonomy_Mappings
2017-11-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2019-01-03CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences, References, Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings, Weakness_Ordinalities
2019-06-20CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Type
2020-02-24CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Applicable_Platforms, Observed_Examples, Relationships
2020-08-20CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2021-03-15CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2021-07-20CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Observed_Examples

CWE-628: Function Call with Incorrectly Specified Arguments

Weakness ID: 628
Abstraction: Base
Structure: Simple
Status: Draft
Presentation Filter:
+ Description
The product calls a function, procedure, or routine with arguments that are not correctly specified, leading to always-incorrect behavior and resultant weaknesses.
+ Extended Description

There are multiple ways in which this weakness can be introduced, including:

  • the wrong variable or reference;
  • an incorrect number of arguments;
  • incorrect order of arguments;
  • wrong type of arguments; or
  • wrong value.
+ 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.573Improper Following of Specification by Caller
ParentOfVariantVariant - a weakness that is linked to a certain type of product, typically involving a specific language or technology. More specific than a Base weakness. Variant level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 3 to 5 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.683Function Call With Incorrect Order of Arguments
ParentOfVariantVariant - a weakness that is linked to a certain type of product, typically involving a specific language or technology. More specific than a Base weakness. Variant level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 3 to 5 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.685Function Call With Incorrect Number of Arguments
ParentOfVariantVariant - a weakness that is linked to a certain type of product, typically involving a specific language or technology. More specific than a Base weakness. Variant level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 3 to 5 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.686Function Call With Incorrect Argument Type
ParentOfVariantVariant - a weakness that is linked to a certain type of product, typically involving a specific language or technology. More specific than a Base weakness. Variant level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 3 to 5 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.687Function Call With Incorrectly Specified Argument Value
ParentOfVariantVariant - a weakness that is linked to a certain type of product, typically involving a specific language or technology. More specific than a Base weakness. Variant level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 3 to 5 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.688Function Call With Incorrect Variable or Reference as Argument
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 "Software Development" (CWE-699)
NatureTypeIDName
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1006Bad Coding Practices
+ 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
Implementation
+ 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

Class: Language-Independent (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
Other
Access Control

Technical Impact: Quality Degradation; Gain Privileges or Assume Identity

This weakness can cause unintended behavior and can lead to additional weaknesses such as allowing an attacker to gain unintended access to system resources.
+ Demonstrative Examples

Example 1

The following PHP method authenticates a user given a username/password combination but is called with the parameters in reverse order.

(bad code)
Example Language: PHP 
function authenticate($username, $password) {

// authenticate user
...
}

authenticate($_POST['password'], $_POST['username']);

Example 2

This Perl code intends to record whether a user authenticated successfully or not, and to exit if the user fails to authenticate. However, when it calls ReportAuth(), the third argument is specified as 0 instead of 1, so it does not exit.

(bad code)
Example Language: Perl 
sub ReportAuth {
my ($username, $result, $fatal) = @_;
PrintLog("auth: username=%s, result=%d", $username, $result);
if (($result ne "success") && $fatal) {
die "Failed!\n";
}
}

sub PrivilegedFunc
{
my $result = CheckAuth($username);
ReportAuth($username, $result, 0);
DoReallyImportantStuff();
}

Example 3

In the following Java snippet, the accessGranted() method is accidentally called with the static ADMIN_ROLES array rather than the user roles.

(bad code)
Example Language: Java 
private static final String[] ADMIN_ROLES = ...;
public boolean void accessGranted(String resource, String user) {
String[] userRoles = getUserRoles(user);
return accessGranted(resource, ADMIN_ROLES);
}

private boolean void accessGranted(String resource, String[] userRoles) {

// grant or deny access based on user roles
...
}
+ Observed Examples
ReferenceDescription
The method calls the functions with the wrong argument order, which allows remote attackers to bypass intended access restrictions.
+ Potential Mitigations

Phase: Build and Compilation

Once found, these issues are easy to fix. Use code inspection tools and relevant compiler features to identify potential violations. Pay special attention to code that is not likely to be exercised heavily during QA.

Phase: Architecture and Design

Make sure your API's are stable before you use them in production code.
+ Weakness Ordinalities
OrdinalityDescription
Primary
This is usually primary to other weaknesses, but it can be resultant if the function's API or function prototype changes. (where the weakness is a quality issue that might indirectly make it easier to introduce security-relevant weaknesses or make them more difficult to detect)
+ Detection Methods

Other

Since these bugs typically introduce incorrect behavior that is obvious to users, they are found quickly, unless they occur in rarely-tested code paths. Managing the correct number of arguments can be made more difficult in cases where format strings are used, or when variable numbers of arguments are supported.
+ 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.736CERT C Secure Coding Standard (2008) Chapter 3 - Declarations and Initialization (DCL)
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.737CERT C Secure Coding Standard (2008) Chapter 4 - Expressions (EXP)
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.742CERT C Secure Coding Standard (2008) Chapter 9 - Memory Management (MEM)
MemberOfViewView - a subset of CWE entries that provides a way of examining CWE content. The two main view structures are Slices (flat lists) and Graphs (containing relationships between entries).884CWE Cross-section
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.998SFP Secondary Cluster: Glitch in Computation
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1157SEI CERT C Coding Standard - Guidelines 03. Expressions (EXP)
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1180SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard - Guidelines 02. Declarations and Initialization (DCL)
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1181SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard - Guidelines 03. Expressions (EXP)
+ Taxonomy Mappings
Mapped Taxonomy NameNode IDFitMapped Node Name
CERT C Secure CodingDCL10-CMaintain the contract between the writer and caller of variadic functions
CERT C Secure CodingEXP37-CCWE More AbstractCall functions with the correct number and type of arguments
SEI CERT Perl Coding StandardDCL00-PLCWE More AbstractDo not use subroutine prototypes
SEI CERT Perl Coding StandardEXP33-PLImpreciseDo not invoke a function in a context for which it is not defined
+ Content History
+ Submissions
Submission DateSubmitterOrganization
2007-05-07CWE Content TeamMITRE
+ Modifications
Modification DateModifierOrganization
2008-09-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Description, Relationships, Other_Notes, Weakness_Ordinalities
2008-11-24CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2009-10-29CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Detection_Factors, Other_Notes, Weakness_Ordinalities
2010-02-16CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Detection_Factors
2010-06-21CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Description
2011-06-01CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences
2011-06-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences
2012-05-11CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences, Demonstrative_Examples, Relationships
2012-10-30CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Potential_Mitigations
2014-07-30CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2017-11-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Applicable_Platforms, Taxonomy_Mappings
2019-01-03CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2020-02-24CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2021-03-15CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Detection_Factors, Relationships
+ Previous Entry Names
Change DatePrevious Entry Name
2008-04-11Incorrectly Specified Arguments

CWE-754: Improper Check for Unusual or Exceptional Conditions

Weakness ID: 754
Abstraction: Class
Structure: Simple
Status: Incomplete
Presentation Filter:
+ Description
The software does not check or incorrectly checks for unusual or exceptional conditions that are not expected to occur frequently during day to day operation of the software.
+ Extended Description

The programmer may assume that certain events or conditions will never occur or do not need to be worried about, such as low memory conditions, lack of access to resources due to restrictive permissions, or misbehaving clients or components. However, attackers may intentionally trigger these unusual conditions, thus violating the programmer's assumptions, possibly introducing instability, incorrect behavior, or a vulnerability.

Note that this entry is not exclusively about the use of exceptions and exception handling, which are mechanisms for both checking and handling unusual or unexpected conditions.

+ 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
ChildOfPillarPillar - a weakness that is the most abstract type of weakness and represents a theme for all class/base/variant weaknesses related to it. A Pillar is different from a Category as a Pillar is still technically a type of weakness that describes a mistake, while a Category represents a common characteristic used to group related things.703Improper Check or Handling of Exceptional Conditions
ParentOfBaseBase - a weakness that is still mostly independent of a resource or technology, but with sufficient details to provide specific methods for detection and prevention. Base level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 2 or 3 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.252Unchecked Return Value
ParentOfBaseBase - a weakness that is still mostly independent of a resource or technology, but with sufficient details to provide specific methods for detection and prevention. Base level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 2 or 3 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.253Incorrect Check of Function Return Value
ParentOfBaseBase - a weakness that is still mostly independent of a resource or technology, but with sufficient details to provide specific methods for detection and prevention. Base level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 2 or 3 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.273Improper Check for Dropped Privileges
ParentOfBaseBase - a weakness that is still mostly independent of a resource or technology, but with sufficient details to provide specific methods for detection and prevention. Base level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 2 or 3 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.354Improper Validation of Integrity Check Value
ParentOfBaseBase - a weakness that is still mostly independent of a resource or technology, but with sufficient details to provide specific methods for detection and prevention. Base level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 2 or 3 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.391Unchecked Error Condition
ParentOfBaseBase - a weakness that is still mostly independent of a resource or technology, but with sufficient details to provide specific methods for detection and prevention. Base level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 2 or 3 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.394Unexpected Status Code or Return Value
ParentOfBaseBase - a weakness that is still mostly independent of a resource or technology, but with sufficient details to provide specific methods for detection and prevention. Base level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 2 or 3 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.476NULL Pointer Dereference
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 "Weaknesses for Simplified Mapping of Published Vulnerabilities" (CWE-1003)
NatureTypeIDName
ParentOfBaseBase - a weakness that is still mostly independent of a resource or technology, but with sufficient details to provide specific methods for detection and prevention. Base level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 2 or 3 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.252Unchecked Return Value
ParentOfBaseBase - a weakness that is still mostly independent of a resource or technology, but with sufficient details to provide specific methods for detection and prevention. Base level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 2 or 3 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.273Improper Check for Dropped Privileges
ParentOfBaseBase - a weakness that is still mostly independent of a resource or technology, but with sufficient details to provide specific methods for detection and prevention. Base level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 2 or 3 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.476NULL Pointer Dereference
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 "Architectural Concepts" (CWE-1008)
NatureTypeIDName
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1012Cross Cutting
+ Background Details
Many functions will return some value about the success of their actions. This will alert the program whether or not to handle any errors caused by that function.
+ 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
ImplementationREALIZATION: This weakness is caused during implementation of an architectural security tactic.
+ 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

Class: Language-Independent (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
Integrity
Availability

Technical Impact: DoS: Crash, Exit, or Restart; Unexpected State

The data which were produced as a result of a function call could be in a bad state upon return. If the return value is not checked, then this bad data may be used in operations, possibly leading to a crash or other unintended behaviors.
+ Likelihood Of Exploit
Medium
+ Demonstrative Examples

Example 1

Consider the following code segment:

(bad code)
Example Language:
char buf[10], cp_buf[10];
fgets(buf, 10, stdin);
strcpy(cp_buf, buf);

The programmer expects that when fgets() returns, buf will contain a null-terminated string of length 9 or less. But if an I/O error occurs, fgets() will not null-terminate buf. Furthermore, if the end of the file is reached before any characters are read, fgets() returns without writing anything to buf. In both of these situations, fgets() signals that something unusual has happened by returning NULL, but in this code, the warning will not be noticed. The lack of a null terminator in buf can result in a buffer overflow in the subsequent call to strcpy().

Example 2

The following code does not check to see if memory allocation succeeded before attempting to use the pointer returned by malloc().

(bad code)
Example Language:
buf = (char*) malloc(req_size);
strncpy(buf, xfer, req_size);

The traditional defense of this coding error is: "If my program runs out of memory, it will fail. It doesn't matter whether I handle the error or simply allow the program to die with a segmentation fault when it tries to dereference the null pointer." This argument ignores three important considerations:

  • Depending upon the type and size of the application, it may be possible to free memory that is being used elsewhere so that execution can continue.
  • It is impossible for the program to perform a graceful exit if required. If the program is performing an atomic operation, it can leave the system in an inconsistent state.
  • The programmer has lost the opportunity to record diagnostic information. Did the call to malloc() fail because req_size was too large or because there were too many requests being handled at the same time? Or was it caused by a memory leak that has built up over time? Without handling the error, there is no way to know.

Example 3

The following examples read a file into a byte array.

(bad code)
Example Language: C# 
char[] byteArray = new char[1024];
for (IEnumerator i=users.GetEnumerator(); i.MoveNext() ;i.Current()) {
String userName = (String) i.Current();
String pFileName = PFILE_ROOT + "/" + userName;
StreamReader sr = new StreamReader(pFileName);
sr.Read(byteArray,0,1024);//the file is always 1k bytes
sr.Close();
processPFile(userName, byteArray);
}
(bad code)
Example Language: Java 
FileInputStream fis;
byte[] byteArray = new byte[1024];
for (Iterator i=users.iterator(); i.hasNext();) {
String userName = (String) i.next();
String pFileName = PFILE_ROOT + "/" + userName;
FileInputStream fis = new FileInputStream(pFileName);
fis.read(byteArray); // the file is always 1k bytes
fis.close();
processPFile(userName, byteArray);

The code loops through a set of users, reading a private data file for each user. The programmer assumes that the files are always 1 kilobyte in size and therefore ignores the return value from Read(). If an attacker can create a smaller file, the program will recycle the remainder of the data from the previous user and treat it as though it belongs to the attacker.

Example 4

The following code does not check to see if the string returned by getParameter() is null before calling the member function compareTo(), potentially causing a NULL dereference.

(bad code)
Example Language: Java 
String itemName = request.getParameter(ITEM_NAME);
if (itemName.compareTo(IMPORTANT_ITEM) == 0) {
...
}
...

The following code does not check to see if the string returned by the Item property is null before calling the member function Equals(), potentially causing a NULL dereference.

(bad code)
Example Language: Java 
String itemName = request.Item(ITEM_NAME);
if (itemName.Equals(IMPORTANT_ITEM)) {
...
}
...

The traditional defense of this coding error is: "I know the requested value will always exist because.... If it does not exist, the program cannot perform the desired behavior so it doesn't matter whether I handle the error or simply allow the program to die dereferencing a null value." But attackers are skilled at finding unexpected paths through programs, particularly when exceptions are involved.

Example 5

The following code shows a system property that is set to null and later dereferenced by a programmer who mistakenly assumes it will always be defined.

(bad code)
Example Language: Java 
System.clearProperty("os.name");
...
String os = System.getProperty("os.name");
if (os.equalsIgnoreCase("Windows 95")) System.out.println("Not supported");

The traditional defense of this coding error is: "I know the requested value will always exist because.... If it does not exist, the program cannot perform the desired behavior so it doesn't matter whether I handle the error or simply allow the program to die dereferencing a null value." But attackers are skilled at finding unexpected paths through programs, particularly when exceptions are involved.

Example 6

The following VB.NET code does not check to make sure that it has read 50 bytes from myfile.txt. This can cause DoDangerousOperation() to operate on an unexpected value.

(bad code)
Example Language: C# 
Dim MyFile As New FileStream("myfile.txt", FileMode.Open, FileAccess.Read, FileShare.Read)
Dim MyArray(50) As Byte
MyFile.Read(MyArray, 0, 50)
DoDangerousOperation(MyArray(20))

In .NET, it is not uncommon for programmers to misunderstand Read() and related methods that are part of many System.IO classes. The stream and reader classes do not consider it to be unusual or exceptional if only a small amount of data becomes available. These classes simply add the small amount of data to the return buffer, and set the return value to the number of bytes or characters read. There is no guarantee that the amount of data returned is equal to the amount of data requested.

Example 7

This example takes an IP address from a user, verifies that it is well formed and then looks up the hostname and copies it into a buffer.

(bad code)
Example Language:
void host_lookup(char *user_supplied_addr){
struct hostent *hp;
in_addr_t *addr;
char hostname[64];
in_addr_t inet_addr(const char *cp);

/*routine that ensures user_supplied_addr is in the right format for conversion */

validate_addr_form(user_supplied_addr);
addr = inet_addr(user_supplied_addr);
hp = gethostbyaddr( addr, sizeof(struct in_addr), AF_INET);
strcpy(hostname, hp->h_name);
}

If an attacker provides an address that appears to be well-formed, but the address does not resolve to a hostname, then the call to gethostbyaddr() will return NULL. Since the code does not check the return value from gethostbyaddr (CWE-252), a NULL pointer dereference (CWE-476) would then occur in the call to strcpy().

Note that this code is also vulnerable to a buffer overflow (CWE-119).

Example 8

In the following C/C++ example the method outputStringToFile opens a file in the local filesystem and outputs a string to the file. The input parameters output and filename contain the string to output to the file and the name of the file respectively.

(bad code)
Example Language: C++ 
int outputStringToFile(char *output, char *filename) {

openFileToWrite(filename);
writeToFile(output);
closeFile(filename);
}

However, this code does not check the return values of the methods openFileToWrite, writeToFile, closeFile to verify that the file was properly opened and closed and that the string was successfully written to the file. The return values for these methods should be checked to determine if the method was successful and allow for detection of errors or unexpected conditions as in the following example.

(good code)
Example Language: C++ 
int outputStringToFile(char *output, char *filename) {
int isOutput = SUCCESS;

int isOpen = openFileToWrite(filename);
if (isOpen == FAIL) {
printf("Unable to open file %s", filename);
isOutput = FAIL;
}
else {
int isWrite = writeToFile(output);
if (isWrite == FAIL) {
printf("Unable to write to file %s", filename);
isOutput = FAIL;
}

int isClose = closeFile(filename);
if (isClose == FAIL)
isOutput = FAIL;
}
return isOutput;
}

Example 9

In the following Java example the method readFromFile uses a FileReader object to read the contents of a file. The FileReader object is created using the File object readFile, the readFile object is initialized using the setInputFile method. The setInputFile method should be called before calling the readFromFile method.

(bad code)
Example Language: Java 
private File readFile = null;

public void setInputFile(String inputFile) {

// create readFile File object from string containing name of file
}

public void readFromFile() {
try {
reader = new FileReader(readFile);

// read input file
} catch (FileNotFoundException ex) {...}
}

However, the readFromFile method does not check to see if the readFile object is null, i.e. has not been initialized, before creating the FileReader object and reading from the input file. The readFromFile method should verify whether the readFile object is null and output an error message and raise an exception if the readFile object is null, as in the following code.

(good code)
Example Language: Java 
private File readFile = null;

public void setInputFile(String inputFile) {

// create readFile File object from string containing name of file
}

public void readFromFile() {
try {
if (readFile == null) {
System.err.println("Input file has not been set, call setInputFile method before calling openInputFile");
throw NullPointerException;
}

reader = new FileReader(readFile);

// read input file
} catch (FileNotFoundException ex) {...}
catch (NullPointerException ex) {...}
}
+ Observed Examples
ReferenceDescription
Unchecked return value leads to resultant integer overflow and code execution.
Program does not check return value when invoking functions to drop privileges, which could leave users with higher privileges than expected by forcing those functions to fail.
Program does not check return value when invoking functions to drop privileges, which could leave users with higher privileges than expected by forcing those functions to fail.
+ Potential Mitigations

Phase: Requirements

Strategy: Language Selection

Use a language that does not allow this weakness to occur or provides constructs that make this weakness easier to avoid.

Choose languages with features such as exception handling that force the programmer to anticipate unusual conditions that may generate exceptions. Custom exceptions may need to be developed to handle unusual business-logic conditions. Be careful not to pass sensitive exceptions back to the user (CWE-209, CWE-248).

Phase: Implementation

Check the results of all functions that return a value and verify that the value is expected.

Effectiveness: High

Note: Checking the return value of the function will typically be sufficient, however beware of race conditions (CWE-362) in a concurrent environment.

Phase: Implementation

If using exception handling, catch and throw specific exceptions instead of overly-general exceptions (CWE-396, CWE-397). Catch and handle exceptions as locally as possible so that exceptions do not propagate too far up the call stack (CWE-705). Avoid unchecked or uncaught exceptions where feasible (CWE-248).

Effectiveness: High

Note: Using specific exceptions, and ensuring that exceptions are checked, helps programmers to anticipate and appropriately handle many unusual events that could occur.

Phase: Implementation

Ensure that error messages only contain minimal details that are useful to the intended audience and no one else. The messages need to strike the balance between being too cryptic (which can confuse users) or being too detailed (which may reveal more than intended). The messages should not reveal the methods that were used to determine the error. Attackers can use detailed information to refine or optimize their original attack, thereby increasing their chances of success.

If errors must be captured in some detail, record them in log messages, but consider what could occur if the log messages can be viewed by attackers. Highly sensitive information such as passwords should never be saved to log files.

Avoid inconsistent messaging that might accidentally tip off an attacker about internal state, such as whether a user account exists or not.

Exposing additional information to a potential attacker in the context of an exceptional condition can help the attacker determine what attack vectors are most likely to succeed beyond DoS.

Phase: Implementation

Strategy: Input Validation

Assume all input is malicious. Use an "accept known good" input validation strategy, i.e., use a list of acceptable inputs that strictly conform to specifications. Reject any input that does not strictly conform to specifications, or transform it into something that does.

When performing input validation, consider all potentially relevant properties, including length, type of input, the full range of acceptable values, missing or extra inputs, syntax, consistency across related fields, and conformance to business rules. As an example of business rule logic, "boat" may be syntactically valid because it only contains alphanumeric characters, but it is not valid if the input is only expected to contain colors such as "red" or "blue."

Do not rely exclusively on looking for malicious or malformed inputs. This is likely to miss at least one undesirable input, especially if the code's environment changes. This can give attackers enough room to bypass the intended validation. However, denylists can be useful for detecting potential attacks or determining which inputs are so malformed that they should be rejected outright.

Note: Performing extensive input validation does not help with handling unusual conditions, but it will minimize their occurrences and will make it more difficult for attackers to trigger them.

Phases: Architecture and Design; Implementation

If the program must fail, ensure that it fails gracefully (fails closed). There may be a temptation to simply let the program fail poorly in cases such as low memory conditions, but an attacker may be able to assert control before the software has fully exited. Alternately, an uncontrolled failure could cause cascading problems with other downstream components; for example, the program could send a signal to a downstream process so the process immediately knows that a problem has occurred and has a better chance of recovery.

Phase: Architecture and Design

Use system limits, which should help to prevent resource exhaustion. However, the software should still handle low resource conditions since they may still occur.
+ Detection Methods

Automated Static Analysis

Automated static analysis may be useful for detecting unusual conditions involving system resources or common programming idioms, but not for violations of business rules.

Effectiveness: Moderate

Manual Dynamic Analysis

Identify error conditions that are not likely to occur during normal usage and trigger them. For example, run the program under low memory conditions, run with insufficient privileges or permissions, interrupt a transaction before it is completed, or disable connectivity to basic network services such as DNS. Monitor the software for any unexpected behavior. If you trigger an unhandled exception or similar error that was discovered and handled by the application's environment, it may still indicate unexpected conditions that were not handled by the application itself.
+ 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.742CERT C Secure Coding Standard (2008) Chapter 9 - Memory Management (MEM)
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.8022010 Top 25 - Risky Resource Management
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.8672011 Top 25 - Weaknesses On the Cusp
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.876CERT C++ Secure Coding Section 08 - Memory Management (MEM)
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.880CERT C++ Secure Coding Section 12 - Exceptions and Error Handling (ERR)
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.962SFP Secondary Cluster: Unchecked Status Condition
MemberOfViewView - a subset of CWE entries that provides a way of examining CWE content. The two main view structures are Slices (flat lists) and Graphs (containing relationships between entries).1003Weaknesses for Simplified Mapping of Published Vulnerabilities
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.1181SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard - Guidelines 03. Expressions (EXP)
+ Notes

Relationship

Sometimes, when a return value can be used to indicate an error, an unchecked return value is a code-layer instance of a missing application-layer check for exceptional conditions. However, return values are not always needed to communicate exceptional conditions. For example, expiration of resources, values passed by reference, asynchronously modified data, sockets, etc. may indicate exceptional conditions without the use of a return value.
+ Taxonomy Mappings
Mapped Taxonomy NameNode IDFitMapped Node Name
SEI CERT Perl Coding StandardEXP31-PLCWE More AbstractDo not suppress or ignore exceptions
+ References
[REF-62] Mark Dowd, John McDonald and Justin Schuh. "The Art of Software Security Assessment". Chapter 7, "Program Building Blocks" Page 341. 1st Edition. Addison Wesley. 2006.
[REF-62] Mark Dowd, John McDonald and Justin Schuh. "The Art of Software Security Assessment". Chapter 1, "Exceptional Conditions," Page 22. 1st Edition. Addison Wesley. 2006.
[REF-44] Michael Howard, David LeBlanc and John Viega. "24 Deadly Sins of Software Security". "Sin 11: Failure to Handle Errors Correctly." Page 183. McGraw-Hill. 2010.
[REF-622] Frank Kim. "Top 25 Series - Rank 15 - Improper Check for Unusual or Exceptional Conditions". SANS Software Security Institute. 2010-03-15. <http://blogs.sans.org/appsecstreetfighter/2010/03/15/top-25-series-rank-15-improper-check-for-unusual-or-exceptional-conditions/>.
+ Content History
+ Submissions
Submission DateSubmitterOrganization
2009-03-03CWE Content TeamMITRE
New entry for reorganization of CWE-703.
+ Modifications
Modification DateModifierOrganization
2009-07-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2009-12-28CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Applicable_Platforms, Likelihood_of_Exploit, Time_of_Introduction
2010-02-16CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Background_Details, Common_Consequences, Demonstrative_Examples, Description, Detection_Factors, Name, Observed_Examples, Potential_Mitigations, References, Related_Attack_Patterns, Relationship_Notes, Relationships
2010-04-05CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Demonstrative_Examples, Related_Attack_Patterns
2010-06-21CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences, Detection_Factors, Potential_Mitigations, References
2010-09-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Potential_Mitigations
2010-12-13CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationship_Notes
2011-03-29CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Description, Relationships
2011-06-01CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences
2011-06-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences, Related_Attack_Patterns, Relationships
2011-09-13CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2012-05-11CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2012-10-30CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Potential_Mitigations
2013-02-21CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2014-07-30CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Demonstrative_Examples, Relationships
2015-12-07CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2017-01-19CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2017-11-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Modes_of_Introduction, References, Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2019-01-03CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2019-06-20CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Description, Relationships
2020-02-24CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Potential_Mitigations, Relationships
2020-06-25CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Potential_Mitigations
2020-12-10CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Potential_Mitigations
2021-03-15CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Demonstrative_Examples, Relationships
2021-07-20CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
+ Previous Entry Names
Change DatePrevious Entry Name
2010-02-16Improper Check for Exceptional Conditions

CWE-460: Improper Cleanup on Thrown Exception

Weakness ID: 460
Abstraction: Base
Structure: Simple
Status: Draft
Presentation Filter:
+ Description
The product does not clean up its state or incorrectly cleans up its state when an exception is thrown, leading to unexpected state or control flow.
+ Extended Description
Often, when functions or loops become complicated, some level of resource cleanup is needed throughout execution. Exceptions can disturb the flow of the code and prevent the necessary cleanup from happening.
+ 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.755Improper Handling of Exceptional Conditions
ChildOfBaseBase - a weakness that is still mostly independent of a resource or technology, but with sufficient details to provide specific methods for detection and prevention. Base level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 2 or 3 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.459Incomplete Cleanup
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 "Software Development" (CWE-699)
NatureTypeIDName
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.452Initialization and Cleanup Errors
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 "Architectural Concepts" (CWE-1008)
NatureTypeIDName
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1012Cross Cutting
+ 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
ImplementationREALIZATION: This weakness is caused during implementation of an architectural security tactic.
+ 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

C (Undetermined Prevalence)

C++ (Undetermined Prevalence)

Java (Undetermined Prevalence)

C# (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
Other

Technical Impact: Varies by Context

The code could be left in a bad state.
+ Likelihood Of Exploit
Medium
+ Demonstrative Examples

Example 1

The following example demonstrates the weakness.

(bad code)
Example Language: Java 
public class foo {
public static final void main( String args[] ) {

boolean returnValue;
returnValue=doStuff();
}
public static final boolean doStuff( ) {

boolean threadLock;
boolean truthvalue=true;
try {

while(
//check some condition
) {

threadLock=true; //do some stuff to truthvalue
threadLock=false;
}
}
catch (Exception e){

System.err.println("You did something bad");
if (something) return truthvalue;
}
return truthvalue;
}
}

In this case, you may leave a thread locked accidentally.

+ Potential Mitigations

Phase: Implementation

If one breaks from a loop or function by throwing an exception, make sure that cleanup happens or that you should exit the program. Use throwing exceptions sparsely.
+ 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.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.880CERT C++ Secure Coding Section 12 - Exceptions and Error Handling (ERR)
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.961SFP Secondary Cluster: Incorrect Exception Behavior
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.1181SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard - Guidelines 03. Expressions (EXP)
+ Taxonomy Mappings
Mapped Taxonomy NameNode IDFitMapped Node Name
CLASPImproper cleanup on thrown exception
The CERT Oracle Secure Coding Standard for Java (2011)ERR03-JRestore prior object state on method failure
The CERT Oracle Secure Coding Standard for Java (2011)ERR05-JDo not let checked exceptions escape from a finally block
SEI CERT Perl Coding StandardEXP31-PLImpreciseDo not suppress or ignore exceptions
+ References
[REF-18] Secure Software, Inc.. "The CLASP Application Security Process". 2005. <https://cwe.mitre.org/documents/sources/TheCLASPApplicationSecurityProcess.pdf>.
+ Content History
+ Submissions
Submission DateSubmitterOrganization
2006-07-19CLASP
+ Modifications
Modification DateModifierOrganization
2008-07-01Eric DalciCigital
updated Time_of_Introduction
2008-09-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Applicable_Platforms, Common_Consequences, Relationships, Other_Notes, Taxonomy_Mappings
2009-03-10CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2009-05-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Description
2011-06-01CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences, Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2011-06-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences
2011-09-13CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2012-05-11CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2014-06-23CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Description, Other_Notes
2014-07-30CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2017-11-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Demonstrative_Examples, Modes_of_Introduction, Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2019-01-03CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2020-02-24CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated References, Type
2021-03-15CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships

CWE-116: Improper Encoding or Escaping of Output

Weakness ID: 116
Abstraction: Class
Structure: Simple
Status: Draft
Presentation Filter:
+ Description
The software prepares a structured message for communication with another component, but encoding or escaping of the data is either missing or done incorrectly. As a result, the intended structure of the message is not preserved.
+ Extended Description

Improper encoding or escaping can allow attackers to change the commands that are sent to another component, inserting malicious commands instead.

Most software follows a certain protocol that uses structured messages for communication between components, such as queries or commands. These structured messages can contain raw data interspersed with metadata or control information. For example, "GET /index.html HTTP/1.1" is a structured message containing a command ("GET") with a single argument ("/index.html") and metadata about which protocol version is being used ("HTTP/1.1").

If an application uses attacker-supplied inputs to construct a structured message without properly encoding or escaping, then the attacker could insert special characters that will cause the data to be interpreted as control information or metadata. Consequently, the component that receives the output will perform the wrong operations, or otherwise interpret the data incorrectly.

+ Alternate Terms
Output Sanitization
Output Validation
Output Encoding
+ 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
ChildOfPillarPillar - a weakness that is the most abstract type of weakness and represents a theme for all class/base/variant weaknesses related to it. A Pillar is different from a Category as a Pillar is still technically a type of weakness that describes a mistake, while a Category represents a common characteristic used to group related things.707Improper Neutralization
ParentOfBaseBase - a weakness that is still mostly independent of a resource or technology, but with sufficient details to provide specific methods for detection and prevention. Base level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 2 or 3 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.117Improper Output Neutralization for Logs
ParentOfVariantVariant - a weakness that is linked to a certain type of product, typically involving a specific language or technology. More specific than a Base weakness. Variant level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 3 to 5 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.644Improper Neutralization of HTTP Headers for Scripting Syntax
ParentOfBaseBase - a weakness that is still mostly independent of a resource or technology, but with sufficient details to provide specific methods for detection and prevention. Base level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 2 or 3 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.838Inappropriate Encoding for Output Context
CanPrecedeClassClass - 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.74Improper Neutralization of Special Elements in Output Used by a Downstream Component ('Injection')
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 "Weaknesses for Simplified Mapping of Published Vulnerabilities" (CWE-1003)
NatureTypeIDName
ParentOfBaseBase - a weakness that is still mostly independent of a resource or technology, but with sufficient details to provide specific methods for detection and prevention. Base level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 2 or 3 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.838Inappropriate Encoding for Output Context
+ 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
Architecture and Design
Implementation
Operation
+ 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

Class: Language-Independent (Often Prevalent)

Technologies

Database Server (Often Prevalent)

Web Server (Often Prevalent)

+ 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
Integrity

Technical Impact: Modify Application Data

The communications between components can be modified in unexpected ways. Unexpected commands can be executed, bypassing other security mechanisms. Incoming data can be misinterpreted.
Integrity
Confidentiality
Availability
Access Control

Technical Impact: Execute Unauthorized Code or Commands

The communications between components can be modified in unexpected ways. Unexpected commands can be executed, bypassing other security mechanisms. Incoming data can be misinterpreted.
Confidentiality

Technical Impact: Bypass Protection Mechanism

The communications between components can be modified in unexpected ways. Unexpected commands can be executed, bypassing other security mechanisms. Incoming data can be misinterpreted.
+ Likelihood Of Exploit
High
+ Demonstrative Examples

Example 1

This code displays an email address that was submitted as part of a form.

(bad code)
Example Language: JSP 
<% String email = request.getParameter("email"); %>
...
Email Address: <%= email %>

The value read from the form parameter is reflected back to the client browser without having been encoded prior to output, allowing various XSS attacks (CWE-79).

Example 2

Consider a chat application in which a front-end web application communicates with a back-end server. The back-end is legacy code that does not perform authentication or authorization, so the front-end must implement it. The chat protocol supports two commands, SAY and BAN, although only administrators can use the BAN command. Each argument must be separated by a single space. The raw inputs are URL-encoded. The messaging protocol allows multiple commands to be specified on the same line if they are separated by a "|" character.

First let's look at the back end command processor code

(bad code)
Example Language: Perl 
$inputString = readLineFromFileHandle($serverFH);

# generate an array of strings separated by the "|" character.
@commands = split(/\|/, $inputString);

foreach $cmd (@commands) {

# separate the operator from its arguments based on a single whitespace
($operator, $args) = split(/ /, $cmd, 2);

$args = UrlDecode($args);
if ($operator eq "BAN") {
ExecuteBan($args);
}
elsif ($operator eq "SAY") {
ExecuteSay($args);
}
}

The front end web application receives a command, encodes it for sending to the server, performs the authorization check, and sends the command to the server.

(bad code)
Example Language: Perl 
$inputString = GetUntrustedArgument("command");
($cmd, $argstr) = split(/\s+/, $inputString, 2);

# removes extra whitespace and also changes CRLF's to spaces
$argstr =~ s/\s+/ /gs;

$argstr = UrlEncode($argstr);
if (($cmd eq "BAN") && (! IsAdministrator($username))) {
die "Error: you are not the admin.\n";
}

# communicate with file server using a file handle
$fh = GetServerFileHandle("myserver");

print $fh "$cmd $argstr\n";

It is clear that, while the protocol and back-end allow multiple commands to be sent in a single request, the front end only intends to send a single command. However, the UrlEncode function could leave the "|" character intact. If an attacker provides:

(attack code)
 
SAY hello world|BAN user12

then the front end will see this is a "SAY" command, and the $argstr will look like "hello world | BAN user12". Since the command is "SAY", the check for the "BAN" command will fail, and the front end will send the URL-encoded command to the back end:

(result)
 
SAY hello%20world|BAN%20user12

The back end, however, will treat these as two separate commands:

(result)
 
SAY hello world
BAN user12

Notice, however, that if the front end properly encodes the "|" with "%7C", then the back end will only process a single command.

Example 3

This example takes user input, passes it through an encoding scheme and then creates a directory specified by the user.

(bad code)
Example Language: Perl 
sub GetUntrustedInput {
return($ARGV[0]);
}

sub encode {
my($str) = @_;
$str =~ s/\&/\&amp;/gs;
$str =~ s/\"/\&quot;/gs;
$str =~ s/\'/\&apos;/gs;
$str =~ s/\</\&lt;/gs;
$str =~ s/\>/\&gt;/gs;
return($str);
}

sub doit {
my $uname = encode(GetUntrustedInput("username"));
print "<b>Welcome, $uname!</b><p>\n";
system("cd /home/$uname; /bin/ls -l");
}

The programmer attempts to encode dangerous characters, however the denylist for encoding is incomplete (CWE-184) and an attacker can still pass a semicolon, resulting in a chain with command injection (CWE-77).

Additionally, the encoding routine is used inappropriately with command execution. An attacker doesn't even need to insert their own semicolon. The attacker can instead leverage the encoding routine to provide the semicolon to separate the commands. If an attacker supplies a string of the form:

(attack code)
 
' pwd

then the program will encode the apostrophe and insert the semicolon, which functions as a command separator when passed to the system function. This allows the attacker to complete the command injection.

+ Observed Examples
ReferenceDescription
OS command injection in backup software using shell metacharacters in a filename; correct behavior would require that this filename could not be changed.
Web application does not set the charset when sending a page to a browser, allowing for XSS exploitation when a browser chooses an unexpected encoding.
Program does not set the charset when sending a page to a browser, allowing for XSS exploitation when a browser chooses an unexpected encoding.
SQL injection via password parameter; a strong password might contain "&"
Cross-site scripting in chat application via a message subject, which normally might contain "&" and other XSS-related characters.
Cross-site scripting in chat application via a message, which normally might be allowed to contain arbitrary content.
+ Potential Mitigations

Phase: Architecture and Design

Strategy: Libraries or Frameworks

Use a vetted library or framework that does not allow this weakness to occur or provides constructs that make this weakness easier to avoid.

For example, consider using the ESAPI Encoding control [REF-45] or a similar tool, library, or framework. These will help the programmer encode outputs in a manner less prone to error.

Alternately, use built-in functions, but consider using wrappers in case those functions are discovered to have a vulnerability.

Phase: Architecture and Design

Strategy: Parameterization

If available, use structured mechanisms that automatically enforce the separation between data and code. These mechanisms may be able to provide the relevant quoting, encoding, and validation automatically, instead of relying on the developer to provide this capability at every point where output is generated.

For example, stored procedures can enforce database query structure and reduce the likelihood of SQL injection.

Phases: Architecture and Design; Implementation

Understand the context in which your data will be used and the encoding that will be expected. This is especially important when transmitting data between different components, or when generating outputs that can contain multiple encodings at the same time, such as web pages or multi-part mail messages. Study all expected communication protocols and data representations to determine the required encoding strategies.

Phase: Architecture and Design

In some cases, input validation may be an important strategy when output encoding is not a complete solution. For example, you may be providing the same output that will be processed by multiple consumers that use different encodings or representations. In other cases, you may be required to allow user-supplied input to contain control information, such as limited HTML tags that support formatting in a wiki or bulletin board. When this type of requirement must be met, use an extremely strict allowlist to limit which control sequences can be used. Verify that the resulting syntactic structure is what you expect. Use your normal encoding methods for the remainder of the input.

Phase: Architecture and Design

Use input validation as a defense-in-depth measure to reduce the likelihood of output encoding errors (see CWE-20).

Phase: Requirements

Fully specify which encodings are required by components that will be communicating with each other.

Phase: Implementation

When exchanging data between components, ensure that both components are using the same character encoding. Ensure that the proper encoding is applied at each interface. Explicitly set the encoding you are using whenever the protocol allows you to do so.
+ Detection Methods

Automated Static Analysis

This weakness can often be detected using automated static analysis tools. Many modern tools use data flow analysis or constraint-based techniques to minimize the number of false positives.

Effectiveness: Moderate

Note: This is not a perfect solution, since 100% accuracy and coverage are not feasible.

Automated Dynamic Analysis

This weakness can be detected using dynamic tools and techniques that interact with the software using large test suites with many diverse inputs, such as fuzz testing (fuzzing), robustness testing, and fault injection. The software's operation may slow down, but it should not become unstable, crash, or generate incorrect results.
+ 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.7512009 Top 25 - Insecure Interaction Between Components
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.845The CERT Oracle Secure Coding Standard for Java (2011) Chapter 2 - Input Validation and Data Sanitization (IDS)
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.883CERT C++ Secure Coding Section 49 - Miscellaneous (MSC)
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.992SFP Secondary Cluster: Faulty Input Transformation
MemberOfViewView - a subset of CWE entries that provides a way of examining CWE content. The two main view structures are Slices (flat lists) and Graphs (containing relationships between entries).1003Weaknesses for Simplified Mapping of Published Vulnerabilities
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1134SEI CERT Oracle Secure Coding Standard for Java - Guidelines 00. Input Validation and Data Sanitization (IDS)
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1179SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard - Guidelines 01. Input Validation and Data Sanitization (IDS)
+ Notes

Relationship

This weakness is primary to all weaknesses related to injection (CWE-74) since the inherent nature of injection involves the violation of structured messages.

Relationship

CWE-116 and CWE-20 have a close association because, depending on the nature of the structured message, proper input validation can indirectly prevent special characters from changing the meaning of a structured message. For example, by validating that a numeric ID field should only contain the 0-9 characters, the programmer effectively prevents injection attacks.

However, input validation is not always sufficient, especially when less stringent data types must be supported, such as free-form text. Consider a SQL injection scenario in which a last name is inserted into a query. The name "O'Reilly" would likely pass the validation step since it is a common last name in the English language. However, it cannot be directly inserted into the database because it contains the "'" apostrophe character, which would need to be escaped or otherwise neutralized. In this case, stripping the apostrophe might reduce the risk of SQL injection, but it would produce incorrect behavior because the wrong name would be recorded.

Research Gap

While many published vulnerabilities are related to insufficient output encoding, there is such an emphasis on input validation as a protection mechanism that the underlying causes are rarely described. Within CVE, the focus is primarily on well-understood issues like cross-site scripting and SQL injection. It is likely that this weakness frequently occurs in custom protocols that support multiple encodings, which are not necessarily detectable with automated techniques.

Terminology

The usage of the "encoding" and "escaping" terms varies widely. For example, in some programming languages, the terms are used interchangeably, while other languages provide APIs that use both terms for different tasks. This overlapping usage extends to the Web, such as the "escape" JavaScript function whose purpose is stated to be encoding. The concepts of encoding and escaping predate the Web by decades. Given such a context, it is difficult for CWE to adopt a consistent vocabulary that will not be misinterpreted by some constituency.

Theoretical

This is a data/directive boundary error in which data boundaries are not sufficiently enforced before it is sent to a different control sphere.
+ Taxonomy Mappings
Mapped Taxonomy NameNode IDFitMapped Node Name
WASC22Improper Output Handling
The CERT Oracle Secure Coding Standard for Java (2011)IDS00-JExactSanitize untrusted data passed across a trust boundary
The CERT Oracle Secure Coding Standard for Java (2011)IDS05-JUse a subset of ASCII for file and path names
SEI CERT Oracle Coding Standard for JavaIDS00-JImprecisePrevent SQL injection
SEI CERT Perl Coding StandardIDS33-PLExactSanitize untrusted data passed across a trust boundary
+ References
[REF-45] OWASP. "OWASP Enterprise Security API (ESAPI) Project". <http://www.owasp.org/index.php/ESAPI>.
[REF-46] Joshbw. "Output Sanitization". 2008-09-18. <http://www.analyticalengine.net/archives/58>.
[REF-47] Niyaz PK. "Sanitizing user data: How and where to do it". 2008-09-11. <http://www.diovo.com/2008/09/sanitizing-user-data-how-and-where-to-do-it/>.
[REF-48] Jeremiah Grossman. "Input validation or output filtering, which is better?". 2007-01-30. <http://jeremiahgrossman.blogspot.com/2007/01/input-validation-or-output-filtering.html>.
[REF-49] Jim Manico. "Input Validation - Not That Important". 2008-08-10. <http://manicode.blogspot.com/2008/08/input-validation-not-that-important.html>.
[REF-50] Michael Eddington. "Preventing XSS with Correct Output Encoding". <http://phed.org/2008/05/19/preventing-xss-with-correct-output-encoding/>.
[REF-7] Michael Howard and David LeBlanc. "Writing Secure Code". Chapter 11, "Canonical Representation Issues" Page 363. 2nd Edition. Microsoft Press. 2002-12-04. <https://www.microsoftpressstore.com/store/writing-secure-code-9780735617223>.
+ Content History
+ Submissions
Submission DateSubmitterOrganization
2006-07-19CWE Community
Submitted by members of the CWE community to extend early CWE versions
+ 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 Name, Relationships
2009-01-12CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Alternate_Terms, Applicable_Platforms, Common_Consequences, Demonstrative_Examples, Description, Likelihood_of_Exploit, Name, Observed_Examples, Potential_Mitigations, References, Relationship_Notes, Relationships, Research_Gaps, Terminology_Notes, Theoretical_Notes
2009-03-10CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Description, Potential_Mitigations
2009-05-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Related_Attack_Patterns
2009-07-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Demonstrative_Examples
2009-10-29CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2009-12-28CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Demonstrative_Examples, Potential_Mitigations
2010-02-16CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Detection_Factors, Potential_Mitigations, References, Taxonomy_Mappings
2010-04-05CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Potential_Mitigations
2010-06-21CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Potential_Mitigations
2011-03-29CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationship_Notes, Relationships
2011-06-01CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences, Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2011-09-13CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2012-05-11CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated References, Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2012-10-30CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Potential_Mitigations
2014-06-23CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated References
2014-07-30CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Demonstrative_Examples, Relationships
2015-12-07CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2017-01-19CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2017-05-03CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Related_Attack_Patterns
2017-11-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Applicable_Platforms, Common_Consequences, Demonstrative_Examples, Likelihood_of_Exploit, References, Taxonomy_Mappings
2018-03-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated References
2019-01-03CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2019-06-20CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2020-02-24CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2020-06-25CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Applicable_Platforms, Demonstrative_Examples, Potential_Mitigations
2021-03-15CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships, Terminology_Notes
+ Previous Entry Names
Change DatePrevious Entry Name
2008-04-11Output Validation
2008-09-09Incorrect Output Sanitization
2009-01-12Insufficient Output Sanitization

CWE-22: Improper Limitation of a Pathname to a Restricted Directory ('Path Traversal')

Weakness ID: 22
Abstraction: Base
Structure: Simple
Status: Stable
Presentation Filter:
+ Description
The software uses external input to construct a pathname that is intended to identify a file or directory that is located underneath a restricted parent directory, but the software does not properly neutralize special elements within the pathname that can cause the pathname to resolve to a location that is outside of the restricted directory.
+ Extended Description

Many file operations are intended to take place within a restricted directory. By using special elements such as ".." and "/" separators, attackers can escape outside of the restricted location to access files or directories that are elsewhere on the system. One of the most common special elements is the "../" sequence, which in most modern operating systems is interpreted as the parent directory of the current location. This is referred to as relative path traversal. Path traversal also covers the use of absolute pathnames such as "/usr/local/bin", which may also be useful in accessing unexpected files. This is referred to as absolute path traversal.

In many programming languages, the injection of a null byte (the 0 or NUL) may allow an attacker to truncate a generated filename to widen the scope of attack. For example, the software may add ".txt" to any pathname, thus limiting the attacker to text files, but a null injection may effectively remove this restriction.

+ Alternate Terms
Directory traversal
Path traversal:
"Path traversal" is preferred over "directory traversal," but both terms are attack-focused.
+ 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.668Exposure of Resource to Wrong Sphere
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.706Use of Incorrectly-Resolved Name or Reference
ParentOfBaseBase - a weakness that is still mostly independent of a resource or technology, but with sufficient details to provide specific methods for detection and prevention. Base level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 2 or 3 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.23Relative Path Traversal
ParentOfBaseBase - a weakness that is still mostly independent of a resource or technology, but with sufficient details to provide specific methods for detection and prevention. Base level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 2 or 3 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.36Absolute Path Traversal
CanFollowClassClass - 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.20Improper Input Validation
CanFollowBaseBase - a weakness that is still mostly independent of a resource or technology, but with sufficient details to provide specific methods for detection and prevention. Base level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 2 or 3 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.73External Control of File Name or Path
CanFollowClassClass - 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.172Encoding Error
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 "Weaknesses for Simplified Mapping of Published Vulnerabilities" (CWE-1003)
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.706Use of Incorrectly-Resolved Name or Reference
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 "CISQ Quality Measures (2020)" (CWE-1305)
NatureTypeIDName
ParentOfBaseBase - a weakness that is still mostly independent of a resource or technology, but with sufficient details to provide specific methods for detection and prevention. Base level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 2 or 3 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.23Relative Path Traversal
ParentOfBaseBase - a weakness that is still mostly independent of a resource or technology, but with sufficient details to provide specific methods for detection and prevention. Base level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 2 or 3 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.36Absolute Path Traversal
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 "CISQ Data Protection Measures" (CWE-1340)
NatureTypeIDName
ParentOfBaseBase - a weakness that is still mostly independent of a resource or technology, but with sufficient details to provide specific methods for detection and prevention. Base level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 2 or 3 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.23Relative Path Traversal
ParentOfBaseBase - a weakness that is still mostly independent of a resource or technology, but with sufficient details to provide specific methods for detection and prevention. Base level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 2 or 3 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.36Absolute Path Traversal
+ 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
Architecture and Design
Implementation
+ 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

Class: Language-Independent (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
Integrity
Confidentiality
Availability

Technical Impact: Execute Unauthorized Code or Commands

The attacker may be able to create or overwrite critical files that are used to execute code, such as programs or libraries.
Integrity

Technical Impact: Modify Files or Directories

The attacker may be able to overwrite or create critical files, such as programs, libraries, or important data. If the targeted file is used for a security mechanism, then the attacker may be able to bypass that mechanism. For example, appending a new account at the end of a password file may allow an attacker to bypass authentication.
Confidentiality

Technical Impact: Read Files or Directories

The attacker may be able read the contents of unexpected files and expose sensitive data. If the targeted file is used for a security mechanism, then the attacker may be able to bypass that mechanism. For example, by reading a password file, the attacker could conduct brute force password guessing attacks in order to break into an account on the system.
Availability

Technical Impact: DoS: Crash, Exit, or Restart

The attacker may be able to overwrite, delete, or corrupt unexpected critical files such as programs, libraries, or important data. This may prevent the software from working at all and in the case of a protection mechanisms such as authentication, it has the potential to lockout every user of the software.
+ Likelihood Of Exploit
High
+ Demonstrative Examples

Example 1

The following code could be for a social networking application in which each user's profile information is stored in a separate file. All files are stored in a single directory.

(bad code)
Example Language: Perl 
my $dataPath = "/users/cwe/profiles";
my $username = param("user");
my $profilePath = $dataPath . "/" . $username;

open(my $fh, "<$profilePath") || ExitError("profile read error: $profilePath");
print "<ul>\n";
while (<$fh>) {
print "<li>$_</li>\n";
}
print "</ul>\n";

While the programmer intends to access files such as "/users/cwe/profiles/alice" or "/users/cwe/profiles/bob", there is no verification of the incoming user parameter. An attacker could provide a string such as:

(attack code)
 
../../../etc/passwd

The program would generate a profile pathname like this:

(result)
 
/users/cwe/profiles/../../../etc/passwd

When the file is opened, the operating system resolves the "../" during path canonicalization and actually accesses this file:

(result)
 
/etc/passwd

As a result, the attacker could read the entire text of the password file.

Notice how this code also contains an error message information leak (CWE-209) if the user parameter does not produce a file that exists: the full pathname is provided. Because of the lack of output encoding of the file that is retrieved, there might also be a cross-site scripting problem (CWE-79) if profile contains any HTML, but other code would need to be examined.

Example 2

In the example below, the path to a dictionary file is read from a system property and used to initialize a File object.

(bad code)
Example Language: Java 
String filename = System.getProperty("com.domain.application.dictionaryFile");
File dictionaryFile = new File(filename);

However, the path is not validated or modified to prevent it from containing relative or absolute path sequences before creating the File object. This allows anyone who can control the system property to determine what file is used. Ideally, the path should be resolved relative to some kind of application or user home directory.

Example 3

The following code takes untrusted input and uses a regular expression to filter "../" from the input. It then appends this result to the /home/user/ directory and attempts to read the file in the final resulting path.

(bad code)
Example Language: Perl 
my $Username = GetUntrustedInput();
$Username =~ s/\.\.\///;
my $filename = "/home/user/" . $Username;
ReadAndSendFile($filename);

Since the regular expression does not have the /g global match modifier, it only removes the first instance of "../" it comes across. So an input value such as:

(attack code)
 
../../../etc/passwd

will have the first "../" stripped, resulting in:

(result)
 
../../etc/passwd

This value is then concatenated with the /home/user/ directory:

(result)
 
/home/user/../../etc/passwd

which causes the /etc/passwd file to be retrieved once the operating system has resolved the ../ sequences in the pathname. This leads to relative path traversal (CWE-23).

Example 4

The following code attempts to validate a given input path by checking it against an allowlist and once validated delete the given file. In this specific case, the path is considered valid if it starts with the string "/safe_dir/".

(bad code)
Example Language: Java 
String path = getInputPath();
if (path.startsWith("/safe_dir/"))
{
File f = new File(path);
f.delete()
}

An attacker could provide an input such as this:

(attack code)
 
/safe_dir/../important.dat

The software assumes that the path is valid because it starts with the "/safe_path/" sequence, but the "../" sequence will cause the program to delete the important.dat file in the parent directory

Example 5

The following code demonstrates the unrestricted upload of a file with a Java servlet and a path traversal vulnerability. The action attribute of an HTML form is sending the upload file request to the Java servlet.

(good code)
Example Language: HTML 
<form action="FileUploadServlet" method="post" enctype="multipart/form-data">

Choose a file to upload:
<input type="file" name="filename"/>
<br/>
<input type="submit" name="submit" value="Submit"/>

</form>

When submitted the Java servlet's doPost method will receive the request, extract the name of the file from the Http request header, read the file contents from the request and output the file to the local upload directory.

(bad code)
Example Language: Java 
public class FileUploadServlet extends HttpServlet {
...

protected void doPost(HttpServletRequest request, HttpServletResponse response) throws ServletException, IOException {
response.setContentType("text/html");
PrintWriter out = response.getWriter();
String contentType = request.getContentType();

// the starting position of the boundary header
int ind = contentType.indexOf("boundary=");
String boundary = contentType.substring(ind+9);

String pLine = new String();
String uploadLocation = new String(UPLOAD_DIRECTORY_STRING); //Constant value

// verify that content type is multipart form data
if (contentType != null && contentType.indexOf("multipart/form-data") != -1) {
// extract the filename from the Http header
BufferedReader br = new BufferedReader(new InputStreamReader(request.getInputStream()));
...
pLine = br.readLine();
String filename = pLine.substring(pLine.lastIndexOf("\\"), pLine.lastIndexOf("\""));
...

// output the file to the local upload directory
try {
BufferedWriter bw = new BufferedWriter(new FileWriter(uploadLocation+filename, true));
for (String line; (line=br.readLine())!=null; ) {
if (line.indexOf(boundary) == -1) {
bw.write(line);
bw.newLine();
bw.flush();
}
} //end of for loop
bw.close();


} catch (IOException ex) {...}
// output successful upload response HTML page
}
// output unsuccessful upload response HTML page
else
{...}
}
...
}

This code does not perform a check on the type of the file being uploaded (CWE-434). This could allow an attacker to upload any executable file or other file with malicious code.

Additionally, the creation of the BufferedWriter object is subject to relative path traversal (CWE-23). Since the code does not check the filename that is provided in the header, an attacker can use "../" sequences to write to files outside of the intended directory. Depending on the executing environment, the attacker may be able to specify arbitrary files to write to, leading to a wide variety of consequences, from code execution, XSS (CWE-79), or system crash.

+ Observed Examples
ReferenceDescription
Newsletter module allows reading arbitrary files using "../" sequences.
FTP server allows deletion of arbitrary files using ".." in the DELE command.
FTP server allows creation of arbitrary directories using ".." in the MKD command.
OBEX FTP service for a Bluetooth device allows listing of directories, and creation or reading of files using ".." sequences.
Software package maintenance program allows overwriting arbitrary files using "../" sequences.
Bulletin board allows attackers to determine the existence of files using the avatar.
PHP program allows arbitrary code execution using ".." in filenames that are fed to the include() function.
Overwrite of files using a .. in a Torrent file.
Chat program allows overwriting files using a custom smiley request.
Chain: external control of values for user's desired language and theme enables path traversal.
Chain: library file sends a redirect if it is directly requested but continues to execute, allowing remote file inclusion and path traversal.
+ Potential Mitigations

Phase: Implementation

Strategy: Input Validation

Assume all input is malicious. Use an "accept known good" input validation strategy, i.e., use a list of acceptable inputs that strictly conform to specifications. Reject any input that does not strictly conform to specifications, or transform it into something that does.

When performing input validation, consider all potentially relevant properties, including length, type of input, the full range of acceptable values, missing or extra inputs, syntax, consistency across related fields, and conformance to business rules. As an example of business rule logic, "boat" may be syntactically valid because it only contains alphanumeric characters, but it is not valid if the input is only expected to contain colors such as "red" or "blue."

Do not rely exclusively on looking for malicious or malformed inputs. This is likely to miss at least one undesirable input, especially if the code's environment changes. This can give attackers enough room to bypass the intended validation. However, denylists can be useful for detecting potential attacks or determining which inputs are so malformed that they should be rejected outright.

When validating filenames, use stringent allowlists that limit the character set to be used. If feasible, only allow a single "." character in the filename to avoid weaknesses such as CWE-23, and exclude directory separators such as "/" to avoid CWE-36. Use a list of allowable file extensions, which will help to avoid CWE-434.

Do not rely exclusively on a filtering mechanism that removes potentially dangerous characters. This is equivalent to a denylist, which may be incomplete (CWE-184). For example, filtering "/" is insufficient protection if the filesystem also supports the use of "\" as a directory separator. Another possible error could occur when the filtering is applied in a way that still produces dangerous data (CWE-182). For example, if "../" sequences are removed from the ".../...//" string in a sequential fashion, two instances of "../" would be removed from the original string, but the remaining characters would still form the "../" string.

Phase: Architecture and Design

For any security checks that are performed on the client side, ensure that these checks are duplicated on the server side, in order to avoid CWE-602. Attackers can bypass the client-side checks by modifying values after the checks have been performed, or by changing the client to remove the client-side checks entirely. Then, these modified values would be submitted to the server.

Phase: Implementation

Strategy: Input Validation

Inputs should be decoded and canonicalized to the application's current internal representation before being validated (CWE-180). Make sure that the application does not decode the same input twice (CWE-174). Such errors could be used to bypass allowlist validation schemes by introducing dangerous inputs after they have been checked.

Use a built-in path canonicalization function (such as realpath() in C) that produces the canonical version of the pathname, which effectively removes ".." sequences and symbolic links (CWE-23, CWE-59). This includes:

  • realpath() in C
  • getCanonicalPath() in Java
  • GetFullPath() in ASP.NET
  • realpath() or abs_path() in Perl
  • realpath() in PHP

Phase: Architecture and Design

Strategy: Libraries or Frameworks

Use a vetted library or framework that does not allow this weakness to occur or provides constructs that make this weakness easier to avoid.

Phase: Operation

Strategy: Firewall

Use an application firewall that can detect attacks against this weakness. It can be beneficial in cases in which the code cannot be fixed (because it is controlled by a third party), as an emergency prevention measure while more comprehensive software assurance measures are applied, or to provide defense in depth.

Effectiveness: Moderate

Note: An application firewall might not cover all possible input vectors. In addition, attack techniques might be available to bypass the protection mechanism, such as using malformed inputs that can still be processed by the component that receives those inputs. Depending on functionality, an application firewall might inadvertently reject or modify legitimate requests. Finally, some manual effort may be required for customization.

Phases: Architecture and Design; Operation

Strategy: Environment Hardening

Run your code using the lowest privileges that are required to accomplish the necessary tasks [REF-76]. If possible, create isolated accounts with limited privileges that are only used for a single task. That way, a successful attack will not immediately give the attacker access to the rest of the software or its environment. For example, database applications rarely need to run as the database administrator, especially in day-to-day operations.

Phase: Architecture and Design

Strategy: Enforcement by Conversion

When the set of acceptable objects, such as filenames or URLs, is limited or known, create a mapping from a set of fixed input values (such as numeric IDs) to the actual filenames or URLs, and reject all other inputs.

For example, ID 1 could map to "inbox.txt" and ID 2 could map to "profile.txt". Features such as the ESAPI AccessReferenceMap [REF-185] provide this capability.

Phases: Architecture and Design; Operation

Strategy: Sandbox or Jail

Run the code in a "jail" or similar sandbox environment that enforces strict boundaries between the process and the operating system. This may effectively restrict which files can be accessed in a particular directory or which commands can be executed by the software.

OS-level examples include the Unix chroot jail, AppArmor, and SELinux. In general, managed code may provide some protection. For example, java.io.FilePermission in the Java SecurityManager allows the software to specify restrictions on file operations.

This may not be a feasible solution, and it only limits the impact to the operating system; the rest of the application may still be subject to compromise.

Be careful to avoid CWE-243 and other weaknesses related to jails.

Effectiveness: Limited

Note: The effectiveness of this mitigation depends on the prevention capabilities of the specific sandbox or jail being used and might only help to reduce the scope of an attack, such as restricting the attacker to certain system calls or limiting the portion of the file system that can be accessed.

Phases: Architecture and Design; Operation

Strategy: Attack Surface Reduction

Store library, include, and utility files outside of the web document root, if possible. Otherwise, store them in a separate directory and use the web server's access control capabilities to prevent attackers from directly requesting them. One common practice is to define a fixed constant in each calling program, then check for the existence of the constant in the library/include file; if the constant does not exist, then the file was directly requested, and it can exit immediately.

This significantly reduces the chance of an attacker being able to bypass any protection mechanisms that are in the base program but not in the include files. It will also reduce the attack surface.

Phase: Implementation

Ensure that error messages only contain minimal details that are useful to the intended audience and no one else. The messages need to strike the balance between being too cryptic (which can confuse users) or being too detailed (which may reveal more than intended). The messages should not reveal the methods that were used to determine the error. Attackers can use detailed information to refine or optimize their original attack, thereby increasing their chances of success.

If errors must be captured in some detail, record them in log messages, but consider what could occur if the log messages can be viewed by attackers. Highly sensitive information such as passwords should never be saved to log files.

Avoid inconsistent messaging that might accidentally tip off an attacker about internal state, such as whether a user account exists or not.

In the context of path traversal, error messages which disclose path information can help attackers craft the appropriate attack strings to move through the file system hierarchy.

Phases: Operation; Implementation

Strategy: Environment Hardening

When using PHP, configure the application so that it does not use register_globals. During implementation, develop the application so that it does not rely on this feature, but be wary of implementing a register_globals emulation that is subject to weaknesses such as CWE-95, CWE-621, and similar issues.
+ Weakness Ordinalities
OrdinalityDescription
Primary
(where the weakness exists independent of other weaknesses)
Resultant
(where the weakness is typically related to the presence of some other weaknesses)
+ Detection Methods

Automated Static Analysis

Automated techniques can find areas where path traversal weaknesses exist. However, tuning or customization may be required to remove or de-prioritize path-traversal problems that are only exploitable by the software's administrator - or other privileged users - and thus potentially valid behavior or, at worst, a bug instead of a vulnerability.

Effectiveness: High

Manual Static Analysis

Manual white box techniques may be able to provide sufficient code coverage and reduction of false positives if all file access operations can be assessed within limited time constraints.

Effectiveness: High

Automated Static Analysis - Binary or Bytecode

According to SOAR, the following detection techniques may be useful:

Highly cost effective:
  • Bytecode Weakness Analysis - including disassembler + source code weakness analysis
Cost effective for partial coverage:
  • Binary Weakness Analysis - including disassembler + source code weakness analysis

Effectiveness: High

Manual Static Analysis - Binary or Bytecode

According to SOAR, the following detection techniques may be useful:

Cost effective for partial coverage:
  • Binary / Bytecode disassembler - then use manual analysis for vulnerabilities & anomalies

Effectiveness: SOAR Partial

Dynamic Analysis with Automated Results Interpretation

According to SOAR, the following detection techniques may be useful:

Highly cost effective:
  • Web Application Scanner
  • Web Services Scanner
  • Database Scanners

Effectiveness: High

Dynamic Analysis with Manual Results Interpretation

According to SOAR, the following detection techniques may be useful:

Highly cost effective:
  • Fuzz Tester
  • Framework-based Fuzzer

Effectiveness: High

Manual Static Analysis - Source Code

According to SOAR, the following detection techniques may be useful:

Highly cost effective:
  • Manual Source Code Review (not inspections)
Cost effective for partial coverage:
  • Focused Manual Spotcheck - Focused manual analysis of source

Effectiveness: High

Automated Static Analysis - Source Code

According to SOAR, the following detection techniques may be useful:

Highly cost effective:
  • Source code Weakness Analyzer
  • Context-configured Source Code Weakness Analyzer

Effectiveness: High

Architecture or Design Review

According to SOAR, the following detection techniques may be useful:

Highly cost effective:
  • Formal Methods / Correct-By-Construction
Cost effective for partial coverage:
  • Inspection (IEEE 1028 standard) (can apply to requirements, design, source code, etc.)

Effectiveness: High

+ Functional Areas
  • File Processing
+ Affected Resources
  • File or Directory
+ 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
MemberOfViewView - a subset of CWE entries that provides a way of examining CWE content. The two main view structures are Slices (flat lists) and Graphs (containing relationships between entries).635Weaknesses Originally Used by NVD from 2008 to 2016
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.715OWASP Top Ten 2007 Category A4 - Insecure Direct Object Reference
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.723OWASP Top Ten 2004 Category A2 - Broken Access Control
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.743CERT C Secure Coding Standard (2008) Chapter 10 - Input Output (FIO)
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.8022010 Top 25 - Risky Resource Management
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.813OWASP Top Ten 2010 Category A4 - Insecure Direct Object References
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.8652011 Top 25 - Risky Resource Management
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.877CERT C++ Secure Coding Section 09 - Input Output (FIO)
MemberOfViewView - a subset of CWE entries that provides a way of examining CWE content. The two main view structures are Slices (flat lists) and Graphs (containing relationships between entries).884CWE Cross-section
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.932OWASP Top Ten 2013 Category A4 - Insecure Direct Object References
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.981SFP Secondary Cluster: Path Traversal
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1031OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A5 - Broken Access Control
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1131CISQ Quality Measures (2016) - Security
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1179SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard - Guidelines 01. Input Validation and Data Sanitization (IDS)
MemberOfViewView - a subset of CWE entries that provides a way of examining CWE content. The two main view structures are Slices (flat lists) and Graphs (containing relationships between entries).1200Weaknesses in the 2019 CWE Top 25 Most Dangerous Software Errors
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1308CISQ Quality Measures - Security
MemberOfViewView - a subset of CWE entries that provides a way of examining CWE content. The two main view structures are Slices (flat lists) and Graphs (containing relationships between entries).1337Weaknesses in the 2021 CWE Top 25 Most Dangerous Software Weaknesses
MemberOfViewView - a subset of CWE entries that provides a way of examining CWE content. The two main view structures are Slices (flat lists) and Graphs (containing relationships between entries).1340CISQ Data Protection Measures
MemberOfViewView - a subset of CWE entries that provides a way of examining CWE content. The two main view structures are Slices (flat lists) and Graphs (containing relationships between entries).1350Weaknesses in the 2020 CWE Top 25 Most Dangerous Software Weaknesses
+ Notes

Relationship

Pathname equivalence can be regarded as a type of canonicalization error.

Relationship

Some pathname equivalence issues are not directly related to directory traversal, rather are used to bypass security-relevant checks for whether a file/directory can be accessed by the attacker (e.g. a trailing "/" on a filename could bypass access rules that don't expect a trailing /, causing a server to provide the file when it normally would not).

Research Gap

Many variants of path traversal attacks are probably under-studied with respect to root cause. CWE-790 and CWE-182 begin to cover part of this gap.

Research Gap

Incomplete diagnosis or reporting of vulnerabilities can make it difficult to know which variant is affected. For example, a researcher might say that "..\" is vulnerable, but not test "../" which may also be vulnerable.

Any combination of directory separators ("/", "\", etc.) and numbers of "." (e.g. "....") can produce unique variants; for example, the "//../" variant is not listed (CVE-2004-0325). See this entry's children and lower-level descendants.

Terminology

Like other weaknesses, terminology is often based on the types of manipulations used, instead of the underlying weaknesses. Some people use "directory traversal" only to refer to the injection of ".." and equivalent sequences whose specific meaning is to traverse directories.

Other variants like "absolute pathname" and "drive letter" have the *effect* of directory traversal, but some people may not call it such, since it doesn't involve ".." or equivalent.

+ Taxonomy Mappings
Mapped Taxonomy NameNode IDFitMapped Node Name
PLOVERPath Traversal
OWASP Top Ten 2007A4CWE More SpecificInsecure Direct Object Reference
OWASP Top Ten 2004A2CWE More SpecificBroken Access Control
CERT C Secure CodingFIO02-CCanonicalize path names originating from untrusted sources
SEI CERT Perl Coding StandardIDS00-PLExactCanonicalize path names before validating them
WASC33Path Traversal
Software Fault PatternsSFP16Path Traversal
OMG ASCSMASCSM-CWE-22
+ References
[REF-7] Michael Howard and David LeBlanc. "Writing Secure Code". Chapter 11, "Directory Traversal and Using Parent Paths (..)" Page 370. 2nd Edition. Microsoft Press. 2002-12-04. <https://www.microsoftpressstore.com/store/writing-secure-code-9780735617223>.
[REF-45] OWASP. "OWASP Enterprise Security API (ESAPI) Project". <http://www.owasp.org/index.php/ESAPI>.
[REF-185] OWASP. "Testing for Path Traversal (OWASP-AZ-001)". <http://www.owasp.org/index.php/Testing_for_Path_Traversal_(OWASP-AZ-001)>.
[REF-186] Johannes Ullrich. "Top 25 Series - Rank 7 - Path Traversal". SANS Software Security Institute. 2010-03-09. <http://blogs.sans.org/appsecstreetfighter/2010/03/09/top-25-series-rank-7-path-traversal/>.
[REF-76] Sean Barnum and Michael Gegick. "Least Privilege". 2005-09-14. <https://buildsecurityin.us-cert.gov/daisy/bsi/articles/knowledge/principles/351.html>.
[REF-62] Mark Dowd, John McDonald and Justin Schuh. "The Art of Software Security Assessment". Chapter 9, "Filenames and Paths", Page 503. 1st Edition. Addison Wesley. 2006.
[REF-962] Object Management Group (OMG). "Automated Source Code Security Measure (ASCSM)". ASCSM-CWE-22. 2016-01. <http://www.omg.org/spec/ASCSM/1.0/>.
+ Content History
+ Submissions
Submission DateSubmitterOrganization
2006-07-19PLOVER
+ Modifications
Modification DateModifierOrganization
2008-07-01Eric DalciCigital
updated Potential_Mitigations, Time_of_Introduction
2008-08-15Veracode
Suggested OWASP Top Ten 2004 mapping
2008-09-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Alternate_Terms, Relationships, Other_Notes, Relationship_Notes, Relevant_Properties, Taxonomy_Mappings, Weakness_Ordinalities
2008-10-14CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Description
2008-11-24CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2009-07-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Potential_Mitigations
2010-02-16CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Alternate_Terms, Applicable_Platforms, Common_Consequences, Demonstrative_Examples, Description, Detection_Factors, Likelihood_of_Exploit, Name, Observed_Examples, Other_Notes, Potential_Mitigations, References, Related_Attack_Patterns, Relationship_Notes, Relationships, Research_Gaps, Taxonomy_Mappings, Terminology_Notes, Time_of_Introduction, Weakness_Ordinalities
2010-06-21CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences, Demonstrative_Examples, Description, Detection_Factors, Potential_Mitigations, References, Relationships
2010-09-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Potential_Mitigations
2010-12-13CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Potential_Mitigations
2011-03-29CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Potential_Mitigations
2011-06-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2011-09-13CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Potential_Mitigations, References, Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2012-05-11CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Demonstrative_Examples, References, Relationships
2012-10-30CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Potential_Mitigations
2013-02-21CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Observed_Examples
2013-07-17CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Related_Attack_Patterns, Relationships
2014-06-23CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Other_Notes, Research_Gaps
2014-07-30CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Detection_Factors, Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2015-12-07CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2017-01-19CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Related_Attack_Patterns
2017-05-03CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Demonstrative_Examples
2017-11-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Affected_Resources, Causal_Nature, Likelihood_of_Exploit, References, Relationships, Relevant_Properties, Taxonomy_Mappings
2018-03-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated References, Relationships
2019-01-03CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated References, Related_Attack_Patterns, Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2019-06-20CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Related_Attack_Patterns, Relationships, Type
2019-09-19CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2020-02-24CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Potential_Mitigations, Relationships
2020-06-25CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Demonstrative_Examples, Potential_Mitigations
2020-08-20CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2020-12-10CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Potential_Mitigations, Relationships
2021-03-15CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Demonstrative_Examples, Relationships
2021-07-20CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
+ Previous Entry Names
Change DatePrevious Entry Name
2010-02-16Path Traversal

CWE-59: Improper Link Resolution Before File Access ('Link Following')

Weakness ID: 59
Abstraction: Base
Structure: Simple
Status: Draft
Presentation Filter:
+ Description
The software attempts to access a file based on the filename, but it does not properly prevent that filename from identifying a link or shortcut that resolves to an unintended resource.
+ Alternate Terms
insecure temporary file:
Some people use the phrase "insecure temporary file" when referring to a link following weakness, but other weaknesses can produce insecure temporary files without any symlink involvement at all.
+ 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.706Use of Incorrectly-Resolved Name or Reference
ParentOfCompositeComposite - a Compound Element that consists of two or more distinct weaknesses, in which all weaknesses must be present at the same time in order for a potential vulnerability to arise. Removing any of the weaknesses eliminates or sharply reduces the risk. One weakness, X, can be "broken down" into component weaknesses Y and Z. There can be cases in which one weakness might not be essential to a composite, but changes the nature of the composite when it becomes a vulnerability.61UNIX Symbolic Link (Symlink) Following
ParentOfVariantVariant - a weakness that is linked to a certain type of product, typically involving a specific language or technology. More specific than a Base weakness. Variant level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 3 to 5 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.62UNIX Hard Link
ParentOfVariantVariant - a weakness that is linked to a certain type of product, typically involving a specific language or technology. More specific than a Base weakness. Variant level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 3 to 5 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.64Windows Shortcut Following (.LNK)
ParentOfVariantVariant - a weakness that is linked to a certain type of product, typically involving a specific language or technology. More specific than a Base weakness. Variant level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 3 to 5 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.65Windows Hard Link
CanFollowBaseBase - a weakness that is still mostly independent of a resource or technology, but with sufficient details to provide specific methods for detection and prevention. Base level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 2 or 3 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.73External Control of File Name or Path
CanFollowBaseBase - a weakness that is still mostly independent of a resource or technology, but with sufficient details to provide specific methods for detection and prevention. Base level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 2 or 3 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.363Race Condition Enabling Link Following
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 "Software Development" (CWE-699)
NatureTypeIDName
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1219File Handling Issues
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 "Weaknesses for Simplified Mapping of Published Vulnerabilities" (CWE-1003)
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.706Use of Incorrectly-Resolved Name or Reference
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 "Architectural Concepts" (CWE-1008)
NatureTypeIDName
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1019Validate Inputs
+ Background Details
Soft links are a UNIX term that is synonymous with simple shortcuts on windows based platforms.
+ 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
ImplementationREALIZATION: This weakness is caused during implementation of an architectural security tactic.
+ 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

Class: Language-Independent (Undetermined Prevalence)

Operating Systems

Class: Windows (Sometimes Prevalent)

Class: Unix (Often Prevalent)

+ 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
Confidentiality
Integrity
Access Control

Technical Impact: Read Files or Directories; Modify Files or Directories; Bypass Protection Mechanism

An attacker may be able to traverse the file system to unintended locations and read or overwrite the contents of unexpected files. If the files are used for a security mechanism then an attacker may be able to bypass the mechanism.
Other

Technical Impact: Execute Unauthorized Code or Commands

Windows simple shortcuts, sometimes referred to as soft links, can be exploited remotely since a ".LNK" file can be uploaded like a normal file. This can enable remote execution.
+ Likelihood Of Exploit
Medium
+ Observed Examples
ReferenceDescription
Some versions of Perl follows symbolic links when running with the -e option, which allows local users to overwrite arbitrary files via a symlink attack.
Text editor follows symbolic links when creating a rescue copy during an abnormal exit, which allows local users to overwrite the files of other users.
Antivirus update allows local users to create or append to arbitrary files via a symlink attack on a logfile.
Symlink attack allows local users to overwrite files.
Window manager does not properly handle when certain symbolic links point to "stale" locations, which could allow local users to create or truncate arbitrary files.
Second-order symlink vulnerabilities
Second-order symlink vulnerabilities
Symlink in Python program
Setuid product allows file reading by replacing a file being edited with a symlink to the targeted file, leaking the result in error messages when parsing fails.
Signal causes a dump that follows symlinks.
Hard link attack, file overwrite; interesting because program checks against soft links
Hard link and possibly symbolic link following vulnerabilities in embedded operating system allow local users to overwrite arbitrary files.
Server creates hard links and unlinks files as root, which allows local users to gain privileges by deleting and overwriting arbitrary files.
Operating system allows local users to conduct a denial of service by creating a hard link from a device special file to a file on an NFS file system.
Web hosting manager follows hard links, which allows local users to read or modify arbitrary files.
Package listing system allows local users to overwrite arbitrary files via a hard link attack on the lockfiles.
Hard link race condition
Mail client allows remote attackers to bypass the user warning for executable attachments such as .exe, .com, and .bat by using a .lnk file that refers to the attachment, aka "Stealth Attachment."
FTP server allows remote attackers to read arbitrary files and directories by uploading a .lnk (link) file that points to the target file.
FTP server allows remote attackers to read arbitrary files and directories by uploading a .lnk (link) file that points to the target file.
Browser allows remote malicious web sites to overwrite arbitrary files by tricking the user into downloading a .LNK (link) file twice, which overwrites the file that was referenced in the first .LNK file.
".LNK." - .LNK with trailing dot
Rootkits can bypass file access restrictions to Windows kernel directories using NtCreateSymbolicLinkObject function to create symbolic link
File system allows local attackers to hide file usage activities via a hard link to the target file, which causes the link to be recorded in the audit trail instead of the target file.
Web server plugin allows local users to overwrite arbitrary files via a symlink attack on predictable temporary filenames.
+ Potential Mitigations

Phase: Architecture and Design

Strategy: Separation of Privilege

Follow the principle of least privilege when assigning access rights to entities in a software system.

Denying access to a file can prevent an attacker from replacing that file with a link to a sensitive file. Ensure good compartmentalization in the system to provide protected areas that can be trusted.

+ Weakness Ordinalities
OrdinalityDescription
Resultant
(where the weakness is typically related to the presence of some other weaknesses)
+ Detection Methods

Automated Static Analysis - Binary or Bytecode

According to SOAR, the following detection techniques may be useful:

Cost effective for partial coverage:
  • Bytecode Weakness Analysis - including disassembler + source code weakness analysis

Effectiveness: SOAR Partial

Manual Static Analysis - Binary or Bytecode

According to SOAR, the following detection techniques may be useful:

Cost effective for partial coverage:
  • Binary / Bytecode disassembler - then use manual analysis for vulnerabilities & anomalies

Effectiveness: SOAR Partial

Dynamic Analysis with Automated Results Interpretation

According to SOAR, the following detection techniques may be useful:

Cost effective for partial coverage:
  • Web Application Scanner
  • Web Services Scanner
  • Database Scanners

Effectiveness: SOAR Partial

Dynamic Analysis with Manual Results Interpretation

According to SOAR, the following detection techniques may be useful:

Cost effective for partial coverage:
  • Fuzz Tester
  • Framework-based Fuzzer

Effectiveness: SOAR Partial

Manual Static Analysis - Source Code

According to SOAR, the following detection techniques may be useful:

Highly cost effective:
  • Focused Manual Spotcheck - Focused manual analysis of source
  • Manual Source Code Review (not inspections)

Effectiveness: High

Automated Static Analysis - Source Code

According to SOAR, the following detection techniques may be useful:

Cost effective for partial coverage:
  • Source code Weakness Analyzer
  • Context-configured Source Code Weakness Analyzer

Effectiveness: SOAR Partial

Architecture or Design Review

According to SOAR, the following detection techniques may be useful:

Highly cost effective:
  • Formal Methods / Correct-By-Construction
Cost effective for partial coverage:
  • Inspection (IEEE 1028 standard) (can apply to requirements, design, source code, etc.)

Effectiveness: High

+ Functional Areas
  • File Processing
+ Affected Resources
  • File or Directory
+ 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
MemberOfViewView - a subset of CWE entries that provides a way of examining CWE content. The two main view structures are Slices (flat lists) and Graphs (containing relationships between entries).635Weaknesses Originally Used by NVD from 2008 to 2016
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.743CERT C Secure Coding Standard (2008) Chapter 10 - Input Output (FIO)
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.748CERT C Secure Coding Standard (2008) Appendix - POSIX (POS)
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.8082010 Top 25 - Weaknesses On the Cusp
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.877CERT C++ Secure Coding Section 09 - Input Output (FIO)
MemberOfViewView - a subset of CWE entries that provides a way of examining CWE content. The two main view structures are Slices (flat lists) and Graphs (containing relationships between entries).884CWE Cross-section
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.980SFP Secondary Cluster: Link in Resource Name Resolution
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1185SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard - Guidelines 07. File Input and Output (FIO)
+ Notes

Relationship

Link following vulnerabilities are Multi-factor Vulnerabilities (MFV). They are the combination of multiple elements: file or directory permissions, filename predictability, race conditions, and in some cases, a design limitation in which there is no mechanism for performing atomic file creation operations.

Some potential factors are race conditions, permissions, and predictability.

Research Gap

UNIX hard links, and Windows hard/soft links are under-studied and under-reported.
+ Taxonomy Mappings
Mapped Taxonomy NameNode IDFitMapped Node Name
PLOVERLink Following
CERT C Secure CodingFIO02-CCanonicalize path names originating from untrusted sources
CERT C Secure CodingPOS01-CCheck for the existence of links when dealing with files
SEI CERT Perl Coding StandardFIO01-PLCWE More SpecificDo not operate on files that can be modified by untrusted users
Software Fault PatternsSFP18Link in resource name resolution
+ References
[REF-62] Mark Dowd, John McDonald and Justin Schuh. "The Art of Software Security Assessment". Chapter 9, "Symbolic Link Attacks", Page 518. 1st Edition. Addison Wesley. 2006.
+ Content History
+ Submissions
Submission DateSubmitterOrganization
2006-07-19PLOVER
+ Modifications
Modification DateModifierOrganization
2008-07-01Eric DalciCigital
updated Time_of_Introduction
2008-09-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Alternate_Terms, Applicable_Platforms, Relationships, Other_Notes, Relationship_Notes, Taxonomy_Mappings, Weakness_Ordinalities
2008-11-24CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2009-01-12CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2009-05-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Description, Name
2009-10-29CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Background_Details, Other_Notes
2010-02-16CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Potential_Mitigations, Relationships
2010-04-05CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Related_Attack_Patterns
2011-06-01CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences
2011-09-13CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2012-05-11CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences, Observed_Examples, References, Relationships
2012-10-30CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Potential_Mitigations
2014-06-23CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences, Other_Notes
2014-07-30CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Detection_Factors, Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2015-12-07CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2017-11-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Affected_Resources, Applicable_Platforms, Causal_Nature, Common_Consequences, Functional_Areas, Likelihood_of_Exploit, Modes_of_Introduction, Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2019-01-03CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Taxonomy_Mappings
2019-06-20CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2020-02-24CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2021-03-15CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
+ Previous Entry Names
Change DatePrevious Entry Name
2008-04-11Link Following
2009-05-27Failure to Resolve Links Before File Access (aka 'Link Following')

CWE-95: Improper Neutralization of Directives in Dynamically Evaluated Code ('Eval Injection')

Weakness ID: 95
Abstraction: Variant
Structure: Simple
Status: Incomplete
Presentation Filter:
+ Description
The software receives input from an upstream component, but it does not neutralize or incorrectly neutralizes code syntax before using the input in a dynamic evaluation call (e.g. "eval").
+ Extended Description
This may allow an attacker to execute arbitrary code, or at least modify what code can be executed.
+ 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
ChildOfBaseBase - a weakness that is still mostly independent of a resource or technology, but with sufficient details to provide specific methods for detection and prevention. Base level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 2 or 3 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.94Improper Control of Generation of Code ('Code Injection')
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 "Architectural Concepts" (CWE-1008)
NatureTypeIDName
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1019Validate Inputs
+ 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
Architecture and DesignThis weakness is prevalent in handler/dispatch procedures that might want to invoke a large number of functions, or set a large number of variables.
ImplementationREALIZATION: This weakness is caused during implementation of an architectural security tactic.
+ 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)

JavaScript (Undetermined Prevalence)

Python (Undetermined Prevalence)

Perl (Undetermined Prevalence)

PHP (Undetermined Prevalence)

Ruby (Undetermined Prevalence)

Class: Interpreted (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
Confidentiality

Technical Impact: Read Files or Directories; Read Application Data

The injected code could access restricted data / files.
Access Control

Technical Impact: Bypass Protection Mechanism

In some cases, injectable code controls authentication; this may lead to a remote vulnerability.
Access Control

Technical Impact: Gain Privileges or Assume Identity

Injected code can access resources that the attacker is directly prevented from accessing.
Integrity
Confidentiality
Availability
Other

Technical Impact: Execute Unauthorized Code or Commands

Code injection attacks can lead to loss of data integrity in nearly all cases as the control-plane data injected is always incidental to data recall or writing. Additionally, code injection can often result in the execution of arbitrary code.
Non-Repudiation

Technical Impact: Hide Activities

Often the actions performed by injected control code are unlogged.
+ Likelihood Of Exploit
Medium
+ Demonstrative Examples

Example 1

edit-config.pl: This CGI script is used to modify settings in a configuration file.

(bad code)
Example Language: Perl 
use CGI qw(:standard);

sub config_file_add_key {
my ($fname, $key, $arg) = @_;

# code to add a field/key to a file goes here
}

sub config_file_set_key {
my ($fname, $key, $arg) = @_;

# code to set key to a particular file goes here
}

sub config_file_delete_key {
my ($fname, $key, $arg) = @_;

# code to delete key from a particular file goes here
}

sub handleConfigAction {
my ($fname, $action) = @_;
my $key = param('key');
my $val = param('val');

# this is super-efficient code, especially if you have to invoke


# any one of dozens of different functions!

my $code = "config_file_$action_key(\$fname, \$key, \$val);";
eval($code);
}

$configfile = "/home/cwe/config.txt";
print header;
if (defined(param('action'))) {
handleConfigAction($configfile, param('action'));
}
else {
print "No action specified!\n";
}

The script intends to take the 'action' parameter and invoke one of a variety of functions based on the value of that parameter - config_file_add_key(), config_file_set_key(), or config_file_delete_key(). It could set up a conditional to invoke each function separately, but eval() is a powerful way of doing the same thing in fewer lines of code, especially when a large number of functions or variables are involved. Unfortunately, in this case, the attacker can provide other values in the action parameter, such as:

(attack code)
 
add_key(",","); system("/bin/ls");

This would produce the following string in handleConfigAction():

(result)
 
config_file_add_key(",","); system("/bin/ls");

Any arbitrary Perl code could be added after the attacker has "closed off" the construction of the original function call, in order to prevent parsing errors from causing the malicious eval() to fail before the attacker's payload is activated. This particular manipulation would fail after the system() call, because the "_key(\$fname, \$key, \$val)" portion of the string would cause an error, but this is irrelevant to the attack because the payload has already been activated.

+ Observed Examples
ReferenceDescription
Eval injection in PHP program.
Eval injection in Perl program.
Eval injection in Perl program using an ID that should only contain hyphens and numbers.
Direct code injection into Perl eval function.
Eval injection in Perl program.
Direct code injection into Perl eval function.
Direct code injection into Perl eval function.
MFV. code injection into PHP eval statement using nested constructs that should not be nested.
MFV. code injection into PHP eval statement using nested constructs that should not be nested.
Code injection into Python eval statement from a field in a formatted file.
Eval injection in Python program.
chain: Resultant eval injection. An invalid value prevents initialization of variables, which can be modified by attacker and later injected into PHP eval statement.
Chain: Execution after redirect triggers eval injection.
+ Potential Mitigations

Phases: Architecture and Design; Implementation

If possible, refactor your code so that it does not need to use eval() at all.

Phase: Implementation

Strategy: Input Validation

Assume all input is malicious. Use an "accept known good" input validation strategy, i.e., use a list of acceptable inputs that strictly conform to specifications. Reject any input that does not strictly conform to specifications, or transform it into something that does.

When performing input validation, consider all potentially relevant properties, including length, type of input, the full range of acceptable values, missing or extra inputs, syntax, consistency across related fields, and conformance to business rules. As an example of business rule logic, "boat" may be syntactically valid because it only contains alphanumeric characters, but it is not valid if the input is only expected to contain colors such as "red" or "blue."

Do not rely exclusively on looking for malicious or malformed inputs. This is likely to miss at least one undesirable input, especially if the code's environment changes. This can give attackers enough room to bypass the intended validation. However, denylists can be useful for detecting potential attacks or determining which inputs are so malformed that they should be rejected outright.

Phase: Implementation

Inputs should be decoded and canonicalized to the application's current internal representation before being validated (CWE-180, CWE-181). Make sure that your application does not inadvertently decode the same input twice (CWE-174). Such errors could be used to bypass allowlist schemes by introducing dangerous inputs after they have been checked. Use libraries such as the OWASP ESAPI Canonicalization control.

Consider performing repeated canonicalization until your input does not change any more. This will avoid double-decoding and similar scenarios, but it might inadvertently modify inputs that are allowed to contain properly-encoded dangerous content.

+ Weakness Ordinalities
OrdinalityDescription
Primary
(where the weakness exists independent of other weaknesses)
+ 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.714OWASP Top Ten 2007 Category A3 - Malicious File Execution
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.727OWASP Top Ten 2004 Category A6 - Injection Flaws
MemberOfViewView - a subset of CWE entries that provides a way of examining CWE content. The two main view structures are Slices (flat lists) and Graphs (containing relationships between entries).884CWE Cross-section
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.990SFP Secondary Cluster: Tainted Input to Command
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1179SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard - Guidelines 01. Input Validation and Data Sanitization (IDS)
+ Notes

Research Gap

This issue is probably under-reported. Most relevant CVEs have been for Perl and PHP, but eval injection applies to most interpreted languages. Javascript eval injection is likely to be heavily under-reported.

Other

Factors: special character errors can play a role in increasing the variety of code that can be injected, although some vulnerabilities do not require special characters at all, e.g. when a single function without arguments can be referenced and a terminator character is not necessary.
+ Taxonomy Mappings
Mapped Taxonomy NameNode IDFitMapped Node Name
PLOVERDirect Dynamic Code Evaluation ('Eval Injection')
OWASP Top Ten 2007A3CWE More SpecificMalicious File Execution
OWASP Top Ten 2004A6CWE More SpecificInjection Flaws
Software Fault PatternsSFP24Tainted input to command
SEI CERT Perl Coding StandardIDS35-PLExactDo not invoke the eval form with a string argument
+ References
[REF-62] Mark Dowd, John McDonald and Justin Schuh. "The Art of Software Security Assessment". Chapter 18, "Inline Evaluation", Page 1095. 1st Edition. Addison Wesley. 2006.
+ Content History
+ Submissions
Submission DateSubmitterOrganization
2006-07-19PLOVER
+ Modifications
Modification DateModifierOrganization
2008-07-01Eric DalciCigital
updated Time_of_Introduction
2008-08-15Veracode
Suggested OWASP Top Ten 2004 mapping
2008-09-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Applicable_Platforms, Description, Modes_of_Introduction, Relationships, Other_Notes, Taxonomy_Mappings, Weakness_Ordinalities
2009-01-12CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Description, Observed_Examples, Other_Notes, Research_Gaps
2009-05-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Alternate_Terms, Applicable_Platforms, Demonstrative_Examples, Description, Name, References
2010-02-16CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Potential_Mitigations
2010-06-21CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Description, Name
2011-06-01CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences
2012-05-11CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences, Demonstrative_Examples, References, Relationships
2012-10-30CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Potential_Mitigations
2013-02-21CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Observed_Examples
2014-07-30CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2017-11-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Causal_Nature, Modes_of_Introduction, References, Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2019-01-03CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Taxonomy_Mappings
2019-06-20CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Type
2020-02-24CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Potential_Mitigations, Relationships
2020-06-25CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Potential_Mitigations
2021-03-15CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
+ Previous Entry Names
Change DatePrevious Entry Name
2008-04-11Direct Dynamic Code Evaluation ('Eval Injection')
2009-05-27Insufficient Control of Directives in Dynamically Evaluated Code (aka 'Eval Injection')
2010-06-21Improper Sanitization of Directives in Dynamically Evaluated Code ('Eval Injection')

CWE-77: Improper Neutralization of Special Elements used in a Command ('Command Injection')

Weakness ID: 77
Abstraction: Class
Structure: Simple
Status: Draft
Presentation Filter:
+ Description
The software constructs all or part of a command using externally-influenced input from an upstream component, but it does not neutralize or incorrectly neutralizes special elements that could modify the intended command when it is sent to a downstream component.
+ Extended Description

Command injection vulnerabilities typically occur when:

1. Data enters the application from an untrusted source.
2. The data is part of a string that is executed as a command by the application.
3. By executing the command, the application gives an attacker a privilege or capability that the attacker would not otherwise have.

Many protocols and products have their own custom command language. While OS or shell command strings are frequently discovered and targeted, developers may not realize that these other command languages might also be vulnerable to attacks.

Command injection is a common problem with wrapper programs.

+ 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.74Improper Neutralization of Special Elements in Output Used by a Downstream Component ('Injection')
ParentOfBaseBase - a weakness that is still mostly independent of a resource or technology, but with sufficient details to provide specific methods for detection and prevention. Base level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 2 or 3 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.78Improper Neutralization of Special Elements used in an OS Command ('OS Command Injection')
ParentOfBaseBase - a weakness that is still mostly independent of a resource or technology, but with sufficient details to provide specific methods for detection and prevention. Base level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 2 or 3 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.88Improper Neutralization of Argument Delimiters in a Command ('Argument Injection')
ParentOfBaseBase - a weakness that is still mostly independent of a resource or technology, but with sufficient details to provide specific methods for detection and prevention. Base level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 2 or 3 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.624Executable Regular Expression Error
ParentOfBaseBase - a weakness that is still mostly independent of a resource or technology, but with sufficient details to provide specific methods for detection and prevention. Base level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 2 or 3 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.917Improper Neutralization of Special Elements used in an Expression Language Statement ('Expression Language Injection')
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 "Weaknesses for Simplified Mapping of Published Vulnerabilities" (CWE-1003)
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.74Improper Neutralization of Special Elements in Output Used by a Downstream Component ('Injection')
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 "Architectural Concepts" (CWE-1008)
NatureTypeIDName
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1019Validate Inputs
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 "CISQ Quality Measures (2020)" (CWE-1305)
NatureTypeIDName
ParentOfBaseBase - a weakness that is still mostly independent of a resource or technology, but with sufficient details to provide specific methods for detection and prevention. Base level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 2 or 3 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.78Improper Neutralization of Special Elements used in an OS Command ('OS Command Injection')
ParentOfBaseBase - a weakness that is still mostly independent of a resource or technology, but with sufficient details to provide specific methods for detection and prevention. Base level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 2 or 3 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.88Improper Neutralization of Argument Delimiters in a Command ('Argument Injection')
ParentOfBaseBase - a weakness that is still mostly independent of a resource or technology, but with sufficient details to provide specific methods for detection and prevention. Base level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 2 or 3 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.624Executable Regular Expression Error
ParentOfBaseBase - a weakness that is still mostly independent of a resource or technology, but with sufficient details to provide specific methods for detection and prevention. Base level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 2 or 3 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.917Improper Neutralization of Special Elements used in an Expression Language Statement ('Expression Language Injection')
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 "CISQ Data Protection Measures" (CWE-1340)
NatureTypeIDName
ParentOfBaseBase - a weakness that is still mostly independent of a resource or technology, but with sufficient details to provide specific methods for detection and prevention. Base level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 2 or 3 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.78Improper Neutralization of Special Elements used in an OS Command ('OS Command Injection')
ParentOfBaseBase - a weakness that is still mostly independent of a resource or technology, but with sufficient details to provide specific methods for detection and prevention. Base level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 2 or 3 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.88Improper Neutralization of Argument Delimiters in a Command ('Argument Injection')
ParentOfBaseBase - a weakness that is still mostly independent of a resource or technology, but with sufficient details to provide specific methods for detection and prevention. Base level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 2 or 3 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.624Executable Regular Expression Error
ParentOfBaseBase - a weakness that is still mostly independent of a resource or technology, but with sufficient details to provide specific methods for detection and prevention. Base level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 2 or 3 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.917Improper Neutralization of Special Elements used in an Expression Language Statement ('Expression Language Injection')
+ 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
Architecture and Design
ImplementationREALIZATION: This weakness is caused during implementation of an architectural security tactic.
+ 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

Class: Language-Independent (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
Integrity
Confidentiality
Availability

Technical Impact: Execute Unauthorized Code or Commands

If a malicious user injects a character (such as a semi-colon) that delimits the end of one command and the beginning of another, it may be possible to then insert an entirely new and unrelated command that was not intended to be executed.
+ Likelihood Of Exploit
High
+ Demonstrative Examples

Example 1

The following simple program accepts a filename as a command line argument and displays the contents of the file back to the user. The program is installed setuid root because it is intended for use as a learning tool to allow system administrators in-training to inspect privileged system files without giving them the ability to modify them or damage the system.

(bad code)
Example Language:
int main(int argc, char** argv) {
char cmd[CMD_MAX] = "/usr/bin/cat ";
strcat(cmd, argv[1]);
system(cmd);
}

Because the program runs with root privileges, the call to system() also executes with root privileges. If a user specifies a standard filename, the call works as expected. However, if an attacker passes a string of the form ";rm -rf /", then the call to system() fails to execute cat due to a lack of arguments and then plows on to recursively delete the contents of the root partition.

Note that if argv[1] is a very long argument, then this issue might also be subject to a buffer overflow (CWE-120).

Example 2

The following code is from an administrative web application designed to allow users to kick off a backup of an Oracle database using a batch-file wrapper around the rman utility and then run a cleanup.bat script to delete some temporary files. The script rmanDB.bat accepts a single command line parameter, which specifies what type of backup to perform. Because access to the database is restricted, the application runs the backup as a privileged user.

(bad code)
Example Language: Java 
...
String btype = request.getParameter("backuptype");
String cmd = new String("cmd.exe /K \"
c:\\util\\rmanDB.bat "
+btype+
"&&c:\\utl\\cleanup.bat\"")

System.Runtime.getRuntime().exec(cmd);
...

The problem here is that the program does not do any validation on the backuptype parameter read from the user. Typically the Runtime.exec() function will not execute multiple commands, but in this case the program first runs the cmd.exe shell in order to run multiple commands with a single call to Runtime.exec(). Once the shell is invoked, it will happily execute multiple commands separated by two ampersands. If an attacker passes a string of the form "& del c:\\dbms\\*.*", then the application will execute this command along with the others specified by the program. Because of the nature of the application, it runs with the privileges necessary to interact with the database, which means whatever command the attacker injects will run with those privileges as well.

Example 3

The following code from a system utility uses the system property APPHOME to determine the directory in which it is installed and then executes an initialization script based on a relative path from the specified directory.

(bad code)
Example Language: Java 
...
String home = System.getProperty("APPHOME");
String cmd = home + INITCMD;
java.lang.Runtime.getRuntime().exec(cmd);
...

The code above allows an attacker to execute arbitrary commands with the elevated privilege of the application by modifying the system property APPHOME to point to a different path containing a malicious version of INITCMD. Because the program does not validate the value read from the environment, if an attacker can control the value of the system property APPHOME, then they can fool the application into running malicious code and take control of the system.

Example 4

The following code is a wrapper around the UNIX command cat which prints the contents of a file to standard out. It is also injectable:

(bad code)
Example Language:
#include <stdio.h>
#include <unistd.h>

int main(int argc, char **argv) {

char cat[] = "cat ";
char *command;
size_t commandLength;

commandLength = strlen(cat) + strlen(argv[1]) + 1;
command = (char *) malloc(commandLength);
strncpy(command, cat, commandLength);
strncat(command, argv[1], (commandLength - strlen(cat)) );

system(command);
return (0);
}

Used normally, the output is simply the contents of the file requested:

(informative)
 
$ ./catWrapper Story.txt
When last we left our heroes...

However, if we add a semicolon and another command to the end of this line, the command is executed by catWrapper with no complaint:

(attack code)
 
$ ./catWrapper Story.txt; ls
When last we left our heroes...
Story.txt
SensitiveFile.txt
PrivateData.db
a.out*

If catWrapper had been set to have a higher privilege level than the standard user, arbitrary commands could be executed with that higher privilege.

+ Observed Examples
ReferenceDescription
Canonical example of OS command injection. CGI program does not neutralize "|" metacharacter when invoking a phonebook program.
image program allows injection of commands in "Magick Vector Graphics (MVG)" language.
anti-spam product allows injection of SNMP commands into confiuration file
+ Potential Mitigations

Phase: Architecture and Design

If at all possible, use library calls rather than external processes to recreate the desired functionality.

Phase: Implementation

If possible, ensure that all external commands called from the program are statically created.

Phase: Implementation

Strategy: Input Validation

Assume all input is malicious. Use an "accept known good" input validation strategy, i.e., use a list of acceptable inputs that strictly conform to specifications. Reject any input that does not strictly conform to specifications, or transform it into something that does.

When performing input validation, consider all potentially relevant properties, including length, type of input, the full range of acceptable values, missing or extra inputs, syntax, consistency across related fields, and conformance to business rules. As an example of business rule logic, "boat" may be syntactically valid because it only contains alphanumeric characters, but it is not valid if the input is only expected to contain colors such as "red" or "blue."

Do not rely exclusively on looking for malicious or malformed inputs. This is likely to miss at least one undesirable input, especially if the code's environment changes. This can give attackers enough room to bypass the intended validation. However, denylists can be useful for detecting potential attacks or determining which inputs are so malformed that they should be rejected outright.

Phase: Operation

Run time: Run time policy enforcement may be used in an allowlist fashion to prevent use of any non-sanctioned commands.

Phase: System Configuration

Assign permissions to the software system that prevents the user from accessing/opening privileged files.
+ Weakness Ordinalities
OrdinalityDescription
Primary
(where the weakness exists independent of other weaknesses)
+ 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.713OWASP Top Ten 2007 Category A2 - Injection Flaws
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.722OWASP Top Ten 2004 Category A1 - Unvalidated Input
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.727OWASP Top Ten 2004 Category A6 - Injection Flaws
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.929OWASP Top Ten 2013 Category A1 - Injection
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.990SFP Secondary Cluster: Tainted Input to Command
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.10057PK - Input Validation and Representation
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1027OWASP Top Ten 2017 Category A1 - Injection
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1179SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard - Guidelines 01. Input Validation and Data Sanitization (IDS)
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1308CISQ Quality Measures - Security
MemberOfViewView - a subset of CWE entries that provides a way of examining CWE content. The two main view structures are Slices (flat lists) and Graphs (containing relationships between entries).1337Weaknesses in the 2021 CWE Top 25 Most Dangerous Software Weaknesses
MemberOfViewView - a subset of CWE entries that provides a way of examining CWE content. The two main view structures are Slices (flat lists) and Graphs (containing relationships between entries).1340CISQ Data Protection Measures
+ Notes

Terminology

The "command injection" phrase carries different meanings to different people. For some people, it refers to refers to any type of attack that can allow the attacker to execute commands of their own choosing, regardless of how those commands are inserted. The command injection could thus be resultant from another weakness. This usage also includes cases in which the functionality allows the user to specify an entire command, which is then executed; within CWE, this situation might be better regarded as an authorization problem (since an attacker should not be able to specify arbitrary commands.)

Another common usage, which includes CWE-77 and its descendants, involves cases in which the attacker injects separators into the command being constructed.

+ Taxonomy Mappings
Mapped Taxonomy NameNode IDFitMapped Node Name
7 Pernicious KingdomsCommand Injection
CLASPCommand injection
OWASP Top Ten 2007A2CWE More SpecificInjection Flaws
OWASP Top Ten 2004A1CWE More SpecificUnvalidated Input
OWASP Top Ten 2004A6CWE More SpecificInjection Flaws
Software Fault PatternsSFP24Tainted input to command
SEI CERT Perl Coding StandardIDS34-PLCWE More SpecificDo not pass untrusted, unsanitized data to a command interpreter
+ 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>.
[REF-140] Greg Hoglund and Gary McGraw. "Exploiting Software: How to Break Code". Addison-Wesley. 2004-02-27. <https://www.amazon.com/Exploiting-Software-How-Break-Code/dp/0201786958>.
[REF-44] Michael Howard, David LeBlanc and John Viega. "24 Deadly Sins of Software Security". "Sin 10: Command Injection." Page 171. McGraw-Hill. 2010.
+ Content History
+ Submissions
Submission DateSubmitterOrganization
2006-07-197 Pernicious Kingdoms
+ Modifications
Modification DateModifierOrganization
2008-07-01Eric DalciCigital
updated Time_of_Introduction
2008-08-15Veracode
Suggested OWASP Top Ten 2004 mapping
2008-09-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences, Relationships, Other_Notes, Taxonomy_Mappings, Weakness_Ordinalities
2009-05-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Demonstrative_Examples, Name
2009-07-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Demonstrative_Examples, Description, Name
2009-10-29CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences, Description, Other_Notes, Potential_Mitigations
2010-02-16CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Potential_Mitigations, Relationships
2010-06-21CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Description, Name
2011-03-29CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Demonstrative_Examples
2011-06-01CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences
2012-05-11CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences, Demonstrative_Examples, References, Related_Attack_Patterns, Relationships
2012-10-30CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Potential_Mitigations
2013-02-21CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2013-07-17CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2014-02-18CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Applicable_Platforms, Demonstrative_Examples, Description, Other_Notes, Terminology_Notes
2014-06-23CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2014-07-30CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2015-12-07CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Demonstrative_Examples, Relationships
2017-05-03CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Potential_Mitigations, Related_Attack_Patterns, Relationships
2017-11-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Causal_Nature, Likelihood_of_Exploit, Modes_of_Introduction, References, Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2018-03-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2019-01-03CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Taxonomy_Mappings
2019-06-20CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Related_Attack_Patterns, Relationships
2020-02-24CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Potential_Mitigations, References, Relationships
2020-06-25CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Potential_Mitigations
2020-08-20CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2020-12-10CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2021-03-15CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2021-07-20CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Description, Observed_Examples, Relationships
+ Previous Entry Names
Change DatePrevious Entry Name
2008-04-11Command Injection
2009-05-27Failure to Sanitize Data into a Control Plane (aka 'Command Injection')
2009-07-27Failure to Sanitize Data into a Control Plane ('Command Injection')
2010-06-21Improper Sanitization of Special Elements used in a Command ('Command Injection')

CWE-129: Improper Validation of Array Index

Weakness ID: 129
Abstraction: Variant
Structure: Simple
Status: Draft
Presentation Filter:
+ Description
The product uses untrusted input when calculating or using an array index, but the product does not validate or incorrectly validates the index to ensure the index references a valid position within the array.
+ Alternate Terms
out-of-bounds array index
index-out-of-range
array index underflow
+ 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
ChildOfBaseBase - a weakness that is still mostly independent of a resource or technology, but with sufficient details to provide specific methods for detection and prevention. Base level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 2 or 3 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.1285Improper Validation of Specified Index, Position, or Offset in Input
CanPrecedeClassClass - 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.119Improper Restriction of Operations within the Bounds of a Memory Buffer
CanPrecedeVariantVariant - a weakness that is linked to a certain type of product, typically involving a specific language or technology. More specific than a Base weakness. Variant level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 3 to 5 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.789Memory Allocation with Excessive Size Value
CanPrecedeBaseBase - a weakness that is still mostly independent of a resource or technology, but with sufficient details to provide specific methods for detection and prevention. Base level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 2 or 3 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.823Use of Out-of-range Pointer Offset
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 "Software Development" (CWE-699)
NatureTypeIDName
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1215Data Validation Issues
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 "Weaknesses for Simplified Mapping of Published Vulnerabilities" (CWE-1003)
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.20Improper Input Validation
+ 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
Implementation
+ 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

C (Often Prevalent)

C++ (Often Prevalent)

Class: Language-Independent (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
Integrity
Availability

Technical Impact: DoS: Crash, Exit, or Restart

Use of an index that is outside the bounds of an array will very likely result in the corruption of relevant memory and perhaps instructions, leading to a crash, if the values are outside of the valid memory area.
Integrity

Technical Impact: Modify Memory

If the memory corrupted is data, rather than instructions, the system will continue to function with improper values.
Confidentiality
Integrity

Technical Impact: Modify Memory; Read Memory

Use of an index that is outside the bounds of an array can also trigger out-of-bounds read or write operations, or operations on the wrong objects; i.e., "buffer overflows" are not always the result. This may result in the exposure or modification of sensitive data.
Integrity
Confidentiality
Availability

Technical Impact: Execute Unauthorized Code or Commands

If the memory accessible by the attacker can be effectively controlled, it may be possible to execute arbitrary code, as with a standard buffer overflow and possibly without the use of large inputs if a precise index can be controlled.
Integrity
Availability
Confidentiality

Technical Impact: DoS: Crash, Exit, or Restart; Execute Unauthorized Code or Commands; Read Memory; Modify Memory

A single fault could allow either an overflow (CWE-788) or underflow (CWE-786) of the array index. What happens next will depend on the type of operation being performed out of bounds, but can expose sensitive information, cause a system crash, or possibly lead to arbitrary code execution.
+ Likelihood Of Exploit
High
+ Demonstrative Examples

Example 1

In the code snippet below, an untrusted integer value is used to reference an object in an array.

(bad code)
Example Language: Java 
public String getValue(int index) {
return array[index];
}

If index is outside of the range of the array, this may result in an ArrayIndexOutOfBounds Exception being raised.

Example 2

The following example takes a user-supplied value to allocate an array of objects and then operates on the array.

(bad code)
Example Language: Java 
private void buildList ( int untrustedListSize ){
if ( 0 > untrustedListSize ){
die("Negative value supplied for list size, die evil hacker!");
}
Widget[] list = new Widget [ untrustedListSize ];
list[0] = new Widget();
}

This example attempts to build a list from a user-specified value, and even checks to ensure a non-negative value is supplied. If, however, a 0 value is provided, the code will build an array of size 0 and then try to store a new Widget in the first location, causing an exception to be thrown.

Example 3

In the following code, the method retrieves a value from an array at a specific array index location that is given as an input parameter to the method

(bad code)
Example Language:
int getValueFromArray(int *array, int len, int index) {

int value;

// check that the array index is less than the maximum

// length of the array
if (index < len) {

// get the value at the specified index of the array
value = array[index];
}
// if array index is invalid then output error message

// and return value indicating error
else {
printf("Value is: %d\n", array[index]);
value = -1;
}

return value;
}

However, this method only verifies that the given array index is less than the maximum length of the array but does not check for the minimum value (CWE-839). This will allow a negative value to be accepted as the input array index, which will result in a out of bounds read (CWE-125) and may allow access to sensitive memory. The input array index should be checked to verify that is within the maximum and minimum range required for the array (CWE-129). In this example the if statement should be modified to include a minimum range check, as shown below.

(good code)
Example Language:

...

// check that the array index is within the correct

// range of values for the array
if (index >= 0 && index < len) {

...

Example 4

The following example retrieves the sizes of messages for a pop3 mail server. The message sizes are retrieved from a socket that returns in a buffer the message number and the message size, the message number (num) and size (size) are extracted from the buffer and the message size is placed into an array using the message number for the array index.

(bad code)
Example Language:

/* capture the sizes of all messages */
int getsizes(int sock, int count, int *sizes) {
...
char buf[BUFFER_SIZE];
int ok;
int num, size;

// read values from socket and added to sizes array
while ((ok = gen_recv(sock, buf, sizeof(buf))) == 0)
{

// continue read from socket until buf only contains '.'
if (DOTLINE(buf))
break;

else if (sscanf(buf, "%d %d", &num, &size) == 2)
sizes[num - 1] = size;
}
...
}

In this example the message number retrieved from the buffer could be a value that is outside the allowable range of indices for the array and could possibly be a negative number. Without proper validation of the value to be used for the array index an array overflow could occur and could potentially lead to unauthorized access to memory addresses and system crashes. The value of the array index should be validated to ensure that it is within the allowable range of indices for the array as in the following code.

(good code)
Example Language:

/* capture the sizes of all messages */
int getsizes(int sock, int count, int *sizes) {
...
char buf[BUFFER_SIZE];
int ok;
int num, size;

// read values from socket and added to sizes array
while ((ok = gen_recv(sock, buf, sizeof(buf))) == 0)
{

// continue read from socket until buf only contains '.'
if (DOTLINE(buf))
break;

else if (sscanf(buf, "%d %d", &num, &size) == 2) {
if (num > 0 && num <= (unsigned)count)
sizes[num - 1] = size;

else

/* warn about possible attempt to induce buffer overflow */
report(stderr, "Warning: ignoring bogus data for message sizes returned by server.\n");
}
}
...
}

Example 5

In the following example the method displayProductSummary is called from a Web service servlet to retrieve product summary information for display to the user. The servlet obtains the integer value of the product number from the user and passes it to the displayProductSummary method. The displayProductSummary method passes the integer value of the product number to the getProductSummary method which obtains the product summary from the array object containing the project summaries using the integer value of the product number as the array index.

(bad code)
Example Language: Java 

// Method called from servlet to obtain product information
public String displayProductSummary(int index) {
String productSummary = new String("");

try {
String productSummary = getProductSummary(index);


} catch (Exception ex) {...}

return productSummary;
}

public String getProductSummary(int index) {
return products[index];
}

In this example the integer value used as the array index that is provided by the user may be outside the allowable range of indices for the array which may provide unexpected results or cause the application to fail. The integer value used for the array index should be validated to ensure that it is within the allowable range of indices for the array as in the following code.

(good code)
Example Language: Java 

// Method called from servlet to obtain product information
public String displayProductSummary(int index) {
String productSummary = new String("");

try {
String productSummary = getProductSummary(index);


} catch (Exception ex) {...}

return productSummary;
}

public String getProductSummary(int index) {
String productSummary = "";

if ((index >= 0) && (index < MAX_PRODUCTS)) {
productSummary = products[index];
}
else {
System.err.println("index is out of bounds");
throw new IndexOutOfBoundsException();
}

return productSummary;
}

An alternative in Java would be to use one of the collection objects such as ArrayList that will automatically generate an exception if an attempt is made to access an array index that is out of bounds.

(good code)
Example Language: Java 
ArrayList productArray = new ArrayList(MAX_PRODUCTS);
...
try {
productSummary = (String) productArray.get(index);
} catch (IndexOutOfBoundsException ex) {...}

Example 6

The following example asks a user for an offset into an array to select an item.

(bad code)
Example Language:

int main (int argc, char **argv) {
char *items[] = {"boat", "car", "truck", "train"};
int index = GetUntrustedOffset();
printf("You selected %s\n", items[index-1]);
}

The programmer allows the user to specify which element in the list to select, however an attacker can provide an out-of-bounds offset, resulting in a buffer over-read (CWE-126).

+ Observed Examples
ReferenceDescription
large ID in packet used as array index
negative array index as argument to POP LIST command
Integer signedness error leads to negative array index
product does not properly track a count and a maximum number, which can lead to resultant array index overflow.
Chain: device driver for packet-capturing software allows access to an unintended IOCTL with resultant array index error.
Chain: array index error (CWE-129) leads to deadlock (CWE-833)
+ Potential Mitigations

Phase: Architecture and Design

Strategy: Input Validation

Use an input validation framework such as Struts or the OWASP ESAPI Validation API. Note that using a framework does not automatically address all input validation problems; be mindful of weaknesses that could arise from misusing the framework itself (CWE-1173).

Phase: Architecture and Design

For any security checks that are performed on the client side, ensure that these checks are duplicated on the server side, in order to avoid CWE-602. Attackers can bypass the client-side checks by modifying values after the checks have been performed, or by changing the client to remove the client-side checks entirely. Then, these modified values would be submitted to the server.

Even though client-side checks provide minimal benefits with respect to server-side security, they are still useful. First, they can support intrusion detection. If the server receives input that should have been rejected by the client, then it may be an indication of an attack. Second, client-side error-checking can provide helpful feedback to the user about the expectations for valid input. Third, there may be a reduction in server-side processing time for accidental input errors, although this is typically a small savings.

Phase: Requirements

Strategy: Language Selection

Use a language that does not allow this weakness to occur or provides constructs that make this weakness easier to avoid.

For example, Ada allows the programmer to constrain the values of a variable and languages such as Java and Ruby will allow the programmer to handle exceptions when an out-of-bounds index is accessed.

Phase: Operation

Strategy: Environment Hardening

Run or compile the software using features or extensions that randomly arrange the positions of a program's executable and libraries in memory. Because this makes the addresses unpredictable, it can prevent an attacker from reliably jumping to exploitable code.

Examples include Address Space Layout Randomization (ASLR) [REF-58] [REF-60] and Position-Independent Executables (PIE) [REF-64].

Effectiveness: Defense in Depth

Note: This is not a complete solution. However, it forces the attacker to guess an unknown value that changes every program execution. In addition, an attack could still cause a denial of service, since the typical response is to exit the application.

Phase: Operation

Strategy: Environment Hardening

Use a CPU and operating system that offers Data Execution Protection (NX) or its equivalent [REF-60] [REF-61].

Effectiveness: Defense in Depth

Note: This is not a complete solution, since buffer overflows could be used to overwrite nearby variables to modify the software's state in dangerous ways. In addition, it cannot be used in cases in which self-modifying code is required. Finally, an attack could still cause a denial of service, since the typical response is to exit the application.

Phase: Implementation

Strategy: Input Validation

Assume all input is malicious. Use an "accept known good" input validation strategy, i.e., use a list of acceptable inputs that strictly conform to specifications. Reject any input that does not strictly conform to specifications, or transform it into something that does.

When performing input validation, consider all potentially relevant properties, including length, type of input, the full range of acceptable values, missing or extra inputs, syntax, consistency across related fields, and conformance to business rules. As an example of business rule logic, "boat" may be syntactically valid because it only contains alphanumeric characters, but it is not valid if the input is only expected to contain colors such as "red" or "blue."

Do not rely exclusively on looking for malicious or malformed inputs. This is likely to miss at least one undesirable input, especially if the code's environment changes. This can give attackers enough room to bypass the intended validation. However, denylists can be useful for detecting potential attacks or determining which inputs are so malformed that they should be rejected outright.

When accessing a user-controlled array index, use a stringent range of values that are within the target array. Make sure that you do not allow negative values to be used. That is, verify the minimum as well as the maximum of the range of acceptable values.

Phase: Implementation

Be especially careful to validate all input when invoking code that crosses language boundaries, such as from an interpreted language to native code. This could create an unexpected interaction between the language boundaries. Ensure that you are not violating any of the expectations of the language with which you are interfacing. For example, even though Java may not be susceptible to buffer overflows, providing a large argument in a call to native code might trigger an overflow.

Phases: Architecture and Design; Operation

Strategy: Environment Hardening

Run your code using the lowest privileges that are required to accomplish the necessary tasks [REF-76]. If possible, create isolated accounts with limited privileges that are only used for a single task. That way, a successful attack will not immediately give the attacker access to the rest of the software or its environment. For example, database applications rarely need to run as the database administrator, especially in day-to-day operations.

Phases: Architecture and Design; Operation

Strategy: Sandbox or Jail

Run the code in a "jail" or similar sandbox environment that enforces strict boundaries between the process and the operating system. This may effectively restrict which files can be accessed in a particular directory or which commands can be executed by the software.

OS-level examples include the Unix chroot jail, AppArmor, and SELinux. In general, managed code may provide some protection. For example, java.io.FilePermission in the Java SecurityManager allows the software to specify restrictions on file operations.

This may not be a feasible solution, and it only limits the impact to the operating system; the rest of the application may still be subject to compromise.

Be careful to avoid CWE-243 and other weaknesses related to jails.

Effectiveness: Limited

Note: The effectiveness of this mitigation depends on the prevention capabilities of the specific sandbox or jail being used and might only help to reduce the scope of an attack, such as restricting the attacker to certain system calls or limiting the portion of the file system that can be accessed.
+ Weakness Ordinalities
OrdinalityDescription
Resultant
The most common condition situation leading to an out-of-bounds array index is the use of loop index variables as buffer indexes. If the end condition for the loop is subject to a flaw, the index can grow or shrink unbounded, therefore causing a buffer overflow or underflow. Another common situation leading to this condition is the use of a function's return value, or the resulting value of a calculation directly as an index in to a buffer. (where the weakness is a quality issue that might indirectly make it easier to introduce security-relevant weaknesses or make them more difficult to detect)
+ Detection Methods

Automated Static Analysis

This weakness can often be detected using automated static analysis tools. Many modern tools use data flow analysis or constraint-based techniques to minimize the number of false positives.

Automated static analysis generally does not account for environmental considerations when reporting out-of-bounds memory operations. This can make it difficult for users to determine which warnings should be investigated first. For example, an analysis tool might report array index errors that originate from command line arguments in a program that is not expected to run with setuid or other special privileges.

Effectiveness: High

Note: This is not a perfect solution, since 100% accuracy and coverage are not feasible.

Automated Dynamic Analysis

This weakness can be detected using dynamic tools and techniques that interact with the software using large test suites with many diverse inputs, such as fuzz testing (fuzzing), robustness testing, and fault injection. The software's operation may slow down, but it should not become unstable, crash, or generate incorrect results.

Black Box

Black box methods might not get the needed code coverage within limited time constraints, and a dynamic test might not produce any noticeable side effects even if it is successful.
+ Affected Resources
  • Memory
+ 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.738CERT C Secure Coding Standard (2008) Chapter 5 - Integers (INT)
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.740CERT C Secure Coding Standard (2008) Chapter 7 - Arrays (ARR)
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.8022010 Top 25 - Risky Resource Management
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.8672011 Top 25 - Weaknesses On the Cusp
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.872CERT C++ Secure Coding Section 04 - Integers (INT)
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.874CERT C++ Secure Coding Section 06 - Arrays and the STL (ARR)
MemberOfViewView - a subset of CWE entries that provides a way of examining CWE content. The two main view structures are Slices (flat lists) and Graphs (containing relationships between entries).884CWE Cross-section
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1131CISQ Quality Measures (2016) - Security
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1160SEI CERT C Coding Standard - Guidelines 06. Arrays (ARR)
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1179SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard - Guidelines 01. Input Validation and Data Sanitization (IDS)
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1308CISQ Quality Measures - Security
MemberOfViewView - a subset of CWE entries that provides a way of examining CWE content. The two main view structures are Slices (flat lists) and Graphs (containing relationships between entries).1340CISQ Data Protection Measures
+ Notes

Relationship

This weakness can precede uncontrolled memory allocation (CWE-789) in languages that automatically expand an array when an index is used that is larger than the size of the array, such as JavaScript.

Theoretical

An improperly validated array index might lead directly to the always-incorrect behavior of "access of array using out-of-bounds index."
+ Taxonomy Mappings
Mapped Taxonomy NameNode IDFitMapped Node Name
CLASPUnchecked array indexing
PLOVERINDEX - Array index overflow
CERT C Secure CodingARR00-CUnderstand how arrays work
CERT C Secure CodingARR30-CCWE More SpecificDo not form or use out-of-bounds pointers or array subscripts
CERT C Secure CodingARR38-CDo not add or subtract an integer to a pointer if the resulting value does not refer to a valid array element
CERT C Secure CodingINT32-CEnsure that operations on signed integers do not result in overflow
SEI CERT Perl Coding StandardIDS32-PLImpreciseValidate any integer that is used as an array index
OMG ASCSMASCSM-CWE-129
+ References
[REF-7] Michael Howard and David LeBlanc. "Writing Secure Code". Chapter 5, "Array Indexing Errors" Page 144. 2nd Edition. Microsoft Press. 2002-12-04. <https://www.microsoftpressstore.com/store/writing-secure-code-9780735617223>.
[REF-96] Jason Lam. "Top 25 Series - Rank 14 - Improper Validation of Array Index". SANS Software Security Institute. 2010-03-12. <http://blogs.sans.org/appsecstreetfighter/2010/03/12/top-25-series-rank-14-improper-validation-of-array-index/>.
[REF-58] Michael Howard. "Address Space Layout Randomization in Windows Vista". <http://blogs.msdn.com/michael_howard/archive/2006/05/26/address-space-layout-randomization-in-windows-vista.aspx>.
[REF-61] Microsoft. "Understanding DEP as a mitigation technology part 1". <http://blogs.technet.com/b/srd/archive/2009/06/12/understanding-dep-as-a-mitigation-technology-part-1.aspx>.
[REF-76] Sean Barnum and Michael Gegick. "Least Privilege". 2005-09-14. <https://buildsecurityin.us-cert.gov/daisy/bsi/articles/knowledge/principles/351.html>.
[REF-44] Michael Howard, David LeBlanc and John Viega. "24 Deadly Sins of Software Security". "Sin 5: Buffer Overruns." Page 89. McGraw-Hill. 2010.
[REF-64] Grant Murphy. "Position Independent Executables (PIE)". Red Hat. 2012-11-28. <https://securityblog.redhat.com/2012/11/28/position-independent-executables-pie/>.
[REF-962] Object Management Group (OMG). "Automated Source Code Security Measure (ASCSM)". ASCSM-CWE-129. 2016-01. <http://www.omg.org/spec/ASCSM/1.0/>.
[REF-18] Secure Software, Inc.. "The CLASP Application Security Process". 2005. <https://cwe.mitre.org/documents/sources/TheCLASPApplicationSecurityProcess.pdf>.
+ Content History
+ Submissions
Submission DateSubmitterOrganization
2006-07-19CLASP
+ Modifications
Modification DateModifierOrganization
2008-07-01Sean EidemillerCigital
added/updated demonstrative examples
2008-09-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Alternate_Terms, Applicable_Platforms, Common_Consequences, Relationships, Other_Notes, Taxonomy_Mappings, Weakness_Ordinalities
2008-11-24CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2009-01-12CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences
2009-10-29CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Description, Name, Relationships
2009-12-28CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Applicable_Platforms, Common_Consequences, Observed_Examples, Other_Notes, Potential_Mitigations, Theoretical_Notes, Weakness_Ordinalities
2010-02-16CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Applicable_Platforms, Demonstrative_Examples, Detection_Factors, Likelihood_of_Exploit, Potential_Mitigations, References, Related_Attack_Patterns, Relationships
2010-04-05CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Related_Attack_Patterns
2010-06-21CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences, Potential_Mitigations, References
2010-09-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Potential_Mitigations, Relationship_Notes, Relationships
2010-12-13CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Demonstrative_Examples, Observed_Examples, Potential_Mitigations
2011-03-29CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences, Demonstrative_Examples, Weakness_Ordinalities
2011-06-01CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences
2011-06-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2011-09-13CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2012-05-11CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Demonstrative_Examples, Potential_Mitigations, References, Relationships
2012-10-30CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Potential_Mitigations
2014-02-18CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Potential_Mitigations, References
2014-07-30CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2015-12-07CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2017-11-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Causal_Nature, References, Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2018-03-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated References
2019-01-03CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated References, Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2019-09-19CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Potential_Mitigations
2020-02-24CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Potential_Mitigations, Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2020-06-25CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Demonstrative_Examples, Potential_Mitigations, Relationships, Type
2020-08-20CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Potential_Mitigations, Relationships
2020-12-10CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2021-03-15CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated References, Relationships
+ Previous Entry Names
Change DatePrevious Entry Name
2009-10-29Unchecked Array Indexing

CWE-705: Incorrect Control Flow Scoping

Weakness ID: 705
Abstraction: Class
Structure: Simple
Status: Incomplete
Presentation Filter:
+ Description
The software does not properly return control flow to the proper location after it has completed a task or detected an unusual condition.
+ 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
ChildOfPillarPillar - a weakness that is the most abstract type of weakness and represents a theme for all class/base/variant weaknesses related to it. A Pillar is different from a Category as a Pillar is still technically a type of weakness that describes a mistake, while a Category represents a common characteristic used to group related things.691Insufficient Control Flow Management
ParentOfBaseBase - a weakness that is still mostly independent of a resource or technology, but with sufficient details to provide specific methods for detection and prevention. Base level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 2 or 3 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.248Uncaught Exception
ParentOfVariantVariant - a weakness that is linked to a certain type of product, typically involving a specific language or technology. More specific than a Base weakness. Variant level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 3 to 5 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.382J2EE Bad Practices: Use of System.exit()
ParentOfBaseBase - a weakness that is still mostly independent of a resource or technology, but with sufficient details to provide specific methods for detection and prevention. Base level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 2 or 3 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.395Use of NullPointerException Catch to Detect NULL Pointer Dereference
ParentOfBaseBase - a weakness that is still mostly independent of a resource or technology, but with sufficient details to provide specific methods for detection and prevention. Base level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 2 or 3 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.396Declaration of Catch for Generic Exception
ParentOfBaseBase - a weakness that is still mostly independent of a resource or technology, but with sufficient details to provide specific methods for detection and prevention. Base level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 2 or 3 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.397Declaration of Throws for Generic Exception
ParentOfBaseBase - a weakness that is still mostly independent of a resource or technology, but with sufficient details to provide specific methods for detection and prevention. Base level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 2 or 3 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.455Non-exit on Failed Initialization
ParentOfBaseBase - a weakness that is still mostly independent of a resource or technology, but with sufficient details to provide specific methods for detection and prevention. Base level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 2 or 3 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.584Return Inside Finally Block
ParentOfBaseBase - a weakness that is still mostly independent of a resource or technology, but with sufficient details to provide specific methods for detection and prevention. Base level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 2 or 3 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.698Execution After Redirect (EAR)
+ 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
Architecture and Design
Implementation
+ 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

Class: Language-Independent (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
Other

Technical Impact: Alter Execution Logic; Other

+ Observed Examples
ReferenceDescription
chain: incorrect "goto" in Apple SSL product bypasses certificate validation, allowing Adversary-in-the-Middle (AITM) attack (Apple "goto fail" bug). CWE-705 (Incorrect Control Flow Scoping) -> CWE-561 (Dead Code) -> CWE-295 (Improper Certificate Validation) -> CWE-393 (Return of Wrong Status Code) -> CWE-300 (Channel Accessible by Non-Endpoint).
+ 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.744CERT C Secure Coding Standard (2008) Chapter 11 - Environment (ENV)
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.746CERT C Secure Coding Standard (2008) Chapter 13 - Error Handling (ERR)
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.854The CERT Oracle Secure Coding Standard for Java (2011) Chapter 11 - Thread APIs (THI)
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.878CERT C++ Secure Coding Section 10 - Environment (ENV)
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.880CERT C++ Secure Coding Section 12 - Exceptions and Error Handling (ERR)
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.977SFP Secondary Cluster: Design
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.1147SEI CERT Oracle Secure Coding Standard for Java - Guidelines 13. Input Output (FIO)
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1165SEI CERT C Coding Standard - Guidelines 10. Environment (ENV)
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1181SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard - Guidelines 03. Expressions (EXP)
+ Taxonomy Mappings
Mapped Taxonomy NameNode IDFitMapped Node Name
CERT C Secure CodingENV32-CCWE More AbstractAll exit handlers must return normally
CERT C Secure CodingERR04-CChoose an appropriate termination strategy
The CERT Oracle Secure Coding Standard for Java (2011)THI05-JDo not use Thread.stop() to terminate threads
The CERT Oracle Secure Coding Standard for Java (2011)ERR04-JDo not complete abruptly from a finally block
The CERT Oracle Secure Coding Standard for Java (2011)ERR05-JDo not let checked exceptions escape from a finally block
SEI CERT Perl Coding StandardEXP31-PLImpreciseDo not suppress or ignore exceptions
+ Content History
+ Submissions
Submission DateSubmitterOrganization
2008-09-09CWE Content TeamMITRE
Note: this date reflects when the entry was first published. Draft versions of this entry were provided to members of the CWE community and modified between Draft 9 and 1.0.
+ Modifications
Modification DateModifierOrganization
2008-07-01Eric DalciCigital
updated Time_of_Introduction
2008-11-24CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2011-03-29CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2011-06-01CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences, Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2011-09-13CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2012-05-11CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2014-06-23CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Observed_Examples
2014-07-30CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2017-01-19CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2017-11-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Applicable_Platforms, Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2019-01-03CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2020-02-24CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Observed_Examples, Relationships
2021-03-15CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2021-07-20CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Observed_Examples

CWE-789: Memory Allocation with Excessive Size Value

Weakness ID: 789
Abstraction: Variant
Structure: Simple
Status: Draft
Presentation Filter:
+ Description
The product allocates memory based on an untrusted, large size value, but it does not ensure that the size is within expected limits, allowing arbitrary amounts of memory to be allocated.
+ Alternate Terms
Stack Exhaustion:
When a weakness allocates excessive memory on the stack, it is often described as "stack exhaustion," which is a technical impact of the weakness. This technical impact is often encountered as a consequence of CWE-789 and/or CWE-1325.
+ 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
ChildOfBaseBase - a weakness that is still mostly independent of a resource or technology, but with sufficient details to provide specific methods for detection and prevention. Base level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 2 or 3 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.1284Improper Validation of Specified Quantity in Input
ChildOfBaseBase - a weakness that is still mostly independent of a resource or technology, but with sufficient details to provide specific methods for detection and prevention. Base level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 2 or 3 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.770Allocation of Resources Without Limits or Throttling
PeerOfBaseBase - a weakness that is still mostly independent of a resource or technology, but with sufficient details to provide specific methods for detection and prevention. Base level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 2 or 3 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.1325Improperly Controlled Sequential Memory Allocation
CanFollowVariantVariant - a weakness that is linked to a certain type of product, typically involving a specific language or technology. More specific than a Base weakness. Variant level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 3 to 5 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.129Improper Validation of Array Index
CanPrecedeBaseBase - a weakness that is still mostly independent of a resource or technology, but with sufficient details to provide specific methods for detection and prevention. Base level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 2 or 3 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.476NULL Pointer Dereference
+ 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
Implementation
+ 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

C (Undetermined Prevalence)

C++ (Undetermined Prevalence)

Class: Language-Independent (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: Resource Consumption (Memory)

Not controlling memory allocation can result in a request for too much system memory, possibly leading to a crash of the application due to out-of-memory conditions, or the consumption of a large amount of memory on the system.
+ Demonstrative Examples

Example 1

Consider the following code, which accepts an untrusted size value and allocates a buffer to contain a string of the given size.

(bad code)
Example Language:
unsigned int size = GetUntrustedInt();
/* ignore integer overflow (CWE-190) for this example */

unsigned int totBytes = size * sizeof(char);
char *string = (char *)malloc(totBytes);
InitializeString(string);

Suppose an attacker provides a size value of:

12345678

This will cause 305,419,896 bytes (over 291 megabytes) to be allocated for the string.

Example 2

Consider the following code, which accepts an untrusted size value and uses the size as an initial capacity for a HashMap.

(bad code)
Example Language: Java 
unsigned int size = GetUntrustedInt();
HashMap list = new HashMap(size);

The HashMap constructor will verify that the initial capacity is not negative, however there is no check in place to verify that sufficient memory is present. If the attacker provides a large enough value, the application will run into an OutOfMemoryError.

Example 3

This code performs a stack allocation based on a length calculation.

(bad code)
Example Language:
int a = 5, b = 6;
size_t len = a - b;
char buf[len]; // Just blows up the stack
}

Since a and b are declared as signed ints, the "a - b" subtraction gives a negative result (-1). However, since len is declared to be unsigned, len is cast to an extremely large positive number (on 32-bit systems - 4294967295). As a result, the buffer buf[len] declaration uses an extremely large size to allocate on the stack, very likely more than the entire computer's memory space.

Miscalculations usually will not be so obvious. The calculation will either be complicated or the result of an attacker's input to attain the negative value.

Example 4

This example shows a typical attempt to parse a string with an error resulting from a difference in assumptions between the caller to a function and the function's action.

(bad code)
Example Language:
int proc_msg(char *s, int msg_len)
{
// Note space at the end of the string - assume all strings have preamble with space
int pre_len = sizeof("preamble: ");
char buf[pre_len - msg_len];
... Do processing here if we get this far
}
char *s = "preamble: message\n";
char *sl = strchr(s, ':'); // Number of characters up to ':' (not including space)
int jnklen = sl == NULL ? 0 : sl - s; // If undefined pointer, use zero length
int ret_val = proc_msg ("s", jnklen); // Violate assumption of preamble length, end up with negative value, blow out stack

The buffer length ends up being -1, resulting in a blown out stack. The space character after the colon is included in the function calculation, but not in the caller's calculation. This, unfortunately, is not usually so obvious but exists in an obtuse series of calculations.

Example 5

The following code obtains an untrusted number that is used as an index into an array of messages.

(bad code)
Example Language: Perl 
my $num = GetUntrustedNumber();
my @messages = ();

$messages[$num] = "Hello World";

The index is not validated at all (CWE-129), so it might be possible for an attacker to modify an element in @messages that was not intended. If an index is used that is larger than the current size of the array, the Perl interpreter automatically expands the array so that the large index works.

If $num is a large value such as 2147483648 (1<<31), then the assignment to $messages[$num] would attempt to create a very large array, then eventually produce an error message such as:

Out of memory during array extend

This memory exhaustion will cause the Perl program to exit, possibly a denial of service. In addition, the lack of memory could also prevent many other programs from successfully running on the system.

Example 6

This example shows a typical attempt to parse a string with an error resulting from a difference in assumptions between the caller to a function and the function's action. The buffer length ends up being -1 resulting in a blown out stack. The space character after the colon is included in the function calculation, but not in the caller's calculation. This, unfortunately, is not usually so obvious but exists in an obtuse series of calculations.

(bad code)
Example Language:
int proc_msg(char *s, int msg_len)
{
int pre_len = sizeof("preamble: "); // Note space at the end of the string - assume all strings have preamble with space
char buf[pre_len - msg_len];
... Do processing here and set status
return status;
}
char *s = "preamble: message\n";
char *sl = strchr(s, ':'); // Number of characters up to ':' (not including space)
int jnklen = sl == NULL ? 0 : sl - s; // If undefined pointer, use zero length
int ret_val = proc_msg ("s", jnklen); // Violate assumption of preamble length, end up with negative value, blow out stack
(good code)
Example Language:
int proc_msg(char *s, int msg_len)
{
int pre_len = sizeof("preamble: "); // Note space at the end of the string - assume all strings have preamble with space
if (pre_len <= msg_len) { // Log error; return error_code; }
char buf[pre_len - msg_len];
... Do processing here and set status
return status;
}
char *s = "preamble: message\n";
char *sl = strchr(s, ':'); // Number of characters up to ':' (not including space)
int jnklen = sl == NULL ? 0 : sl - s; // If undefined pointer, use zero length
int ret_val = proc_msg ("s", jnklen); // Violate assumption of preamble length, end up with negative value, blow out stack
+ Observed Examples
ReferenceDescription
program uses ::alloca() for encoding messages, but large messages trigger segfault
memory consumption and daemon exit by specifying a large value in a length field
large value in a length field leads to memory consumption and crash when no more memory is available
large key size in game program triggers crash when a resizing function cannot allocate enough memory
large Content-Length HTTP header value triggers application crash in instant messaging application due to failure in memory allocation
+ Potential Mitigations

Phases: Implementation; Architecture and Design

Perform adequate input validation against any value that influences the amount of memory that is allocated. Define an appropriate strategy for handling requests that exceed the limit, and consider supporting a configuration option so that the administrator can extend the amount of memory to be used if necessary.

Phase: Operation

Run your program using system-provided resource limits for memory. This might still cause the program to crash or exit, but the impact to the rest of the system will be minimized.
+ Weakness Ordinalities
OrdinalityDescription
Primary
(where the weakness exists independent of other weaknesses)
Resultant
(where the weakness is typically related to the presence of some other weaknesses)
+ 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.1131CISQ Quality Measures (2016) - Security
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1162SEI CERT C Coding Standard - Guidelines 08. Memory Management (MEM)
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1179SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard - Guidelines 01. Input Validation and Data Sanitization (IDS)
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1308CISQ Quality Measures - Security
+ Notes

Applicable Platform

Uncontrolled memory allocation is possible in many languages, such as dynamic array allocation in perl or initial size parameters in Collections in Java. However, languages like C and C++ where programmers have the power to more directly control memory management will be more susceptible.

Relationship

This weakness can be closely associated with integer overflows (CWE-190). Integer overflow attacks would concentrate on providing an extremely large number that triggers an overflow that causes less memory to be allocated than expected. By providing a large value that does not trigger an integer overflow, the attacker could still cause excessive amounts of memory to be allocated.
+ Taxonomy Mappings
Mapped Taxonomy NameNode IDFitMapped Node Name
WASC35SOAP Array Abuse
CERT C Secure CodingMEM35-CImpreciseAllocate sufficient memory for an object
SEI CERT Perl Coding StandardIDS32-PLImpreciseValidate any integer that is used as an array index
OMG ASCSMASCSM-CWE-789
+ References
[REF-62] Mark Dowd, John McDonald and Justin Schuh. "The Art of Software Security Assessment". Chapter 10, "Resource Limits", Page 574. 1st Edition. Addison Wesley. 2006.
[REF-962] Object Management Group (OMG). "Automated Source Code Security Measure (ASCSM)". ASCSM-CWE-789. 2016-01. <http://www.omg.org/spec/ASCSM/1.0/>.
+ Content History
+ Submissions
Submission DateSubmitterOrganization
2009-10-21CWE Content TeamMITRE
+ Modifications
Modification DateModifierOrganization
2010-02-16CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Taxonomy_Mappings
2011-03-29CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences, Observed_Examples
2011-06-01CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences
2012-05-11CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated References
2017-11-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Applicable_Platforms, Taxonomy_Mappings
2019-01-03CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated References, Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2019-06-20CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2020-02-24CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2020-06-25CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2020-08-20CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2020-12-10CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Alternate_Terms, Demonstrative_Examples, Description, Likelihood_of_Exploit, Name, Observed_Examples, Relationships, Time_of_Introduction
2021-03-15CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Demonstrative_Examples, Relationships
+ Previous Entry Names
Change DatePrevious Entry Name
2020-12-10Uncontrolled Memory Allocation

CWE-456: Missing Initialization of a Variable

Weakness ID: 456
Abstraction: Variant
Structure: Simple
Status: Draft
Presentation Filter:
+ Description
The software does not initialize critical variables, which causes the execution environment to use unexpected values.
+ 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
ChildOfBaseBase - a weakness that is still mostly independent of a resource or technology, but with sufficient details to provide specific methods for detection and prevention. Base level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 2 or 3 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.909Missing Initialization of Resource
CanPrecedeBaseBase - a weakness that is still mostly independent of a resource or technology, but with sufficient details to provide specific methods for detection and prevention. Base level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 2 or 3 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.89Improper Neutralization of Special Elements used in an SQL Command ('SQL Injection')
CanPrecedeVariantVariant - a weakness that is linked to a certain type of product, typically involving a specific language or technology. More specific than a Base weakness. Variant level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 3 to 5 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.98Improper Control of Filename for Include/Require Statement in PHP Program ('PHP Remote File Inclusion')
CanPrecedeBaseBase - a weakness that is still mostly independent of a resource or technology, but with sufficient details to provide specific methods for detection and prevention. Base level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 2 or 3 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.120Buffer Copy without Checking Size of Input ('Classic Buffer Overflow')
CanPrecedeVariantVariant - a weakness that is linked to a certain type of product, typically involving a specific language or technology. More specific than a Base weakness. Variant level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 3 to 5 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.457Use of Uninitialized Variable
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 "CISQ Quality Measures (2020)" (CWE-1305)
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.665Improper Initialization
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 "CISQ Data Protection Measures" (CWE-1340)
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.665Improper Initialization
+ 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
Implementation
+ 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

Class: Language-Independent (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
Integrity
Other

Technical Impact: Unexpected State; Quality Degradation; Varies by Context

The uninitialized data may be invalid, causing logic errors within the program. In some cases, this could result in a security problem.
+ Demonstrative Examples

Example 1

This function attempts to extract a pair of numbers from a user-supplied string.

(bad code)
Example Language:
void parse_data(char *untrusted_input){
int m, n, error;
error = sscanf(untrusted_input, "%d:%d", &m, &n);
if ( EOF == error ){
die("Did not specify integer value. Die evil hacker!\n");
}
/* proceed assuming n and m are initialized correctly */
}

This code attempts to extract two integer values out of a formatted, user-supplied input. However, if an attacker were to provide an input of the form:

(attack code)
 
123:

then only the m variable will be initialized. Subsequent use of n may result in the use of an uninitialized variable (CWE-457).

Example 2

Here, an uninitialized field in a Java class is used in a seldom-called method, which would cause a NullPointerException to be thrown.

(bad code)
Example Language: Java 
private User user;
public void someMethod() {

// Do something interesting.
...

// Throws NPE if user hasn't been properly initialized.
String username = user.getName();
}

Example 3

This code first authenticates a user, then allows a delete command if the user is an administrator.

(bad code)
Example Language: PHP 
if (authenticate($username,$password) && setAdmin($username)){
$isAdmin = true;
}
/.../

if ($isAdmin){
deleteUser($userToDelete);
}

The $isAdmin variable is set to true if the user is an admin, but is uninitialized otherwise. If PHP's register_globals feature is enabled, an attacker can set uninitialized variables like $isAdmin to arbitrary values, in this case gaining administrator privileges by setting $isAdmin to true.

Example 4

In the following Java code the BankManager class uses the user variable of the class User to allow authorized users to perform bank manager tasks. The user variable is initialized within the method setUser that retrieves the User from the User database. The user is then authenticated as unauthorized user through the method authenticateUser.

(bad code)
Example Language: Java 
public class BankManager {

// user allowed to perform bank manager tasks
private User user = null;
private boolean isUserAuthentic = false;

// constructor for BankManager class
public BankManager() {
...
}

// retrieve user from database of users
public User getUserFromUserDatabase(String username){
...
}

// set user variable using username
public void setUser(String username) {
this.user = getUserFromUserDatabase(username);
}

// authenticate user
public boolean authenticateUser(String username, String password) {
if (username.equals(user.getUsername()) && password.equals(user.getPassword())) {
isUserAuthentic = true;
}
return isUserAuthentic;
}

// methods for performing bank manager tasks
...
}

However, if the method setUser is not called before authenticateUser then the user variable will not have been initialized and will result in a NullPointerException. The code should verify that the user variable has been initialized before it is used, as in the following code.

(good code)
Example Language: Java 
public class BankManager {

// user allowed to perform bank manager tasks
private User user = null;
private boolean isUserAuthentic = false;

// constructor for BankManager class
public BankManager(String username) {
user = getUserFromUserDatabase(username);
}

// retrieve user from database of users
public User getUserFromUserDatabase(String username) {...}

// authenticate user
public boolean authenticateUser(String username, String password) {
if (user == null) {
System.out.println("Cannot find user " + username);
}
else {
if (password.equals(user.getPassword())) {
isUserAuthentic = true;
}
}
return isUserAuthentic;
}

// methods for performing bank manager tasks
...

}

Example 5

This example will leave test_string in an unknown condition when i is the same value as err_val, because test_string is not initialized (CWE-456). Depending on where this code segment appears (e.g. within a function body), test_string might be random if it is stored on the heap or stack. If the variable is declared in static memory, it might be zero or NULL. Compiler optimization might contribute to the unpredictability of this address.

(bad code)
Example Language:
char *test_string;
if (i != err_val)
{
test_string = "Hello World!";
}
printf("%s", test_string);

When the printf() is reached, test_string might be an unexpected address, so the printf might print junk strings (CWE-457).

To fix this code, there are a couple approaches to making sure that test_string has been properly set once it reaches the printf().

One solution would be to set test_string to an acceptable default before the conditional:

(good code)
Example Language:
char *test_string = "Done at the beginning";
if (i != err_val)
{
test_string = "Hello World!";
}
printf("%s", test_string);

Another solution is to ensure that each branch of the conditional - including the default/else branch - could ensure that test_string is set:

(good code)
Example Language:
char *test_string;
if (i != err_val)
{
test_string = "Hello World!";
}
else {
test_string = "Done on the other side!";
}
printf("%s", test_string);
+ Observed Examples
ReferenceDescription
Chain: The return value of a function returning a pointer is not checked for success (CWE-252) resulting in the later use of an uninitialized variable (CWE-456) and a null pointer dereference (CWE-476)
Chain: Use of an unimplemented network socket operation pointing to an uninitialized handler function (CWE-456) causes a crash because of a null pointer dereference (CWE-476).
A variable that has its value set in a conditional statement is sometimes used when the conditional fails, sometimes causing data leakage
Product uses uninitialized variables for size and index, leading to resultant buffer overflow.
Internal variable in PHP application is not initialized, allowing external modification.
Array variable not initialized in PHP application, leading to resultant SQL injection.
+ Potential Mitigations

Phase: Implementation

Check that critical variables are initialized.

Phase: Testing

Use a static analysis tool to spot non-initialized variables.
+ 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.8082010 Top 25 - Weaknesses On the Cusp
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.8672011 Top 25 - Weaknesses On the Cusp
MemberOfViewView - a subset of CWE entries that provides a way of examining CWE content. The two main view structures are Slices (flat lists) and Graphs (containing relationships between entries).884CWE Cross-section
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.998SFP Secondary Cluster: Glitch in Computation
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1129CISQ Quality Measures (2016) - Reliability
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1131CISQ Quality Measures (2016) - Security
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1167SEI CERT C Coding Standard - Guidelines 12. Error Handling (ERR)
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1180SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard - Guidelines 02. Declarations and Initialization (DCL)
+ Notes

Relationship

This weakness is a major factor in a number of resultant weaknesses, especially in web applications that allow global variable initialization (such as PHP) with libraries that can be directly requested.

Research Gap

It is highly likely that a large number of resultant weaknesses have missing initialization as a primary factor, but researcher reports generally do not provide this level of detail.
+ Taxonomy Mappings
Mapped Taxonomy NameNode IDFitMapped Node Name
PLOVERMissing Initialization
Software Fault PatternsSFP1Glitch in computation
CERT C Secure CodingERR30-CCWE More AbstractSet errno to zero before calling a library function known to set errno, and check errno only after the function returns a value indicating failure
SEI CERT Perl Coding StandardDCL04-PLExactAlways initialize local variables
SEI CERT Perl Coding StandardDCL33-PLImpreciseDeclare identifiers before using them
OMG ASCSMASCSM-CWE-456
OMG ASCRMASCRM-CWE-456
+ References
[REF-62] Mark Dowd, John McDonald and Justin Schuh. "The Art of Software Security Assessment". Chapter 7, "Variable Initialization", Page 312. 1st Edition. Addison Wesley. 2006.
[REF-961] Object Management Group (OMG). "Automated Source Code Reliability Measure (ASCRM)". ASCRM-CWE-456. 2016-01. <http://www.omg.org/spec/ASCRM/1.0/>.
[REF-962] Object Management Group (OMG). "Automated Source Code Security Measure (ASCSM)". ASCSM-CWE-456. 2016-01. <http://www.omg.org/spec/ASCSM/1.0/>.
+ Content History
+ Submissions
Submission DateSubmitterOrganization
2006-07-19PLOVER
+ Modifications
Modification DateModifierOrganization
2008-07-01Sean EidemillerCigital
added/updated demonstrative examples
2008-07-01Eric DalciCigital
updated Potential_Mitigations, Time_of_Introduction
2008-09-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships, Other_Notes, Taxonomy_Mappings
2010-02-16CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2010-04-05CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Applicable_Platforms, Demonstrative_Examples
2010-06-21CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Other_Notes, Relationship_Notes
2011-03-29CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Demonstrative_Examples
2011-06-01CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences
2011-06-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences, Relationships
2012-05-11CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated References, Relationships
2012-10-30CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Potential_Mitigations
2013-02-21CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Name, Relationships
2014-07-30CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2017-11-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Taxonomy_Mappings
2019-01-03CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated References, Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2019-06-20CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships, Type
2020-02-24CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2020-06-25CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Demonstrative_Examples
2020-08-20CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2020-12-10CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2021-03-15CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Demonstrative_Examples, Observed_Examples, Relationships
+ Previous Entry Names
Change DatePrevious Entry Name
2013-02-21Missing Initialization

CWE CATEGORY: Numeric Errors

Category ID: 189
Status: Draft
+ Summary
Weaknesses in this category are related to improper calculation or conversion of numbers.
+ Membership
NatureTypeIDName
MemberOfViewView - a subset of CWE entries that provides a way of examining CWE content. The two main view structures are Slices (flat lists) and Graphs (containing relationships between entries).635Weaknesses Originally Used by NVD from 2008 to 2016
MemberOfViewView - a subset of CWE entries that provides a way of examining CWE content. The two main view structures are Slices (flat lists) and Graphs (containing relationships between entries).699Software Development
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1182SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard - Guidelines 04. Integers (INT)
HasMemberBaseBase - a weakness that is still mostly independent of a resource or technology, but with sufficient details to provide specific methods for detection and prevention. Base level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 2 or 3 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.128Wrap-around Error
HasMemberBaseBase - a weakness that is still mostly independent of a resource or technology, but with sufficient details to provide specific methods for detection and prevention. Base level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 2 or 3 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.190Integer Overflow or Wraparound
HasMemberBaseBase - a weakness that is still mostly independent of a resource or technology, but with sufficient details to provide specific methods for detection and prevention. Base level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 2 or 3 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.191Integer Underflow (Wrap or Wraparound)
HasMemberVariantVariant - a weakness that is linked to a certain type of product, typically involving a specific language or technology. More specific than a Base weakness. Variant level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 3 to 5 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.192Integer Coercion Error
HasMemberBaseBase - a weakness that is still mostly independent of a resource or technology, but with sufficient details to provide specific methods for detection and prevention. Base level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 2 or 3 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.193Off-by-one Error
HasMemberBaseBase - a weakness that is still mostly independent of a resource or technology, but with sufficient details to provide specific methods for detection and prevention. Base level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 2 or 3 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.197Numeric Truncation Error
HasMemberBaseBase - a weakness that is still mostly independent of a resource or technology, but with sufficient details to provide specific methods for detection and prevention. Base level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 2 or 3 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.198Use of Incorrect Byte Ordering
HasMemberBaseBase - a weakness that is still mostly independent of a resource or technology, but with sufficient details to provide specific methods for detection and prevention. Base level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 2 or 3 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.369Divide By Zero
HasMemberBaseBase - a weakness that is still mostly independent of a resource or technology, but with sufficient details to provide specific methods for detection and prevention. Base level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 2 or 3 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.681Incorrect Conversion between Numeric Types
HasMemberBaseBase - a weakness that is still mostly independent of a resource or technology, but with sufficient details to provide specific methods for detection and prevention. Base level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 2 or 3 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.839Numeric Range Comparison Without Minimum Check
HasMemberVariantVariant - a weakness that is linked to a certain type of product, typically involving a specific language or technology. More specific than a Base weakness. Variant level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 3 to 5 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.1077Floating Point Comparison with Incorrect Operator
HasMemberBaseBase - a weakness that is still mostly independent of a resource or technology, but with sufficient details to provide specific methods for detection and prevention. Base level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 2 or 3 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.1339Insufficient Precision or Accuracy of a Real Number
+ Content History
+ Submissions
Submission DateSubmitterOrganization
2006-07-19PLOVER
+ Modifications
Modification DateModifierOrganization
2008-09-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2009-10-29CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2011-03-29CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2015-12-07CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2017-01-19CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Applicable_Platforms, Relationships
2017-11-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Applicable_Platforms, Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2019-01-03CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2019-06-20CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2020-02-24CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2021-03-15CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2021-07-20CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships

CWE-783: Operator Precedence Logic Error

Weakness ID: 783
Abstraction: Base
Structure: Simple
Status: Draft
Presentation Filter:
+ Description
The program uses an expression in which operator precedence causes incorrect logic to be used.
+ Extended Description
While often just a bug, operator precedence logic errors can have serious consequences if they are used in security-critical code, such as making an authentication decision.
+ 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.670Always-Incorrect Control Flow Implementation
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 "Software Development" (CWE-699)
NatureTypeIDName
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.438Behavioral Problems
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.569Expression Issues
+ 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
ImplementationLogic errors related to operator precedence may cause problems even during normal operation, so they are probably discovered quickly during the testing phase. If testing is incomplete or there is a strong reliance on manual review of the code, then these errors may not be discovered before the software is deployed.
+ 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

C (Rarely Prevalent)

C++ (Rarely Prevalent)

Class: Language-Independent (Rarely Prevalent)

+ 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
Confidentiality
Integrity
Availability

Technical Impact: Varies by Context; Unexpected State

The consequences will vary based on the context surrounding the incorrect precedence. In a security decision, integrity or confidentiality are the most likely results. Otherwise, a crash may occur due to the software reaching an unexpected state.
+ Likelihood Of Exploit
Low
+ Demonstrative Examples

Example 1

In the following example, the method validateUser makes a call to another method to authenticate a username and password for a user and returns a success or failure code.

(bad code)
Example Language:
#define FAIL 0
#define SUCCESS 1

...

int validateUser(char *username, char *password) {

int isUser = FAIL;

// call method to authenticate username and password

// if authentication fails then return failure otherwise return success
if (isUser = AuthenticateUser(username, password) == FAIL) {
return isUser;
}
else {
isUser = SUCCESS;
}

return isUser;
}

However, the method that authenticates the username and password is called within an if statement with incorrect operator precedence logic. Because the comparison operator "==" has a higher precedence than the assignment operator "=", the comparison operator will be evaluated first and if the method returns FAIL then the comparison will be true, the return variable will be set to true and SUCCESS will be returned. This operator precedence logic error can be easily resolved by properly using parentheses within the expression of the if statement, as shown below.

(good code)
Example Language:
...

if ((isUser = AuthenticateUser(username, password)) == FAIL) {

...

Example 2

In this example, the method calculates the return on investment for an accounting/financial application. The return on investment is calculated by subtracting the initial investment costs from the current value and then dividing by the initial investment costs.

(bad code)
Example Language: Java 
public double calculateReturnOnInvestment(double currentValue, double initialInvestment) {

double returnROI = 0.0;

// calculate return on investment
returnROI = currentValue - initialInvestment / initialInvestment;

return returnROI;
}

However, the return on investment calculation will not produce correct results because of the incorrect operator precedence logic in the equation. The divide operator has a higher precedence than the minus operator, therefore the equation will divide the initial investment costs by the initial investment costs which will only subtract one from the current value. Again this operator precedence logic error can be resolved by the correct use of parentheses within the equation, as shown below.

(good code)
Example Language: Java 
...

returnROI = (currentValue - initialInvestment) / initialInvestment;

...

Note that the initialInvestment variable in this example should be validated to ensure that it is greater than zero to avoid a potential divide by zero error (CWE-369).

+ Observed Examples
ReferenceDescription
Authentication module allows authentication bypass because it uses "(x = call(args) == SUCCESS)" instead of "((x = call(args)) == SUCCESS)".
Chain: Language interpreter calculates wrong buffer size (CWE-131) by using "size = ptr ? X : Y" instead of "size = (ptr ? X : Y)" expression.
Chain: product does not properly check the result of a reverse DNS lookup because of operator precedence (CWE-783), allowing bypass of DNS-based access restrictions.
+ Potential Mitigations

Phase: Implementation

Regularly wrap sub-expressions in parentheses, especially in security-critical code.
+ 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.737CERT C Secure Coding Standard (2008) Chapter 4 - Expressions (EXP)
MemberOfViewView - a subset of CWE entries that provides a way of examining CWE content. The two main view structures are Slices (flat lists) and Graphs (containing relationships between entries).884CWE Cross-section
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1181SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard - Guidelines 03. Expressions (EXP)
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1307CISQ Quality Measures - Maintainability
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1308CISQ Quality Measures - Security
+ Taxonomy Mappings
Mapped Taxonomy NameNode IDFitMapped Node Name
CERT C Secure CodingEXP00-CExactUse parentheses for precedence of operation
SEI CERT Perl Coding StandardEXP04-PLCWE More AbstractDo not mix the early-precedence logical operators with late-precedence logical operators
+ References
[REF-62] Mark Dowd, John McDonald and Justin Schuh. "The Art of Software Security Assessment". Chapter 6, "Precedence", Page 287. 1st Edition. Addison Wesley. 2006.
+ Content History
+ Submissions
Submission DateSubmitterOrganization
2009-07-16CWE Content TeamMITRE
+ Modifications
Modification DateModifierOrganization
2009-12-28CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Observed_Examples
2011-06-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences
2012-05-11CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Demonstrative_Examples, References, Relationships
2017-11-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Taxonomy_Mappings, Time_of_Introduction
2019-01-03CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Taxonomy_Mappings
2019-06-20CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Type
2020-02-24CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2020-08-20CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2021-03-15CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships

CWE-375: Returning a Mutable Object to an Untrusted Caller

Weakness ID: 375
Abstraction: Base
Structure: Simple
Status: Draft
Presentation Filter:
+ Description
Sending non-cloned mutable data as a return value may result in that data being altered or deleted by the calling function.
+ Extended Description
In situations where functions return references to mutable data, it is possible that the external code which called the function may make changes to the data sent. If this data was not previously cloned, the class will then be using modified data which may violate assumptions about its internal state.
+ 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.668Exposure of Resource to Wrong Sphere
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 "Software Development" (CWE-699)
NatureTypeIDName
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.371State Issues
+ 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
Implementation
+ 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

C (Undetermined Prevalence)

C++ (Undetermined Prevalence)

Java (Undetermined Prevalence)

C# (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
Access Control
Integrity

Technical Impact: Modify Memory

Potentially data could be tampered with by another function which should not have been tampered with.
+ Likelihood Of Exploit
Medium
+ Demonstrative Examples

Example 1

This class has a private list of patients, but provides a way to see the list :

(bad code)
Example Language: Java 
public class ClinicalTrial {
private PatientClass[] patientList = new PatientClass[50];
public getPatients(...){
return patientList;
}
}

While this code only means to allow reading of the patient list, the getPatients() method returns a reference to the class's original patient list instead of a reference to a copy of the list. Any caller of this method can arbitrarily modify the contents of the patient list even though it is a private member of the class.

+ Potential Mitigations

Phase: Implementation

Declare returned data which should not be altered as constant or immutable.

Phase: Implementation

Clone all mutable data before returning references to it. This is the preferred mitigation. This way, regardless of what changes are made to the data, a valid copy is retained for use by the class.
+ 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.849The CERT Oracle Secure Coding Standard for Java (2011) Chapter 6 - Object Orientation (OBJ)
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.963SFP Secondary Cluster: Exposed Data
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1139SEI CERT Oracle Secure Coding Standard for Java - Guidelines 05. Object Orientation (OBJ)
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1181SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard - Guidelines 03. Expressions (EXP)
+ Taxonomy Mappings
Mapped Taxonomy NameNode IDFitMapped Node Name
CLASPMutable object returned
The CERT Oracle Secure Coding Standard for Java (2011)OBJ04-JProvide mutable classes with copy functionality to safely allow passing instances to untrusted code
The CERT Oracle Secure Coding Standard for Java (2011)OBJ05-JDefensively copy private mutable class members before returning their references
SEI CERT Perl Coding StandardEXP34-PLImpreciseDo not modify $_ in list or sorting functions
Software Fault PatternsSFP23Exposed Data
+ References
[REF-18] Secure Software, Inc.. "The CLASP Application Security Process". 2005. <https://cwe.mitre.org/documents/sources/TheCLASPApplicationSecurityProcess.pdf>.
+ Content History
+ Submissions
Submission DateSubmitterOrganization
2006-07-19CLASP
+ Modifications
Modification DateModifierOrganization
2008-07-01Eric DalciCigital
updated Time_of_Introduction
2008-09-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Applicable_Platforms, Common_Consequences, Relationships, Other_Notes, Taxonomy_Mappings
2010-09-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Name, Taxonomy_Mappings
2011-06-01CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences, Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2012-05-11CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2012-10-30CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Demonstrative_Examples
2014-06-23CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Description, Other_Notes, Potential_Mitigations
2014-07-30CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2017-11-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Taxonomy_Mappings
2019-01-03CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2020-02-24CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated References
2021-03-15CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
+ Previous Entry Names
Change DatePrevious Entry Name
2010-09-27Passing Mutable Objects to an Untrusted Method

CWE CATEGORY: SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard - Guidelines 01. Input Validation and Data Sanitization (IDS)

Category ID: 1179
Status: Stable
+ Summary
Weaknesses in this category are related to the rules and recommendations in the Input Validation and Data Sanitization (IDS) section of the SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard.
+ Membership
NatureTypeIDName
MemberOfViewView - a subset of CWE entries that provides a way of examining CWE content. The two main view structures are Slices (flat lists) and Graphs (containing relationships between entries).1178Weaknesses Addressed by the SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard
HasMemberBaseBase - a weakness that is still mostly independent of a resource or technology, but with sufficient details to provide specific methods for detection and prevention. Base level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 2 or 3 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.22Improper Limitation of a Pathname to a Restricted Directory ('Path Traversal')
HasMemberClassClass - 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.77Improper Neutralization of Special Elements used in a Command ('Command Injection')
HasMemberVariantVariant - a weakness that is linked to a certain type of product, typically involving a specific language or technology. More specific than a Base weakness. Variant level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 3 to 5 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.95Improper Neutralization of Directives in Dynamically Evaluated Code ('Eval Injection')
HasMemberClassClass - 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.116Improper Encoding or Escaping of Output
HasMemberVariantVariant - a weakness that is linked to a certain type of product, typically involving a specific language or technology. More specific than a Base weakness. Variant level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 3 to 5 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.129Improper Validation of Array Index
HasMemberBaseBase - a weakness that is still mostly independent of a resource or technology, but with sufficient details to provide specific methods for detection and prevention. Base level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 2 or 3 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.134Use of Externally-Controlled Format String
HasMemberVariantVariant - a weakness that is linked to a certain type of product, typically involving a specific language or technology. More specific than a Base weakness. Variant level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 3 to 5 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.789Memory Allocation with Excessive Size Value
+ References
[REF-1012] The Software Engineering Institute. "SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard : Rule 01. Input Validation and Data Sanitization (IDS)". <https://wiki.sei.cmu.edu/confluence/pages/viewpage.action?pageId=88890533>.
[REF-1020] The Software Engineering Institute. "SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard : Rec. 01. Input Validation and Data Sanitization (IDS)". <https://wiki.sei.cmu.edu/confluence/pages/viewpage.action?pageId=88890568>.
+ Content History
+ Submissions
Submission DateSubmitterOrganization
2019-01-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
+ Modifications
Modification DateModifierOrganization
2021-03-15CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships

CWE CATEGORY: SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard - Guidelines 02. Declarations and Initialization (DCL)

Category ID: 1180
Status: Stable
+ Summary
Weaknesses in this category are related to the rules and recommendations in the Declarations and Initialization (DCL) section of the SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard.
+ Membership
NatureTypeIDName
MemberOfViewView - a subset of CWE entries that provides a way of examining CWE content. The two main view structures are Slices (flat lists) and Graphs (containing relationships between entries).1178Weaknesses Addressed by the SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard
HasMemberVariantVariant - a weakness that is linked to a certain type of product, typically involving a specific language or technology. More specific than a Base weakness. Variant level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 3 to 5 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.456Missing Initialization of a Variable
HasMemberVariantVariant - a weakness that is linked to a certain type of product, typically involving a specific language or technology. More specific than a Base weakness. Variant level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 3 to 5 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.457Use of Uninitialized Variable
HasMemberBaseBase - a weakness that is still mostly independent of a resource or technology, but with sufficient details to provide specific methods for detection and prevention. Base level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 2 or 3 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.477Use of Obsolete Function
HasMemberBaseBase - a weakness that is still mostly independent of a resource or technology, but with sufficient details to provide specific methods for detection and prevention. Base level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 2 or 3 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.628Function Call with Incorrectly Specified Arguments
+ References
[REF-1013] The Software Engineering Institute. "SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard : Rule 02. Declarations and Initialization (DCL)". <https://wiki.sei.cmu.edu/confluence/pages/viewpage.action?pageId=88890509>.
[REF-1021] The Software Engineering Institute. "SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard : Rec. 02. Declarations and Initialization (DCL)". <https://wiki.sei.cmu.edu/confluence/pages/viewpage.action?pageId=88890569>.
+ Content History
+ Submissions
Submission DateSubmitterOrganization
2019-01-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
+ Modifications
Modification DateModifierOrganization
2021-03-15CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships

CWE CATEGORY: SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard - Guidelines 03. Expressions (EXP)

Category ID: 1181
Status: Stable
+ Summary
Weaknesses in this category are related to the rules and recommendations in the Expressions (EXP) section of the SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard.
+ Membership
NatureTypeIDName
MemberOfViewView - a subset of CWE entries that provides a way of examining CWE content. The two main view structures are Slices (flat lists) and Graphs (containing relationships between entries).1178Weaknesses Addressed by the SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard
HasMemberBaseBase - a weakness that is still mostly independent of a resource or technology, but with sufficient details to provide specific methods for detection and prevention. Base level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 2 or 3 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.248Uncaught Exception
HasMemberBaseBase - a weakness that is still mostly independent of a resource or technology, but with sufficient details to provide specific methods for detection and prevention. Base level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 2 or 3 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.252Unchecked Return Value
HasMemberBaseBase - a weakness that is still mostly independent of a resource or technology, but with sufficient details to provide specific methods for detection and prevention. Base level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 2 or 3 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.375Returning a Mutable Object to an Untrusted Caller
HasMemberBaseBase - a weakness that is still mostly independent of a resource or technology, but with sufficient details to provide specific methods for detection and prevention. Base level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 2 or 3 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.391Unchecked Error Condition
HasMemberBaseBase - a weakness that is still mostly independent of a resource or technology, but with sufficient details to provide specific methods for detection and prevention. Base level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 2 or 3 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.394Unexpected Status Code or Return Value
HasMemberBaseBase - a weakness that is still mostly independent of a resource or technology, but with sufficient details to provide specific methods for detection and prevention. Base level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 2 or 3 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.460Improper Cleanup on Thrown Exception
HasMemberBaseBase - a weakness that is still mostly independent of a resource or technology, but with sufficient details to provide specific methods for detection and prevention. Base level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 2 or 3 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.477Use of Obsolete Function
HasMemberVariantVariant - a weakness that is linked to a certain type of product, typically involving a specific language or technology. More specific than a Base weakness. Variant level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 3 to 5 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.597Use of Wrong Operator in String Comparison
HasMemberBaseBase - a weakness that is still mostly independent of a resource or technology, but with sufficient details to provide specific methods for detection and prevention. Base level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 2 or 3 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.628Function Call with Incorrectly Specified Arguments
HasMemberChainChain - a Compound Element that is a sequence of two or more separate weaknesses that can be closely linked together within software. One weakness, X, can directly create the conditions that are necessary to cause another weakness, Y, to enter a vulnerable condition. When this happens, CWE refers to X as "primary" to Y, and Y is "resultant" from X. Chains can involve more than two weaknesses, and in some cases, they might have a tree-like structure.690Unchecked Return Value to NULL Pointer Dereference
HasMemberClassClass - 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
HasMemberClassClass - 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.754Improper Check for Unusual or Exceptional Conditions
HasMemberBaseBase - a weakness that is still mostly independent of a resource or technology, but with sufficient details to provide specific methods for detection and prevention. Base level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 2 or 3 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.783Operator Precedence Logic Error
+ References
[REF-1014] The Software Engineering Institute. "SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard : Rule 03. Expressions (EXP)". <https://wiki.sei.cmu.edu/confluence/pages/viewpage.action?pageId=88890504>.
[REF-1022] The Software Engineering Institute. "SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard : Rec. 03. Expressions (EXP)". <https://wiki.sei.cmu.edu/confluence/pages/viewpage.action?pageId=88890559>.
+ Content History
+ Submissions
Submission DateSubmitterOrganization
2019-01-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
+ Modifications
Modification DateModifierOrganization
2021-03-15CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships

CWE CATEGORY: SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard - Guidelines 04. Integers (INT)

Category ID: 1182
Status: Stable
+ Summary
Weaknesses in this category are related to the rules and recommendations in the Integers (INT) section of the SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard.
+ Membership
NatureTypeIDName
MemberOfViewView - a subset of CWE entries that provides a way of examining CWE content. The two main view structures are Slices (flat lists) and Graphs (containing relationships between entries).1178Weaknesses Addressed by the SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard
HasMemberCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.189Numeric Errors
+ References
[REF-1015] The Software Engineering Institute. "SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard : Rule 04. Integers (INT)". <https://wiki.sei.cmu.edu/confluence/pages/viewpage.action?pageId=88890508>.
[REF-1023] The Software Engineering Institute. "SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard : Rec. 04. Integers (INT)". <https://wiki.sei.cmu.edu/confluence/pages/viewpage.action?pageId=88890560>.
+ Content History
+ Submissions
Submission DateSubmitterOrganization
2019-01-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
+ Modifications
Modification DateModifierOrganization
2021-03-15CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships

CWE CATEGORY: SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard - Guidelines 05. Strings (STR)

Category ID: 1183
Status: Stable
+ Summary
Weaknesses in this category are related to the rules and recommendations in the Strings (STR) section of the SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard.
+ Membership
NatureTypeIDName
MemberOfViewView - a subset of CWE entries that provides a way of examining CWE content. The two main view structures are Slices (flat lists) and Graphs (containing relationships between entries).1178Weaknesses Addressed by the SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard
+ References
[REF-1016] The Software Engineering Institute. "SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard : Rule 05. Strings (STR)". <https://wiki.sei.cmu.edu/confluence/pages/viewpage.action?pageId=88890507>.
[REF-1024] The Software Engineering Institute. "SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard : Rec. 05. Strings (STR)". <https://wiki.sei.cmu.edu/confluence/pages/viewpage.action?pageId=88890563>.
+ Content History
+ Submissions
Submission DateSubmitterOrganization
2019-01-08CWE Content TeamMITRE

CWE CATEGORY: SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard - Guidelines 06. Object-Oriented Programming (OOP)

Category ID: 1184
Status: Stable
+ Summary
Weaknesses in this category are related to the rules and recommendations in the Object-Oriented Programming (OOP) section of the SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard.
+ Membership
NatureTypeIDName
MemberOfViewView - a subset of CWE entries that provides a way of examining CWE content. The two main view structures are Slices (flat lists) and Graphs (containing relationships between entries).1178Weaknesses Addressed by the SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard
HasMemberVariantVariant - a weakness that is linked to a certain type of product, typically involving a specific language or technology. More specific than a Base weakness. Variant level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 3 to 5 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.767Access to Critical Private Variable via Public Method
+ References
[REF-1017] The Software Engineering Institute. "SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard : Rule 06. Object-Oriented Programming (OOP)". <https://wiki.sei.cmu.edu/confluence/pages/viewpage.action?pageId=88890501>.
[REF-1025] The Software Engineering Institute. "SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard : Rec. 06. Object-Oriented Programming (OOP)". <https://wiki.sei.cmu.edu/confluence/pages/viewpage.action?pageId=88890561>.
+ Content History
+ Submissions
Submission DateSubmitterOrganization
2019-01-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
+ Modifications
Modification DateModifierOrganization
2021-03-15CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships

CWE CATEGORY: SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard - Guidelines 07. File Input and Output (FIO)

Category ID: 1185
Status: Stable
+ Summary
Weaknesses in this category are related to the rules and recommendations in the File Input and Output (FIO) section of the SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard.
+ Membership
NatureTypeIDName
MemberOfViewView - a subset of CWE entries that provides a way of examining CWE content. The two main view structures are Slices (flat lists) and Graphs (containing relationships between entries).1178Weaknesses Addressed by the SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard
HasMemberBaseBase - a weakness that is still mostly independent of a resource or technology, but with sufficient details to provide specific methods for detection and prevention. Base level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 2 or 3 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.59Improper Link Resolution Before File Access ('Link Following')
+ References
[REF-1018] The Software Engineering Institute. "SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard : Rule 07. File Input and Output (FIO) ". <https://wiki.sei.cmu.edu/confluence/pages/viewpage.action?pageId=88890499>.
[REF-1026] The Software Engineering Institute. "SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard : Rec. 07. File Input and Output (FIO)". <https://wiki.sei.cmu.edu/confluence/pages/viewpage.action?pageId=88890496>.
+ Content History
+ Submissions
Submission DateSubmitterOrganization
2019-01-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
+ Modifications
Modification DateModifierOrganization
2021-03-15CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships

CWE CATEGORY: SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard - Guidelines 50. Miscellaneous (MSC)

Category ID: 1186
Status: Stable
+ Summary
Weaknesses in this category are related to the rules and recommendations in the Miscellaneous (MSC) section of the SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard.
+ Membership
NatureTypeIDName
MemberOfViewView - a subset of CWE entries that provides a way of examining CWE content. The two main view structures are Slices (flat lists) and Graphs (containing relationships between entries).1178Weaknesses Addressed by the SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard
HasMemberBaseBase - a weakness that is still mostly independent of a resource or technology, but with sufficient details to provide specific methods for detection and prevention. Base level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 2 or 3 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.561Dead Code
HasMemberVariantVariant - a weakness that is linked to a certain type of product, typically involving a specific language or technology. More specific than a Base weakness. Variant level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 3 to 5 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.563Assignment to Variable without Use
+ References
[REF-1019] The Software Engineering Institute. "SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard : Rule 50. Miscellaneous (MSC)". <https://wiki.sei.cmu.edu/confluence/pages/viewpage.action?pageId=88890497>.
[REF-1027] The Software Engineering Institute. "SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard : Rule 50. Miscellaneous (MSC)". <https://wiki.sei.cmu.edu/confluence/pages/viewpage.action?pageId=88890502>.
+ Content History
+ Submissions
Submission DateSubmitterOrganization
2019-01-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
+ Modifications
Modification DateModifierOrganization
2021-03-15CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships

CWE-248: Uncaught Exception

Weakness ID: 248
Abstraction: Base
Structure: Simple
Status: Draft
Presentation Filter:
+ Description
An exception is thrown from a function, but it is not caught.
+ Extended Description
When an exception is not caught, it may cause the program to crash or expose sensitive information.
+ 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
ChildOfPillarPillar - a weakness that is the most abstract type of weakness and represents a theme for all class/base/variant weaknesses related to it. A Pillar is different from a Category as a Pillar is still technically a type of weakness that describes a mistake, while a Category represents a common characteristic used to group related things.703Improper Check or Handling of Exceptional Conditions
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
ParentOfBaseBase - a weakness that is still mostly independent of a resource or technology, but with sufficient details to provide specific methods for detection and prevention. Base level weaknesses typically describe issues in terms of 2 or 3 of the following dimensions: behavior, property, technology, language, and resource.600Uncaught Exception in Servlet
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 "Software Development" (CWE-699)
NatureTypeIDName
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.389Error Conditions, Return Values, Status Codes
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 "CISQ Quality Measures (2020)" (CWE-1305)
NatureTypeIDName
ChildOfPillarPillar - a weakness that is the most abstract type of weakness and represents a theme for all class/base/variant weaknesses related to it. A Pillar is different from a Category as a Pillar is still technically a type of weakness that describes a mistake, while a Category represents a common characteristic used to group related things.703Improper Check or Handling of Exceptional Conditions
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 "CISQ Data Protection Measures" (CWE-1340)
NatureTypeIDName
ChildOfPillarPillar - a weakness that is the most abstract type of weakness and represents a theme for all class/base/variant weaknesses related to it. A Pillar is different from a Category as a Pillar is still technically a type of weakness that describes a mistake, while a Category represents a common characteristic used to group related things.703Improper Check or Handling of Exceptional Conditions
+ 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
Implementation
+ 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

C++ (Undetermined Prevalence)

Java (Undetermined Prevalence)

C# (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
Confidentiality

Technical Impact: DoS: Crash, Exit, or Restart; Read Application Data

An uncaught exception could cause the system to be placed in a state that could lead to a crash, exposure of sensitive information or other unintended behaviors.
+ Demonstrative Examples

Example 1

The following example attempts to resolve a hostname.

(bad code)
Example Language: Java 
protected void doPost (HttpServletRequest req, HttpServletResponse res) throws IOException {
String ip = req.getRemoteAddr();
InetAddress addr = InetAddress.getByName(ip);
...
out.println("hello " + addr.getHostName());
}

A DNS lookup failure will cause the Servlet to throw an exception.

Example 2

The _alloca() function allocates memory on the stack. If an allocation request is too large for the available stack space, _alloca() throws an exception. If the exception is not caught, the program will crash, potentially enabling a denial of service attack. _alloca() has been deprecated as of Microsoft Visual Studio 2005(R). It has been replaced with the more secure _alloca_s().

Example 3

EnterCriticalSection() can raise an exception, potentially causing the program to crash. Under operating systems prior to Windows 2000, the EnterCriticalSection() function can raise an exception in low memory situations. If the exception is not caught, the program will crash, potentially enabling a denial of service attack.

+ 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.2277PK - API Abuse
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)
MemberOfViewView - a subset of CWE entries that provides a way of examining CWE content. The two main view structures are Slices (flat lists) and Graphs (containing relationships between entries).884CWE Cross-section
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.962SFP Secondary Cluster: Unchecked Status Condition
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.1181SEI CERT Perl Coding Standard - Guidelines 03. Expressions (EXP)
+ Taxonomy Mappings
Mapped Taxonomy NameNode IDFitMapped Node Name
7 Pernicious KingdomsOften Misused: Exception Handling
The CERT Oracle Secure Coding Standard for Java (2011)ERR05-JDo not let checked exceptions escape from a finally block
The CERT Oracle Secure Coding Standard for Java (2011)ERR06-JDo not throw undeclared checked exceptions
SEI CERT Perl Coding StandardEXP31-PLExactDo not suppress or ignore exceptions
Software Fault PatternsSFP4Unchecked Status Condition
+ 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
2006-07-197 Pernicious Kingdoms
+ Modifications
Modification DateModifierOrganization
2008-07-01Eric DalciCigital
updated Time_of_Introduction
2008-08-15Veracode
Suggested OWASP Top Ten 2004 mapping
2008-09-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Applicable_Platforms, Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2008-09-24CWE Content TeamMITRE
Removed C from Applicable_Platforms
2008-10-14CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Applicable_Platforms
2009-03-10CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2011-03-29CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Description, Relationships
2011-06-01CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences, Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2012-05-11CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences, Demonstrative_Examples, Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2014-07-30CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Demonstrative_Examples, Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2017-11-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2019-01-03CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2019-06-20CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Related_Attack_Patterns
2020-02-24CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated References
2020-08-20CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2020-12-10CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
2021-03-15CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships
+ Previous Entry Names
Change DatePrevious Entry Name
2008-01-30Often Misused: Exception Handling

CWE-391: Unchecked Error Condition

Weakness ID: 391
Abstraction: Base
Structure: Simple
Status: Incomplete
Presentation Filter:
+ Description
[PLANNED FOR DEPRECATION. SEE MAINTENANCE NOTES AND CONSIDER CWE-252, CWE-248, OR CWE-1069.] Ignoring exceptions and other error conditions may allow an attacker to induce unexpected behavior unnoticed.
+ 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.754Improper Check for Unusual or Exceptional Conditions
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 "Software Development" (CWE-699)
NatureTypeIDName
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.389Error Conditions, Return Values, Status Codes
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 "Architectural Concepts" (CWE-1008)
NatureTypeIDName
MemberOfCategoryCategory - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.1020Verify Message Integrity
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 "CISQ Quality Measures (2020)" (CWE-1305)
NatureTypeIDName
ChildOfPillarPillar - a weakness that is the most abstract type of weakness and represents a theme for all class/base/variant weaknesses related to it. A Pillar is different from a Category as a Pillar is still technically a type of weakness that describes a mistake, while a Category represents a common characteristic used to group related things.703Improper Check or Handling of Exceptional Conditions
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 "CISQ Data Protection Measures" (CWE-1340)
NatureTypeIDName
ChildOfPillarPillar - a weakness that is the most abstract type of weakness and represents a theme for all class/base/variant weaknesses related to it. A Pillar is different from a Category as a Pillar is still technically a type of weakness that describes a mistake, while a Category represents a common characteristic used to group related things.703Improper Check or Handling of Exceptional Conditions
+ 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
Architecture and Design
ImplementationREALIZATION: This weakness is caused during implementation of an architectural security tactic.
+ Applicable Platforms
Section HelpThis listing shows possible areas for which the given weakness could appear. These may be for specific