The software does not initialize or incorrectly initializes a resource, which might leave the resource in an unexpected state when it is accessed or used.
This can have security implications when the associated resource is expected to have certain properties or values, such as a variable that determines whether a user has been authenticated or not.
The following examples help to illustrate the nature of this weakness and describe methods or techniques which can be used to mitigate the risk.
Note that the examples here are by no means exhaustive and any given weakness may have many subtle varieties, each of which may require different detection methods or runtime controls.
Here, a boolean initiailized field is consulted to ensure that initialization tasks are only completed once. However, the field is mistakenly set to true during static initialization, so the initialization code is never reached.
The following code intends to limit certain operations to the administrator only.
If the application is unable to extract the state information - say, due to a database timeout - then the $uid variable will not be explicitly set by the programmer. This will cause $uid to be regarded as equivalent to "0" in the conditional, allowing the original user to perform administrator actions. Even if the attacker cannot directly influence the state data, unexpected errors could cause incorrect privileges to be assigned to a user just by accident.
The following code intends to concatenate a string to a variable and print the string.
This might seem innocent enough, but str was not initialized, so it contains random memory. As a result, str might not contain the null terminator, so the copy might start at an offset other than 0. The consequences can vary, depending on the underlying memory.
If a null terminator is found before str, then some bytes of random garbage will be printed before the "hello world" string. The memory might contain sensitive information from previous uses, such as a password (which might occur as a result of CWE-14 or CWE-244). In this example, it might not be a big deal, but consider what could happen if large amounts of memory are printed out before the null terminator is found.
If a null terminator isn't found before str, then a buffer overflow could occur, since strcat will first look for the null terminator, then copy 12 bytes starting with that location. Alternately, a buffer over-read might occur (CWE-126) if a null terminator isn't found before the end of the memory segment is reached, leading to a segmentation fault and crash.
Weaknesses in this category are related to the CISQ Quality Measures for Security. Presence of these weaknesses could reduce the security of the software.
Weaknesses in this category are related to the CISQ Quality Measures for Reliability. Presence of these weaknesses could reduce the reliability of the software.
Weaknesses in this category are related to the rules and recommendations in the Declarations and Initialization (DCL) section of the SEI CERT Oracle Secure Coding Stan...
This view (slice) covers all the elements in CWE.
This view outlines the SMM representation of the Automated Source Code Data Protection Measurement specifications, as identified by the Consortium for Information & So...
CWE entries in this view (graph) may be used to categorize potential weaknesses within sources that handle public, third-party vulnerability information, such as the N...