Difference between revisions of "Unchecked Return Value: Missing Check against Null"

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==Abstract==
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[[ASDR_TOC_Vulnerabilities|Vulnerabilities Table of Contents]]
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[[ASDR Table of Contents]]
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Ignoring a method's return value can cause the program to overlook unexpected states and conditions.
 
  
 
==Description==
 
==Description==
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Ignoring a method's return value can cause the program to overlook unexpected states and conditions.
  
 
Just about every serious attack on a software system begins with the violation of a programmer's assumptions. After the attack, the programmer's assumptions seem flimsy and poorly founded, but before an attack many programmers would defend their assumptions well past the end of their lunch break.
 
Just about every serious attack on a software system begins with the violation of a programmer's assumptions. After the attack, the programmer's assumptions seem flimsy and poorly founded, but before an attack many programmers would defend their assumptions well past the end of their lunch break.
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Two dubious assumptions that are easy to spot in code are "this function call can never fail" and "it doesn't matter if this function call fails". When a programmer ignores the return value from a function, they implicitly state that they are operating under one of these assumptions.
 
Two dubious assumptions that are easy to spot in code are "this function call can never fail" and "it doesn't matter if this function call fails". When a programmer ignores the return value from a function, they implicitly state that they are operating under one of these assumptions.
  
==Examples ==
 
  
===Example===
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==Risk Factors==
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TBD
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==Examples==
  
 
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.
 
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.
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But attackers are skilled at finding unexpected paths through programs, particularly when exceptions are involved.
 
But attackers are skilled at finding unexpected paths through programs, particularly when exceptions are involved.
  
==Related Threats==
 
  
==Related Attacks==
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==Related [[Attacks]]==
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* [[Attack 1]]
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* [[Attack 2]]
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==Related [[Vulnerabilities]]==
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* [[Ignored function return value]]
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==Related [[Controls]]==
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* [[:Category:Input Validation]]
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==Related Vulnerabilities==
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==Related [[Technical Impacts]]==
  
[[Ignored function return value]]
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* [[Technical Impact 1]]
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* [[Technical Impact 2]]
  
==Related Countermeasures==
 
  
[[:Category:Input Validation]]
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==References==
  
==Categories==
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TBD
  
 
[[Category:Input Validation Vulnerability]]
 
[[Category:Input Validation Vulnerability]]

Revision as of 14:24, 1 October 2008

This is a Vulnerability. To view all vulnerabilities, please see the Vulnerability Category page.


This article includes content generously donated to OWASP by Fortify.JPG.

Last revision (mm/dd/yy): 10/1/2008

Vulnerabilities Table of Contents

ASDR Table of Contents

Contents


Description

Ignoring a method's return value can cause the program to overlook unexpected states and conditions.

Just about every serious attack on a software system begins with the violation of a programmer's assumptions. After the attack, the programmer's assumptions seem flimsy and poorly founded, but before an attack many programmers would defend their assumptions well past the end of their lunch break.

Two dubious assumptions that are easy to spot in code are "this function call can never fail" and "it doesn't matter if this function call fails". When a programmer ignores the return value from a function, they implicitly state that they are operating under one of these assumptions.


Risk Factors

TBD

Examples

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.

	String itemName = request.getParameter(ITEM_NAME);
	if (itemName.compareTo(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.


Related Attacks


Related Vulnerabilities


Related Controls


Related Technical Impacts


References

TBD