Unsafe Mobile Code

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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.

ASDR Table of Contents

Last revision (mm/dd/yy): 02/17/2009


Mobile code, such as a Java Applet, is code that is transmitted across a network and executed on a remote machine. Because mobile code developers have little if any control of the environment in which their code will execute, special security concerns become relevant. One of the biggest environmental threats results from the risk that the mobile code will run side-by-side with other, potentially malicious, mobile code. Because all of the popular web browsers execute code from multiple sources together in the same JVM, many of the security guidelines for mobile code are focused on preventing manipulation of your objects' state and behavior by adversaries who have access to the same virtual machine where your program is running.

Access Violation

The program violates secure coding principles for mobile code by returning a private array variable from a public access method.

Returning a private array variable from a public access method allows the calling code to modify the contents of the array, effectively giving the array public access and contradicting the intentions of the programmer who made it private.


The following Java Applet code mistakenly returns a private array variable from a public access method.

	public final class urlTool extends Applet {
		private URL[] urls;
		public URL[] getURLs() {
			return urls;


Risk Factors

  • Talk about the factors that make this vulnerability likely or unlikely to actually happen
  • Discuss the technical impact of a successful exploit of this vulnerability
  • Consider the likely [business impacts] of a successful attack


Related Attacks

Related Vulnerabilities

Related Controls

Related Technical Impacts