Return of Wrong Status Code

A function or operation returns an incorrect return value or status code that does not indicate an error, but causes the product to modify its behavior based on the incorrect result.


Description

This can lead to unpredictable behavior. If the function is used to make security-critical decisions or provide security-critical information, then the wrong status code can cause the software to assume that an action is safe, even when it is not.

Demonstrations

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.

Example One

In the following example, an HTTP 404 status code is returned in the event of an IOException encountered in a Java servlet. A 404 code is typically meant to indicate a non-existent resource and would be somewhat misleading in this case.

try {


  // something that might throw IOException
  ...

} catch (IOException ioe) {
  response.sendError(SC_NOT_FOUND);
}

See Also

SFP Secondary Cluster: Incorrect Exception Behavior

This category identifies Software Fault Patterns (SFPs) within the Incorrect Exception Behavior cluster (SFP6).

Error Conditions, Return Values, Status Codes

This category includes weaknesses that occur if a function does not generate the correct return/status code, or if the application does not handle all possible return/...

Comprehensive CWE Dictionary

This view (slice) covers all the elements in CWE.

CWE Cross-section

This view contains a selection of weaknesses that represent the variety of weaknesses that are captured in CWE, at a level of abstraction that is likely to be useful t...

Weaknesses Introduced During Implementation

This view (slice) lists weaknesses that can be introduced during implementation.


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