finalize() Method Declared Public

The program violates secure coding principles for mobile code by declaring a finalize() method public.


A program should never call finalize explicitly, except to call super.finalize() inside an implementation of finalize(). In mobile code situations, the otherwise error prone practice of manual garbage collection can become a security threat if an attacker can maliciously invoke a finalize() method because it is declared with public access.


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

The following Java Applet code mistakenly declares a public finalize() method.

public final class urlTool extends Applet {
  public void finalize() {

Mobile code, in this case 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.

See Also

SEI CERT Oracle Secure Coding Standard for Java - Guidelines 06. Methods (MET)

Weaknesses in this category are related to the rules and recommendations in the Methods (MET) section of the SEI CERT Oracle Secure Coding Standard for Java.

SFP Secondary Cluster: Unexpected Entry Points

This category identifies Software Fault Patterns (SFPs) within the Unexpected Entry Points cluster.

Comprehensive CWE Dictionary

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

Weaknesses Introduced During Implementation

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

Weaknesses in Software Written in Java

This view (slice) covers issues that are found in Java programs that are not common to all languages.

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