Integer Coercion Error
Category ID: 192 (Category)Status: Incomplete
+ Description

Description Summary

Integer coercion refers to a set of flaws pertaining to the type casting, extension, or truncation of primitive data types.

Extended Description

Several flaws fall under the category of integer coercion errors. For the most part, these errors in and of themselves result only in availability and data integrity issues. However, in some circumstances, they may result in other, more complicated security related flaws, such as buffer overflow conditions.

+ Time of Introduction
  • Implementation
+ Applicable Platforms






+ Common Consequences

Integer coercion often leads to undefined states of execution resulting in infinite loops or crashes.

Access Control

In some cases, integer coercion errors can lead to exploitable buffer overflow conditions, resulting in the execution of arbitrary code.


Integer coercion errors result in an incorrect value being stored for the variable in question.

+ Likelihood of Exploit


+ Demonstrative Examples

Example 1

See the Examples section of the problem type Unsigned to signed conversion error for an example of integer coercion errors.

+ Potential Mitigations

Requirements specification: A language which throws exceptions on ambiguous data casts might be chosen.

Phase: Architecture and Design

Design objects and program flow such that multiple or complex casts are unnecessary

Phase: Implementation

Ensure that any data type casting that you must used is entirely understood in order to reduce the plausibility of error in use.

+ Relationships
NatureTypeIDNameView(s) this relationship pertains toView(s)
ChildOfWeakness BaseWeakness Base681Incorrect Conversion between Numeric Types
Research Concepts (primary)1000
ChildOfWeakness ClassWeakness Class682Incorrect Calculation
Development Concepts (primary)699
ChildOfCategoryCategory738CERT C Secure Coding Section 04 - Integers (INT)
Weaknesses Addressed by the CERT C Secure Coding Standard (primary)734
CanAlsoBeWeakness BaseWeakness Base194Unexpected Sign Extension
Research Concepts1000
CanAlsoBeWeakness VariantWeakness Variant195Signed to Unsigned Conversion Error
Research Concepts1000
CanAlsoBeWeakness VariantWeakness Variant196Unsigned to Signed Conversion Error
Research Concepts1000
CanAlsoBeWeakness BaseWeakness Base197Numeric Truncation Error
Research Concepts1000
+ Taxonomy Mappings
Mapped Taxonomy NameNode IDFitMapped Node Name
CLASPInteger coercion error
CERT C Secure CodingINT02-CUnderstand integer conversion rules
CERT C Secure CodingINT05-CDo not use input functions to convert character data if they cannot handle all possible inputs
CERT C Secure CodingINT31-CEnsure that integer conversions do not result in lost or misinterpreted data
+ Maintenance Notes

Within C, it might be that "coercion" is semantically different than "casting", possibly depending on whether the programmer directly specifies the conversion, or if the compiler does it implicitly. This has implications for the presentation of this node and others, such as CWE-681, and whether there is enough of a difference for these nodes to be split.

+ Content History
Submission DateSubmitterOrganizationSource
CLASPExternally Mined
Modification DateModifierOrganizationSource
2008-09-08CWE Content TeamMITREInternal
updated Applicable Platforms, Common Consequences, Maintenance Notes, Relationships, Other Notes, Taxonomy Mappings
2008-11-24CWE Content TeamMITREInternal
updated Relationships, Taxonomy Mappings
2009-12-28CWE Content TeamMITREInternal
updated Description, Other Notes