Improper Handling of Syntactically Invalid Structure
Weakness ID: 228 (Weakness Class)Status: Incomplete
+ Description

Description Summary

The product does not handle or incorrectly handles input that is not syntactically well-formed with respect to the associated specification.
+ Time of Introduction
  • Implementation
  • Architecture and Design
+ Relationships
NatureTypeIDNameView(s) this relationship pertains toView(s)
ChildOfCategoryCategory19Data Handling
Development Concepts (primary)699
ChildOfCategoryCategory137Representation Errors
Development Concepts699
ChildOfWeakness ClassWeakness Class703Failure to Handle Exceptional Conditions
Research Concepts1000
ChildOfWeakness ClassWeakness Class707Improper Enforcement of Message or Data Structure
Research Concepts (primary)1000
ChildOfCategoryCategory728OWASP Top Ten 2004 Category A7 - Improper Error Handling
Weaknesses in OWASP Top Ten (2004) (primary)711
ParentOfWeakness ClassWeakness Class229Improper Handling of Values
Development Concepts (primary)699
Research Concepts (primary)1000
ParentOfWeakness ClassWeakness Class233Parameter Problems
Development Concepts (primary)699
Research Concepts (primary)1000
ParentOfWeakness ClassWeakness Class237Improper Handling of Structural Elements
Development Concepts (primary)699
Research Concepts (primary)1000
ParentOfWeakness BaseWeakness Base241Improper Handling of Unexpected Data Type
Development Concepts (primary)699
Research Concepts (primary)1000
+ Relevant Properties
  • Validity
+ Taxonomy Mappings
Mapped Taxonomy NameNode IDFitMapped Node Name
PLOVERStructure and Validity Problems
OWASP Top Ten 2004A7CWE More SpecificImproper Error Handling
+ Maintenance Notes

This entry needs more investigation. Public vulnerability research generally focuses on the manipulations that generate invalid structure, instead of the weaknesses that are exploited by those manipulations. For example, a common attack involves making a request that omits a required field, which can trigger a crash in some cases. The crash could be due to a named chain such as CWE-690 (Unchecked Return Value to NULL Pointer Dereference), but public reports rarely cover this aspect of a vulnerability.

The validity of input could be roughly classified along "syntactic", "semantic", and "lexical" dimensions. If the specification requires that an input value should be delimited with the "[" and "]" square brackets, then any input that does not follow this specification would be syntactically invalid. If the input between the brackets is expected to be a number, but the letters "aaa" are provided, then the input is syntactically invalid. If the input is a number and enclosed in brackets, but the number is outside of the allowable range, then it is semantically invalid. The inter-relationships between these properties - and their associated weaknesses- need further exploration.

+ Content History
Submission DateSubmitterOrganizationSource
PLOVERExternally Mined
Modification DateModifierOrganizationSource
2008-07-01Eric DalciCigitalExternal
updated Time of Introduction
2008-09-08CWE Content TeamMITREInternal
updated Description, Maintenance Notes, Name, Relationships, Relevant Properties, Taxonomy Mappings
2009-03-10CWE Content TeamMITREInternal
updated Description, Name
Previous Entry Names
Change DatePrevious Entry Name
2008-09-09Structure and Validity Problems
2009-03-10Failure to Handle Syntactically Invalid Structure