Deletion of Data Structure Sentinel
Weakness ID: 463 (Weakness Base)Status: Incomplete
+ Description

Description Summary

The accidental deletion of a data-structure sentinel can cause serious programming logic problems.

Extended Description

Often times data-structure sentinels are used to mark structure of the data structure. A common example of this is the null character at the end of strings. Another common example is linked lists which may contain a sentinel to mark the end of the list. It is dangerous to allow this type of control data to be easily accessible. Therefore, it is important to protect from the deletion or modification outside of some wrapper interface which provides safety.

+ Time of Introduction
  • Architecture and Design
  • Implementation
+ Applicable Platforms




+ Common Consequences

Generally this error will cause the data structure to not work properly.


If a control character, such as NULL is removed, one may cause resource access control problems.

+ Demonstrative Examples

Example 1

Example Languages: C and C++ 
char *foo;
int counter;
for (counter=0;counter!=14;counter++) {

+ Potential Mitigations

Phase: Requirements

Use a language or compiler that performs automatic bounds checking.

Phase: Architecture and Design

Use an abstraction library to abstract away risky APIs. Not a complete solution.

Phase: Build and Compilation

Compiler-based canary mechanisms such as StackGuard, ProPolice and the Microsoft Visual Studio /GS flag. Unless this provides automatic bounds checking, it is not a complete solution.

Phase: Operation

Use OS-level preventative functionality. Not a complete solution.

+ Relationships
NatureTypeIDNameView(s) this relationship pertains toView(s)
ChildOfCategoryCategory461Data Structure Issues
Development Concepts (primary)699
ChildOfWeakness ClassWeakness Class707Improper Enforcement of Message or Data Structure
Research Concepts (primary)1000
PeerOfWeakness BaseWeakness Base464Addition of Data Structure Sentinel
Research Concepts1000
PeerOfWeakness BaseWeakness Base170Improper Null Termination
Research Concepts1000
+ Taxonomy Mappings
Mapped Taxonomy NameNode IDFitMapped Node Name
CLASPDeletion of data-structure sentinel
+ Content History
Submission DateSubmitterOrganizationSource
CLASPExternally Mined
Modification DateModifierOrganizationSource
2008-07-01Eric DalciCigitalExternal
updated Time of Introduction
2008-09-08CWE Content TeamMITREInternal
updated Applicable Platforms, Common Consequences, Relationships, Other Notes, Taxonomy Mappings
2009-07-27CWE Content TeamMITREInternal
updated Potential Mitigations
2009-10-29CWE Content TeamMITREInternal
updated Description, Other Notes
Previous Entry Names
Change DatePrevious Entry Name
2008-04-11Deletion of Data-structure Sentinel