J2EE Framework: Saving Unserializable Objects to Disk
Weakness ID: 594 (Weakness Variant)Status: Incomplete
+ Description

Description Summary

When the J2EE container attempts to write unserializable objects to disk there is no guarantee that the process will complete successfully.
+ Time of Introduction
  • Architecture and Design
  • Implementation
+ Applicable Platforms



+ Common Consequences

Data represented by unserializable objects can be corrupted.


Non-serializability of objects can lead to system crash.

+ Demonstrative Examples

Example 1

In the following Java example, a Customer Entity JavaBean provides access to customer information in a database for a business application. The Customer Entity JavaBean is used as a session scoped object to return customer information to a Session EJB.

(Bad Code)
Example Language: Java 
public class Customer {

private String id;
private String firstName;
private String lastName;
private Address address;

public Customer() {

public Customer(String id, String firstName, String lastName) {...}

public String getCustomerId() {...}

public void setCustomerId(String id) {...}

public String getFirstName() {...}

public void setFirstName(String firstName) {...}

public String getLastName() {...}

public void setLastName(String lastName) {...}

public Address getAddress() {...}

public void setAddress(Address address) {...}


However, the Customer Entity JavaBean is an unserialized object which can cause serialization failure and crash the application when the J2EE container attempts to write the object to the system. Session scoped objects must implement the Serializable interface to ensure that the objects serialize properly.

(Good Code)
Example Language: Java 
public class Customer implements Serializable {...}
+ Potential Mitigations

Design through Implementation: All objects that become part of session and application scope must implement the java.io.Serializable interface to ensure serializability of containing objects.

+ Other Notes

In heavy load conditions, most J2EE application frameworks flush objects to disk to manage memory requirements of incoming requests. For example, session scoped objects, and even application scoped objects, are written to disk when required. While these application frameworks do the real work of writing objects to disk, they do not enforce that those objects be serializable, thus leaving your web application vulnerable to serialization failure induced crashes. An attacker may be able to mount a denial of service attack by sending enough requests to the server to force the web application to save objects to disk.

+ Relationships
NatureTypeIDNameView(s) this relationship pertains toView(s)
ChildOfWeakness ClassWeakness Class485Insufficient Encapsulation
Development Concepts (primary)699
Research Concepts (primary)1000
+ Content History
Modification DateModifierOrganizationSource
2008-07-01Eric DalciCigitalExternal
updated Time of Introduction
2008-09-08CWE Content TeamMITREInternal
updated Common Consequences, Relationships, Other Notes
Previous Entry Names
Change DatePrevious Entry Name
2008-04-11Persistence in J2EE Frameworks