An object reference value from a call to a function that might return null might be passed to a function that might dereference it, without checking for null.

Vulnerability and risk

Dereferencing a null object reference is a critical runtime problem that will crash the application on some operating systems and throw a runtime exception on others.

Example 1

                  public class A {
                      public void abc() {}
                      public void foo(A a) {
                          if (flag2)
                      public A boo() {
                         if (flag3)
                             return new A();
                         return null;
                     public void var() {
                         A a = boo();
                         if (flag)
                     private bool flag;
                     private bool flag2;
                     private bool flag3;

Klocwork produces an issue report (CS.NRE.FUNC.CALL.MIGHT) at line 18 for variable 'a'. Variable 'a' is assigned to a value which might be null, and which comes from a call to function 'boo' at line 16. This variable may still be null when it is passed as argument 1 to function 'foo' at line 18, which may dereference it.

Security training

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