An object reference value from a call to a function that might return null will 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

1  public class A {
2     public void abc() {}
3     public void foo(A a) {
4       if (flag2)
5         return;
6       a.abc();
7     }
9     public A boo() {
10      if (flag3)
11        return new A();
12      return null;
13    }
15    public void var() {
16      A a = boo();
17      foo(a);
18    }
20    private bool flag2;
21    private bool flag3;
22  }

Klocwork produces an issue report (CS.NRE.FUNC.CALL.MUST) at line 17 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 will be passed as argument 1 to function 'foo' at line 17, which may dereference it.

Security training

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