This error is detected when a method returns a reference to a mutable object.

Vulnerability and risk


Klocwork security vulnerability (SV) checkers identify calls that create potentially dangerous data; these calls are considered unsafe sources. An unsafe source can be any data provided by the user, since the user could be an attacker or has the potential for introducing human error.

Mitigation and prevention

This vulnerability can be mitigated by preventing public methods from returning references to mutable objects.

Example 1

17    private ArrayList adminUsers;
18    public Collection getAdminUsers() {
19      return adminUsers;
20    }
21    // ...
22    void maliciousUserCode() {
23      getAdminUsers().add("myself");
24    }

SV.EXPOSE.RET is reported for 'return' statement on line 19: Method returns reference to mutable object 'adminUsers'. Internal state of object can be modified by malicious user.

Security training

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