CVE Vulnerabilities


Improper Input Validation

Published: Apr 13, 2016 | Modified: Nov 04, 2017
CVSS 3.x
CVSS 2.x
1.7 LOW

The PCI backend driver in Xen, when running on an x86 system and using Linux 3.1.x through 4.3.x as the driver domain, allows local guest administrators to generate a continuous stream of WARN messages and cause a denial of service (disk consumption) by leveraging a system with access to a passed-through MSI or MSI-X capable physical PCI device and XEN_PCI_OP_enable_msi operations, aka Linux pciback missing sanity checks.


The product receives input or data, but it does not validate or incorrectly validates that the input has the properties that are required to process the data safely and correctly.

Affected Software

Name Vendor Start Version End Version
Xen Xen 3.1.3 (including) 3.1.3 (including)
Xen Xen 3.1.4 (including) 3.1.4 (including)
Xen Xen 3.2.0 (including) 3.2.0 (including)
Xen Xen 3.2.1 (including) 3.2.1 (including)
Xen Xen 3.2.2 (including) 3.2.2 (including)
Xen Xen 3.2.3 (including) 3.2.3 (including)
Xen Xen 3.3.0 (including) 3.3.0 (including)
Xen Xen 3.3.1 (including) 3.3.1 (including)
Xen Xen 3.3.2 (including) 3.3.2 (including)
Xen Xen 3.4.0 (including) 3.4.0 (including)
Xen Xen 3.4.1 (including) 3.4.1 (including)
Xen Xen 3.4.2 (including) 3.4.2 (including)
Xen Xen 3.4.3 (including) 3.4.3 (including)
Xen Xen 3.4.4 (including) 3.4.4 (including)
Xen Xen 4.0.0 (including) 4.0.0 (including)
Xen Xen 4.0.1 (including) 4.0.1 (including)
Xen Xen 4.0.2 (including) 4.0.2 (including)
Xen Xen 4.0.3 (including) 4.0.3 (including)
Xen Xen 4.0.4 (including) 4.0.4 (including)
Xen Xen 4.1.0 (including) 4.1.0 (including)
Xen Xen 4.1.1 (including) 4.1.1 (including)
Xen Xen 4.1.2 (including) 4.1.2 (including)
Xen Xen 4.1.3 (including) 4.1.3 (including)
Xen Xen 4.1.4 (including) 4.1.4 (including)
Xen Xen 4.1.5 (including) 4.1.5 (including)
Xen Xen 4.1.6 (including) 4.1.6 (including)
Xen Xen (including) (including)
Xen Xen 4.2.0 (including) 4.2.0 (including)
Xen Xen 4.2.1 (including) 4.2.1 (including)
Xen Xen 4.2.2 (including) 4.2.2 (including)
Xen Xen 4.2.3 (including) 4.2.3 (including)
Xen Xen 4.2.4 (including) 4.2.4 (including)
Xen Xen 4.2.5 (including) 4.2.5 (including)
Xen Xen 4.3.0 (including) 4.3.0 (including)
Xen Xen 4.3.1 (including) 4.3.1 (including)
Xen Xen 4.3.2 (including) 4.3.2 (including)
Xen Xen 4.3.3 (including) 4.3.3 (including)
Xen Xen 4.3.4 (including) 4.3.4 (including)
Linux Ubuntu precise *
Linux Ubuntu precise/esm *
Linux Ubuntu trusty *
Linux Ubuntu trusty/esm *
Linux Ubuntu upstream *
Linux Ubuntu vivid *
Linux Ubuntu vivid/ubuntu-core *
Linux Ubuntu wily *
Linux-armadaxp Ubuntu precise *
Linux-armadaxp Ubuntu upstream *
Linux-aws Ubuntu upstream *
Linux-ec2 Ubuntu upstream *
Linux-flo Ubuntu esm-apps/xenial *
Linux-flo Ubuntu trusty *
Linux-flo Ubuntu upstream *
Linux-flo Ubuntu vivid *
Linux-flo Ubuntu vivid/stable-phone-overlay *
Linux-flo Ubuntu wily *
Linux-flo Ubuntu xenial *
Linux-flo Ubuntu yakkety *
Linux-fsl-imx51 Ubuntu upstream *
Linux-gke Ubuntu upstream *
Linux-goldfish Ubuntu esm-apps/xenial *
Linux-goldfish Ubuntu trusty *
Linux-goldfish Ubuntu upstream *
Linux-goldfish Ubuntu vivid *
Linux-goldfish Ubuntu wily *
Linux-goldfish Ubuntu xenial *
Linux-goldfish Ubuntu yakkety *
Linux-goldfish Ubuntu zesty *
Linux-grouper Ubuntu trusty *
Linux-grouper Ubuntu upstream *
Linux-hwe Ubuntu upstream *
Linux-hwe-edge Ubuntu upstream *
Linux-linaro-omap Ubuntu precise *
Linux-linaro-omap Ubuntu upstream *
Linux-linaro-shared Ubuntu precise *
Linux-linaro-shared Ubuntu upstream *
Linux-linaro-vexpress Ubuntu precise *
Linux-linaro-vexpress Ubuntu upstream *
Linux-lts-quantal Ubuntu precise *
Linux-lts-quantal Ubuntu precise/esm *
Linux-lts-quantal Ubuntu upstream *
Linux-lts-raring Ubuntu precise *
Linux-lts-raring Ubuntu precise/esm *
Linux-lts-raring Ubuntu upstream *
Linux-lts-saucy Ubuntu precise *
Linux-lts-saucy Ubuntu precise/esm *
Linux-lts-saucy Ubuntu upstream *
Linux-lts-trusty Ubuntu precise *
Linux-lts-trusty Ubuntu precise/esm *
Linux-lts-trusty Ubuntu upstream *
Linux-lts-utopic Ubuntu trusty *
Linux-lts-utopic Ubuntu upstream *
Linux-lts-vivid Ubuntu trusty *
Linux-lts-vivid Ubuntu upstream *
Linux-lts-wily Ubuntu trusty *
Linux-lts-wily Ubuntu upstream *
Linux-lts-xenial Ubuntu upstream *
Linux-maguro Ubuntu trusty *
Linux-maguro Ubuntu upstream *
Linux-mako Ubuntu esm-apps/xenial *
Linux-mako Ubuntu trusty *
Linux-mako Ubuntu upstream *
Linux-mako Ubuntu vivid *
Linux-mako Ubuntu vivid/stable-phone-overlay *
Linux-mako Ubuntu wily *
Linux-mako Ubuntu xenial *
Linux-mako Ubuntu yakkety *
Linux-manta Ubuntu trusty *
Linux-manta Ubuntu upstream *
Linux-manta Ubuntu vivid *
Linux-manta Ubuntu wily *
Linux-mvl-dove Ubuntu upstream *
Linux-qcm-msm Ubuntu precise *
Linux-qcm-msm Ubuntu upstream *
Linux-raspi2 Ubuntu upstream *
Linux-snapdragon Ubuntu upstream *
Linux-ti-omap4 Ubuntu precise *
Linux-ti-omap4 Ubuntu upstream *

Extended Description

Input validation is a frequently-used technique for checking potentially dangerous inputs in order to ensure that the inputs are safe for processing within the code, or when communicating with other components. When software does not validate input properly, an attacker is able to craft the input in a form that is not expected by the rest of the application. This will lead to parts of the system receiving unintended input, which may result in altered control flow, arbitrary control of a resource, or arbitrary code execution. Input validation is not the only technique for processing input, however. Other techniques attempt to transform potentially-dangerous input into something safe, such as filtering (CWE-790) - which attempts to remove dangerous inputs - or encoding/escaping (CWE-116), which attempts to ensure that the input is not misinterpreted when it is included in output to another component. Other techniques exist as well (see CWE-138 for more examples.) Input validation can be applied to:

Data can be simple or structured. Structured data can be composed of many nested layers, composed of combinations of metadata and raw data, with other simple or structured data. Many properties of raw data or metadata may need to be validated upon entry into the code, such as:

Implied or derived properties of data must often be calculated or inferred by the code itself. Errors in deriving properties may be considered a contributing factor to improper input validation.

Note that “input validation” has very different meanings to different people, or within different classification schemes. Caution must be used when referencing this CWE entry or mapping to it. For example, some weaknesses might involve inadvertently giving control to an attacker over an input when they should not be able to provide an input at all, but sometimes this is referred to as input validation. Finally, it is important to emphasize that the distinctions between input validation and output escaping are often blurred, and developers must be careful to understand the difference, including how input validation is not always sufficient to prevent vulnerabilities, especially when less stringent data types must be supported, such as free-form text. Consider a SQL injection scenario in which a person’s last name is inserted into a query. The name “O’Reilly” would likely pass the validation step since it is a common last name in the English language. However, this valid name cannot be directly inserted into the database because it contains the “’” apostrophe character, which would need to be escaped or otherwise transformed. In this case, removing the apostrophe might reduce the risk of SQL injection, but it would produce incorrect behavior because the wrong name would be recorded.

Potential Mitigations

  • Assume all input is malicious. Use an “accept known good” input validation strategy, i.e., use a list of acceptable inputs that strictly conform to specifications. Reject any input that does not strictly conform to specifications, or transform it into something that does.
  • When performing input validation, consider all potentially relevant properties, including length, type of input, the full range of acceptable values, missing or extra inputs, syntax, consistency across related fields, and conformance to business rules. As an example of business rule logic, “boat” may be syntactically valid because it only contains alphanumeric characters, but it is not valid if the input is only expected to contain colors such as “red” or “blue.”
  • Do not rely exclusively on looking for malicious or malformed inputs. This is likely to miss at least one undesirable input, especially if the code’s environment changes. This can give attackers enough room to bypass the intended validation. However, denylists can be useful for detecting potential attacks or determining which inputs are so malformed that they should be rejected outright.
  • For any security checks that are performed on the client side, ensure that these checks are duplicated on the server side, in order to avoid CWE-602. Attackers can bypass the client-side checks by modifying values after the checks have been performed, or by changing the client to remove the client-side checks entirely. Then, these modified values would be submitted to the server.
  • Even though client-side checks provide minimal benefits with respect to server-side security, they are still useful. First, they can support intrusion detection. If the server receives input that should have been rejected by the client, then it may be an indication of an attack. Second, client-side error-checking can provide helpful feedback to the user about the expectations for valid input. Third, there may be a reduction in server-side processing time for accidental input errors, although this is typically a small savings.
  • Inputs should be decoded and canonicalized to the application’s current internal representation before being validated (CWE-180, CWE-181). Make sure that your application does not inadvertently decode the same input twice (CWE-174). Such errors could be used to bypass allowlist schemes by introducing dangerous inputs after they have been checked. Use libraries such as the OWASP ESAPI Canonicalization control.
  • Consider performing repeated canonicalization until your input does not change any more. This will avoid double-decoding and similar scenarios, but it might inadvertently modify inputs that are allowed to contain properly-encoded dangerous content.