Injection problem


Injection problems span a wide range of instantiations. The basic form of this flaw involves the injection of control-plane data into the data-plane in order to alter the control flow of the process.


  • Confidentiality: Many injection attacks involve the disclosure of important information - in terms of both data sensitivity and usefulness in further exploitation
  • Authentication: In some cases injectable code controls authentication; this may lead to remote vulnerability
  • Access Control: Injection attacks are characterized by the ability to significantly change the flow of a given process, and in some cases, to the execution of arbitrary code.
  • Integrity: Data injection attacks lead to loss of data integrity in nearly all cases as the control-plane data injected is always incidental to data recall or writing.
  • Accountability: Often the actions performed by injected control code are unlogged.

Exposure period

  • Requirements specification: A language might be chosen which is not subject to these issues.
  • Implementation: Many logic errors can contribute to these issues.


  • Languages: C, C++, Assembly, SQL
  • Platforms: Any

Required resources




Likelihood of exploit

Very High

Injection problems encompass a wide variety of issues - all mitigated in very different ways. For this reason, the most effective way to discuss these flaws is to note the distinct features which classify them as injection flaws.

The most important issue to note is that all injection problems share one thing in common - i.e., they allow for the injection of control plane data into the user-controlled data plane. This means that the execution of the process may be altered by sending code in through legitimate data channels, using no other mechanism. While buffer overflows, and many other flaws, involve the use of some further issue to gain execution, injection problems need only for the data to be parsed.

The most classing instantiations of this category of flaw are SQL injection and format string vulnerabilities.

Risk Factors



Injection problems describe a large subset of problems with varied instantiations. For an example of one of these problems, see the section Format String.