tracker issue : CF-3595899

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Implementing the OWASP ESAPI validator in batch mode generates NULL pointer exception

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Status/Resolution/Reason: Closed/Withdrawn/NotABug

Reporter/Name(from Bugbase): Miguel Fernandez / Miguel Fernandez (Miguel Fernandez)

Created: 07/16/2013

Components: Security

Versions: 10.0

Failure Type: Non Functioning

Found In Build/Fixed In Build: 9.0.1 /

Priority/Frequency: Critical / All users will encounter

Locale/System: English / Win 2008 Server R2 64 bit

Vote Count: 0

Problem Description: 
I have been working with the OWASP ESAPI utilities that are included with ColdFusion 9. The encoder utilities are pretty straight forward and I believe I have them working fine. The problem is with the validator utilities.

I can get them to work singly. That is, if I call the validator.getValidInput() method with "invalid" data it will throw an error that I can catch. However, when I try to call the validator method in batch I get a null pointer exception. By batch I mean attempting to execute groups of validation attempts. This is supposed to work by passing the validator.getValidInput() method a ValidationErrorList parameter which should tell it NOT to throw an error but instead just add the error to the error list. I cannot get it to work in this mode.

Steps to Reproduce:
Attached test script "test_fails.cfm" will generate the NULL pointer exception.

Actual Result:
NULL pointer exception is thrown.
	java.lang.NullPointerException at 
	org.owasp.esapi.reference.DefaultValidator.getValidInput( at 
	sun.reflect.GeneratedMethodAccessor377.invoke(Unknown Source) at 
	sun.reflect.DelegatingMethodAccessorImpl.invoke(Unknown Source) at 
	java.lang.reflect.Method.invoke(Unknown Source) at 
	coldfusion.runtime.StructBean.invoke( at 
	coldfusion.runtime.CfJspPage._invoke( at 
	cftest2ecfm989071068.runPage(D:\Web\test.cfm:19) at 
	coldfusion.runtime.CfJspPage.invoke( at 
	coldfusion.tagext.lang.IncludeTag.doStartTag( at 
	coldfusion.runtime.CfJspPage._emptyTcfTag( at 
	cfApplication2ecfc1705903666$funcONREQUEST.runFunction(D:\Web\Application.cfc:70) at 
	coldfusion.runtime.UDFMethod.invoke( at 
	coldfusion.runtime.UDFMethod$ReturnTypeFilter.invoke( at 
	coldfusion.runtime.UDFMethod$ArgumentCollectionFilter.invoke( at 
	coldfusion.filter.FunctionAccessFilter.invoke( at 
	coldfusion.runtime.UDFMethod.runFilterChain( at 
	coldfusion.runtime.UDFMethod.invoke( at 
	coldfusion.runtime.TemplateProxy.invoke( at 
... rest of stack trace excluded because of size constraint ...

Expected Result:
The NULL pointer error should not be thrown. Instead any validation errors should be added to the ErrorList array and processing should continue. Although a workaround has been provided below, it should not be necessary. The ErrorList array should be initialized when it is instantiated.

Any Workarounds:
Thanks to the advice of Chris Schmidt on StackOverflow if you initialize the ErrorList variable before calling the validation methods it will work as expected. Add this line to the test script before calling the getValidInput method and it will work.
	<cfset ErrorList = ErrorList.init() />

----------------------------- Additional Watson Details -----------------------------

Watson Bug ID:	3595899

External Customer Info:
External Company:  
External Customer Name: Miguel-F
External Customer Email:  
External Test Config: My Hardware and Environment details:

    ColdFusion version:  9,0,1,274733 

    Java version:  1.6.0_38 (Sun)

    Windows version:  Windows Server 2008 R2


  1. July 16, 2013 00:00:00: 1_test_fails.cfm
  2. July 16, 2013 00:00:00: 2_test_works.cfm


Here is a link to the StackOverflow discussion -
Comment by External U.
14939 | July 16, 2013 07:26:12 AM GMT
The constructor of ValidationErrorList would be called only when you call the init method or you invoke the method on the returned object from CreateObject call. Since you are not doing that, object is not initialized and hence you would get this error. there is nothing that ColdFusion can do here. Not a bug.
Comment by Rupesh K.
14940 | September 05, 2013 03:32:11 AM GMT
You are only repeating what I stated in the bug. If you look at the attached file "test_works.cfm" you see that I am calling the init method after the CreateObject call and this makes it work. I believe this is a bug because the ValidationErrorList should be initialized when the object is instantiated with the CreateObject call.
Comment by External U.
14941 | September 09, 2013 06:59:51 AM GMT
createObject does not initialize the object - it just loads the class. It is your responsibility to do that by calling init method.
Comment by Rupesh K.
14942 | September 10, 2013 01:06:45 PM GMT