Sunday, May 17, 2009

Disable CFC Type Check Proof

I usually question a lot of the things I hear, and this one I just had to set the record straight. I can stand being corrected on things when I'm proven wrong so I'm hoping this will come across as simply a clarification and not any kind of 'I told you so'.

But in the CFADmin in CF8 'Settings' there is a 'Disable CFC type Check' option that allows you to turn ON the ability to ignore the argument 'types' of CFC's. For example, if I have a component of type 'com.adobe.reactor' and I pass that to a method expecting a 'com.adobe.transfer', if this option is ON, then there would be NO type checking and the argument would be successfully passed in (I'd assuming something else would fail after that however).

At cfObjective this year it was stated at a session that if this option was turned ON, a datatype like 'numeric' would be able to accept a 'string' value as there would be no type checking. This is simply not true


Visit your cfadmin and turn ON the 'Disable CFC Type Check' option and restart your server.
Run the following script:

<cffunction name="test" output="false" access="public" returntype="any" hint="">
<cfargument name="num" type="com.adobe.transfer" required="true">

<cfset x="test('hi')">
<cfdump var="#x#">

You'll notice that this works just fine. Notice that I'm passing a string of 'hi' into the test method that is expecting a 'com.adobe.transfer' object. This works just fine with Disable CFC Type Checking ON as it simply treats the argument type as an 'ANY' type.

The CFAdmin states:
"When checked, UDF arguments of CFC type is not validated. The arguments are treated as type "ANY". Use this setting in a production environment only."

In this case 'com.adobe.transfer' is a UDF or user defined argument - I defined it in a directory of com/adobe/transfer.cfc.

However, when I change my test method to accept a 'numeric' value instead of this UDF value, you will see it will throw an exception:

<cffunction name="test" output="false" access="public" returntype="any" hint="">
<cfargument name="num" type="numeric" required="true">

"The NUM argument passed to the test function is not of type numeric."

This proves that ONLY UDF arguments are changed to 'ANY' types when 'Disable CFC Type Check' is turned ON in cfadmin (oh no I've gone cross eyed)

Imagine the security holes created by such an option if indeed the native datatypes were all treated as 'ANY'? SQL Injection could occur if you had typed the cfargument as a 'numeric' datatype. A malicious user could simply pass in a string value and bypass your initial line of attack - that being your cfargument data type. This would not be a good situation (more information on security and cfml see Jason Dean's blog at

The fact is, regardless of whether or not 'Disable CFC Type Check' is ON or OFF in your CFAdmin Setttings, native Datatypes still need to be adhered to, or an exception will be thrown.


Raymond Camden said...

Interesting. You are certainly correct on this. Thanks for schoolin' me. :)

Code Fusion, LLC said...

No fingers pointed ;)

Say BTW - Ray thanks for the var scoper extension in Bolt - excellent usage of the IDE capability. I can't wait to write my first one - based on my cfproperty inspector on ria forge.