CodeQL documentation

Sign check of bitwise operation

ID: cpp/bitwise-sign-check
Kind: problem
Severity: warning
Precision: high
   - reliability
   - correctness
Query suites:
   - cpp-security-and-quality.qls

Click to see the query in the CodeQL repository

This rule finds code that checks the sign of the result of a bitwise operation. Such a check may yield unexpected results. As an example, consider the following code that checks if the nth bit of a variable x is set:

  x & (1 << n) > 0 

If x is a 32-bit signed integer, the value of x & (1 << 31) is interpreted as a signed number. If x is negative (that is, its sign bit is set), and n is 31, then x & (1 << 31) evaluates to 0x80000000 (all bits zero except the sign bit). The sign check on this value fails, implying that the 31st bit of x is unset. This is clearly incorrect.


The above sign check should be rewritten as

  x & (1 << n) != 0