CodeQL documentation

Dangerous use of ‘cin’

ID: cpp/dangerous-cin
Kind: problem
Security severity: 10.0
Severity: error
Precision: high
   - reliability
   - security
   - external/cwe/cwe-676
Query suites:
   - cpp-code-scanning.qls
   - cpp-security-extended.qls
   - cpp-security-and-quality.qls

Click to see the query in the CodeQL repository

This rule finds calls to std::istream::operator>> on std::cin without a preceding call to cin.width. Consuming input from cin without specifying the length of the input is dangerous due to the possibility of buffer overflows.


Always specify the length of any input expected from cin by calling cin.width before consuming the input.


The following example shows both a dangerous and a safe way to consume input from cin.

#define BUFFER_SIZE 20

void bad()
	char buffer[BUFFER_SIZE];
	// BAD: Use of 'cin' without specifying the length of the input.
	cin >> buffer;
	buffer[BUFFER_SIZE-1] = '\0';

void good()
	char buffer[BUFFER_SIZE];
	// GOOD: Specifying the length of the input before using 'cin'.
	cin >> buffer;
	buffer[BUFFER_SIZE-1] = '\0';


  • Common Weakness Enumeration: CWE-676.

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