CodeQL documentation

Short-circuiting operator applied to flag

ID: cpp/logical-operator-applied-to-flag
Kind: problem
Security severity: 
Severity: warning
Precision: high
   - reliability
   - correctness
   - external/cwe/cwe-480
Query suites:
   - cpp-security-and-quality.qls

Click to see the query in the CodeQL repository

This rule finds a short-circuiting logical operator that is applied to what looks like a bit-mask. This may be a typo for a bitwise operator. Bit-masks are assumed to be constant operands whose value is a power of 2, except 1 and 0, since these could be legitimate truth values. Hexadecimal and octal literals are also considered bit masks.


Check if there should be a bitwise operator used instead of logical operator, or whether the constant should be compared to something.


unsigned int new_mask = old_mask || 0x0100; //wrong, || logical operator just returns 1 or 0

unsigned int new_mask = old_mask | 0x0100; //right, | is a bit-mask operator


  • B. Stroustrup, The C++ Programming Language special ed, p 123 Short-circuit operators. Addison-Wesley, 2000.

  • Common Weakness Enumeration: CWE-480.

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