CodeQL documentation

Use of string copy function in a condition

ID: cpp/string-copy-return-value-as-boolean
Kind: problem
Security severity: 
Severity: error
Precision: high
   - correctness
Query suites:
   - cpp-security-and-quality.qls

Click to see the query in the CodeQL repository

This query identifies calls to string copy functions used in conditions, either directly or as part of an equality operator or logical operator. The most common string copy functions always return their destination parameter and do not have a return value reserved to indicate an error. Therefore, such a function call always evaluates to true in a Boolean context.

The string copy functions that the rule takes into consideration are:

  • strcpy

  • wcscpy

  • _mbscpy

  • strncpy

  • _strncpy_l

  • wcsncpy

  • _wcsncpy_l

  • _mbsncpy

  • _mbsncpy_l NOTE: It is highly recommended to consider using a more secure version of string manipulation functions such as as strcpy_s.


Check to ensure that the flagged expressions are not typos.

If a string comparison is intended, change the function to the appropriate string comparison function.

If a string copy is really intended, very likely a secure version of the string copy function such as strcpy_s was intended instead of the insecure version of the string copy function.


if(strcpy(szbuf1, "Manager") == 0) // most likely strcmp was intended instead of strcpy
	// ...


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