Misuse of synchronization primitives is a common source of concurrency issues. Synchronizing on objects that may be reused can result in deadlock and nondeterministic behavior. Consequently, programs must never synchronize on objects that may be reused.
Noncompliant Code Example (
Boolean Lock Object)
This noncompliant code example synchronizes on a
Boolean lock object.
Boolean type is unsuitable for locking purposes because it allows only two values: true and false. Boolean literals containing the same value share unique instances of the
Boolean class in the Java Virtual Machine (JVM). In this example,
initialized refers to the instance corresponding to the value
Boolean.FALSE. If any other code were to inadvertently synchronize on a
Boolean literal with this value, the lock instance would be reused and the system could become unresponsive or could deadlock.
Noncompliant Code Example (Boxed Primitive)
This noncompliant code example locks on a boxed
Boxed types may use the same instance for a range of integer values; consequently, they suffer from the same reuse problem as
Boolean constants. The wrapper object are reused when the value can be represented as a byte; JVM implementations are also permitted to reuse wrapper objects for larger ranges of values. While use of the intrinsic lock associated with the boxed
Integer wrapper object is insecure; instances of the
Integer object constructed using the
new operator (
new Integer(value)) are unique and not reused. In general, locks on any data type that contains a boxed value are insecure.
Compliant Solution (Integer)
This compliant solution locks on a nonboxed
Integer, using a variant of the private lock object idiom. The
doSomething() method synchronizes using the intrinsic lock of the
When explicitly constructed, an
Integer object has a unique reference and its own intrinsic lock that is distinct not only from other
Integer objects, but also from boxed integers that have the same value. While this is an acceptable solution, it can cause maintenance problems because developers can incorrectly assume that boxed integers are also appropriate lock objects. A more appropriate solution is to synchronize on a private final lock object as described in the final compliant solution for this rule.
Noncompliant Code Example (Interned
This noncompliant code example locks on an interned
According to the Java API class
java.lang.String documentation [API 2006]:
intern()method is invoked, if the pool already contains a string equal to this
Stringobject as determined by the
equals(Object)method, then the string from the pool is returned. Otherwise, this
Stringobject is added to the pool and a reference to this
Stringobject is returned.
Consequently, an interned
String object behaves like a global variable in the JVM. As demonstrated in this noncompliant code example, even when every instance of an object maintains its own
lock field, the fields all refer to a common
String constant. Locking on
String constants has the same reuse problem as locking on
Additionally, hostile code from any other package can exploit this vulnerability, if the class is accessible. See rule LCK00-J. Use private final lock objects to synchronize classes that may interact with untrusted code for more information.
Noncompliant Code Example (
This noncompliant code example locks on a final
String literals are constant and are automatically interned. Consequently, this example suffers from the same pitfalls as the preceding noncompliant code example.
Compliant Solution (
This compliant solution locks on a noninterned
String instance differs from a
String literal. The instance has a unique reference and its own intrinsic lock that is distinct from other
String object instances or literals. Nevertheless, a better approach is to synchronize on a private final lock object, as shown in the following compliant solution.
Compliant Solution (Private Final Lock
This compliant solution synchronizes on a private final lock object. This is one of the few cases in which a
java.lang.Object instance is useful.
For more information on using an
Object as a lock, see rule LCK00-J. Use private final lock objects to synchronize classes that may interact with untrusted code.
A significant number of concurrency vulnerabilities arise from locking on the wrong kind of object. It is important to consider the properties of the lock object rather than simply scavenging for objects on which to synchronize.
Some static analysis tools can detect violations of this rule.
|The Checker Framework
|Concurrency and lock errors (see Chapter 6)
|Do not synchronize on constant Strings
Class String, Collections