CWE-1249: Application-Level Admin Tool with Inconsistent View of Underlying Operating System
The product provides an application for administrators to manage parts of the underlying operating system, but the application does not accurately identify all of the relevant entities or resources that exist in the OS; that is, the application's model of the OS's state is inconsistent with the OS's actual state.
Many products provide web-based applications or other software for managing the underlying operating system. This is common with cloud, network access devices, home networking, and other systems. When the management tool does not accurately represent what is in the OS - such as user accounts - then the administrator might not see suspicious activities that would be noticed otherwise.
For example, numerous systems utilize a web front-end for administrative control. They also offer the ability to add, alter, and drop users with various privileges as it relates to the functionality of the system. A potential architectural weakness may exist where the user information reflected in the web interface does not mirror the users in the underlying operating system. Many web UI or REST APIs use the underlying operating system for authentication; the system's logic may also track an additional set of user capabilities within configuration files and datasets for authorization capabilities. When there is a discrepancy between the user information in the UI or REST API's interface system and the underlying operating system's user listing, this may introduce a weakness into the system. For example, if an attacker compromises the OS and adds a new user account - a "ghost" account - then the attacker could escape detection if the management tool does not list the newly-added account.
This discrepancy could be exploited in several ways:
Many of these attacker scenarios can be realized by leveraging separate vulnerabilities related to XSS, command injection, authentication bypass, or logic flaws on the various systems.
The table(s) below shows the weaknesses and high level categories that are related to this weakness. These relationships are defined as ChildOf, ParentOf, MemberOf and give insight to similar items that may exist at higher and lower levels of abstraction. In addition, relationships such as PeerOf and CanAlsoBe are defined to show similar weaknesses that the user may want to explore.
Relevant to the view "Research Concepts" (CWE-1000)
The different Modes of Introduction provide information about how and when this weakness may be introduced. The Phase identifies a point in the life cycle at which introduction may occur, while the Note provides a typical scenario related to introduction during the given phase.
The listings below show possible areas for which the given weakness could appear. These may be for specific named Languages, Operating Systems, Architectures, Paradigms, Technologies, or a class of such platforms. The platform is listed along with how frequently the given weakness appears for that instance.
Class: Language-Independent (Undetermined Prevalence)
Class: OS-Independent (Undetermined Prevalence)
Class: Web Based (Undetermined Prevalence)
The table below specifies different individual consequences associated with the weakness. The Scope identifies the application security area that is violated, while the Impact describes the negative technical impact that arises if an adversary succeeds in exploiting this weakness. The Likelihood provides information about how likely the specific consequence is expected to be seen relative to the other consequences in the list. For example, there may be high likelihood that a weakness will be exploited to achieve a certain impact, but a low likelihood that it will be exploited to achieve a different impact.
Suppose that an attacker successfully gains root privileges on a Linux system and adds a new 'user2' account:
Example Language: Other
echo "user2:x:0:0::/root:/" >> /etc/passwd;
echo "user2:\$6\$IdvyrM6VJnG8Su5U\$1gmW3Nm.IO4vxTQDQ1C8urm72JCadOHZQwqiH/nRtL8dPY80xS4Ovsv5bPCMWnXKKWwmsocSWXupUf17LB3oS.:17256:0:99999:7:::" >> /etc/shadow;
This new user2 account would not be noticed on the web interface, if the interface does not refresh its data of available users.
It could be argued that for this specific example, an attacker with root privileges would be likely to compromise the admin tool or otherwise feed it with false data. However, this example shows how the discrepancy in critical data can help attackers to escape detection.
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