The software, when opening a file or directory, does not sufficiently handle when the file is a Windows shortcut (.LNK) whose target is outside of the intended control sphere. This could allow an attacker to cause the software to operate on unauthorized files.
The shortcut (file with the .lnk extension) can permit an attacker to read/write a file that they originally did not have permissions to access.
Windows symbolic link following
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 software 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.
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.
Technical Impact: Read Files or Directories; Modify Files or Directories
Browser allows remote malicious web sites to overwrite arbitrary files by tricking the user into downloading a .LNK (link) file twice, which overwrites the file that was referenced in the first .LNK file.
Rootkits can bypass file access restrictions to Windows kernel directories using NtCreateSymbolicLinkObject function to create symbolic link
Phase: Architecture and Design
Strategy: Separation of Privilege
Follow the principle of least privilege when assigning access rights to entities in a software system.
Denying access to a file can prevent an attacker from replacing that file with a link to a sensitive file. Ensure good compartmentalization in the system to provide protected areas that can be trusted.
(where the weakness is typically related to the presence of some other weaknesses)
This MemberOf Relationships table shows additional CWE Categories and Views that reference this weakness as a member. This information is often useful in understanding where a weakness fits within the context of external information sources.
Under-studied. Windows .LNK files are more "portable" than Unix symlinks and have been used in remote exploits. Some Windows API's will access LNK's as if they are regular files, so one would expect that they would be reported more frequently.