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CWE-67: Improper Handling of Windows Device Names

Weakness ID: 67
Abstraction: Variant
Structure: Simple
Status: Incomplete
Presentation Filter:
+ Description
The software constructs pathnames from user input, but it does not handle or incorrectly handles a pathname containing a Windows device name such as AUX or CON. This typically leads to denial of service or an information exposure when the application attempts to process the pathname as a regular file.
+ Extended Description
Not properly handling virtual filenames (e.g. AUX, CON, PRN, COM1, LPT1) can result in different types of vulnerabilities. In some cases an attacker can request a device via injection of a virtual filename in a URL, which may cause an error that leads to a denial of service or an error page that reveals sensitive information. A software system that allows device names to bypass filtering runs the risk of an attacker injecting malicious code in a file with the name of a device.
+ Relationships

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)
+ Relevant to the view "Development Concepts" (CWE-699)
+ Background Details
Historically, there was a bug in the Windows operating system that caused a blue screen of death. Even after that issue was fixed DOS device names continue to be a factor.
+ Modes Of Introduction

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.

Architecture and Design
+ Applicable Platforms
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)

Operating Systems

Class: Windows (Undetermined Prevalence)

+ Common Consequences

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: DoS: Crash, Exit, or Restart; Read Application Data; Other

+ Likelihood Of Exploit
+ Observed Examples
Server allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service via a series of requests to .JSP files that contain an MS-DOS device name.
Server allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service via an HTTP request for an MS-DOS device name.
Product allows remote attackers to use MS-DOS device names in HTTP requests to cause a denial of service or obtain the physical path of the server.
Server allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service via a URL that contains an MS-DOS device name.
Server allows a remote attacker to create a denial of service via a URL request which includes a MS-DOS device name.
Microsoft Windows 9x operating systems allow an attacker to cause a denial of service via a pathname that includes file device names, aka the "DOS Device in Path Name" vulnerability.
Server allows remote attackers to determine the physical path of the server via a URL containing MS-DOS device names.
Product does not properly handle files whose names contain reserved MS-DOS device names, which can allow malicious code to bypass detection when it is installed, copied, or executed.
Server allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service (application crash) via a URL with a filename containing a .cgi extension and an MS-DOS device name.
+ Potential Mitigations

Phase: Implementation

Be familiar with the device names in the operating system where your system is deployed. Check input for these device names.
+ Weakness Ordinalities
(where the weakness is typically related to the presence of some other weaknesses)
+ Affected Resources
  • File or Directory
+ Memberships
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.
+ Taxonomy Mappings
Mapped Taxonomy NameNode IDFitMapped Node Name
PLOVERWindows MS-DOS device names
CERT C Secure CodingFIO32-CCWE More SpecificDo not perform operations on devices that are only appropriate for files
CERT Java Secure CodingFIO00-JDo not operate on files in shared directories
Software Fault PatternsSFP16Path Traversal
+ References
[REF-7] Michael Howard and David LeBlanc. "Writing Secure Code". 2nd Edition. Microsoft Press. 2002-12-04. <>.
[REF-62] Mark Dowd, John McDonald and Justin Schuh. "The Art of Software Security Assessment". Chapter 11, "Device Files", Page 666. 1st Edition. Addison Wesley. 2006.
+ Content History
Submission DateSubmitterOrganization
Modification DateModifierOrganization
2008-07-01Eric DalciCigital
updated Time_of_Introduction
2008-09-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Applicable_Platforms, Relationships, Other_Notes, Taxonomy_Mappings, Weakness_Ordinalities
2008-10-14CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Description
2008-11-24CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2009-03-10CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Description, Name
2009-10-29CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Background_Details, Other_Notes
2010-09-27CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Description
2011-03-29CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Description
2011-06-01CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Common_Consequences, Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2011-09-13CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2012-05-11CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Observed_Examples, References, Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2012-10-30CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Potential_Mitigations
2014-07-30CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
2017-11-08CWE Content TeamMITRE
updated Affected_Resources, Applicable_Platforms, Causal_Nature, Likelihood_of_Exploit, References, Relationships, Taxonomy_Mappings
Previous Entry Names
Change DatePrevious Entry Name
2008-04-11Windows MS-DOS Device Names
2009-03-10Failure to Handle Windows Device Names

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Page Last Updated: January 18, 2018