The product uses a search path that contains an unquoted element, in which the element contains whitespace or other separators. This can cause the product to access resources in a parent path.
If a malicious individual has access to the file system, it is possible to elevate privileges by inserting such a file as "C:\Program.exe" to be run by a privileged program making use of WinExec.
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)
Class - a weakness that is described in a very abstract fashion, typically independent of any specific language or technology. More general than a Base weakness.
Base - a weakness that is described in an abstract fashion, but with sufficient details to infer specific methods for detection and prevention. More general than a Variant weakness, but more specific than a Class weakness.
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.
Confidentiality Integrity Availability
Technical Impact: Execute Unauthorized Code or Commands
Small handful of others. Program doesn't quote the "C:\Program Files\" path when calling a program to be executed - or any other path with a directory or file whose name contains a space - so attacker can put a malicious program.exe into C:.
Applies to "Common Files" folder, with a malicious common.exe, instead of "Program Files"/program.exe.
Properly quote the full search path before executing a program on the system.
Strategy: Input Validation
Assume all input is malicious. Use an "accept known good" input validation strategy, i.e., use a whitelist of acceptable inputs that strictly conform to specifications. Reject any input that does not strictly conform to specifications, or transform it into something that does.
When performing input validation, consider all potentially relevant properties, including length, type of input, the full range of acceptable values, missing or extra inputs, syntax, consistency across related fields, and conformance to business rules. As an example of business rule logic, "boat" may be syntactically valid because it only contains alphanumeric characters, but it is not valid if the input is only expected to contain colors such as "red" or "blue."
Do not rely exclusively on looking for malicious or malformed inputs (i.e., do not rely on a blacklist). A blacklist is likely to miss at least one undesirable input, especially if the code's environment changes. This can give attackers enough room to bypass the intended validation. However, blacklists can be useful for detecting potential attacks or determining which inputs are so malformed that they should be rejected outright.
Strategy: Input Validation
Inputs should be decoded and canonicalized to the application's current internal representation before being validated (CWE-180). Make sure that the application does not decode the same input twice (CWE-174). Such errors could be used to bypass whitelist validation schemes by introducing dangerous inputs after they have been checked.
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.
Category - a CWE entry that contains a set of other entries that share a common characteristic.
This weakness could apply to any OS that supports spaces in filenames, especially any OS that make it easy for a user to insert spaces into filenames or folders, such as Windows. While spaces are technically supported in Unix, the practice is generally avoided. .
This weakness primarily involves the lack of quoting, which is not explicitly stated as a part of CWE-116. CWE-116 also describes output in light of structured messages, but the generation of a filename or search path (as in this weakness) might not be considered a structured message.
An additional complication is the relationship to control spheres. Unlike untrusted search path (CWE-426), which inherently involves control over the definition of a control sphere, this entry concerns a fixed control sphere in which some part of the sphere may be under attacker control. This is not a clean fit under CWE-668 or CWE-610, which suggests that the control sphere model needs enhancement or clarification.
Under-studied, probably under-reported.
Mapped Taxonomy Name
Mapped Node Name
Unquoted Search Path or Element
[REF-62] Mark Dowd, John McDonald
and Justin Schuh. "The Art of Software Security Assessment". Chapter 11, "Process Loading", Page 654. 1st Edition. Addison Wesley. 2006.