CAPEC-177: Create files with the same name as files protected with a higher classification
Attack Pattern ID: 177
An attacker exploits file location algorithms in an operating system or application by creating a file with the same name as a protected or privileged file. The attacker could manipulate the system if the attacker-created file is trusted by the operating system or an application component that attempts to load the original file. Applications often load or include external files, such as libraries or configuration files. These files should be protected against malicious manipulation. However, if the application only uses the name of the file when locating it, an attacker may be able to create a file with the same name and place it in a directory that the application will search before the directory with the legitimate file is searched. Because the attackers' file is discovered first, it would be used by the target application. This attack can be extremely destructive if the referenced file is executable and/or is granted special privileges based solely on having a particular name.
The table(s) below shows the other attack patterns and high level categories that are related to this attack pattern. 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 CanFollow, PeerOf, and CanAlsoBe are defined to show similar attack patterns that the user may want to explore.
Standard Attack Pattern - A standard level attack pattern in CAPEC is focused on a specific methodology or technique used in an attack. It is often seen as a singular piece of a fully executed attack. A standard attack pattern is meant to provide sufficient details to understand the specific technique and how it attempts to accomplish a desired goal. A standard level attack pattern is a specific type of a more abstract meta level attack pattern.
The target application must include external files. Most non-trivial applications meet this criterion.
The target application does not verify that a located file is the one it was looking for through means other than the name. Many applications fail to perform checks of this type.
The directories the target application searches to find the included file include directories writable by the attacker which are searched before the protected directory containing the actual files. It is much less common for applications to meet this criterion, but if an attacker can manipulate the application's search path (possibly by controlling environmental variables) then they can force this criterion to be met.
The attacker must have sufficient access to place an arbitrarily named file somewhere early in the application's search path.
A Related Weakness relationship associates a weakness with this attack pattern. Each association implies a weakness that must exist for a given attack to be successful. If multiple weaknesses are associated with the attack pattern, then any of the weaknesses (but not necessarily all) may be present for the attack to be successful. Each related weakness is identified by a CWE identifier.
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Page Last Updated or Reviewed:
July 31, 2018