Common Attack Pattern Enumeration and Classification
A Community Resource for Identifying and Understanding Attacks
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 below shows the other attack patterns and high level categories that are related to this attack pattern. These relationships are defined as ChildOf and ParentOf, 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.
The table below shows the views that this attack pattern belongs to and top level categories within that view.
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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