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CAPEC-177: Create files with the same name as files protected with a higher classification

Attack Pattern ID: 177
Abstraction: Detailed
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+ Description
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.
+ Typical Severity

Very High

+ Relationships
Section HelpThis table 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.
ChildOfStandard Attack PatternStandard 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.17Using Malicious Files
Section HelpThis table shows the views that this attack pattern belongs to and top level categories within that view.
+ Prerequisites
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.
+ Resources Required
The attacker must have sufficient access to place an arbitrarily named file somewhere early in the application's search path.
+ Taxonomy Mappings
Section HelpCAPEC mappings to ATT&CK techniques leverage an inheritance model to streamline and minimize direct CAPEC/ATT&CK mappings. Inheritance of a mapping is indicated by text stating that the parent CAPEC has relevant ATT&CK mappings. Note that the ATT&CK Enterprise Framework does not use an inheritance model as part of the mapping to CAPEC.
Relevant to the ATT&CK taxonomy mapping (also see parent)
Entry IDEntry Name
+ Content History
Submission DateSubmitterOrganization
(Version 2.6)
CAPEC Content TeamThe MITRE Corporation
Modification DateModifierOrganization
(Version 2.7)
CAPEC Content TeamThe MITRE Corporation
Updated References
(Version 2.12)
CAPEC Content TeamThe MITRE Corporation
Updated Attack_Prerequisites, References, Related_Attack_Patterns, Related_Weaknesses
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Page Last Updated or Reviewed: July 31, 2018