CWE-426 - Untrusted Search Path


The application searches for critical resources using an externally-supplied search path that can point to resources that are not under the application's direct control.

This might allow attackers to execute their own programs, access unauthorized data files, or modify configuration in unexpected ways. If the application uses a search path to locate critical resources such as programs, then an attacker could modify that search path to point to a malicious program, which the targeted application would then execute. The problem extends to any type of critical resource that the application trusts.

Some of the most common variants of untrusted search path are:

  • In various UNIX and Linux-based systems, the PATH environment variable may be consulted to locate executable programs, and LD_PRELOAD may be used to locate a separate library.
  • In various Microsoft-based systems, the PATH environment variable is consulted to locate a DLL, if the DLL is not found in other paths that appear earlier in the search order.
There is the potential for arbitrary code execution with privileges of the vulnerable program. The program could be redirected to the wrong files, potentially triggering a crash or hang when the targeted file is too large or does not have the expected format. The program could send the output of unauthorized files to the attacker.The weakness is introduced during Architecture and Design, Implementation stages.

Latest vulnerabilities for CWE-426


Description of CWE-426 on Mitre website