Incorrect Privilege Assignment

A product incorrectly assigns a privilege to a particular actor, creating an unintended sphere of control for that actor.


The following examples help to illustrate the nature of this weakness and describe methods or techniques which can be used to mitigate the risk.

Note that the examples here are by no means exhaustive and any given weakness may have many subtle varieties, each of which may require different detection methods or runtime controls.

Example One

Evidence of privilege change:

/* do some stuff */

AccessController.doPrivileged(new PrivilegedAction() {

  public Object run() {

    // privileged code goes here, for example:
    return null;
    // nothing to return


Example Two

This application sends a special intent with a flag that allows the receiving application to read a data file for backup purposes.

Intent intent = new Intent();
public class CallReceiver extends BroadcastReceiver {
  public void onReceive(Context context, Intent intent) {
    Uri userData = intent.getData();

Any malicious application can register to receive this intent. Because of the FLAG_GRANT_READ_URI_PERMISSION included with the intent, the malicious receiver code can read the user's data.

See Also

SEI CERT Oracle Secure Coding Standard for Java - Guidelines 15. Platform Security (SEC)

Weaknesses in this category are related to the rules and recommendations in the Platform Security (SEC) section of the SEI CERT Oracle Secure Coding Standard for Java.

Authorize Actors

Weaknesses in this category are related to the design and architecture of a system's authorization components. Frequently these deal with enforcing that agents have th...

SFP Primary Cluster: Privilege

This category identifies Software Fault Patterns (SFPs) within the Privilege cluster (SFP36).

Comprehensive CWE Dictionary

This view (slice) covers all the elements in CWE.

Weaknesses without Software Fault Patterns

CWE identifiers in this view are weaknesses that do not have associated Software Fault Patterns (SFPs), as covered by the CWE-888 view. As such, they represent gaps in...

CWE Cross-section

This view contains a selection of weaknesses that represent the variety of weaknesses that are captured in CWE, at a level of abstraction that is likely to be useful t...

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