Incorrect Use of Privileged APIs

The application does not conform to the API requirements for a function call that requires extra privileges. This could allow attackers to gain privileges by causing the function to be called incorrectly.


When an application contains certain functions that perform operations requiring an elevated level of privilege, the caller of a privileged API must be careful to:

ensure that assumptions made by the APIs are valid, such as validity of arguments

account for known weaknesses in the design/implementation of the API

call the API from a safe context

If the caller of the API does not follow these requirements, then it may allow a malicious user or process to elevate their privilege, hijack the process, or steal sensitive data.

For instance, it is important to know if privileged APIs do not shed their privileges before returning to the caller or if the privileged function might make certain assumptions about the data, context or state information passed to it by the caller. It is important to always know when and how privileged APIs can be called in order to ensure that their elevated level of privilege cannot be exploited.

See Also

SFP Secondary Cluster: Design

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

Privilege Issues

Weaknesses in this category occur with improper handling, assignment, or management of privileges. A privilege is a property of an agent, such as a user. It lets the a...

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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