Incorrect Permission Assignment for Critical Resource

The product specifies permissions for a security-critical resource in a way that allows that resource to be read or modified by unintended actors.


Description

When a resource is given a permissions setting that provides access to a wider range of actors than required, it could lead to the exposure of sensitive information, or the modification of that resource by unintended parties. This is especially dangerous when the resource is related to program configuration, execution or sensitive user data.

Demonstrations

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

The following code sets the umask of the process to 0 before creating a file and writing "Hello world" into the file.

#define OUTFILE "hello.out"

umask(0);
FILE *out;
/* Ignore CWE-59 (link following) for brevity */

out = fopen(OUTFILE, "w");
if (out) {
  fprintf(out, "hello world!\n");
  fclose(out);
}

After running this program on a UNIX system, running the "ls -l" command might return the following output:

-rw-rw-rw- 1 username 13 Nov 24 17:58 hello.out

The "rw-rw-rw-" string indicates that the owner, group, and world (all users) can read the file and write to it.

Example Two

This code creates a home directory for a new user, and makes that user the owner of the directory. If the new directory cannot be owned by the user, the directory is deleted.

function createUserDir($username){
  $path = '/home/'.$username;
  if(!mkdir($path)){
    return false;
  }
  if(!chown($path,$username)){
    rmdir($path);
    return false;
  }
  return true;
}

Because the optional "mode" argument is omitted from the call to mkdir(), the directory is created with the default permissions 0777. Simply setting the new user as the owner of the directory does not explicitly change the permissions of the directory, leaving it with the default. This default allows any user to read and write to the directory, allowing an attack on the user's files. The code also fails to change the owner group of the directory, which may result in access by unexpected groups.

This code may also be vulnerable to Path Traversal (CWE-22) attacks if an attacker supplies a non alphanumeric username.

Example Three

The following code snippet might be used as a monitor to periodically record whether a web site is alive. To ensure that the file can always be modified, the code uses chmod() to make the file world-writable.

$fileName = "secretFile.out";

if (-e $fileName) {
  chmod 0777, $fileName;
}

my $outFH;
if (! open($outFH, ">>$fileName")) {
  ExitError("Couldn't append to $fileName: $!");
}
my $dateString = FormatCurrentTime();
my $status = IsHostAlive("cwe.mitre.org");
print $outFH "$dateString cwe status: $status!\n";
close($outFH);

The first time the program runs, it might create a new file that inherits the permissions from its environment. A file listing might look like:

-rw-r--r-- 1 username 13 Nov 24 17:58 secretFile.out

This listing might occur when the user has a default umask of 022, which is a common setting. Depending on the nature of the file, the user might not have intended to make it readable by everyone on the system.

The next time the program runs, however - and all subsequent executions - the chmod will set the file's permissions so that the owner, group, and world (all users) can read the file and write to it:

-rw-rw-rw- 1 username 13 Nov 24 17:58 secretFile.out

Perhaps the programmer tried to do this because a different process uses different permissions that might prevent the file from being updated.

Example Four

The following command recursively sets world-readable permissions for a directory and all of its children:

chmod -R ugo+r DIRNAME

If this command is run from a program, the person calling the program might not expect that all the files under the directory will be world-readable. If the directory is expected to contain private data, this could become a security problem.

See Also

CISQ Quality Measures - Security

Weaknesses in this category are related to the CISQ Quality Measures for Security. Presence of these weaknesses could reduce the security of the software.

SEI CERT Oracle Secure Coding Standard for Java - Guidelines 16. Runtime Environment (ENV)

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

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.

Comprehensive CWE Dictionary

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

Weaknesses in the 2020 CWE Top 25 Most Dangerous Software Weaknesses

CWE entries in this view are listed in the 2020 CWE Top 25 Most Dangerous Software Weaknesses.

CISQ Data Protection Measures

This view outlines the SMM representation of the Automated Source Code Data Protection Measurement specifications, as identified by the Consortium for Information & So...


Common Weakness Enumeration content on this website is copyright of The MITRE Corporation unless otherwise specified. Use of the Common Weakness Enumeration and the associated references on this website are subject to the Terms of Use as specified by The MITRE Corporation.