CAPEC Details
Name Using Malicious Files
Likelyhood of attack Typical severity
High Very High
Summary An attack of this type exploits a system's configuration that allows an adversary to either directly access an executable file, for example through shell access; or in a possible worst case allows an adversary to upload a file and then execute it. Web servers, ftp servers, and message oriented middleware systems which have many integration points are particularly vulnerable, because both the programmers and the administrators must be in synch regarding the interfaces and the correct privileges for each interface.
Prerequisites System's configuration must allow an attacker to directly access executable files or upload files to execute. This means that any access control system that is supposed to mediate communications between the subject and the object is set incorrectly or assumes a benign environment.
Execution Flow
Step Phase Description Techniques
1 Explore [Determine File/Directory Configuration] The adversary looks for misconfigured files or directories on a system that might give executable access to an overly broad group of users.
  • Through shell access to a system, use the command "ls -l" to view permissions for files and directories.
2 Experiment [Upload Malicious Files] If the adversary discovers a directory that has executable permissions, they will attempt to upload a malicious file to execute.
  • Upload a malicious file through a misconfigured FTP server.
3 Exploit [Execute Malicious File] The adversary either executes the uploaded malicious file, or executes an existing file that has been misconfigured to allow executable access to the adversary.
Solutions Design: Enforce principle of least privilege Design: Run server interfaces with a non-root account and/or utilize chroot jails or other configuration techniques to constrain privileges even if attacker gains some limited access to commands. Implementation: Perform testing such as pen-testing and vulnerability scanning to identify directories, programs, and interfaces that grant direct access to executables.
Related Weaknesses
CWE ID Description
CWE-59 Improper Link Resolution Before File Access ('Link Following')
CWE-270 Privilege Context Switching Error
CWE-272 Least Privilege Violation
CWE-282 Improper Ownership Management
CWE-285 Improper Authorization
CWE-693 Protection Mechanism Failure
CWE-732 Incorrect Permission Assignment for Critical Resource
Related CAPECS
CAPEC ID Description
CAPEC-122 An adversary is able to exploit features of the target that should be reserved for privileged users or administrators but are exposed to use by lower or non-privileged accounts. Access to sensitive information and functionality must be controlled to ensure that only authorized users are able to access these resources.
CAPEC-233 An adversary exploits a weakness enabling them to elevate their privilege and perform an action that they are not supposed to be authorized to perform.
Taxonomy: ATTACK
Entry ID Entry Name
1574.010 Hijack Execution Flow:Services File Permissions Weakness