Invocation of Process Using Visible Sensitive Information

A process is invoked with sensitive command-line arguments, environment variables, or other elements that can be seen by other processes on the operating system.


Many operating systems allow a user to list information about processes that are owned by other users. Other users could see information such as command line arguments or environment variable settings. When this data contains sensitive information such as credentials, it might allow other users to launch an attack against the product or related resources.


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

In the example below, the password for a keystore file is read from a system property.

String keystorePass = System.getProperty("");
if (keystorePass == null) {
  System.err.println("ERROR: Keystore password not specified.");


If the property is defined on the command line when the program is invoked (using the -D... syntax), the password may be displayed in the OS process list.

See Also

Comprehensive Categorization: Sensitive Information Exposure

Weaknesses in this category are related to sensitive information exposure.

Limit Exposure

Weaknesses in this category are related to the design and architecture of the entry points to a system. Frequently these deal with minimizing the attack surface throug...

SFP Secondary Cluster: Exposed Data

This category identifies Software Fault Patterns (SFPs) within the Exposed Data cluster (SFP23).

Comprehensive CWE Dictionary

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

Weaknesses Introduced During Implementation

This view (slice) lists weaknesses that can be introduced during implementation.

Weaknesses Introduced During Design

This view (slice) lists weaknesses that can be introduced during design.

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