External Influence of Sphere Definition

The product does not prevent the definition of control spheres from external actors.


Typically, a product defines its control sphere within the code itself, or through configuration by the product's administrator. In some cases, an external party can change the definition of the control sphere. This is typically a resultant weakness.


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

Consider a blog publishing tool, which might have three explicit control spheres: the creation of articles, only accessible to a "publisher;" commenting on articles, only accessible to a "commenter" who is a registered user; and reading articles, only accessible to an anonymous reader. Suppose that the application is deployed on a web server that is shared with untrusted parties. If a local user can modify the data files that define who a publisher is, then this user has modified the control sphere. In this case, the issue would be resultant from another weakness such as insufficient permissions.

Example Two

In Untrusted Search Path (CWE-426), a user might be able to define the PATH environment variable to cause the product to search in the wrong directory for a library to load. The product's intended sphere of control would include "resources that are only modifiable by the person who installed the product." The PATH effectively changes the definition of this sphere so that it overlaps the attacker's sphere of control.

See Also

Comprehensive Categorization: Resource Lifecycle Management

Weaknesses in this category are related to resource lifecycle management.

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 Secondary Cluster: Tainted Input to Environment

This category identifies Software Fault Patterns (SFPs) within the Tainted Input to Environment cluster (SFP27).

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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