CVE Vulnerabilities


Untrusted Search Path

Published: Apr 08, 2014 | Modified: Jul 24, 2020
CVSS 3.x
CVSS 2.x

Untrusted search path vulnerability in Microsoft Windows XP SP2 and SP3, Windows Server 2003 SP2, Windows Vista SP2, Windows Server 2008 SP2 and R2 SP1, Windows 7 SP1, Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Windows Server 2012 Gold and R2, and Windows RT Gold and 8.1 allows local users to gain privileges via a Trojan horse cmd.exe file in the current working directory, as demonstrated by a directory that contains a .bat or .cmd file, aka Windows File Handling Vulnerability.


The product searches for critical resources using an externally-supplied search path that can point to resources that are not under the product’s direct control.

Affected Software

Name Vendor Start Version End Version
Windows_7 Microsoft –sp1 (including) –sp1 (including)
Windows_8 Microsoft - (including) - (including)
Windows_8.1 Microsoft - (including) - (including)
Windows_rt Microsoft - (including) - (including)
Windows_rt_8.1 Microsoft - (including) - (including)
Windows_server_2003 Microsoft –sp2 (including) –sp2 (including)
Windows_server_2008 Microsoft –sp2 (including) –sp2 (including)
Windows_server_2008 Microsoft r2-sp1 (including) r2-sp1 (including)
Windows_server_2012 Microsoft - (including) - (including)
Windows_server_2012 Microsoft r2 (including) r2 (including)
Windows_vista Microsoft –sp2 (including) –sp2 (including)
Windows_xp Microsoft –sp2 (including) –sp2 (including)
Windows_xp Microsoft –sp3 (including) –sp3 (including)

Extended Description

This might allow attackers to execute their own programs, access unauthorized data files, or modify configuration in unexpected ways. If the product uses a search path to locate critical resources such as programs, then an attacker could modify that search path to point to a malicious program, which the targeted product would then execute. The problem extends to any type of critical resource that the product trusts. Some of the most common variants of untrusted search path are:

Potential Mitigations