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CERT Coordination Center

Chocolatey Boxstarter is vulnerable to privilege escalation due to weak ACLs

Vulnerability Note VU#208577

Original Release Date: 2020-10-22 | Last Revised: 2020-11-09


Chocolatey Boxstarter fails to properly set ACLs, which can allow an unprivileged Windows user to be able to run arbitrary code with SYSTEM privileges.



The Chocolatey Boxstarter installer fails to set a secure access-control list (ACL) on the C:\ProgramData\Boxstarter directory, which is added to the system-wide PATH environment variable. A privilege escalation vulnerability is introduced since any location in the system-wide PATH environment variable may be used to load code that runs with privileges.


By placing a specially-crafted DLL file in the C:\ProgramData\Boxstarter directory, an unprivileged user may be able to execute arbitrary code with SYSTEM privileges on a Windows system with the vulnerable Boxstarter software installed. See DLL Search Order Hijacking for more details.


Apply an update

This vulnerability is addressed in Chocolatey Boxstarter version 2.13.0. Please see the security advisory for more details.


This vulnerability was reported by Will Dormann of the CERT/CC.

This document was written by Will Dormann.

Vendor Information


Chocolatey Software Affected

Notified:  2020-09-14 Updated: 2020-10-22

CVE-2020-15264 Affected

Vendor Statement

We have not received a statement from the vendor.


Other Information

CVE IDs: CVE-2020-15264
Date Public: 2020-10-20
Date First Published: 2020-10-22
Date Last Updated: 2020-11-09 21:30 UTC
Document Revision: 2

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