Palo Alto Networks Security Advisories / CVE-2020-1988

CVE-2020-1988 GlobalProtect App: Local privilege escalation due to an unquoted search path vulnerability

Severity 4.2 · MEDIUM
Attack Vector LOCAL
Attack Complexity LOW
Confidentiality Impact LOW
Privileges Required HIGH
Integrity Impact LOW
User Interaction NONE
Availability Impact LOW


An unquoted search path vulnerability in the Windows release of GlobalProtect App allows an authenticated local user with file creation privileges on the root of the OS disk (C:\) or to Program Files directory to gain system privileges.

This issue affects Palo Alto Networks GlobalProtect App 5.0 versions before 5.0.5; 4.1 versions before 4.1.13 on Windows;

Product Status

GlobalProtect App 5.0< 5.0.5 on Windows>= 5.0.5 on Windows
GlobalProtect App 4.1< 4.1.13 on Windows>= 4.1.13 on Windows

Required Configuration for Exposure

This issue only affects Windows systems where local users are configured with file creation privileges to the root of the OS disk (C:\) or 'Program Files' directory.


CVSSv3.1 Base Score:4.2 (CVSS:3.1/AV:L/AC:L/PR:H/UI:N/S:U/C:L/I:L/A:L)

Weakness Type

CWE-428 Unquoted Search Path or Element


This issue is fixed in GlobalProtect App 5.0.5, GlobalProtect App 4.1.13 and all later versions.

Workarounds and Mitigations

Do not grant file creation privileges on the root of the OS disk (C:\) or 'Program Files' directory to unprivileged users.


Palo Alto Networks thanks Ratnesh Pandey of Bromium and Matthew Batten for discovering and reporting this issue.


Initial publication
© 2023 Palo Alto Networks, Inc. All rights reserved.