CodeQL documentation

Uncontrolled command line

ID: java/command-line-injection
Kind: path-problem
Security severity: 9.8
Severity: error
Precision: high
   - security
   - external/cwe/cwe-078
   - external/cwe/cwe-088
Query suites:
   - java-code-scanning.qls
   - java-security-extended.qls
   - java-security-and-quality.qls

Click to see the query in the CodeQL repository

Code that passes user input directly to Runtime.exec, or some other library routine that executes a command, allows the user to execute malicious code.


If possible, use hard-coded string literals to specify the command to run or library to load. Instead of passing the user input directly to the process or library function, examine the user input and then choose among hard-coded string literals.

If the applicable libraries or commands cannot be determined at compile time, then add code to verify that the user input string is safe before using it.


The following example shows code that takes a shell script that can be changed maliciously by a user, and passes it straight to Runtime.exec without examining it first.

class Test {
    public static void main(String[] args) {
        String script = System.getenv("SCRIPTNAME");
        if (script != null) {
            // BAD: The script to be executed is controlled by the user.


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