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Environmental Path Settings

Path security is all too often overlooked. Most applications started from the command window (and most applications started from the desktop) use environmental parameters to determine common directory locations and system information. The PATH variable determines a logical search path direction through directories (or folders) to find a given component. If a hacker knows the exact location of a component, he can gain access to an object even without permission to the folder. The system administrator should ensure that only the intended directories are included in the PATH variable.

Environmental variables are applied in order from the following sources:

  1. Autoexec.bat (tightly restrict access)—First modifies environmental parameters.

  2. System environment—Only administrators modify further parameters.

  3. User environment—Final modification to environmental parameters can be done by the user.

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