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11 Security Considerations

Security considerations are important if you are using find or xargs to search for or process files that don't belong to you or which other people have control. Security considerations relating to locate may also apply if you have files which you do not want others to see.

The most severe forms of security problems affecting find and related programs are when third parties bring about a situation allowing them to do something they would normally not be able to accomplish. This is called privilege elevation. This might include deleting files they would not normally be able to delete. It is common for the operating system to periodically invoke find for self-maintenance purposes. These invocations of find are particularly problematic from a security point of view as these are often invoked by the superuser and search the entire filesystem hierarchy. Generally, the severity of any associated problem depends on what the system is going to do with the files found by find.