Common Attack Pattern Enumeration and Classification
A Community Resource for Identifying and Understanding Attacks
An adversary uses path manipulation methods to exploit insufficient input validation of a target to obtain access to data that should be not be retrievable by ordinary well-formed requests. A typical variety of this attack involves specifying a path to a desired file together with dot-dot-slash characters, resulting in the file access API or function traversing out of the intended directory structure and into the root file system. By replacing or modifying the expected path information the access function or API retrieves the file desired by the attacker. These attacks either involve the attacker providing a complete path to a targeted file or using control characters (e.g. path separators (/ or \) and/or dots (.)) to reach desired directories or files.
An example of using path traversal to attack some set of resources on a web server is to use a standard HTTP request
From an attacker point of view, this may be sufficient to gain access to the password file on a poorly protected system. If the attacker can list directories of critical resources then read only access is not sufficient to protect the system.
Skill or Knowledge Level: Low
Simple command line attacks or to inject the malicious payload in a web page.
Skill or Knowledge Level: Medium
Customizing attacks to bypass non trivial filters in the application.
The ability to manually manipulate path information either directly through a client application relative to the service or application or via a proxy application.
Design: Configure the access control correctly.
Design: Enforce principle of least privilege.
Design: Execute programs with constrained privileges, so parent process does not open up further vulnerabilities. Ensure that all directories, temporary directories and files, and memory are executing with limited privileges to protect against remote execution.
Design: Input validation. Assume that user inputs are malicious. Utilize strict type, character, and encoding enforcement.
Design: Proxy communication to host, so that communications are terminated at the proxy, sanitizing the requests before forwarding to server host.
Design: Run server interfaces with a non-root account and/or utilize chroot jails or other configuration techniques to constrain privileges even if attacker gains some limited access to commands.
Implementation: Host integrity monitoring for critical files, directories, and processes. The goal of host integrity monitoring is to be aware when a security issue has occurred so that incident response and other forensic activities can begin.
Implementation: Perform input validation for all remote content, including remote and user-generated content.
Implementation: Perform testing such as pen-testing and vulnerability scanning to identify directories, programs, and interfaces that grant direct access to executables.
Implementation: Use indirect references rather than actual file names.
Implementation: Use possible permissions on file access when developing and deploying web applications.
Implementation: Validate user input by only accepting known good. Ensure all content that is delivered to client is sanitized against an acceptable content specification -- whitelisting approach.
Special characters in user-controllable input must be escaped before use by the application. Custom error pages must be used to handle exceptions such that they do not reveal any information about the architecture of the application.
[R.76.1] [REF-2] G. Hoglund and G. McGraw. "Exploiting Software: How to Break Code". Addison-Wesley. February 2004.
[R.139.1] [REF-5] "The OWASP Application Security Desk Reference". Path Traversal. The Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP). 2009. <https://www.owasp.org/index.php/Path_Traversal>.
[R.139.2] [REF-4] "OWASP Testing Guide". Testing for Path Traversal (OWASP-AZ-001). v3. The Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP). 2010. <https://www.owasp.org/index.php/Testing_for_Path_Traversal_(OWASP-AZ-001)>.
More information is available — Please select a different filter.