Absolute Path Traversal
The product uses external input to construct a pathname that should be within a restricted directory, but it does not properly neutralize absolute path sequences such as "/abs/path" that can resolve to a location that is outside of that directory.
This allows attackers to traverse the file system to access files or directories that are outside of the restricted directory.
The following examples help to illustrate the nature of this weakness and describe methods or techniques which can be used to mitigate the risk.
Note that the examples here are by no means exhaustive and any given weakness may have many subtle varieties, each of which may require different detection methods or runtime controls.
In the example below, the path to a dictionary file is read from a system property and used to initialize a File object.
However, the path is not validated or modified to prevent it from containing relative or absolute path sequences before creating the File object. This allows anyone who can control the system property to determine what file is used. Ideally, the path should be resolved relative to some kind of application or user home directory.
This script intends to read a user-supplied file from the current directory. The user inputs the relative path to the file and the script uses Python's os.path.join() function to combine the path to the current working directory with the provided path to the specified file. This results in an absolute path to the desired file. If the file does not exist when the script attempts to read it, an error is printed to the user.
However, if the user supplies an absolute path, the os.path.join() function will discard the path to the current working directory and use only the absolute path provided. For example, if the current working directory is /home/user/documents, but the user inputs /etc/passwd, os.path.join() will use only /etc/passwd, as it is considered an absolute path. In the above scenario, this would cause the script to access and read the /etc/passwd file.
The constructed path string uses os.sep to add the appropriate separation character for the given operating system (e.g. '\' or '/') and the call to os.path.normpath() removes any additional slashes that may have been entered - this may occur particularly when using a Windows path. By putting the pieces of the path string together in this fashion, the script avoids a call to os.path.join() and any potential issues that might arise if an absolute path is entered. With this version of the script, if the current working directory is /home/user/documents, and the user inputs /etc/passwd, the resulting path will be /home/user/documents/etc/passwd. The user is therefore contained within the current working directory as intended.
Weaknesses in this category are related to file handling.
This category identifies Software Fault Patterns (SFPs) within the Path Traversal cluster (SFP16).
This view (slice) covers all the elements in CWE.
This view contains a selection of weaknesses that represent the variety of weaknesses that are captured in CWE, at a level of abstraction that is likely to be useful t...
This view (slice) lists weaknesses that can be introduced during implementation.