Path traversal vulnerability makes it possible for attackers to access files that they should not have access to on your web browser. It is one of the most dangerous and frequently occurring types of injection vulnerability via which attackers or scammers can get sensitive information like database credentials or your personal user information and can use it for their personal purposes. Well! It is quite harmful to you.
The attackers do this by tricking you when the URL construction does not make any surety that the fully resolved path is only inside the root of the path and is not pointing outside. Here in this guide, we will talk specifically about injection flaws path traversal, what they are, how they occur, how to avoid them, their identification, and other relevant information so you can have an idea about the danger and know how to solve it to keep you safe and secure. Let’s look at the details below.
WHAT IS A Path Traversal vulnerability?
Path traversal, also called directory traversal, is a type of vulnerability that allows the attacker to reach arbitrary files and read them on the server. Attackers can get access to files like data applications, code, and data, sensitive operating system files, or credentials for the end system.
In severe cases, the attackers can also write arbitrary files on the server, modify them, and take full control of the server. Let’s look at how path traversal vulnerability occurs.
How Does The Path Traversal Vulnerability Occur?
Path traversal vulnerability mainly occurs when the parameters used are lacking in control, are not sanitized, or there is some poor access control to the resources. Most web applications use resources that are locally stored, like images, text, files, and scripts, in order to perform their task.
Sometimes with the use of manipulative parameters, these resources are embedded into other pages. It makes it easier for the scammer or attacker to make modifications or edits to the parameters. The impact of the flaw results in making it possible for the attacker to read files, to read the source code, to write on the server, and sometimes to analyze the server’s organization.
Related Security Activities
How To Avoid Path Traversal Vulnerabilities?
Avoiding and preventing path traversal vulnerability is one of the essential things that an organization should focus on. It is important for an organization in order to make sure that its system is well-protected and secure. Some of the most efficient and effective methods are:
- Using a sandbox
- Using a white list
- Sanitizing a user input
- Using security features
- Keeping the systems, web server, database, software, and application servers up to date
How Do You Identify If You Are Vulnerable?
- In order to identify if you are vulnerable or not, you need to make sure that you have thorough knowledge and understanding of the underlying operating system.
- You need to ensure that you clearly understand how the system processes the file names that are given to it.
- Make sure that the web root is not on the disk of the system, mainly for Windows IIS servers. This will help in preventing recursive back to the directories of the system.
- You need to make sure that there are no sensitive configuration files present in the web root.
How To Identify The Path Traversal Vulnerability?
Identifying the path traversal vulnerability is one of the important things that you have to focus on. Although there are several ways that you can opt for to identify the vulnerability, some of the easiest and most common procedures include:
- Look for the file inclusion functions. You need to make sure that you’re focusing on the functions that are using the user-supplied input without appropriate validation.
- You should also check for the input fields that permit the directory traversal characters, for example, “../” or “../”.
- You also should test for directory traversal. You can do this by trying, and for that, you have to access the directories and files that are outside the intended path.
In case you notice any of the indicators from these, make sure to check and verify whether a vulnerability is truly present or not. You can do this by executing a code on the server or by accessing a non-sensitive file. If you are successful, that means that there is some path traversal vulnerability present, and that needs fixation as soon as possible.
How To Protect Yourself?
Protecting yourself from path traversal is important, so you should not ignore it at all. In order to shield yourself from path traversal, you can take the following safety measures.
- Keep in mind not to use the user input directly when you have to call a file.
- Make sure the user data is not interrupted and is encoded, cleaned, and escaped properly.
- It should be properly validated, and final validation should confirm that only the specific contents are allowed.
Find Path Traversal Vulnerabilities Using Burp Suite
Finding and testing path traversal vulnerability is easy with the use of Burp Suite. You can simply use Burp Suite to check for these vulnerabilities.
They can help you automatically flag potential paths from traversal flaws. Following are the steps that you can take to find path traversal vulnerability.
Scanning For Vulnerabilities
In order to scan for directory traversal vulnerability, you have to use the burp scanner. And for that, what you have to do is to:
- Open the HTTP history in the proxy.
- Now, look for the request that you want to check.
- As soon as you identify the request, you have to right-click on it and select “do an active scan.”
- Now, the burp scanner will audit the request.
- Review the issue activity panel on the dashboard.
- It will let you know whether there is any directory traversal issue or not.
RCE (Remote Code Execution): Exploitations and Security Tips
RCE stands for Remote Code Execution, which basically is a type of flaw allowing an attacker to influence the arbitrary code on a computing device that he is targeting. Keep in mind this attack is a type of remote attack that has no physical access.
Since remote code execution covers a broad range of vulnerabilities, it is difficult to suggest precise recommendations and suggestions for security. But here are some of the principles that you can follow.
- Always make sure that framework server services and everything are up to date. It is one of the important principles that you should keep in mind for security.
- Never trust the data that you are receiving from the users. This includes the data in HTTP form.
- Make sure to secure the file upload functions simply by allowing particular file types to be uploaded.
- Make sure you and your team are well-educated and aware of the risk of phishing attacks and their outcomes.
- Install WAF types of Web Application Firewall that also help limit the exploitation of particular flaws that ultimately help in preventing RCE.
- Make sure to backup regularly. After making backups, store your data in some type of secure environment.
What is a path travel injection flaw?
A path traversal flaw basically gives permission to the attackers when they are accessing files on the web server. They give success to the files that they should not have access to via path traversal vulnerability. It is a common type of injection vulnerability that usually happens with websites, creating issues for the users.
What are the risks of directory traversal?
Directory traversal basically gives access to sensitive and secret information that is stored outside the web root directory files. It gives unauthorized access that later on leads to information theft and leakage of confidential data.
How do we identify the path traversal vulnerability?
In order to identify path traversal ability, what you can do is you can check for the input files that are allowing the directory characters, for example, “../” or “../”. Moreover, you can also look for the file inclusion functions and tests used for directory traversal identifications.
Hopefully, you have gone through this article mentioned above that tells you about the details related to injection flaws path traversal. The description provides the key details about what it is, how the vulnerability occurs, what are the related security activities like, how you can avoid it, how to identify it, and how to protect yourself.
Pay attention to the details mentioned above so your security isn’t at risk. Moreover, we have also explained Remote Code Execution RCE and how you can find the path traversal vulnerability with the use of the burp suite. Do not miss anything so you can learn the basics and relevant information about the injection flaws path traversal.