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Improper File Process

The improper File Process vulnerabilities refer to a specific type of cyber security risk in software development. In this scenario, attackers take advantage of weaknesses in a program's file processing system, exploiting any loopholes or flaws that may be present. This vulnerability arises when developers fail to implement proper checks and measures to ensure the authenticity and legitimacy of the files being processed. By overlooking these critical security measures, the software becomes susceptible to potential attacks and compromises, making it crucial for developers to prioritize robust file processing protocols to safeguard against such threats.

In software, inputs received from the user can be used for file processing (file inclusion, editing, deleting, uploading). If the required checks are not made, cyber attackers can manipulate the file processes by using unique payloads.

Vulnerabilities in the applications, such as local or remote file inclusion, viewing critical files and folders, downloading files on the server, uploading harmful files to the system, and editing existing files (malicious code injection), are in this category.

Due to these vulnerabilities, attackers can access numerous data, including critical information (private files on the server, configuration information, etc.). Most significantly, they can run operating system commands by uploading harmful files. Running OS commands on the server endangers the entire system and data.

In the circumstances that any vulnerability is detected in the improper file operation category, the following topics should be taken into consideration (precedence of the case might change to vulnerability state and application's specifications).

  • By examining the historical logs, it should be detected whether cyber attackers triggered the vulnerability.
  • If a file is created as a result of triggering vulnerabilities, these files should be detected and cleaned.
  • If file editing is possible, signatures for the malicious codes should be searched within the files in the application.
  • If any accounts are affected by the vulnerability, actions that will secure these accounts (notification, password change obligation, disabling, etc.) should be performed.
  • Situations that require updating within the application should be put into production after testing.
  • All inputs received from the user should be used after filtering.

Common Weakness Enumeration (CWE) Regarding Improper File Process

In the world of software and computer systems, there are common mistakes or weak spots that developers might accidentally introduce. These mistakes can make the software or system vulnerable to attacks or failures.

Common Weakness Enumeration (CWE)  is a big list of all these common mistakes, so that developers could check against it and avoid making the same errors.

CWE-538: Insertion of Sensitive Information into Externally-Accessible File or Directory

CWE-538, in simple terms, refers to a scenario where sensitive data is inadvertently placed in a file or directory that can be accessed externally, outside the secure confines of your system. This can occur due to improper file handling or configuration in the software, leaving your sensitive data potentially exposed to unauthorized users. To prevent this, it's critical to have robust file handling processes in place, ensuring that sensitive data is stored securely and is not accessible to external users. Regular checks and audits of your file storage and access systems can help spot these vulnerabilities and correct them before they can be exploited.

CWE-73: External Control of File Name or Path

CWE-73 is a situation where a user or external entity can control the name or path of a file. This may lead to many security issues, such as unauthorized file access, file corruption, or even a complete system takeover. The root cause is often software needing to properly validate user input for file names or paths. To mitigate this, developers must enforce strict input validation, ensuring user-supplied data is rigorously checked, sanitized, or rejected if found malicious. Regular security assessments and employing secure coding practices also play a pivotal role in identifying and fixing such vulnerabilities.

CWE-538: Insertion of Sensitive Information into Externally-Accessible File or Directory

CWE-538, for the uninitiated, refers to instances where confidential information is unintentionally inserted into a file or directory that can be accessed externally. This typically happens due to weak file handling protocols in the software, placing your private information at risk of being accessed by unauthorized users. Preventive measures include implementing strong file-handling procedures to ensure sensitive information is securely stored and inaccessible to external users. Regular system checks and audits can help identify such improper file process vulnerabilities and address them before exploitation occurs.

CWE-434: Unrestricted Upload of File with Dangerous Type

CWE-434 is often used to describe a scenario where software allows the unrestricted upload of files. This means that a user can upload a file with a dangerous type that can be automatically processed within the product's environment. This could lead to significant security issues as it may allow an attacker to upload malicious scripts or executable files, leading to unauthorized access, data corruption, or even complete control over your system. Mitigation strategies include restricting the types of files users can upload, validating all incoming files, and employing secure coding practices that prevent the execution of harmful files. Regular security audits can also help identify any vulnerabilities and resolve them in a timely manner.

CWE-427: Uncontrolled Search Path Element

CWE-427, or Uncontrolled Search Path Element, refers to a situation where software does not properly control what directories it uses when searching for critical resources. This might lead to the software using or executing resources from a malicious directory that an attacker has control over, potentially leading to unauthorized access or control over the system. To mitigate this, software should be designed to ensure reliable, secure paths when searching for system resources, including verifying the authenticity of the locations and resources. Regular system audits and employing secure coding practices can also be beneficial in identifying and resolving such vulnerabilities.

CWE-428: Unquoted Search Path or Element

CWE-428, known as Unquoted Search Path or Element, refers to a weakness in software where the system path contains spaces and is not enclosed in "quotes." This could potentially allow a malicious actor to exploit the software by placing a harmful file in a path, which the system might execute unintentionally. To mitigate this, software developers should ensure that paths with spaces are properly enclosed in quotes, eliminating possibilities for an unauthorized file execution. Regular audits and secure coding practices are important in detecting and rectifying this vulnerability promptly.

CWE-426: Untrusted Search Path

CWE-426, or Untrusted Search Path, is a vulnerability where a program can be manipulated by an attacker to execute code from a directory that the attacker controls. This is usually possible if the application does not verify the legitimacy of its search paths and can result in unauthorized system access. To mitigate this risk, developers should enforce a secure and verified search path policy in their code, and regular security audits should be done to uncover any potential weaknesses.

CWE-379: Creation of Temporary File in Directory with Insecure Permissions

CWE-379, the Creation of Temporary File in Directory with Insecure Permissions, refers to instances in which a program creates a temporary file with insecure permissions. This can leave the file and the system at risk of tampering by malicious users. To prevent this, programmers should use secure methods for creating and accessing temporary files, ensuring that they have the correct permissions and are accessible only to authorized users.

CWE-378: Creation of Temporary File With Insecure Permissions

CWE-378, similar to CWE-379, involves the creation of a temporary file with insecure permissions. This could allow an attacker to read, modify or overwrite the file, possibly leading to unauthorized system access or data corruption. To fortify against this, it's crucial for developers to enforce secure permissions while creating temporary files, limiting access to only the necessary parties. As always, regular security assessments can help identify and fix these vulnerabilities in a timely manner.

CWE-22: Improper Limitation of a Pathname to a Restricted Directory ('Path Traversal')

CWE-22, also referred to as 'Path Traversal', is a type of vulnerability that arises when software does not adequately restrict the paths that can be accessed within its directories. This can allow an attacker to read, write, or manipulate files outside of the intended directory, potentially comprising sensitive information or system integrity. To ensure software security, it's crucial to apply robust validation to all file and directory access requests, restrict user access to specific, necessary directories, and employ regular audits to identify any Improper File Process vulnerabilities.


The Top 5 Improper File Process Vulnerability Scanning Tools

The Top 5 Improper file process vulnerability scanning tools that is used by our members: