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Directory Traversal Vulnerabilities in FTP Clients
12th Dec 2002 [SBWID-5867]

	Directory Traversal Vulnerabilities in FTP Clients


	Many ftp clients (!)


	Thanks to Steven M. Christey [coley@mitre.org] research paper :
	FTP clients, including those that may be embedded in  web  clients,  can
	be vulnerable to certain directory traversal  attacks  by  modified  FTP
	servers. If successful, the attacks could allow the server to  overwrite
	or create arbitrary files outside of  the  client's  working  directory,
	subject to file/directory permissions and the  privilege  level  of  the
	Multiple clients are affected.  See  "Test  Results"  for  the  list  of
	___ Introduction _____________________________________________________
	  A colleague of mine selected a bunch of files from an "ftp://" URL
	  and copied them to a folder en masse.
	  FTP clients haven't been reported as being vulnerable to directory
	  traversal conditions.
	Correction based on further investigation:
	  In 1997, some FTP clients were reported as being vulnerable to
	  directory traversal conditions [1].
	  Some FTP clients are still vulnerable to directory traversal
	  The task would involve creating a malicious FTP server that would
	  send filenames with "../" and other sequences as the result of a
	  "LIST" request, or a "multiple GET" request.  The client might then
	  download these files into some parent directory.
	___ Testing Methodology ______________________________________________
	This methodology is  a  simplification  of  the  PROTOS  methodology  as
	developed by the Oulu University Secure Programming Group [2], in  which
	a test suite is developed for a particular protocol, and  the  suite  is
	then used against specific implementations. The PROTOS  methodology  has
	proven effective in finding large numbers  of  vulnerabilities  in  many
	different products that implement standard networking protocols.
	For a simple test suite,  the  "ftp4all"  FTP  server  was  modified  to
	return filenames of various forms that might cause files to  be  created
	outside a client's working directory. ftp4all was chosen because it  was
	easy to install and it allowed non-root users to run an FTP server on  a
	port other than 21.
	The files src/ftps/list.c, serverd.c, and  transfer.c  were  changed  to
	produce modified filenames, and to return the same  test  file  for  any
	filename that the client requests.
	When a client sends a LIST or NLST  command,  the  test  server  returns
	filenames containing the following sequences:
	  "../"   - classic traversal
	  "/path" - an absolute pathname
	  "..\"   - backslash traversal pattern (Windows systems)
	  "C:"    - Drive letter traversal (Windows systems)
	  "..."   - "triple-dot" (Windows systems, equivalent to ../..)
	When downloading a group  of  files  using  wildcards,  the  FTP  client
	typically performs an "NLST" command, reads the list of  files  returned
	by the server, and uses those filenames to make individual requests.
	Note that web clients may also be affected if they can process  "ftp://"
	 Demonstration Session
	Following is a simulated session to demonstrate how a vulnerable  client
	may behave.
	  220 FTP4ALL FTP server ready. Local time is Tue Oct 01, 2002 20:59.
	  Name (server:username): test
	  331 Password required for test.
	  230-Welcome, test - I have not seen you since Tue Oct 01, 2002 20:15 !
	  230 At the moment, there are 0 guest and 1 registered users logged in.
	CLIENT> pwd
	  257 "/" is current directory.
	CLIENT> ls -l
	  200 PORT command successful.
	  150 Opening ASCII mode data connection for /bin/ls.
	  total 1
	  -rw-r-----   0 nobody    nogroup          0 Oct 01 20:11 ...\FAKEME5.txt
	  -rw-r-----   0 nobody    nogroup          0 Oct 01 20:11 ../../FAKEME2.txt
	  -rw-r-----   0 nobody    nogroup          0 Oct 01 20:11 ../FAKEME1.txt
	  -rw-r-----   0 nobody    nogroup          0 Oct 01 20:11 ..\..\FAKEME4.txt
	  -rw-r-----   0 nobody    nogroup          0 Oct 01 20:11 ..\FAKEME3.txt
	  -rw-r-----   0 nobody    nogroup          0 Oct 01 20:11 /tmp/ftptest/FAKEME6.txt
	  -rw-r-----   0 nobody    nogroup          0 Oct 01 20:11 C:\temp\FAKEME7.txt
	  -rw-r-----   0 nobody    nogroup         54 Oct 01 20:10 FAKEFILE.txt
	  -rw-r-----   0 nobody    nogroup          0 Oct 01 20:11 misc.txt
	  226 Directory listing completed.
	CLIENT> GET *.txt
	  Opening ASCII data connection for FAKEFILE.txt...
	  Saving as "FAKEFILE.txt"
	  Opening ASCII data connection for ../../FAKEME2.txt...
	  Saving as "../../FAKEME2.txt"
	  Opening ASCII data connection for /tmp/ftptest/FAKEME6.txt...
	  Saving as "/tmp/ftptest/FAKEME6.txt"
	If a client is vulnerable, it saves files outside of the user's  current
	working directory.
	 Testing Notes
	For command-line FTP clients, the client was  tested  in  the  following
	  - log onto FTP server
	  - set no-interactive prompt
	  - perform "mget" (multiple GET) or equivalent command
	In some cases, an FTP client would  produce  an  error  as  soon  as  it
	encountered a suspicious filename, and  skip  the  remaining  filenames.
	Thus one could not be certain if the  client  was  vulnerable  to  other
	filenames. If a client demonstrated this behavior, then the  server  was
	modified to send a single suspicious filename at a time, and the  client
	would be executed multiple times.
	Other variants of directory traversal  sequences  were  not  tested,  as
	there were not sufficient resources  to  conduct  such  a  comprehensive
	analysis in a timely fashion.  See [3] for examples.
	It is possible that web clients may be vulnerable to the  same  type  of
	issue from  malicious  HTTP  servers,  when  the  clients  are  used  to
	automatically download web pages.  However, this was not tested.
	___ Test Results _____________________________________________________
	The  following  products  were  specifically  tested  by   the   author.
	Descriptions of this class of  problem  were  reported  to  CERT/CC  and
	major vendors. Most vendors did not report results back to  the  author.
	Consult your vendor, or the associated CERT vulnerability note, if  your
	product is not listed here.
	   Product              ../  ..\    C:   /path    ...
	   -------------        ---  ---    ---  -----    ---
	   wget 1.8.1           yes   no     no    yes{4}  no
	   wget 1.7.1           yes   no     no     no{2}  no
	   OpenBSD 3.0 FTP      yes   no{1}  no{1} yes     no
	   Solaris 2.6, 7       yes   no     no    yes     no
	   The ftp command on SGI systems is also subject to one or more
	   flavors of directory traversal attacks.  However, details were not
	   available at the time that this advisory was published.
	Not Vulnerable:
	   Product              ../  ..\    C:   /path    ...
	   -------------        ---  ---    ---  -----    ---
	   Red Hat 7.1          no{3} no{3}  no{3}  no{3}  no
	   Debian 2.4.16        no{3} no{3}  no{3}  no{3}  no
	   NT SP5 command line  no    no     no     no     no
	   XP command (no SP)   no    no     no     no     no
	   lftp 2.6.2           no    no{1}  no{1}  no     no
	   NcFTP 3.1.4          no    no     no     no     no
	   Lynx 2.8.1           [FTP traversal not available]
	  {1} installed the file in the current directory
	  {2} created subdirectories within the current directory
	  {3} generated error message and/or stopped downloading
	  {4} only with the -nH option ("Disable host-prefixed directories")
	Other notes on wget:
	  1) "wget" was tested with the -r (recursive) option.
	  2) When provided with an FTP URL on the command line, it is subject
	     to "../" traversal
	  3) If there's an FTP link within a web page, it will not follow the
	     links, and is not subject to traversal
	  4) HOWEVER, if the --follow-ftp option is used, it is subject to
	     "../" traversal
	  5) When both --follow-ftp and -nH are used, wget is also subject to
	     "/path" traversal
	  6) wget 1.7.1 was not tested for the -nH absolute path issue, or for
	     FTP URL's in web pages


	___ Patches, Workarounds, and Vendor Statements ______________________
	  Some clients may have one or more of the following features.  If so,
	  then enabling these features could notify the user if an attack
	  occurs, and allow the user to take defensive action.
	  These features may be explicitly disabled if the client is being
	  called from a script or other program that does not require user
	  1) The user may be able to set the client to prompt the user when an
	     existing file is to be overwritten.  This is typically a default
	  2) A command such as "runique" may be available to force the client
	     to use a different filename instead of overwriting an existing
	Sun FTP client:
	   Statement from Sun
	   We have investigated this directory traversal issue and do not
	   think it is a bug.  
	   The user has several means of protection against this issue.
	   1. By default prompting is turned on, so the user gets a chance to
	   decide if they want a file returned by mget before it is
	   downloaded. So files will not be overwritten without prompting the
	   2. When running as an ordinary user, Unix access controls will stop
	   system files being over written. If a user must run as root, care
	   needs to be taken which would include not turning off interactive
	   3. The user may run the "runique" command to force the Solaris ftp
	   client to avoid overwriting files that already exist.
	   The Solaris ftp mget behaviour is consistent with other BSD derived
	   ftp clients, for example on Linux and FreeBSD.  Changing the
	   existing behaviour will cause problems.
	SGI FTP client:
	  SGI acknowledged the vulnerability via email and is likely to have a
	  public acknowledgement near the time of this disclosure.
	   Vendor statement (Theo de Raadt):
	    "I've forwarded the report to the person who copes with that
	     stuff.  I do not consider this all that serious."
	  Red Hat Linux has released advisory RHSA-2002:229 at:
	  The status of other Linux vendors was unknown at the time this
	  advisory was published.
	___ Vulnerability Identifiers ________________________________________
	The following identifiers have been assigned to these issues.
	    CVE - CAN-2002-1344  [4]
	    CERT VU - VU#210148  [5]
	  FTP command-line clients (UNIX):
	    CVE - CAN-2002-1345  [6]
	    CERT VU - VU#210409  [7]
	The  CVE  numbers  were  assigned  by  the  Common  Vulnerabilities  and
	Exposures (CVE) project. These are candidates for inclusion in  the  CVE
	list,    which    standardizes    names    for     security     problems
	The CERT VU numbers were assigned by CERT/CC and will be  accessible  in
	the Vulnerability Notes database (http://www.kb.cert.org/vuls).
	Additional  identifiers  will  be  assigned  to  separate  packages   if
	___ Research and Disclosure History __________________________________
	The disclosure of this issue has been conducted in accordance  with  the
	Christey/Wysopal "Responsible Vulnerability Disclosure  Process"  draft,
	which has expired [8].
	Since multiple vendors and products  were  affected,  the  research  and
	disclosure history for this issue is  extensive.  The  total  amount  of
	time required for research, vendor  notification,  and  coordination  is
	estimated to be 50 hours.
	 Research and General Notification
	Sep 25, 2002 - issue theorized
	Sep 27, 2002 - modified FTP server created; initial tests
	Oct  1, 2002 - notified vendor-sec with various responses
	Oct 10, 2002 - sent update to CERT/CC
	Oct 11, 2002 - CERT/CC reply
	Dec  2, 2002 - notified CERT/CC of status
	Dec  2, 2002 - set release date of December 10, notified all parties
	Dec  5, 2002 - received CERT ID (VU#210409) for issue
	Dec  9, 2002 - more edits
	Dec  9, 2002 - CVE ID's sent to vendor-sec
	 Sun (CVE: CAN-2002-1345)
	Sep 27, 2002 - Sun ftp client issue discovered
	Sep 30, 2002 - Notified Sun
	Sep 30, 2002 - CERT/CC notified of Sun issue
	Oct  1, 2002 - initial response from Sun (within 1 day)
	Oct  1, 2002 - provided fake FTP server to Sun
	Oct  7, 2002 - additional info from Sun
	Nov 18, 2002 - response from Sun; will not address issue, as other
	               protections are already available
	Dec  2, 2002 - suggested "vendor statement" to Sun
	Dec  4, 2002 - Sun provides final statement
	 SGI (CVE: CAN-2002-1345)
	Oct  1, 2002 - provided fake FTP server to SGI
	Nov  5, 2002 - inquiry by SGI on release status
	Nov 27, 2002 - SGI inquires about release date
	Dec  2, 2002 - response to SGI; set release to Dec 10?
	Dec  9, 2002 - CVE candidate acquired, sent to SGI
	 OpenBSD (CVE: CAN-2002-1345)
	Oct  1, 2002 - OpenBSD client issue discovered
	Oct  1, 2002 - notified OpenBSD (deraadt@openbsd.org)
	Dec  2, 2002 - second notification to OpenBSD
	Dec  2, 2002 - response from Theo de Raadt (original message was lost)
	Dec  2, 2002 - report forwarded to other OpenBSD maintainers
	 wget  (CVE: CAN-2002-1344)
	Note:  notification  and  resolution  of  the  wget  issue  was  handled
	primarily  through  Mark  Cox  of  Red  Hat  Linux,  not   the   package
	Sep 30, 2002 - wget issue discovered
	Sep 30, 2002 - notified Mark Cox (Red Hat) of wget issue
	Oct  1, 2002 - found wget absolute path issue
	Oct  2, 2002 - provided fake web server to Red Hat
	Oct  6, 2002 - notified wget developer (hniksic@arsdigita.com)
	Nov  7, 2002 - inquiry by Red Hat on release status for wget; still
	               haven't heard back from hniksic@arsdigita.com, need to
	               consider other options
	Nov 25, 2002 - Red Hat notifies that wget patches are ready
	Dec  2, 2002 - notification to wget developer; new email address
	               found by Red Hat; developer is mostly inactive
	Dec  9, 2002 - CVE ID acquired, sent to Red Hat
	 Other Activities
	Oct  1, 2002 - provided fake FTP server to Solar Designer
	Oct  1, 2002 - briefly tested lftp
	Oct  9, 2002 - received report that ncftp is vulnerable to /abs/path
	               in the -R option; checked 3.1.4, doesn't seem to be an
	               issue - "-R /" is interpreted as / on local system, so
	               all pathnames would be "legal"; no response to followup
	___ References _______________________________________________________
	[1] "security hole in mget (in ftp client)"
	    Bugtraq mailing list
	    August 5, 1997
	[2] OUSPG: Oulu University Secure Programming Group
	[3] "A 'straw man' vulnerability auditing checklist"
	    Steve Christey
	    SecProg mailing list
	    December 5, 2002
	[4] http://cve.mitre.org/cgi-bin/cvename.cgi?name=CAN-2002-1344
	[5] http://www.kb.cert.org/vuls/id/210148
	[6] http://cve.mitre.org/cgi-bin/cvename.cgi?name=CAN-2002-1344
	[7] http://www.kb.cert.org/vuls/id/210409
	[8] http://www.wiretrip.net/rfp/p/doc.asp/i2/d73.htm
	___ EOF ______________________________________________________________

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