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Improper Limitation of a Pathname to a Restricted Directory ('Path Traversal')


Severity High
Score 8.1/10


The npm package "tar" (aka node-tar) versions prior to 3.2.2 and 4.x prior to 4.4.14, 5.x prior to 5.0.6 and 6.x prior to 6.1.1 has a arbitrary File Creation/Overwrite vulnerability due to insufficient absolute path sanitization. node-tar aims to prevent extraction of absolute file paths by turning absolute paths into relative paths when the `preservePaths` flag is not set to `true`. This is achieved by stripping the absolute path root from any absolute file paths contained in a tar file. For example `/home/user/.bashrc` would turn into `home/user/.bashrc`. This logic was insufficient when file paths contained repeated path roots such as `////home/user/.bashrc`. `node-tar` would only strip a single path root from such paths. When given an absolute file path with repeating path roots, the resulting path (e.g. `///home/user/.bashrc`) would still resolve to an absolute path, thus allowing arbitrary file creation and overwrite. This issue was addressed in releases 3.2.2, 4.4.14, 5.0.6 and 6.1.1. Users may work around this vulnerability without upgrading by creating a custom `onentry` method which sanitizes the `entry.path` or a `filter` method which removes entries with absolute paths. See referenced GitHub Advisory for details. Be aware of CVE-2021-32803 which fixes a similar bug in later versions of tar.

  • LOW
  • HIGH
  • NONE
  • NONE
  • HIGH

CWE-22 - Path Traversal

Path traversal (or directory traversal), is a vulnerability that allows malicious users to traverse the server's root directory, gaining access to arbitrary files and folders such as application code & data, back-end credentials, and sensitive operating system files. In the worst-case scenario, an attacker could potentially execute arbitrary files on the server, resulting in a denial of service attack. Such an exploit may severely impact the integrity, confidentiality, and availability of an application.


Advisory Timeline

  • Published