The product does not properly handle null bytes or NUL characters when passing data between different representations or components.
A null byte (NUL character) can have different meanings across representations or languages. For example, it is a string terminator in standard C libraries, but Perl and PHP strings do not treat it as a terminator. When two representations are crossed - such as when Perl or PHP invokes underlying C functionality - this can produce an interaction error with unexpected results. Similar issues have been reported for ASP. Other interpreters written in C might also be affected.
The poison null byte is frequently useful in path traversal attacks by terminating hard-coded extensions that are added to a filename. It can play a role in regular expression processing in PHP.
The table(s) below shows the weaknesses and high level categories that are related to this weakness. These relationships are defined as ChildOf, ParentOf, MemberOf and give insight to similar items that may exist at higher and lower levels of abstraction. In addition, relationships such as PeerOf and CanAlsoBe are defined to show similar weaknesses that the user may want to explore.
The different Modes of Introduction provide information about how and when this weakness may be introduced. The Phase identifies a point in the software life cycle at which introduction may occur, while the Note provides a typical scenario related to introduction during the given phase.
The listings below show possible areas for which the given weakness could appear. These may be for specific named Languages, Operating Systems, Architectures, Paradigms, Technologies, or a class of such platforms. The platform is listed along with how frequently the given weakness appears for that instance.
PHP (Undetermined Prevalence)
Perl (Undetermined Prevalence)
ASP.NET (Undetermined Prevalence)
The table below specifies different individual consequences associated with the weakness. The Scope identifies the application security area that is violated, while the Impact describes the negative technical impact that arises if an adversary succeeds in exploiting this weakness. The Likelihood provides information about how likely the specific consequence is expected to be seen relative to the other consequences in the list. For example, there may be high likelihood that a weakness will be exploited to achieve a certain impact, but a low likelihood that it will be exploited to achieve a different impact.
This MemberOf Relationships table shows additional CWE Categories and Views that reference this weakness as a member. This information is often useful in understanding where a weakness fits within the context of external information sources.
There are not many CVE examples, because the poison NULL byte is a design limitation, which typically is not included in CVE by itself. It is typically used as a facilitator manipulation to widen the scope of potential attacks against other vulnerabilities.
Current usage of "poison null byte" is typically related to this C/Perl/PHP interaction error, but the original term in 1998 was applied to an off-by-one buffer overflow involving a null byte.
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