Common Weakness Enumeration

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CWE-797: Only Filtering Special Elements at an Absolute Position

Weakness ID: 797
Abstraction: Variant
Status: Incomplete
Presentation Filter:
+ Description

Description Summary

The software receives data from an upstream component, but only accounts for special elements at an absolute position (e.g. "byte number 10"), thereby missing remaining special elements that may exist before sending it to a downstream component.
+ Common Consequences

Technical Impact: Unexpected state

+ Demonstrative Examples

Example 1

The following code takes untrusted input and uses a substring function to filter a 3-character "../" element located at the 0-index position of the input string. It then appends this result to the /home/user/ directory and attempts to read the file in the final resulting path.

(Bad Code)
Example Language: Perl 
my $Username = GetUntrustedInput();
if (substr($Username, 0, 3) eq '../') {
$Username = substr($Username, 3);
my $filename = "/home/user/" . $Username;

Since the if function is only looking for a substring of "../" between the 0 and 2 position, it only removes that specific "../" element. So an input value such as:


will have the first "../" filtered, resulting in:


This value is then concatenated with the /home/user/ directory:


which causes the /etc/passwd file to be retrieved once the operating system has resolved the ../ sequences in the pathname. This leads to relative path traversal (CWE-22).

+ Relationships
NatureTypeIDNameView(s) this relationship pertains toView(s)
ChildOfWeakness BaseWeakness Base795Only Filtering Special Elements at a Specified Location
Development Concepts (primary)699
Research Concepts (primary)1000
+ Content History
Submission DateSubmitterOrganizationSource
2009-12-04MITREInternal CWE Team
Modification DateModifierOrganizationSource
2011-06-01CWE Content TeamMITREInternal
updated Common_Consequences
2011-06-27CWE Content TeamMITREInternal
updated Common_Consequences
2017-01-19CWE Content TeamMITREInternal
updated Relationships

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Page Last Updated: May 05, 2017