FreeBSD directory listing with PHP file functions

November 28, 2009

Last week I shared a weird behavior of FreeBSD on about a directory listing with PHP file functions and Apache.

The following 3 PHP codes will output a garbled directory listing of the current directory:

echo file_get_contents("./");

While those file functions should only return content of a valid file, its possible to get a directory listing under FreeBSD. So exploiting a vulnerable script like the following becomes far more easy for an attacker, because he does not have to know the names of the files he can retrieve.



$file = $_GET['file'];
echo file_get_contents("/var/www/files/".$file);


#dirlist to see folders and files

#file disclosure of the found file “index.php”

The directory listing only works for files in the webroot.

This behavior has been tested with the following configurations while PHP is running as root:
FreeBSD 6.4 + PHP 4.4.9 (thanks to beched)
FreeBSD 7.0 + PHP 5.2.5 + Suhosin-Patch
FreeBSD 7.0 + PHP 5.2.6 + Suhosin-Patch
FreeBSD 7.2 + PHP 5.2.10

I guess it has something to do with the weird BSD file system, but I dont know yet. At least this does not work on any other platforms like ubuntu or windows (I havent checked OpenBSD yet). If someone knows more about this strange dirlist please leave a comment =)

As assumed this behavior relates to the unix file system (UFS) and should also work for NetBSD, OpenBSD and Solaris. Scipio wrote a script that will format the dirlist a bit more readable.