Directory Traversal Affecting tmpdir package, versions <0.1.2



    Attack Complexity Low
    Confidentiality High
Expand this section
7.5 high

Do your applications use this vulnerable package?

In a few clicks we can analyze your entire application and see what components are vulnerable in your application, and suggest you quick fixes.

Test your applications
  • Snyk ID SNYK-RUBY-TMPDIR-1290060
  • published 6 May 2021
  • disclosed 6 May 2021
  • credit @ooooooo_q

How to fix?

Upgrade tmpdir to version 0.1.2 or higher.


tmpdir is a package that extends the Dir class to manage the OS temporary file path.

Affected versions of this package are vulnerable to Directory Traversal. There is are unintentional directory and file creation vulnerabilities in tmpdir library bundled with Ruby on Windows.

The Dir.mktmpdir method introduced by the tmpdir library accepts the prefix and the suffix of the directory which is created as the first parameter. The prefix can contain relative directory specifiers ..\\, so this method can be used to target any directory. So, if a script accepts an external input as the prefix, and the targeted directory has inappropriate permissions or the ruby process has inappropriate privileges, the attacker can create a directory or a file at any directory.

This is the same issue as CVE-2018-6914, which had an incomplete fix for only the ../ directory specificer.


A Directory Traversal attack (also known as path traversal) aims to access files and directories that are stored outside the intended folder. By manipulating files with "dot-dot-slash (../)" sequences and its variations, or by using absolute file paths, it may be possible to access arbitrary files and directories stored on file system, including application source code, configuration, and other critical system files.

Directory Traversal vulnerabilities can be generally divided into two types:

  • Information Disclosure: Allows the attacker to gain information about the folder structure or read the contents of sensitive files on the system.

st is a module for serving static files on web pages, and contains a vulnerability of this type. In our example, we will serve files from the public route.

If an attacker requests the following URL from our server, it will in turn leak the sensitive private key of the root user.

curl http://localhost:8080/public/%2e%2e/%2e%2e/%2e%2e/%2e%2e/%2e%2e/root/.ssh/id_rsa

Note %2e is the URL encoded version of . (dot).

  • Writing arbitrary files: Allows the attacker to create or replace existing files. This type of vulnerability is also known as Zip-Slip.

One way to achieve this is by using a malicious zip archive that holds path traversal filenames. When each filename in the zip archive gets concatenated to the target extraction folder, without validation, the final path ends up outside of the target folder. If an executable or a configuration file is overwritten with a file containing malicious code, the problem can turn into an arbitrary code execution issue quite easily.

The following is an example of a zip archive with one benign file and one malicious file. Extracting the malicious file will result in traversing out of the target folder, ending up in /root/.ssh/ overwriting the authorized_keys file:

2018-04-15 22:04:29 .....           19           19  good.txt
2018-04-15 22:04:42 .....           20           20  ../../../../../../root/.ssh/authorized_keys