Vulnerabilities > CVE-2008-5516 - Permissions, Privileges, and Access Controls vulnerability in multiple products

Attack vector
Attack complexity
Privileges required
Confidentiality impact
Integrity impact
Availability impact
low complexity


The web interface in git (gitweb) 1.5.x before 1.5.5 allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary commands via shell metacharacters related to git_search.

Vulnerable Configurations

Part Description Count

Common Attack Pattern Enumeration and Classification (CAPEC)

  • Accessing, Modifying or Executing Executable Files
    An attack of this type exploits a system's configuration that allows an attacker to either directly access an executable file, for example through shell access; or in a possible worst case allows an attacker to upload a file and then execute it. Web servers, ftp servers, and message oriented middleware systems which have many integration points are particularly vulnerable, because both the programmers and the administrators must be in synch regarding the interfaces and the correct privileges for each interface.
  • Leverage Executable Code in Non-Executable Files
    An attack of this type exploits a system's trust in configuration and resource files, when the executable loads the resource (such as an image file or configuration file) the attacker has modified the file to either execute malicious code directly or manipulate the target process (e.g. application server) to execute based on the malicious configuration parameters. Since systems are increasingly interrelated mashing up resources from local and remote sources the possibility of this attack occurring is high. The attack can be directed at a client system, such as causing buffer overrun through loading seemingly benign image files, as in Microsoft Security Bulletin MS04-028 where specially crafted JPEG files could cause a buffer overrun once loaded into the browser. Another example targets clients reading pdf files. In this case the attacker simply appends javascript to the end of a legitimate url for a pdf ( http://path/to/pdf/file.pdf#whatever_name_you_want=javascript:your_code_here The client assumes that they are reading a pdf, but the attacker has modified the resource and loaded executable javascript into the client's browser process. The attack can also target server processes. The attacker edits the resource or configuration file, for example a web.xml file used to configure security permissions for a J2EE app server, adding role name "public" grants all users with the public role the ability to use the administration functionality. The server trusts its configuration file to be correct, but when they are manipulated, the attacker gains full control.
  • Blue Boxing
    This type of attack against older telephone switches and trunks has been around for decades. A tone is sent by an adversary to impersonate a supervisor signal which has the effect of rerouting or usurping command of the line. While the US infrastructure proper may not contain widespread vulnerabilities to this type of attack, many companies are connected globally through call centers and business process outsourcing. These international systems may be operated in countries which have not upgraded Telco infrastructure and so are vulnerable to Blue boxing. Blue boxing is a result of failure on the part of the system to enforce strong authorization for administrative functions. While the infrastructure is different than standard current applications like web applications, there are historical lessons to be learned to upgrade the access control for administrative functions.
  • Restful Privilege Elevation
    Rest uses standard HTTP (Get, Put, Delete) style permissions methods, but these are not necessarily correlated generally with back end programs. Strict interpretation of HTTP get methods means that these HTTP Get services should not be used to delete information on the server, but there is no access control mechanism to back up this logic. This means that unless the services are properly ACL'd and the application's service implementation are following these guidelines then an HTTP request can easily execute a delete or update on the server side. The attacker identifies a HTTP Get URL such as http://victimsite/updateOrder, which calls out to a program to update orders on a database or other resource. The URL is not idempotent so the request can be submitted multiple times by the attacker, additionally, the attacker may be able to exploit the URL published as a Get method that actually performs updates (instead of merely retrieving data). This may result in malicious or inadvertent altering of data on the server.
  • Target Programs with Elevated Privileges
    This attack targets programs running with elevated privileges. The attacker would try to leverage a bug in the running program and get arbitrary code to execute with elevated privileges. For instance an attacker would look for programs that write to the system directories or registry keys (such as HKLM, which stores a number of critical Windows environment variables). These programs are typically running with elevated privileges and have usually not been designed with security in mind. Such programs are excellent exploit targets because they yield lots of power when they break. The malicious user try to execute its code at the same level as a privileged system call.


  • NASL familyUbuntu Local Security Checks
    descriptionIt was discovered that Git did not properly handle long file paths. If a user were tricked into performing commands on a specially crafted Git repository, an attacker could possibly execute arbitrary code with the privileges of the user invoking the program. (CVE-2008-3546) It was discovered that the Git web interface (gitweb) did not correctly handle shell metacharacters when processing certain commands. A remote attacker could send specially crafted commands to the Git server and execute arbitrary code with the privileges of the Git web server. This issue only applied to Ubuntu 7.10 and 8.04 LTS. (CVE-2008-5516, CVE-2008-5517) It was discovered that the Git web interface (gitweb) did not properly restrict the diff.external configuration parameter. A local attacker could exploit this issue and execute arbitrary code with the privileges of the Git web server. This issue only applied to Ubuntu 8.04 LTS and 8.10. (CVE-2008-5916). Note that Tenable Network Security has extracted the preceding description block directly from the Ubuntu security advisory. Tenable has attempted to automatically clean and format it as much as possible without introducing additional issues.
    last seen2020-06-01
    plugin id36720
    reporterUbuntu Security Notice (C) 2009-2019 Canonical, Inc. / NASL script (C) 2009-2018 and is owned by Tenable, Inc. or an Affiliate thereof.
    titleUbuntu 6.06 LTS / 7.10 / 8.04 LTS / 8.10 : git-core vulnerabilities (USN-723-1)
  • NASL familyCGI abuses
    descriptionThe version of gitweb, a web-enabled interface to the open source distributed version control system Git, hosted on the remote web server fails to sanitize user-supplied input to the
    last seen2020-06-01
    plugin id53336
    reporterThis script is Copyright (C) 2011-2018 and is owned by Tenable, Inc. or an Affiliate thereof.
    titleGIT gitweb git_search Shell Metacharacter Arbitrary Command Execution
  • NASL familyGentoo Local Security Checks
    NASL idGENTOO_GLSA-200903-15.NASL
    descriptionThe remote host is affected by the vulnerability described in GLSA-200903-15 (git: Multiple vulnerabilties) Multiple vulnerabilities have been reported in gitweb that is part of the git package: Shell metacharacters related to git_search are not properly sanitized (CVE-2008-5516). Shell metacharacters related to git_snapshot and git_object are not properly sanitized (CVE-2008-5517). The diff.external configuration variable as set in a repository can be executed by gitweb (CVE-2008-5916). Impact : A remote unauthenticated attacker can execute arbitrary commands via shell metacharacters in a query, remote attackers with write access to a git repository configuration can execute arbitrary commands with the privileges of the user running gitweb by modifying the diff.external configuration variable in the repository and sending a crafted query to gitweb. Workaround : There is no known workaround at this time.
    last seen2020-06-01
    plugin id35813
    reporterThis script is Copyright (C) 2009-2019 Tenable Network Security, Inc.
    titleGLSA-200903-15 : git: Multiple vulnerabilties
  • NASL familySlackware Local Security Checks
    NASL idSLACKWARE_SSA_2009-051-02.NASL
    descriptionNew git packages are available for Slackware 12.0, 12.1, 12.2, and -current to fix security issues.
    last seen2020-06-01
    plugin id35728
    reporterThis script is Copyright (C) 2009-2019 Tenable Network Security, Inc.
    titleSlackware 12.0 / 12.1 / 12.2 / current : git (SSA:2009-051-02)
  • NASL familyDebian Local Security Checks
    descriptionIt was discovered that gitweb, the web interface for the Git version control system, contained several vulnerabilities : Remote attackers could use crafted requests to execute shell commands on the web server, using the snapshot generation and pickaxe search functionality (CVE-2008-5916 ). Local users with write access to the configuration of a Git repository served by gitweb could cause gitweb to execute arbitrary shell commands with the permission of the web server (CVE-2008-5516, CVE-2008-5517 ).
    last seen2020-06-01
    plugin id35425
    reporterThis script is Copyright (C) 2009-2019 and is owned by Tenable, Inc. or an Affiliate thereof.
    titleDebian DSA-1708-1 : git-core - shell command injection


data source
last seen2016-12-05
reporterS2 Crew
titlegitWeb 1.x Remote Command Execution


  • bulletinFamilyexploit
    descriptionNo description provided by source.
    last seen2017-11-19
    titlegitWeb 1.5.2 - Remote Command Execution
  • bulletinFamilyexploit
    descriptionNo description provided by source.
    last seen2017-11-19
    titlegitWeb v1.5.2 Remote Command Execution