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[MajorSecurity Advisory #59]PHP <=5.3 - mysqli_real_escape_string() full path disclosure

[MajorSecurity Advisory #59]PHP <=5.3 - mysqli_real_escape_string() full path disclosure

Product: PHP <=5.3
Security-Risk: low
Remote-Exploit: yes
Vendor-URL: http://www.php.net/
Vendor-Status: informed
Advisory-Status: published

Discovered by: David Vieira-Kurz

Affected Products:
PHP 5.3 and prior
PHP 5.2.11 and prior

Original Advisory:

"PHP is a widely-used general-purpose scripting language that is especially suited for Web development and can be embedded into HTML."
- from php.net

More Details
1. Full Path Disclosure
There is a full path disclosure vulnerability concerning the mysqli_real_escape_string() php function which allow attackers to
gather the real path of the server side script.

The mysqli_real_escape_string() PHP function takes strings as parameters and will raise warnings when values that are passed are arrays rather then strings. To get the path of the current script, you simply need to pass the arguments as arrays rather then expected strings and then simply read the warning message generated by PHP to see the error including the full path of the current running script.

Proof of concept:

Warning: mysqli_real_escape_string() expects parameter 1 to be string, array given in /var/www/vhosts/cms/sqlfilter/sqlsanatizer.php

I would NOT recommend to just react by "security through obscurity" and turn off the error messages, error reporting etc. This is not a solution because there are a lot of users that are having a shared hosting server where they aren't able to manipulate the "php.ini" configuration file - even ini_set() is forbidden on some shared hoster servers.
So they still would have the full path disclosure there.

So, what's the workaround then ?

I would recommend to meticulously go through the code forcing PHP to cast the data to the desired type, in this case the (string) casts
to eliminate the Notice or Warning messages.

if(isset($_GET['user'])) {
if (is_array($user = $_GET['user'])) {
         $casted = (string)$user;
 	 // next steps
     } else {
            $query = sprintf("SELECT * FROM users WHERE user='%s'",

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