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CERT Coordination Center

Apache Tomcat UTF8 Directory Traversal Vulnerability

Vulnerability Note VU#343355

Original Release Date: 2008-08-19 | Last Revised: 2008-08-19


Apache Tomcat contains a vulnerability that may allow directory traversal.


Apache Tomcat is an implementation of the Java Servlet and JavaServer Page (JSP) technologies. Apache Tomcat contains a vulnerability in the way malformed requests are handled. According to the Apache Tomcat 6.x Vulnerabilities page:

    If a context is configured with allowLinking="true" and the connector is configured with URIEncoding="UTF-8" then a malformed request may be used to access arbitrary files on the server.

This vulnerability affects versions 4.1.0-4.1.37, 5.5.0-5.5.26, and 6.0.0-6.0.16.

Note that we are aware of publicly-available exploit code for this vulnerability.


A remote attacker could gain access to arbitrary files on the server.


Apply an update
This vulnerability is addressed in Apache Tomcat 4.1.38, 5.5.27, and 6.0.18. Please check the Apache Tomcat Security page for availability of fixes for this and other versions of Tomcat.

Vendor Information


Apache Tomcat Affected

Updated:  August 19, 2008



Vendor Statement

We have not received a statement from the vendor.

Vendor Information

The vendor has not provided us with any further information regarding this vulnerability.


Refer to for more information.

If you have feedback, comments, or additional information about this vulnerability, please send us email.

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This issue was reported by William A. Rowe of Apache.

This document was written by Chris Taschner.

Other Information

CVE IDs: CVE-2008-2938
Severity Metric: 7.14
Date Public: 2008-08-11
Date First Published: 2008-08-19
Date Last Updated: 2008-08-19 20:29 UTC
Document Revision: 5

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