HawkScan Test Info for Directory Browsing

Directory Browsing


Plugin Id: 0 | CWE: 548


To prevent directory browsing vulnerabilities, follow these steps:

  1. Disable directory browsing: Disable directory browsing in your web server configuration. For example, in Apache, you can add the following line to your .htaccess file or virtual host configuration:

    Options -Indexes

    This will prevent the server from generating directory listings when no index file is found.

  2. Secure sensitive files: Ensure that sensitive files, such as scripts, include files, and backup source files, are not accessible through directory browsing. Move them to a location outside of the web root directory or use server-side configuration to deny access. For example, in Apache, you can use the following configuration in your .htaccess file or virtual host configuration:

    <FilesMatch "\.(php|inc|bak)$">
        Order allow,deny
        Deny from all

    This will deny access to files with extensions .php, .inc, and .bak.

  3. Regularly update and patch: Keep your web server software and applications up to date with the latest security patches. Vulnerabilities in the server software or applications can be exploited to bypass directory browsing protections.


Directory browsing is a vulnerability that allows an attacker to view the directory listing of a web server. By default, web servers generate directory listings when no index file (e.g., index.html, index.php) is found in a directory. This can reveal sensitive information, such as hidden scripts, include files, backup source files, and other files that may contain sensitive data.


The risks associated with directory browsing vulnerabilities include:

  • Disclosure of sensitive information: Directory browsing can expose sensitive files and directories that were not intended to be publicly accessible. This can include configuration files, source code, database backups, and other sensitive data.

  • Information leakage: The directory listing can provide valuable information to an attacker, such as the directory structure, file names, and potentially vulnerable files that can be targeted for further exploitation.

  • Increased attack surface: Directory browsing can provide an attacker with additional information that can be used to plan and execute further attacks on the web server or its applications.

  • Privacy violations: Directory browsing can expose private or confidential information that should only be accessible to authorized users. This can lead to privacy violations and potential legal consequences.