HawkScan Test Info for Source Code Disclosure - File Inclusion

Source Code Disclosure - File Inclusion


Plugin Id: 43 | CWE: 541


To remediate the vulnerability of source code disclosure through file inclusion, the following steps can be taken:

  1. Secure file inclusion: Implement secure file inclusion techniques to prevent unauthorized access to sensitive files. This can be achieved by using whitelisting techniques, where only specific files or directories are allowed to be included.

    Example in PHP:

    $allowed_files = array('file1.php', 'file2.php');
    $file = $_GET['file'];
    if (in_array($file, $allowed_files)) {
    } else {
        // Handle error or redirect to a safe page
  2. Input validation: Validate and sanitize user input to prevent malicious file inclusion. This can be done by checking the input against a predefined list of allowed files or using regular expressions to ensure the input matches the expected format.

    Example in Python:

    import re
    allowed_files = ['file1.txt', 'file2.txt']
    file = input('Enter file name: ')
    if re.match(r'^[a-zA-Z0-9_]+\.[a-zA-Z0-9_]+$', file) and file in allowed_files:
        # Proceed with file inclusion
        # Handle error or redirect to a safe page
  3. File permissions: Ensure that the web server has appropriate file permissions set to restrict access to sensitive files. Limit the read access of files containing sensitive information to only the necessary users or processes.

    Example in Linux:

    chmod 640 sensitive_file.txt
    chown root:www-data sensitive_file.txt


Source code disclosure through file inclusion occurs when the web server inadvertently exposes the source code of a web page. This vulnerability can be exploited by an attacker to gain access to sensitive information, such as database credentials, API keys, or other proprietary code. It typically arises due to improper file inclusion techniques or lack of input validation.


The risks associated with source code disclosure through file inclusion include:

  • Exposure of sensitive information: Attackers can gain access to sensitive information, such as database credentials or API keys, which can be used for further attacks or unauthorized access.
  • Code analysis: Disclosure of source code allows attackers to analyze the code for vulnerabilities or weaknesses that can be exploited to compromise the application or server.
  • Reputation damage: Source code disclosure can lead to a loss of trust from users and customers, resulting in reputational damage to the organization.
  • Legal and compliance issues: Depending on the nature of the exposed information, there may be legal and compliance implications, such as violating data protection regulations or breaching contractual obligations.