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As many as 350,000 open source projects are believed to be potentially vulnerable to exploitation as a result of a security flaw in a Python module that has remained unpatched for 15 years.

The open source repositories span a number of industry verticals, such as software development, artificial intelligence/machine learning, web development, media, security, and IT management.

The shortcoming, tracked as CVE-2007-4559 (CVSS score: 6.8), is rooted in the tarfile module, successful exploitation of which could lead to code execution from an arbitrary file write.

“The vulnerability is a path traversal attack in the extract and extractall functions in the tarfile module that allow an attacker to overwrite arbitrary files by adding the ‘..’ sequence to filenames in a TAR archive,” Trellix security researcher Kasimir Schulz said in a writeup.

Originally disclosed in August 2007, the bug has to do with how a specially crafted tar archive can be leveraged to overwrite arbitrary files on a target machine simply upon opening the file.

images from Hacker News