Source Code Disclosure - SVN

Source code disclosure is a severe security vulnerability that can expose sensitive information about your application. In this case, the vulnerability is related to the SVN control system.

Source code disclosure is a type of vulnerability that exposes the source code of a web application to an attacker, which can be used to identify security weaknesses and launch further attacks. One common way that source code disclosure can occur is through a vulnerability in a version control system like SVN. If your web application has been found to be vulnerable to source code disclosure through SVN, here's a step-by-step guide to fix it:

Step 1: Disable SVN directory browsing

The first thing you should do is to disable directory browsing on your SVN directories. Directory browsing allows users to see the contents of a directory in a web browser, and if enabled, can give attackers access to your SVN directories. To disable directory browsing, add the following line to your .htaccess file:

Options -Indexes

Step 2: Update SVN

The next step is to update SVN to the latest version. Check the version of SVN you are currently using with the following command:

svn --version

If you are using an outdated version, update it with the following command:

sudo apt-get update

sudo apt-get install subversion

Step 3: Secure SVN directories

Once you've updated SVN, you need to secure your SVN directories to prevent unauthorized access. Start by making sure that all directories are owned by the user running your web server, and that they have the appropriate permissions. For example, if you're using Apache as your web server, the following commands will set the ownership and permissions of your SVN directories:

sudo chown -R www-data:www-data /var/svn

sudo chmod -R 755 /var/svn

Step 4: Disable .svn directories

SVN stores metadata in hidden .svn directories, which can be used by attackers to access your source code. To prevent this, disable the creation of .svn directories in your web application by adding the following line to your Apache configuration file:

SVNAdvertiseV2Protocol Off

Step 5: Protect sensitive files

Some files in your web application may contain sensitive information, such as database credentials or API keys. Make sure to protect these files by setting appropriate permissions and using encryption when necessary. For example, you can use the following commands to set the permissions of your configuration file:

sudo chown www-data:www-data /var/www/config.php

sudo chmod 600 /var/www/config.php

Step 6: Use HTTPS

Use HTTPS to encrypt traffic between your web server and clients. This will prevent attackers from intercepting traffic and accessing sensitive information. To enable HTTPS, you'll need to obtain an SSL certificate and configure your web server to use HTTPS. Here's an example of how to configure Apache to use HTTPS:

<VirtualHost *:443>


DocumentRoot /var/www/html

SSLEngine on

SSLCertificateFile /path/to/cert.pem

SSLCertificateKeyFile /path/to/key.pem


Step 7: Disable debug mode

Debug mode is a feature in many web applications that can reveal sensitive information to attackers. Make sure to disable debug mode in your web application to prevent this. This can typically be done by setting a configuration option in your web application's configuration file.

Step 8: Use input validation

Input validation is the process of checking user input to ensure that it's safe and valid. Use input validation to prevent attackers from exploiting vulnerabilities in your web application, such as SQL injection or cross-site scripting. Here's an example of how to validate user input in PHP:

if (!filter_var($_POST['email'], FILTER_VALIDATE_EMAIL)) {

// invalid email address


Step 9: Use parameterized queries

Parameterized queries are a way to execute database queries that are resistant to SQL injection attacks. Use parameterized queries to prevent attackers from executing malicious code through user input. Here's an example of how to use parameterized queries in PHP with PDO:

$stmt = $pdo->prepare('SELECT * FROM users WHERE email = :email');

$stmt->execute(['email' => $email]);

Step 10: Sanitize output

Sanitizing output is the process of removing or encoding special characters from user-generated content to prevent cross-site scripting attacks. Use output sanitization to prevent attackers from injecting malicious scripts into your web application. Here's an example of how to sanitize output in PHP:

echo htmlentities($text);

Step 11: Keep software up-to-date

Keep all software used by your web application up-to-date with the latest security patches. This includes your web server, database, programming language, and any libraries or frameworks used by your application. Regularly check for security updates and apply them as soon as possible.

Step 12: Perform regular security audits

Perform regular security audits to ensure that your web application is secure and up-to-date. Use a vulnerability scanner like the one that discovered the source code disclosure vulnerability to scan your application for other potential vulnerabilities. Regularly test your web application to ensure that it's secure against common attack vectors.


Source code disclosure through SVN is a serious vulnerability that can expose your web application to further attacks. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can secure your web application against source code disclosure and other common vulnerabilities. It's important to regularly test and update your web application to ensure that it remains secure over time.

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