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Apache: The Definitive Guide, Second Edition by Peter Laurie, Ben Laurie

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10.4. Execute CGI

We can have a CGI script executed without having to bother with AddHandler, SetHandler, or ExecCGI. The file exec.shtml contains:

<!--#config errmsg="Bungled again!"-->
We're now going to execute 'cmd="ls -l"'':
<< <!--#exec cmd="ls -l"--> >>
and now /usr/www/cgi-bin/mycgi.cgi:
<< <!--#exec cgi="cgi-bin/mycgi.cgi"--> >>
and now the 'virtual' option:
<< <!--#include virtual="cgi-bin/mycgi.cgi"--> >>
That was it.

There are two attributes available to exec: cgi and cmd. The difference is that cgi needs a URL (in this case /cgi-bin/mycgi.cgi, set up by the ScriptAlias line in the Config file) and is protected by suEXEC if configured, whereas cmd will execute anything.

There is a third way of executing a file, namely, through the virtual attribute to the include command. When we select exec.shtml from the browser, we get this result:

We're now going to execute 'cmd="ls -l"'':
<< total 24
-rw-rw-r--  1 414  xten   39 Oct  8 08:33 another_file
-rw-rw-r--  1 414  xten  106 Nov 11  1997 echo.shtml
-rw-rw-r--  1 414  xten  295 Oct  8 10:52 exec.shtml
-rw-rw-r--  1 414  xten  174 Nov 11  1997 include.shtml
-rw-rw-r--  1 414  xten  206 Nov 11  1997 size.shtml
-rw-rw-r--  1 414  xten  269 Nov 11  1997 time.shtml
 >>
and now /usr/www/cgi-bin/mycgi.cgi:
<< Have a nice day
 >>
and now the 'virtual' option:
<< Have a nice day
 >>
That was it.

A prudent webmaster should view the cmd and cgi options with grave suspicion, since they let writers of SSIs give both themselves and outsiders dangerous access. ...

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