R039. Define maximum file size


The files manipulated by the system and the users must have a defined maximum file size (5MB recommended).


When a system allows users to upload or attach files for storage, the maximum file size limit must be defined for these files, in order to avoid issues involving the availability of the service and to reduce the chance of an attacker uploading a file containing malicious software.


In order to define the file size limit, you must first define the information storage needs and the infrastructure size. The company can set a default file size for information management and define the exceptions they deem necessary to increase the admitted file size, but always keeping a defined limit to avoid denial-of-service attacks caused by abusing the system storage.


  1. An application allows the uploading and storage of files. A user continuously uploads large size files until they cause a denial of service because of the lack of space in the system.


  • Layer: Application layer

  • Asset: Files

  • Scope: Availability

  • Phase: Operation

  • Type of control: Recommendation


  1. CWE-400: Uncontrolled Resource Consumption. The software does not properly control the allocation and maintenance of a limited resource, thereby enabling an actor to influence the amount of resources consumed, eventually leading to the exhaustion of available resources.

  2. CWE-409: Improper Handling of Highly Compressed Data (Data Amplification). The software does not handle or incorrectly handles a compressed input with a very high compression ratio that produces a large output.

  3. CWE-770: Allocation of Resources Without Limits or Throttling. The software allocates a reusable resource or group of resources on behalf of an actor without imposing any restrictions on the size or number of resources that can be allocated, in violation of the intended security policy for that actor.

  4. OWASP-ASVS v4.0.1 V11.1 Business Logic Security Requirements.(11.1.3) Verify the application has appropriate limits for specific business actions or transactions which are correctly enforced on a per user basis.

  5. OWASP-ASVS v4.0.1 V11.1 Business Logic Security Requirements.(11.1.4) Verify the application has sufficient anti-automation controls to detect and protect against data exfiltration, excessive business logic requests, excessive file uploads or denial of service attacks.

  6. OWASP-ASVS v4.0.1 V12.1 File Upload Requirements.(12.1.1) Verify that the application will not accept large files that could fill up storage or cause a denial of service attack.

  7. OWASP-ASVS v4.0.1 V12.1 File Upload Requirements.(12.1.2) Verify that compressed files are checked for "zip bombs" - small input files that will decompress into huge files thus exhausting file storage limits.

  8. OWASP-ASVS v4.0.1 V12.1 File Upload Requirements.(12.1.3) Verify that a file size quota and maximum number of files per user is enforced to ensure that a single user cannot fill up the storage with too many files, or excessively large files.

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