node-tar aims to guarantee that any file whose location would be modified by a symbolic link is not extracted. This is, in part, achieved by ensuring that extracted directories are not symlinks. Additionally, in order to prevent unnecessary stat calls to determine whether a given path is a directory, paths are cached when directories are created.
This logic was insufficient when extracting tar files that contained two directories and a symlink with names containing unicode values that normalized to the same value. Additionally, on Windows systems, long path portions would resolve to the same file system entities as their 8.3 "short path" counterparts. A specially crafted tar archive could thus include directories with two forms of the path that resolve to the same file system entity, followed by a symbolic link with a name in the first form, lastly followed by a file using the second form. It led to bypassing node-tar symlink checks on directories, essentially allowing an untrusted tar file to symlink into an arbitrary location and subsequently extracting arbitrary files into that location, thus allowing arbitrary file creation and overwrite.
Created nodejs-tar tracking bugs for this issue:
Affects: epel-7 [bug 1999741]
Affects: fedora-all [bug 1999740]