*Cross Site Scripting Attacks.................................................................................................................
Name: Daisuke Dan
XSS stands for Cross-Site-Scripting. It is basically an attack, that is used to execute HTML and
into the URL. The results come back reading the text as HTML, so it executes the scripts instead of
displaying them in plain text.
Many people treat an XSS vulnerability as a low to medium risk vulnerability, when in reality it is a
damaging attack that can lead to your users (and you) being compromised.
XSS attacks are becoming a big problem and are going to become an extremely big problem if
people do not educate them selves about XSS attacks and vulnerabilities, XSS vulnerabilities have
been found in all sorts of websites including fbi.gov, yahoo.com, ebay.com and many other popular
and important websites, a lot of administrators fail to pay attention to XSS attacks because they
either don't know much about them or they do not see them as a threat, an XSS vulnerability when
exploited by a skilled attacker or even a novice can be a very powerful attack. This paper details
XSS attacks and hopes to educate you on what they are, how attackers use them and of course
how you can prevent them from happening.
Cross-site scripting (XSS) is a type of vulnerability commonly found in web applications. This
victim’s web browser. Using this malicious code, the attackers can steal the victim’s credentials,
such as cookies. The access control policies (i.e., the same origin policy) employed by the browser
to protect those credentials can be bypassed by exploiting the XSS vulnerability. Vulnerabilities of
this kind can potentially lead to large-scale attacks.
HTML is sort of like a programming language. The distinctions between a programming language,
and HTML, are not too far apart. They are both languages, that are used to create attributes, and
events. HTML is a markup language, which is used mostly to create websites. HTML stands for
Hyper-Text Markup Language. You can use HTML to create forms, buttons, and other stuff that can
be used in a webpage. I highly doubt you will ever encounter a website that does not contain even a
slight amount of HTML.
to learn, and are very dynamic.
The Cross Site scripting is one of the problem that has plagued a lot of websites. As a web
developer, it is important to understand what is cross site scripting and how can we safeguard our
site from such attacks.
Now the question would be how can a person inject scripts on a running page. This can easily be
done using all the various ways a website is collecting inputs. Cross site scripting can be performed
by passing scripts in form of:
*Web application variables
What can you do with Xss Attacks?
*The browser processes the injected code as if it were legitimate content of the web page - with the
corresponding security permissions.
*Many attack could exploit flaws or vulnerabilities due to bad programming.
*Pillage of settings and user sensitive information.
*Phishing: Criminal fraudulent process of attempting to acquire sensitive information such as
usernames, passwords and credit card details, by masque rading as a trustworthy entity in an
electronic communication or as a business or individual.
*Cookie Stealing: Cookie is used to manage sessions in browsers. Each person logged in gets a
unique cookie, it is like a key to the site.
*Account hijacking: Term used when malware infiltrates a system without the consent and performs
tasks set by its creator in addition to (or instead of) the system's normal duties.
*Changing of user settings: A scammer could take information about web sites administrator in order
to access to sensitive data or modifying user settings.
Basic types of XSS Attacks?
In the “STORED XSS” (persistent XSS),an attacker can inject the malicious code into the page
persistently and that means the code will be STORED in the server. And this code will be STORED
in the page which will show to the visitors later on. If the visitor goes to the page which is embedded
with XSS attacking code, the code will execute on the visitor‟s computer. Hackers usually post
these codes into the article in the forum or blog in order to let other users to read in the future and
attack more them.
Compared with “REFLECTED XSS”, this type of XSS does more serious harm. If the “STORED
XSS” vulnerability is successfully exploited by hackers, it will persistently attack the users until
administrator remove this vulnerability.
Example of Stored XSS: guestbook.php
Then page guestbook.php lists all entries returned by the previous function, without sanitizing the
content of the comments. It is only applied to the names (see function h() in the next section):
foreach ($guestbook as $guest)
<p class="comment"><?= $guest[" XSS SCRIPT "] ?></p>
<p> - by <?=h( $guest["name"] ) ?> </p>
The “REFLECTED XSS” (non-persistent) is a temporary attack. Because the code cannot be
injected into the server, it just lets the server use the injected malicious code to immediately
generate a page and then, send this temporary page‟s URL to anyone that the attacker wants to
attack. If the user clicks this URL, the malicious code in this temporary page will execute. Because
this attack is based on user‟s trigging, this type of vulnerability was called REFLECTED XSS. There
fore, it is more difficult to be used unless the hacker can work hard on the URL and convince the
user to trigger the dangerous URL. So the hacker finds few methods to make the URL look like a
trusted Website‟s URL. First of all, hackers can encode the URL into Hex value or other type of
code in order that the URL looks more true and reliable. Therefore, the userthinks that there is no
virus command inside and clicks that. Google is a famous and reliable website. If Google has the
REFLECTED XSS, the hacker can inject malicious code into the URL and encode the URL. There
are many tools on the Internet which can provide the service of encoding the code from ASCII to
decimal ASCII, hexadecimal or other types. After finishing encoding the URL, the hacker will send
this URL to trick the user into clicking and also using some tricks which can attract the user to click.
In addition, later on, this thesis will give details of URL Encoding.
The DOM-based XSS attack is another type of XSS vulnerability which is commonly used by
hackers as well. What is DOM-based XSS? First of all, we need to know what DOM is. DOM is
short for Document Object Model and it is a platform and language - neutral interface which is using
scripting or program to modify the content, update the date, structure and style of documents. It is
widely used in HTML and XML in Web 2.0. DOM in HTML can generate a tree - structure of HTML
documents. However, DOM allows the scripting or program to change the HTML or XML document,
the HTML or XML document can be modified by a hackers scripting or program. DOM-based XSS
uses DOM's vulnerability to make the XSS come true. This type of XSS vulnerability is totally
different from the REFLECTED or STORED XSS attack and it does not inject malicious code into a
page. So, it is the problem of the insecure DOM object which can be controlled by the client side in
the web page or application. For this reason, hackers can let the attack payload execute in the
DOM environment to attack the Victim side.
The following snippets of HTML demonstrate how to safely render untrusted data in a variety of
Safe HTML Attributes include: align, alink, alt, bgcolor, border, cellpadding, cellspacing, class, color,
cols, colspan, coords, dir, face, height, hspace, ismap, lang, marginheight, marginwidth, multiple,
nohref, noresize, noshade, nowrap, ref, rel, rev, rows, rowspan, scrolling, shape, span, summary,
tabindex, title, usemap, valign, value, vlink, vspace, width.
Sanitize the input, all user submitted input anywhere in an application must be treated as hostile
and filtered. This should be done by the application code, but can also be performed by a web
application firewall (WAF) such as mod_security. The most effective way to prevent this is to do
both, use well coded applications and have a WAF or filtering as a second line of defense.
A common initial preventative to viral infection is a network level firewall. As HTTP/HTTPS protocols
are afforded unfettered access through common firewall configurations, these firewall barriers are
ineffectual. A potential remedy to this is an application firewall with the appropriate XSS virus
signatures. Whilst unlikely, the most obvious way to prevent XSS viruses is to remove XSS
vulnerabilities from web applications.
Cross-site scripting (XSS) is one of the most frequent vulnerabilities found in modern web
applications. Never-theless, many service providers are either not willing or not able to provide
sufficient protection to their users. This paper proposes a novel, client-side solution to this problem.
By modifying the popular Firefox web browser, we are able to dynamically track the flow of sensitive
values (e.g., user cookies) on the client side. Whenever such a sensitive value is aboutto be
transferredto a third party(i.e., the adversary), the user is given the possibility to stop the
connection. To censure protection against more subtle types of XSS attacks that try to leak
information through non-dynamic control dependencies,we additionallyemploy an auxiliary, efficient
static analysis, where necessary. With this combination of dynamic and static techniques, we are
able to protect the user against XSS attacks in a reliable and efficient way. To validate our concepts,
we automatically tested the enhanced browser on more than one million web pages by means of a
demonstrate that only a small number of false positives is generated, and that our underlying
concepts are feasible in practice.