Simon Willison’s Weblog

Items tagged xss, security in 2008

Filters: Year: 2008 × xss × security ×


When visiting any Web page, the site owner is easily able to ascertain what websites you’ve visited (CSS color hacks) or places you’re logged-in (JavaScript errors / IMG loading behavior). They can also automatically exploit your online bank, social network, and webmail accounts (XSS). Additionally, the browser could be instructed to hack devices on the intranet, including DSL routers and printers. And, if that’s not enough, they could turn you into a felon by forcing requests to illegal content or hack other sites (CSRF).

Jeremiah Grossman # 3rd November 2008, 12:43 pm

Web Security Horror Stories: The Director’s Cut. Slides from the talk on web application security I gave this morning at <head>, the worldwide online conference. I just about managed to resist the temptation to present in my boxers. Topics include XSS, CSRF, Login CSRF and Clickjacking. # 26th October 2008, 12:15 pm

When Ajax Attacks! Web application security fundamentals. Slides and notes from my talk on web application security at @media Ajax last Tuesday. # 20th September 2008, 4:16 pm

When Ajax Attacks! Web application security fundamentals. Slides and (other people’s) notes from my presentation at @media Ajax on Tuesday. # 17th September 2008, 11:18 pm

Coding Horror: Protecting Your Cookies: HttpOnly. Jeff Atwood discovers the hard way that writing an HTML sanitizer is significantly harder than you would think. HttpOnly cookies aren’t the solution though: they’re potentially useful as part of a defense in depth strategy, but fundamentally if you have an XSS hole you’re going to get 0wned, HttpOnly cookies or not. Auto-escape everything on output and be extremely cautious with things like HTML sanitizers. # 29th August 2008, 2:01 am

quipt (via) Extremely clever idea: Cache JavaScript in window.name (which persists between page views and can hold several MB of data), but use document.referrer to check that an external domain hasn’t loaded the cache with malicious code for an XSS attack. UPDATE: Jesse Ruderman points out a fatal flaw in the comments. # 4th July 2008, 3:49 pm

ratproxy. “A semi-automated, largely passive web application security audit tool”—watches you browse and highlights potential XSS, CSRF and other vulnerabilities in your application. Created by Michal Zalewski at Google. # 3rd July 2008, 2:35 pm

IE8 Security Part IV: The XSS Filter (via) IE8 will include an XSS filter to identify and neutralise “reflected” XSS attacks (where malicious code in a query string is rendered to the page), turned on by default. Sounds like a good idea to me, and site authors can disable it using Yet Another Custom HTTP header (X-XSS-Protection: 0). # 3rd July 2008, 9:37 am

Evil GIFs: Partial Same Origin Bypass with Hybrid Files. First there were PNGs that had crossdomain.xml files embedded in them, now there are GIFs that contain Java applets (as JAR files). At this point I’d say don’t even bother trying to validate uploaded files, just make sure they’re served off an entirely different domain instead where XSS doesn’t matter. # 1st July 2008, 8:58 am

BUG: XSS Security flaw in BaseCamp Messages (via) BaseCamp lets users include HTML and JavaScript in messages, on the basis that anyone with a BaseCamp account is a trusted party. I’m not convinced: you could use this to circumvent BaseCamp’s access control stuff and read messages you’re not meant to. On the flip side, you could also use this to add brand new features to BaseCamp by using JavaScript in a message as a server-side equivalent to Greasemonkey. # 26th June 2008, 9:39 am

Crossdomain.xml Invites Cross-site Mayhem. A useful reminder that crossdomain.xml files should be treated with extreme caution. Allowing access from * makes it impossible to protect your site against CSRF attacks, and even allowing from a “circle of trust” of domains can be fatal if just one of those domains has an XSS hole. # 15th May 2008, 8:06 am

Django: security fix released. XSS hole in the Admin application’s login page—updates and patches are available for trunk, 0.96, 0.95 and 0.91. # 14th May 2008, 7:49 am

Mass Attack FAQ. Thousands of IIS Web servers have been infected with an automated mass XSS attack, not through a specific IIS vulnerability but using a universal XSS SQL query that targets SQL Server and modifies every text field to add the attack JavaScript. If an app has even a single SQL injection hole (and many do) it is likely to be compromised. # 26th April 2008, 9:12 am

ISPs’ Error Page Ads Let Hackers Hijack Entire Web (via) Earthlink in the US served “helpful” links and ads on subdomains that failed to resolve, but the ad serving pages had XSS holes which could be used to launch phishing attacks the principle domain (and I imagine could be used to steal cookies, although the story doesn’t mention that). Seems like a good reason to start using wildcard DNS to protect your subdomains from ISP inteference. # 21st April 2008, 6:51 am

Flirting with mime types [PDF] (via) Different browsers have different rules for which content types will be treated as active content (and hence could be vectors for XSS attacks). IE uses a blacklist rather than a whitelist and hence rendered active content for 696 of the tested content types. # 14th April 2008, 8:18 am

Dangers of remote Javascript. Perl.com got hit by a JavaScript porn redirect when the domain of one of their advertisers expired and was bought by a porn company. Nat Torkington suggests keeping track of the expiration dates on any third party domains that are serving JavaScript on your site. # 20th January 2008, 9:49 am

Is your Rails app XSS safe? SafeErb is an interesting take on auto-escaping for Rails: it throws an exception if you try to render a string that hasn’t been untainted yet. # 10th January 2008, 6:46 pm

XSS Vulnerabilities in Common Shockwave Flash Files. Is the word “shockwave” still relevant to Flash? Regardless, it turns out Flash can be a serious vector for XSS attacks, and many commonly used components have recently fixed holes (and hence should be updated ASAP). # 6th January 2008, 9:35 am