A complete guide to cross-site scripting attack

Cross-site scripting is still a major threat to websites. The attacker uses a malicious piece of code to carry out the attack. The attack is usually planned to get secret information such as bank account information. The malicious code helps you bypass the security checks so you can easily go undetected. It can also be of many levels. This is based on the sensitivity of data present on the site and the expertise of the attacker. Attackers always look for vulnerabilities in the website to find a way by which they can easily sneak into. The most commonly used method is to access cookies. Cookies store the data of the users. So, anyone who can access cookies can also access the data linked to it. Following are the details of what is xss attack.
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Types of XSS attacks:

  • Non-persistent XSS attacks are based on HTML queries. The vulnerable code is injected into the HTML of the site giving the attacker access to the website they want. If the site does not have an HTML filter, then it becomes easy for the attacker to extract secret data.
  • In persistent attack, the code of the attacker is saved permanently on the web that can result in obtaining data in huge amounts. The longer the malicious content is on the site, the better it is for the attacker. This technique is mostly used in the message and chat platforms. The code is injected into such platforms, and the data is easily extracted after successful implementation.
  • Self XSS is a way of attracting the user to run the JavaScript code that is installed on the site. The user gets tempted, and only a single click can result in loss of whole data.
  • Mutated XSS is only used by experienced attackers as these are one of the most complicated attacks. The attacker is needed to have a lot of experience in the field to execute such type of attack. Although it is the same code, but the code is modified in such a way that it becomes really hard to catch the attacker. Even many filters fail to catch such type of attack attempts.

How to protect your site from XSS attacks?

There are several measures that you can take to protect your site form popular XSS attacks. These are listed below:

  • The code must be monitored before having a user on the web. This greatly reduces the chances of being attacked. In fact, it is the most popular technique in this field and is known as filter usage.
  • The input data to the site must be monitored. This checks that the data in the input is always correct.
  • Take security measures on cookie usage. Cookies are mostly used to store data of the users on the site. So anyone who can access cookies can also access the data of the users. Always take certain security measures on cookies usage.
  • Use popular WAF tools. These tools provide you with useful data so that you can take the right steps to ensure safety.

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