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davidtrump

Cross-site scripting (XSS)

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Cross-site scripting (XSS)
Cross-site scripting (XSS) is a type of computer security vulnerability typically found in web applications. XSS enables attackers to inject client-side scripts into web pages viewed by other users. A cross-site scripting vulnerability may be used by attackers to bypass access controls such as the same-origin policy. Cross-site scripting carried out on websites accounted for roughly 84% of all security vulnerabilities documented by Symantec as of 2007. Bug bounty company HackerOne in 2017 reported that XSS is still a major threat vector. XSS effects vary in range from petty nuisance to significant security risk, depending on the sensitivity of the data handled by the vulnerable site and the nature of any security mitigation implemented by the site's owner.

Background
Security on the web depends on a variety of mechanisms, including an underlying concept of trust known as the same-origin policy. This essentially states that if content from one site (such as https://mybank.example1.com) is granted permission to access resources (like cookies etc.) on a browser, then content from any URL with the same (1) URI scheme, (2) host name, and (3) port number will share these permissions. Content from URLs where any of these three attributes are different will have to be granted permissions separately.

Cross-site scripting attacks use known vulnerabilities in web-based applications, their servers, or the plug-in systems on which they rely. Exploiting one of these, attackers fold malicious content into the content being delivered from the compromised site. When the resulting combined content arrives at the client-side web browser, it has all been delivered from the trusted source, and thus operates under the permissions granted to that system. By finding ways of injecting malicious scripts into web pages, an attacker can gain elevated access-privileges to sensitive page content, to session cookies, and to a variety of other information maintained by the browser on behalf of the user. Cross-site scripting attacks are a case of code injection.

Microsoft security-engineers introduced the term "cross-site scripting" in January 2000. The expression "cross-site scripting" originally referred to the act of loading the attacked, third-party web application from an unrelated attack-site, in a manner that executes a fragment of JavaScript prepared by the attacker in the security context of the targeted domain (taking advantage of a reflected or non-persistent XSS vulnerability). The definition gradually expanded to encompass other modes of code injection, including persistent and non-JavaScript vectors (including ActiveX, Java, VBScript, Flash, or even HTML scripts), causing some confusion to newcomers to the field of information security.

XSS vulnerabilities have been reported and exploited since the 1990s. Prominent sites affected in the past include the social-networking sites Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, YouTube and Orkut. Cross-site scripting flaws have since surpassed buffer overflows to become the most common publicly reported security vulnerability, with some researchers in 2007 estimating as many as 68% of websites are likely open to XSS attacks.

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