News

Web-app vulnerabilities on the rise

Cliff Saran

Many companies’ web servers and web-based applications are vulnerable to cross site scripting attacks, internet security firm NTA Monitor has found.

Research from the company has found that cross site scripting is beginning to appear on social networking sites, blogs and forums.

Roy Hills, technical director at NTA Monitor, said, “Attackers are creating websites in which they embed malicious code to track a visitor’s searches, usernames and passwords. The code can affect a visitor’s PC without their knowledge and can quickly spread to other visitors’ machines.”

Cross site script can occur when information submitted by users is not properly stripped of HTML tags, enabling an attacker to embed malicious code on a website, Hill said. “When the website is accessed, the code will execute code in a user’s browser.

"A user may be redirected to a fake website or have their login or user information compromised. In the worst cases, users’ computers can be compromised.”

According to NTA Monitor it can be difficult to identify the malicious code, as browsers do not currently identify malware.

To avoid being caught Hills suggested IT directors ensure that staff install, run and update anti-spyware and anti-malware programs and undertake regular penetration testing. He also recommended businesses consider control of URLs through web filtering


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