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Cross-Site Scripting (XSS)

Simple Definition for Beginners: Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) is a security vulnerability in web applications where attackers inject malicious scripts into webpages viewed by other users. Common Use Example: If a website has a comment section that doesn’t properly check what people post, an attacker could insert a script that steals information from other users who view the comment. Technical Definition for Professionals: Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) is a type of security vulnerability found in web applications that allows attackers to inject malicious scripts into content that is delivered to other users. These scripts can execute in the context of the user's browser, leading to unauthorized actions, data theft, and other malicious activities. XSS can be classified into three main types: · Stored XSS: Malicious script is permanently stored on the target server, such as in a database or forum post. The script is executed when a user retrieves and views the stored data. · Reflected XSS: Malicious script is reflected off a web server, such as in an error message or search result, and is immediately returned to the user’s browser. This type of XSS is typically delivered via a link. · DOM-based XSS: Malicious script is executed as a result of modifying the Document Object Model (DOM) environment in the user’s browser. This type of XSS occurs on the client side rather than the server side. Key aspects of XSS include: · Injection Point: Where the malicious script is injected into the application (e.g., form inputs, URL parameters). · Script Execution: How the script is executed in the user's browser. · Impact: The potential consequences of the XSS attack, such as session hijacking, data theft, and defacement. Effective prevention and mitigation strategies for XSS include: · Input Validation: Ensuring that all user inputs are properly validated and sanitized. · Output Encoding: Encoding data before rendering it in the browser to prevent script execution. · Content Security Policy (CSP): Implementing CSP headers to restrict the sources from which scripts can be loaded and executed. · Security Libraries: Using security libraries and frameworks that provide built-in protection against XSS.

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