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DeveloperDrive.com: What Web Developers Need to Know About Cross-Site Scripting

Note: This article was originally published at PHPDeveloper on 18 October 2011.
PHPDeveloper

On the DeveloperDrive.com site there's a recent post anyone wondering about cross-site scripting should give a read. They introduce you to the basic concept and two things you can do to help prevent them.

This little fable describes the most common vulnerability found in web sites, the Cross Site Scripting (XSS) attack. According to a report from WhiteHat Security 83 percent of websites they tested have had at least one serious vulnerability and 66 percent of all websites with vulnerabilities are susceptible to XSS attacks making it the most common vulnerability web developers face. To fix this, it takes 67 days on average. Tools like WebScarab and Paros Proxy can be used to scan sites for possible vulnerabilities.

They offer two simple pieces of advice that it's all too easy to forget when developing applications - validate all user input to ensure it's what it should be and escape any untrusted output (even sometimes your own!) before pushing it out to the page.