Feeds

Stay ahead of Web 2.0 worms

XSS marks the spot

Using blade systems to cut costs and sharpen efficiencies

As you can see from my examples you can - if you're careful - think through all the inputs to your application and prevent code from getting mixed into your data. But for real protection, you'll need to get organized and put a strategy in place.

You'll need to define some organization-wide security standards that cover XSS. You'll also need to make sure all developers know how to recognize XSS problems and implement protections. Don't reinvent your controls in every application. You'll want to adopt standard controls for canonicalization, validation, and encoding across your organization. The Enterprise Security API from the organization I work with, the Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP), is one attempt to define a set of interfaces and a reference implementation.

You'll also need a good testing program, with both automated scanning and manual reviews. Automated tools can find simple XSS problems, but only manual code review and penetration testing will be able to diagnose the complex problems. Only manual review can verify that the standard controls work as intended and that developers are using them properly.

XSS isn't going to go away anytime soon - in fact the problem's going to become worse thanks to AJAX, web services and Web 2.0. The key to containing the problem, though, is to act tactically and strategically whilst building web applications.®

Jeff Williams is chair of the OWASP and chief executive of AspectSecurity.

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

More from The Register

next story
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
NEW, SINISTER web tracking tech fingerprints your computer by making it draw
Have you been on YouPorn lately, perhaps? White House website?
LibreSSL RNG bug fix: What's all the forking fuss about, ask devs
Blow to bit-spitter 'tis but a flesh wound, claim team
Black Hat anti-Tor talk smashed by lawyers' wrecking ball
Unmasking hidden users is too hot for Carnegie-Mellon
Attackers raid SWISS BANKS with DNS and malware bombs
'Retefe' trojan uses clever spin on old attacks to grant total control of bank accounts
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
Don't look, Snowden: Security biz chases Tails with zero-day flaws alert
Exodus vows not to sell secrets of whistleblower's favorite OS
prev story

Whitepapers

Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.