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Google launches hacker game to train bug 'mercenaries'

Increase your XSS-fu, win cake

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Google wants to bring new blood into the security bug hunter community with a game launched to test developers' knowledge of cross site scripting (XSS) vulnerabilities.

The XSS Game put devs through six games of increasing complexity that required successful attacks against mock vulnerable web applications.

"The game is designed primarily for developers working on web applications who do not specialise in security," Google wrote on the game page.

"XSS bugs are common because they have a nasty habit of popping up wherever a web app deals with untrusted input.

"Our motivation is to highlight common coding patterns which lead to XSS to help you spot them in your code."

Seasoned security researchers would breeze through the tests and may be better placed testing their hacking skills against other free challenges.

The first level required developers to execute JavaScript in a page without proper escaping for included user input. Hints were provided and developers could consult a host of external sources for information on launching XSS attacks.

Google has been keen to stamp out XSS bugs in its products. In June last year, Mountain View doubled its bug bounty rewards for dangerous XSS bugs in its critical applications from $3133.70 (leet in hacker speak) to $7000

Cross site scripting, together with SQL injection, is still a favourite attack vector according to a recent FireHost report. It remained in third spot in the OWASP Top 10 security threat list. ®

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