Securing Magento eCommerce Store from Cross-Site Scripting Attacks

A cross-site scripting attack is a method of injecting malicious script in the web pages. It is a major security vulnerability that can ruin your Magento eCommerce reputation among users. Depending on the severity of XSS attack, user accounts, private data, card details etc. are compromised.

Although cross-site scripting attack is done by inserting scripts like any other web attack like SQL injections still, it differs as the users of web application are at risk instead of the application itself. Such devastating attack comes in two major forms: Stored XSS & Reflected XSS.

A stored XSS is more harmful as it directly affects your vulnerable web application. Whereas, a reflected XSS comes from a user’s browser where a malicious script has been inserted and is only activated when the link is clicked on.

No matter in which form a cross-site scripting attack comes, it is important to consider requisite security measures for it.

Major Impacts of XSS Attacks

As cross-site script is a code that runs on the client-side thus, it has complete control over JavaScript access to on the browser, For e.g., cookies that are being used to store information.

Some of the major impacts that you can experience once effected from XSS attack are as follows:

  • Session Hijacking
  • Disclosure of sensitive data
  • CSRF attacks
  • Cookie stealing
  • Redirection to other phishing site or webpage
  • Spreading of web worms
  • Impersonation of victim & taking over the account
  • Code execution on the server in case of admin theft etc.

What can you do about it?

A cross-site scripting is a code vulnerability in your website and can cause a lot of damage to your business. It helps attackers to gain access to every task that a user can do. Having to mention a few, managing passwords, financial information, payment, and many more are at stake in such dangerous attack.

So, it is essential to consult developers or web application testers who can help you with implementing requisite coding practices to avoid such issues to occur. Else, there are several Magento development companies available in India or abroad that can help you set up a powerful cheat sheet for the rescue operations.

HTML Escaping to Fight Cross-site Scripting

Escaping a fraudulent user input is the best practice to avoid XSS attack. Here, once you receive web application data then you ensure it’s security prior to rendering to an end user. Some common examples while using HTML defense are as follows:

– Safe HTML attribute

<input type=”text” name=”fname” value=”UNTRUSTED DATA”>

It is an aggressive HTML entity encoding where you can strictly validate unsafe attributes and place the untrusted data into a whitelist of safe attributes.

– Untrusted URL in a SRC or HREF attribute

<a href=”UNTRUSTED URL”>clickme</a>

<iframe src=”UNTRUSTED URL” />

Here, you are achieving a safe URL verification while whitelisting https and http URL’s only.

Handling a Javascript Protocol is quite difficult to use with untrusted website. So, it is recommended to avoid such scripts to open a new window. And, this HTML escape shall help you to achieve so.

– JavaScript Variable

<script>var currentValue=’UNTRUSTED DATA’;</script>

<script>someFunction(‘UNTRUSTED DATA’);</script>

In context with JavaScript, escaping a double quotation mark (”) to backslash () can be done by a followed quotation mark (”). And, if we talk about HTML parser, the backslash mark () is not considered as an escape character.

And, these scripts shall allow you to avoid backslash encoding (” or ’or ).

Apart from these, there are more snippets to safely render untrusted data in a variety of distinctive contexts. The effectiveness of using such HTML attributes depends on your web application’s permissions for users.

CONCLUSION

Any individual or organization who deals in web-based applications are prone to such security attacks. However, eCommerce store owners are more likely to suffer from such attacks. The reason being they have most of the individual’s personal or private data.

So, it is crucial for every retailer to choose a development team wisely while choosing to sell online.

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Written by Akashdeep Sharma

Amidst such a long period of work, I have come across many complex situations and have handled each one of them analytically as well as professionally. I constantly look for professional opportunities that can test my Magento development skills and can help to grow more in the same.

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