Saturday, 13 August 2022

Cross Site Scripting: How Cybercriminals Use This Technique To Steal Data

There are many varieties of attacks that can put our network security at risk. Hackers use many methods to achieve their goals. Viruses, Trojans, keyloggers, Phishing attacks... Many threats that in one way or another can affect our devices. In this article we are going to talk about what Cross Site Scripting attacks are and how they can damage a website.

What is a Cross Site Scripting Attack?

We can name Cross Site Scripting in Spanish as cross-site scripts. It is also known simply as XSS. It is a website vulnerability that would allow an attacker to place malicious scripts on a legitimate web page. Something that, logically, could affect the proper functioning and reliability of that site.

These commands can be designed to sneak malware onto users through the browser. But they also affect the web page itself, its performance, and could lead developers to find a way to fix problems with the code. It is one of the negative circumstances that webmasters have to face.

If we focus on the first case we raised, through a Cross Site Scripting attack they could infect a user's computer while browsing. This occurs when the sequence of a malicious website interacts with the code of a vulnerable one.

The target of these attacks is the code of a website that runs in the user's browser, as opposed to other attacks that aim to damage the server of that site. There are many varieties of XSS attacks, but the mission is to introduce malicious scripts into the victim's browser.

How a Cross Site Scripting Attack Works

As we mentioned earlier, an attacker is going to need website vulnerabilities. A web page stores data and information. With this type of attack, it would be possible to send malicious content to the victim's browser that could steal data or damage a system.

Let's take as an example that a user visits a web page to search for information. You expect to receive content, data that you are looking for, but that site has suffered a Cross Site Scripting attack. What the victim will receive is content that may contain malware. This malicious software could be designed to steal information or sneak malware onto your computer to collect passwords. It would therefore put visitors to that site at risk.

It should be noted that an XSS attack can be relatively common and present on many pages. After all, there are many websites that need to store and send data to browsers. It is in this exchange of information precisely what attackers take advantage of to deploy their strategy.



How to Avoid Cross Site Scripting Attacks

Keep in mind that this is something that depends both on the person in charge of a website and also on the users. In the first case, the person who has a website will have to keep it updated, correct any vulnerabilities that may exist and thus offer a secure service.

Now, on the part of private users, those who could ultimately be the victim of this type of attack, they can also take into account certain actions in their day-to-day life to avoid being victims of this problem and many other similar ones.

Install a good antivirus

An essential first step is to install a good antivirus. There are many security tools that we can add to our computers and in this way make them as protected as possible. It is very important to apply it to all types of operating systems, since there are none that are 100% safe and cannot be compromised by this type of attack or any other similar one.

It should be taken into account that an antivirus could help prevent the entry of malware that arrived through a Cross Site Scripting attack. There are both free and paid options, but we recommend installing a good security program at all times. We can also have other tools such as a firewall.

Have updated equipment

It is also essential to have the equipment properly updated. Many of these threats are based on vulnerabilities that exploit failures in our equipment. We must have the software updated with the latest versions and correct possible problems that may exist. We are not only talking about the operating system, but also about any program that we are using. We must always have all the patches installed and thus avoid security risks.

We must periodically check that we have the latest software versions installed. You always have to download them from official sites and we should never leave the devices obsolete. Otherwise we could have problems, as we have seen. There could be security flaws that expose our data and that may be used for bad purposes by third parties.

Don't visit sites that may be unsafe

Of course we must also avoid visiting sites that may be unsafe. For example, those that we access through third-party links and that show us something suspicious, a page that does not give us confidence. It may be a site full of vulnerabilities and has been exploited by attackers.

Common sense

Yet another issue is common sense. Perhaps it is the most important of all to avoid problems. We must avoid mistakes that could compromise us. For example downloading files from untrustworthy sites, installing software that may be illegitimate, etc. Ultimately, it is a very important foundation for security. A large number of attacks will require user interaction, to carry out some action.

In short, these are some elementary actions that we must implement to avoid being victims of a Cross Site Scripting attack that could put our computers at risk through the browser and visiting a simple website. It is important that we keep our computers protected, that we do not make mistakes and that we always keep everything up to date.





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