What do Cross-site Scripting Attacks mean in WordPress
Essentially a hacker tricks a trusted website into putting malicious code onto their visitors computers and browsers. If a website has this vulnerability and a hacker discovers that they usually exploit this vulnerability via links. This link has a script in it and when someone clicks on that link the script goes to the XSS vulnerable website and then the script is executed on the visitor’s browser. So it basically does what it wants on your browser.
WordPress XSS attacks
The first step is an attacker distributes links containing malicious code that are directed at a vulnerable website and that link contains a script which is the malicious code that can be executed. When someone clicks on that link they go to the vulnerable website, that malicious code goes to the server. The server sends it back to the visitors browser without the user even knowing anything is wrong and the victim’s browser sees that code as coming from a trusted website so it executes it. It can execute something, download a file or give the hacker access to the cookies on your system. Here the victim doesn’t even know what happened. The only person knows it happened is the hacker who gets the information they want.
So the big question is who is actually vulnerable? Which websites are vulnerable to this hack?
And the answer is any website with improper security measures which is pretty much ninety-nine percent the websites out there. But it’s easily fixed and if you do the right steps you can avoid being vulnerable which is not that hard. A hacker can discover this vulnerability by usually checking on search forms on a website discover and then they create the links based on that knowledge. The vulnerability is most often found in or near website search forms.
So how do you protect your site?
At the end of the day a developer needs to fix the XSS vulnerability because often this arises with plugins or themes where they allow code to be executed that shouldn’t be executed. They don’t have the proper filters on so the malicious code goes into the site and they give it back to the visitor and that’s when the malicious code attacks the visitor.
So the developers need to fix it and when they do fix it, they release an update to their themes or other plugins or even or WordPress core files that are vulnerable. Updates are released very quickly after something like this is discovered. So the best way to protect your site is to always keep your plugins, themes and core files up-to-date because this is actually the number one security threat that’s facing WordPress sites right now is the XSS attack.
Christine writes for people who seek for knowledge about SEO, blogging, online marketing, gadgets and web apps.
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