Cross-site scripting (XSS) is a type of computer security vulnerability typically found in web applications. XSS allows an attacker to inject client-side scripts into web pages viewed by other users. The attack is a type of injection, in which malicious code is inserted into otherwise benign and trusted websites. Cross-site scripting attacks are commonly used for phishing, the attempt to trick people into disclosing personal or financial information.
There are two types of XSS attacks:
Non-persistent: In this attack, the malicious code is stored in a website’s database and remains there until it is manually deleted by an administrator or until the database is cleared.
Persistent: In this attack, the malicious code is stored in a website’s database and remains there indefinitely until it is manually deleted by an administrator or until the database is cleared.
Here are some signs to look for:
- The site loads slowly or pages take a long time to load or don’t load at all
- You see blank or broken images on the site
- You see an “Unable To Load Page” error message when visiting certain pages
- Your browser warns you about an SSL certificate problem when visiting certain pages
Preventing cross-site scripting attacks
The best way to prevent cross-site scripting attacks is to keep your website up-to-date. Always install the newest security patches for plugins, which are usually released on a monthly basis.
Another important thing is to keep track of what files are being included on your site and where they come from. You can check this by using the File Manager in WordPress — it allows you to see any external files that are being included in your website.
When you use plugins and themes, make sure they have an active support team behind them. If they do, they should be able to fix any bugs that could lead to cross-site scripting vulnerabilities as soon as possible.
If you use custom code or third-party services (like Google Analytics or MailChimp), make sure that those have been updated with the latest security patches too.
Cross-site scripting is a common occurrence, but by implementing the above three simple measures, security specialists can help to prevent it from becoming widespread. If any files are found that contain malicious code, they should be immediately removed from the site. It may take some time to clean up, but doing so will keep visitors’ information safe. In addition, monitoring malicious activity on the site should be done in order to catch and deal with scans or attacks as quickly as possible.