Worried about the website’s cross-site scripting attacks?
We wish we could reassure you that there is little to think about but the fact is that there are very frequent cross-site scripting attacks. And sooner or later, it is likely that the website will come under a cross-site scripting attack.
Hackers use the visitor’s browser in this form of attack to attack the website. They will intercept private data, store unauthorised files and directories, guide your users to other malicious pages, initiate attacks on other websites, among other items, until they obtain access to your website. These malicious operations have the potential to wreck your website.
It would slow down your website and impact the ranking of your search engine. You will experience a traffic dip and your revenue will eventually take a hit.
Stuff will snowball even more and your site will be blacklisted by Google, and your site may be removed by your hosting company.
But don’t worry, by taking a few quick mitigation steps for cross site scripting, you can keep all this from happening on your website.
We’ll help you follow the proper measures in this article to defend your website from cross-site scripting attacks.
Cross-Site Scripting is a risky hack that does significant harm to the sites of victims. Yet it can easily be avoided. To secure your site against this form of attack, you can instal a WordPress protection plugin like MalCare.
What Is A Cross-Site Scripting Attack (XSS)?
A intruder hacks a website in a cross-site scripting attack by impersonating the visitor.
Following the actions the hacker takes to perform the attack is the easiest way to grasp this form of attack.
Most websites have input fields that allow visitors to insert data into the website (such as a communication or signup form or a comment section).
A plugin activates these spaces. Generally, the plugins guarantee that like a code fragment, the data embedded into the fields is not harmful. But if the XSS vulnerability is established by the plugins, they will cause a visitor to access malicious data or untrusted data.
A compromised comment plugin, for example, permits visitors to inject a malicious connection.
It seems like your website requires you to perform a particular feature. It is very likely you will fall for the trick and allow your browser cookies to be reached.
You reveal confidential details to a hacker by enabling access to your browser’s cookies.
Browser cookies store knowledge of all types, including your login credentials. The hacker will impersonate you and log into your website until they obtain access to your login credentials.
What Are The Different Types of XSS or Cross-Site Scripting Attacks?
Two forms of cross-site script attacks are available. Those are as follows:
- Stored (or Persistent) XSS Attack: The site user is the focus for this.
- Reflected (or Non-Persistent) XSS Attack-The website is the object of this form of attack.
Because of insecure modules, cross-site scripting attacks exist. Using insecure plugins like form or comment plugins, hackers search the internet looking for a website. Generally, these plugins cause difficulties with user input validation. They begin to initiate the attack until they find a website using an insecure plugin.
Ultimately, hackers have access to the victim’s browser cookies that contain sensitive information, among other items, such as website login credentials, e-banking credentials, Facebook and email credentials.
If the primary purpose of the hacker is to access your website, he will extract login credentials for the account. A mirrored XSS attack is called this. But if the hacker attacks the site’s customers or visitors, he’ll extract passwords from e-banking, Facebook, and Gmail. This is considered an XSS or recurrent XSS attack that is stored.
Now that you understand cross-site scripting and its multiple ways, let’s take a look at how to defend your website from this kind of hacking attack.
Prevention Mechanisms for Cross-Site Scripting
Using plugins and templates, WordPress pages are constructed. Most sites have an input plugin that makes a portion of contact form or comments that enables visitors to enter info.
Over time, several input plugins build XSS vulnerabilities. Hackers will use bugs to conduct cross-domain scripting attacks on your site, as we discussed earlier. You should not only uninstall it because the plugin is an integral aspect of the website. What you should do is take precautions on your website to discourage XSS attacks.
To avoid xss bugs and defend it from XSS attacks, we will show you 5 steps you need to enforce on your web.
- Install a Security Plugin
- Install the Prevent XSS Vulnerability Plugin
- Review Comments Before Making Them Live
- Keep Your Plugins Updated
- Use Plugins From Reputed Marketplaces
1. Install a Security Plugin
With a WordPress firewall, a good security plugin like MalCare can safeguard your website and allow you to enforce site hardening steps.
The WordPress firewall plugin examines oncoming traffic and blocks the website from handling bad traffic. Using a computer like a tablet or a laptop, users (including hackers) enter the site. A special code that is called an IP address is connected with any device. The firewall of MalCare searches the internet searching for weak IP addresses. IP addresses that have been connected in the past to malicious operations are prohibited from accessing the website.
In this way, at the outset, hackers who attempt to enter the site to execute an XSS attack are blocked.
ii. Site Hardening
MalCare has several hardening steps for WordPress and one of them is modifying encryption keys. We know that hackers attempt to steal user browser cookies that hold user credentials in a cross-site scripting XSS attack. WordPress stores these credentials, however, in an encrypted way. It attaches to the login protection keys and salts, which makes it impossible to decode it.
They will discover what the login password is if the hackers know what the keys and salts are. This is why experts in web application security suggest that WordPress salts and keys be updated on a bi-annual or quarterly basis. You can update the security keys with MalCare with the click of a mouse.
2. Install the Prevent XSS Vulnerability Plugin
We suggest downloading the Avoid XSS Vulnerability plugin if you have a stable security plugin in place to recognise parameters typically used in XSS attacks.
For eg, symbols such as exclamation marks, opening round brackets, etc. can be used in the inserted malicious connection that hackers may leave on your comment section The plugin can help deter cross site scripting attacks on your WordPress website by blocking these parameters.
That said only minimal security against XSS can be offered by this plugin. When stopping and detecting XSS attacks early on a firewall plays a key role. This is why in addition to a safety plugin, we first consider using this plugin.
3. Manually Approve Comments Before Making Them Live
Hackers leave malicious links in the comment section during cross-site script attacks in the expectation that anyone will click the email.
Before allowing them on your website, it’s better to study feedback. The native comment system of WordPress as well as common comment plugins such as JetPack, Thrive Comments, Disqus, etc. allow you to check comments manually before accepting and posting them.
That said it isn’t easy to detect malicious contacts. With contacts disguised to appear as official, hackers leave truthful feedback. Even while investigating the connection, it will start a hack attack if you inadvertently click on it.
Most site owners choose to use plugins for comments and not the default comment system of WordPress. This is because there is a greater opportunity for comment plugins to handle spam. But as we said, over time, plugins appear to build bugs and this can open up hacking attempts on your website.
We encourage you to keep your plugins updated in order to maintain your comment plugin and resolve any content protection vulnerabilities. In the next segment, we’ll discuss why.
4. Keep Your Plugins Updated
If plugin developers notice XSS bugs in their applications, they repair them easily and release a security patch.
In the context of an update, this patch comes in.
The XSS vulnerability will be fixed until you upgrade the plugin on your web. Yet the website becomes vulnerable to cross-site scripting or XSS attack if updates are delayed.
This is because the vulnerability becomes public data after a security patch is released. It means that hackers are aware that in the old version of the plugin there is a vulnerability. To locate WordPress websites using a special version of the plugin that is insecure, hackers search the internet using bots and tools.
Your website would become a target for a hack if you delay the update.
They can then exploit the vulnerability of cross-site scripting and hack your website. Hence, please keep your website updated as a rule of thumb.
5. Buy Plugins From Trusted Marketplaces
It’s safer to import them from the official WordPress repository if you are using free plugins like Jetpack and Disqus. Get them from their official website or trustworthy markets like Code Canyon, ThemeForest, Evanto, etc. if you are going to use premium plugins such as Thrive Comments or WpDevArt.
Trusted marketplaces have high-quality plugins that reduce the possibility of new cross-site scripting vulnerabilities.
There are plenty of websites these days that sell pirated copies of paid plugins for free. Many of these pirated plugins come with malware pre-installed. Installing them on the web means opening hackers’ doors. In comparison, pirated plugins do not undergo patches, which suggests that bugs exist in the plugins, making the website vulnerable to a hacking assault.
Avoid using plugins from untrusted sites that are pirated. Using plugins that only come from reputable markets or from a WordPress registry.
With that on the WordPress page, we have come to the end of stopping cross-site scripting. We are assured that the website will be safe from cross-site scripting attacks if you introduce these measures.
The Before You Go
When it comes to website security, shielding the WordPress domain from cross-site scripting attacks is a step in the right direction.
However, only one of the prevalent types of hack attacks (such as SQL injection attacks) on WordPress pages is cross-site scripting. Hackers are bringing plenty of tricks up their sleeves. To stop cross-site scripting attacks, along with all other forms of WordPress attacks, it’s best to introduce an all-round security solution on your website.
For routine security checking, we suggest installing a stable WordPress security plugin like MalCare on your blog. It comes with a security scanner or a network vulnerability scanner that checks the site and tracks it while stopping it from being hacked by hackers. In order to make your website more safe, it also helps you to take site hardening steps. With peace of mind, you can run your website knowing it’s safe.