HawkScan Test Info for Cross Site Scripting (Reflected)

Cross Site Scripting (Reflected)


Plugin Id: 40012 | CWE: 79


  1. Filtering allowable data: Implement a mechanism to filter and validate user input to ensure that only expected and safe data is accepted. This can be done by using input validation techniques such as regular expressions or whitelist filtering.
  2. Encoding data: Use proper encoding techniques to ensure that user input is properly encoded before being stored in the backend system or presented in the DOM. This includes encoding data in HTML, URL, CSS, or JavaScript as per the context in which it is being used.
  3. Content Security Policy (CSP): Implement a content security policy that restricts the types of content that can be loaded and executed on a web page. This can help prevent XSS attacks by blocking the execution of malicious scripts.

Example of input validation in a web application using PHP:

$input = $_POST['input'];
if (preg_match('/^[a-zA-Z0-9]+$/', $input)) {
    // Input is valid, proceed with further processing
} else {
    // Input is not valid, display an error message

Example of encoding data in a web application using JavaScript:

var userInput = document.getElementById('userInput').value;
var encodedInput = encodeURIComponent(userInput);
document.getElementById('output').innerHTML = encodedInput;

Example of setting a content security policy in a web application using HTTP headers:

Content-Security-Policy: default-src 'self'; script-src 'self' 'unsafe-inline'; style-src 'self' 'unsafe-inline'


Cross-site scripting issues occur when user input is not properly validated or encoded before being stored in a backend system or presented back within the DOM. This vulnerability allows attackers to inject malicious scripts into web pages, potentially compromising the security of the application and its users.


Exploiting cross-site scripting vulnerabilities can lead to various risks, including:

  1. Information disclosure: Attackers can use XSS to obtain sensitive information about other users of the system, such as session cookies or tokens. This information can be used for account takeover or other malicious activities.
  2. Phishing attacks: XSS can be used to trick users into revealing their credentials or other sensitive information by presenting them with a fake login form or other deceptive content.
  3. Malware distribution: Attackers can inject malicious scripts that can download and execute malware on the victim’s system, potentially leading to further compromise or control of the system.