HawkScan Test Info for Web Cache Deception

Web Cache Deception


Plugin Id: 40039


To mitigate the vulnerability of Web Cache Deception, the following steps can be taken:

  1. Disable caching for dynamic content: Ensure that caching is disabled for any pages or resources that contain sensitive data or user-specific information. This can be done by setting appropriate cache-control headers in the server’s response. For example, in Apache, you can add the following directive to your .htaccess file or server configuration:

    <FilesMatch "\.(html|php)$">
        Header set Cache-Control "private, no-store, no-cache, must-revalidate"

    This will prevent the browser and intermediate caches from storing and serving cached copies of these files.

  2. Implement cache-busting techniques: Use cache-busting techniques to ensure that each request for a resource is treated as a unique request, even if the URL remains the same. This can be achieved by appending a unique query parameter to the resource URL, such as a timestamp or a random string. For example:

    <link rel="stylesheet" href="styles.css?v=20220101">

    This will force the browser to fetch the resource again, bypassing any cached copies.

  3. Regularly review and update cache policies: Regularly review and update the cache policies for your website or application to ensure that they align with the latest security best practices. This includes considering the sensitivity of the data being served, the caching requirements of different resources, and any changes in the caching behavior of web browsers.


Web Cache Deception is a vulnerability that occurs when a web cache, such as a browser cache or a content delivery network (CDN) cache, serves cached copies of sensitive pages or resources to unauthorized users. This can happen when the cache incorrectly interprets the URL of a dynamic page or resource and serves it to multiple users, even if the content is intended to be personalized or protected.

The vulnerability arises due to the way web caches handle requests and responses. Caches are designed to improve performance by storing copies of frequently accessed resources and serving them to subsequent users. However, if the cache does not properly differentiate between different versions or variations of a resource, it can lead to the exposure of sensitive information.


The risks associated with Web Cache Deception include:

  1. Unauthorized access to sensitive data: If a cached copy of a sensitive page or resource is served to an unauthorized user, it can result in the exposure of confidential information. This can include personal data, financial information, or any other sensitive data that should only be accessible to authenticated and authorized users.

  2. Data leakage and privacy violations: Web Cache Deception can lead to data leakage and privacy violations, as cached copies of sensitive pages or resources may be inadvertently shared with unintended recipients. This can have legal and regulatory implications, especially in industries that handle sensitive customer information, such as healthcare or finance.

  3. Impact on user experience and trust: If users are served outdated or incorrect versions of pages or resources due to caching issues, it can negatively impact their experience and erode their trust in the website or application. This can result in decreased user engagement, increased bounce rates, and potential loss of business.

It is important to address and mitigate the risks associated with Web Cache Deception to ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of sensitive data and to maintain a secure and trustworthy web presence.