Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Other people's content shown to be dangerous

In Promiscuous JavaScript considered dangerous I said that including content from elsewhere on your pages was dangerous, not only because the people supplying the content might be malicious but also because they might fail to prevent third parties from injecting malicious content.

Judging by this BBC News article this is exactly what happened recently to the web sites of the London Stock Exchange, Autotrader, the Vue cinema chain and a number of other organisations as a result of displaying adverts provided by the advertising firm Unanimis. This will have caused problems for these various organisations' clients, and reputational damage and hassle for the organisations themselves.

Ideally you'd carefully filter other people's content before including it in your pages. But you may not be able to do this if, for example, the supplier requires you to let everything through untouched or if you are using the promiscuous JavaScript approach. In such cases you are entirely dependent on the competence of the supplier and, as demonstrated here, some are more competent than others.

1 comment:

  1. The caja project looked useful here with it's object capability security model, but i don't know how much real world use is has.