The Weather Channel has fixed a common web application security problem on its website that made nearly all links vulnerable to cross-site scripting attacks.
Wang Jin, a doctoral student at the School of Physical and Mathematical Sciences at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, found more than 75 percent of the webpages on Weather.com were vulnerable.
“Attackers just need to add script at the end of The Weather Channel’s URLs,” Wang wrote. “Then the scripts will be executed.”
Wang posted his findings on the Full Disclosure forum, writing that the issues have been fixed. He wrote that he tested tens of thousands of links on Weather.com using a custom tool and posted a video illustrating an attack.
Cross-site scripting was the third-most common type of vulnerability in web applications last year, according to the Open Web Application Security Project. An XSS flaw occurs when an application accepts untrusted data, sending it to a web browser without validating it.
“XSS allows attackers to execute scripts in the victims browser which can hijack user sessions, deface websites or redirect the user to malicious sites,” according to OWASP.
The attack worked without a user being logged in, Wang wrote. He tested the attack using Firefox version 26 in Ubuntu version 12.04 and with Internet Explorer version 9.0.15 on Windows 7.