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Bad Coding 101: Ensuring Your Website is XSS-Friendly

Bad Coding 101: Ensuring Your Website is XSS-Friendly

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This article was written by John Campbell, Director of Content Engineering at Security Journey.

Congratulations on embracing the wild and whimsical world of Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) for your website! By boldly choosing to sidestep those pesky security measures, you're rolling out the red carpet for a colorful cast of hackers, cyber pranksters, and digital adventurers. But maintaining this level of chaotic charm requires dedication – a commitment to artfully dodge every single security best practice.  

Fear not; we are here to guide you through this thrilling journey! Follow our whimsical, step-by-step playbook and keep your website gleefully vulnerable for years to come.  

Let the digital shenanigans begin! 


How To Make Friends with Vulnerabilities 

Let’s dive into the exciting world of Cross-Site – it's like the digital equivalent of a surprise party! Remember, XSS is that cheeky trick that lets cyber jesters sneak their mischievous scripts into webpages viewed by others. It's like hiding a whoopee cushion on a chair in the digital realm!  

The outcomes? Oh, they're as varied as the flavors in a candy store: unauthorized access to user data, session hijacking, and a whole carnival of other cybersecurity surprises.  

With XSS, the digital fun never ends – it's a never-ending game of digital hide-and-seek! 


Sanitization? Sounds weak! 

Do you sing "Happy Birthday" twice while washing your hands post-bathroom break? Me neither! Who needs all that cleanliness, right? It's the same story with user input on websites. Sanitization? Pfft, that's like double-rinsing your salad – totally overkill. 

When users playfully toss data your way, it's like catching confetti! Sure, some of that might be a bit mischievous, maybe even a tad bit 'nefarious,' but hey, life's a party! Those secure coding party-poopers will tell you to scrub and sanitize that data. But come on, where's the fun in that? 

Let's just put on our party hats and trust our users. After all, if they throw a surprise cybersecurity party, it's bound to be a blast. Why not enjoy the unexpected fireworks of creativity and 'unique' data inputs? 

For example, why did the fine folks who created JavaScript add the ‘eval()’ function? To be used, of course! What better way to use it than with untrusted and unsanitized data! Just stand back and watch the fun! 


Security Recommendations are just that—Recommendations 

In the digital world, security features have become as common as avocados in a hipster brunch spot. Sure, they're meant to protect your product, but let's be honest: They often feel stuck in a never-ending TSA line – slow and a tad frustrating. Why not streamline the process? Turn off those security features and watch your site zip along like a sports car on an open highway! 

Read More: Feeling Exhausted? The AppSec Dilemma Could Be to Blame 

And about those pesky security warnings that pop up? Think of them as those caution signs on roller coasters – more of a gentle nudge than a hard rule. Remember, a warning is just a friendly heads-up, not a commandment carved in stone. Embrace the speed and freedom and enjoy the digital breeze in your hair! 


Revealing Error Messages? That’s Authenticity! 

You've probably heard the tech gurus preaching that error messages spilling too much info are a big no-no. But hey, isn't honesty the best policy? When your error messages are as detailed as a travel blogger's Instagram post, you're just being transparent with your users. Do they really need to know which software library you're using, or if it's outdated, does it belong in a digital museum? Probably not.  

But keeping this info under wraps is like shoving your week-old laundry under the bed - out of sight, but not out of mind. Let's champion transparency and give your users a backstage pass to the inner workings of your site. After all, a little honesty never hurt anyone, right? 


People Love Antiques 

People love old things—classic cars, midcentury furniture, grandmothers. But why stop there? Using old versions of frameworks and libraries gives your application that classic feel we all enjoy. Oh, did they fix a vulnerability in a library? They are just trying to make it work for everyone. Take a deep breath and ignore all those “critical update” notices. 


And Don’t Forget: Ignorance is Bliss 

Ah, the curious case of developers and secure coding education! Most college programs seem to be secret allies in our quest for digital chaos, churning out developers who are as familiar with secure coding as cats are with swimming. 

Why would we ever consider taking the most logical step of providing our staff with high-quality, hands-on security training? Imagine the absurdity! Developers would go from blissfully coding in the dark to becoming security ninjas, adept at fending off XSS attacks and a whole smorgasbord of cyber threats. The horror! 

Trained developers might become so skilled in identifying and neutralizing vulnerabilities that they'd practically be digital superheroes. And who wants that? It's like giving night vision goggles to someone who enjoys stargazing – utterly pointless. Let's keep our developers happily unaware, frolicking in the meadows of code, unburdened by the weighty knowledge of security. After all, ignorance is bliss. 


In Conclusion 

Let's imagine a world where we made our applications secure.  

Picture this: error messages were as vague as a fortune cookie, so elusive that even Sherlock Holmes couldn't deduce what was happening. Your users would be left in such a blissful state of ignorance that they'd think '404 error' is just a new trendy area code. 

And think of the hackers – poor souls! With no vulnerabilities to exploit, they'd be forced to take up new hobbies, like knitting or competitive bird watching. Your cybersecurity would be tight, like trying to squeeze into jeans after Thanksgiving dinner. 

In such a secure world, we'd all sleep like babies, devoid of the thrilling midnight alerts of yet another breach. Where's the fun in that? It's the digital equivalent of a world where socks never go missing from the dryer. Efficient, sure, but oh, so dull! 

If you want to stay away from Bad Coding, a secure coding training program could be the path to secure websites for your organization. Security Journey’s team of AppSec experts is ready to help you build your program and get started on your security journey.