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Testing reveals almost half of applications susceptible to cross-site scripting

markpainter ‎02-22-2013 06:51 AM - edited ‎09-09-2015 11:44 AM

Next week, we are publishing the HP 2012 Cyber Risk Report. This is an  annual collaboration among groups within HP Enterprise Security Products including  HP Security Research (spanning HP DVLabs, HP Fortify Software Security Research, and the HP Zero Day Initiative), HP TippingPoint, and HP Fortify on Demand. While you'll have to wait until next week to read the full report, there are some key stats I can share with you now that illustrate the ugly nature of the security beast.  Cross-site scripting has been around a long, long time.  In fact, one of my first security jobs (all the way back in 2002) involved working on a white paper on that very subject. Apparently, it didn't solve the problem. We tested thousands of applications across multiple sample sets and the results were clear -  cross-site scripting remains a pervasive web application security problem. Numbers ranged from 44% to 48% across our various applications sets and included results from both dynamic and static testing, helping to underscore our findings.  Further corroborating our results, cross-site scripting remained the number one Zero Day Initiative submission for 2012, accounting for 15% of all vulnerabilities.


So what does all this mean? Well, for one thing, that developers and organizations alike aren't correcting long standing and well known security issues (more on that in the full report). For another, that the prevalence of susceptibility to this vulnerability coupled with constant research into new methods of exploitation should give any enterprise sufficient reason to test for cross-site scripting.


I would be remiss if I didn't mention that one thing we offer via Fortify on Demand are free initial scans for cross-site scripting vulnerabilities. If you need a place to get started figuring out if your applications are vulnerable, it's hard to beat free.  You can find more info on our free offer at

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