Being an eCommerce platform, vulnerabilities in PrestaShop are readily exploited by attackers. And our researchers found out that almost 40% of attacks on PrestaShop stores are XSS attacks. This goes on to show how prevalent XSS (Cross-Site Scripting) attacks are among PrestaShop websites and how important PrestaShop XSS protection is.
Vulnerabilities have also been found in modules that are used in PrestaShop. Through these modules, inserting codes into PrestaShop becomes easier. An example of such a case is of a module named “facetedsearch”. This module allowed an easy code injection by suing escape characters which would then be interpreted by PrestaShop in a dangerous context.
Below is another example of a module that makes PrestaShop vulnerable against XSS attacks
Why is PrestaShop XSS protection important?
Our experience with XSS tells us that the purpose behind an XSS attacks could be anything from accessing sensitive user information to stealing cookies & session tokens, to even introducing a card skimmer.
Since e-commerce stores handle a lot of important and personal data such as transaction details and personal information, it makes it a perfect data mining ground.
In order to protect such information on your store, it is necessary that you understood the ways your website can be compromised. Over the years, PrestaShop has identified several vulnerabilities that were fixed with newer updates. However, it always helps to be on a look-out mode for any security gaps. Besides, ensuring complete PrestaShop security with special emphasis on PrestaShop XSS protection, you dwarf the risks hugely.
This guide will help you understand the risks better and further implement PrestaShop XSS protection on your store successfully one step at a time.
Impact of XSS attacks on your website
Through XSS attacks, attackers can cause a lot of damage to your website and harm your customers. Usual targets are user’s login details or transaction details such as credit cards. Once the attacker gets their hands on this information, they can log in to the website and then get access to administrator files and folders. Once they do that, they can take control of the entire website, or hide a backdoor within the website.
Also, after logging in through stolen credentials, attackers can divert shipments and manipulate the website to place orders without making any payments. Attackers can also steal cookies including those used for authentication and the gather information from them. Stealing credit card details or personal information has been a very common threat.
Getting hacked causes damage to brand image. Moreover, this attack can be done with the intention of bringing down the entire site. Such downtimes in a competitive environment will hamper your traffic and cause customer churn. To avoid all such impacts, it is necessary that we understand PrestaShop XSS protection and be prepared for an exploit like this.
Step-wise PrestaShop XSS protection guide
If your website has any user input field, then it is a potential threat. However, such fields are necessary to make the website more user-friendly and to involve the customers more. This is one of the reasons why XSS attacks are so common. To stop such attacks, we can take a number of basic PrestaShop XSS protection steps, such as listed below:
- Encoding of an input string: This can be considered a primary tool for PrestaShop XSS protection. In this, proper encoders are used to translate special or escape characters in input fields to some harmless characters that can be then interpreted. Contextual output encoding is another important part of this step. This is done on the output, mainly while creating a user interface. Just before the data is added to HTML, it will be encoded. The type of encoding will depend on the location where the output leads to.
- Validating input scripts: When a user enters any characters, it needs to be sanitized by a validation engine. This will make sure that no XSS codes are hidden in the input. If required, some special characters can be stripped out since they might hide malicious code.
- Protecting cookies: Since cookie theft is a common way to hijack someone’s session or steal data, it is important that we protect the cookies form such threats. One way to do this is to tie a cookie to a particular IP address. If someone steals the cookie and tries to log in through another IP, it will be blocked.
- Disabling scripts: In certain cases and if allowed, client-side scripts can be disabled. Thus, users will be safe from such attacks which results from scripts running in the browser. However, if not done carefully this can result in loss of functionality and some websites may not work with this feature. Thus you need to maintain a balance between functionality and PrestaShop XSS protection.
- Use of active security tools: Even after applying all preventive measures, it is still possible that attackers find ways to enter your website. To prevent such cases, you need around-the-clock active security services such as Astra.
With the Astra firewall deployed on your website, all traffic goes through a primary check, and the malicious ones automatically get filtered out. Also with our Vulnerability Assessment & Pentesting program, we identify any security gaps underlying in your store to provide a more solid PrestaShop XSS protection.
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XSS attacks have evolved over the years but so has our understanding. We can protect our websites from such attacks by taking the appropriate steps and following security protocols. Ecommerce websites need to continuously be aware of any attack on their websites. Our 24*7 active firewall and malware scanner can help you with this 🙂