What Is Cross Site Scripting in AWS WAF?


Larry Thompson

Cross-site scripting (XSS) is a security vulnerability that allows attackers to inject malicious scripts into web pages viewed by other users. AWS WAF (Web Application Firewall) provides protection against such attacks, including Cross-Site Scripting in particular.

What is Cross-Site Scripting?
Cross-Site Scripting occurs when an application does not properly validate user input and allows untrusted data to be displayed on a web page. Attackers exploit this vulnerability by injecting scripts into the page, which are then executed by unsuspecting users’ browsers.

Types of Cross-Site Scripting
There are three main types of XSS attacks:

1. Reflected XSS: In this type of attack, the injected script is reflected back to the user by the web application. It usually happens when user input is not properly sanitized or validated before being echoed back in the response.

2. Stored XSS: Here, the injected script is permanently stored on the Target server and served to all users who access the affected page. This type of attack can have severe consequences as it affects multiple users.

3. DOM-based XSS: DOM-based XSS occurs when client-side JavaScript modifies the Document Object Model (DOM) without proper sanitization or validation. The injected code then executes within the victim’s browser.

AWS WAF and Cross-Site Scripting
AWS WAF helps protect your web applications from various types of attacks, including Cross-Site Scripting. It allows you to create rules that block requests containing malicious scripts or patterns commonly associated with XSS attacks.

To configure AWS WAF for protecting against Cross-Site Scripting, follow these steps:

Step 1: Create a Web ACL

  • Create a new Web ACL in the AWS WAF console.
  • Specify a name for the Web ACL, and optionally add a description.

Step 2: Add Rules

  • Add rules to the Web ACL to detect and block XSS attacks.
  • You can create custom rules using AWS WAF Rule Language or use managed rule groups provided by AWS.

Step 3: Define Conditions

  • Define conditions that specify what traffic the rules should be applied to.
  • For Cross-Site Scripting, you can define conditions based on specific patterns or common XSS attack vectors.

Step 4: Associate the Web ACL with Resources

  • Associate the Web ACL with the AWS resources (e.g., Amazon CloudFront distribution, Application Load Balancer) that you want to protect against XSS attacks.

Cross-Site Scripting is a serious security vulnerability that can have devastating consequences for web applications. AWS WAF provides a powerful toolset to detect and mitigate such attacks.

By utilizing AWS WAF’s features and following best practices for web application security, you can significantly reduce the risk of Cross-Site Scripting vulnerabilities in your AWS infrastructure. Stay vigilant and keep your applications safe!

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