News

When HTML Attacks!

Who knows what evil lurks in the heart of HTML? Carnegie Mellon University knows. Carnegie Mellon's CERT Coordination Center has issued an advisory on malicious HTML found around the web.

The advisory, "Malicious HTML Tags Embedded in Client Web Requests", details how Internet users can damage browsers and web servers by inserting certain tags into forms posted on the internet.

One example the advisory details is the posting of links on message boards. Users frequently reference other web pages during discussions on message boards and link to these sites. While it is possible to create a link simply by writing out the URL, if a user hand codes a link using the <A HREF=>tag, it is possible to embed malicious Javascripts into the tag. Despite the tag, the link will appear the same.

CERT (www.cert.org) makes a few suggestions for users and IT administrators wishing to avoid damage by malicious tags. First, users should avoid what CERT terms "promiscuous browsing", browsing with the assumption that all sites are benign. Instead, external URLs should be typed into the line, rather than clicked through. In addition, scripting languages in browsers should be disabled, and turned on only when a user specifically wants to see a script.

CERT, which doesn’t stand for anything, is a research unit of Carnegie Mellon University dedicated to studying computer security. It was founded in 1988 in reaction to the Morris worm, an attempt at distributed computing that crippled the Internet.

More instances of malicious HTML and security suggestions can be found in the full text of the advisory at http://www.cert.org/faq/cert_faq.html. -- Christopher McConnell

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

Featured

  • Microsoft Offers More Help on Windows Server 2008 Upgrades

    Microsoft this week published additional help resources for organizations stuck on Windows Server 2008, which fell out of support on Jan. 14.

  • Microsoft Ups Its Carbon Reduction Goals

    Microsoft on Thursday announced a corporatewide carbon reduction effort that aims to make the company "carbon negative" by 2030.

  • How To Dynamically Lock Down an Unattended Windows 10 PC

    One of the biggest security risks in any organization happens when a user walks away from their PC without logging out. Microsoft has the solution (and it's not a password-protected screensaver).

  • First Stable Chromium-Based Microsoft Edge Browser Released

    Microsoft on Wednesday announced the first release of its Chromium-based Microsoft Edge browser at the "stable" commercial-release stage.

comments powered by Disqus

Office 365 Watch

Sign up for our newsletter.

Terms and Privacy Policy consent

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.