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How-to 6 min read September 3, 2019

How to check if there is no XSS vulnerability on a website

XSS is a type of website attack accompanied by the implementation of the malicious code. The attack can be active (when there is a search for security errors) and passive (when you should follow a link to get infected). To prevent attackers from infecting your site, you need to check it for XSS vulnerabilities.

What are XSS scripts

The abbreviation XSS stands for Cross-Site Scripting. With this type of attack, the attacker injects malicious code onto the page of the website that will be executed on the computer of the user who opens this page.

For example, XSS can be used to obtain authorization data of a user and their extended rights to a web resource. Cross-site scripting also helps hackers intercept payment document numbers, session identifiers, and other data not secured by the website.

To check the website for vulnerability, you need to contact professionals. Contacting the developer is the most effective way since automated tools work conventionally and may miss important things. If this is not possible, you can use scanners and plugins.

Website scanners

Acunetix Web Security Scanner

One of the scanners you can use to check your website for vulnerabilities is Acunetix Web Security Scanner. You can use a demo version for free for 14 days. Then, you will have to choose your tariff plan and pay for it.

To test a site for vulnerabilities, you need to register your project in the system and verify your account by phone. When the account is verified, you can create a check:
Website Scanner Acunetix Web Security Scanner
The website's scanner will show where the vulnerabilities are and will allow you to download the report to your computer.
Acunetix Web Security Scanner Online Vulnerability Check
The report will divide the identified threats into levels: high, medium, and low. This scanner performs a very detailed analysis, so you will get the comprehensive document revealing not only XSS vulnerabilities but also many other possible threats to the website. In this regard, it can take a lot of time to scan the website and prepare the report.

But, having received the report, you will be able to contact developers for assistance with a ready-made technical assignment for eliminating errors in the website code.
Vulnerability Report in Acunetix Web Security Scanner
If your website is hosted on the WordPress platform, you can install the plugin from the same creator. It will perform as an additional tool for checking the website security, but it cannot become the main protective measure against threats since it was last updated in 2016.

XSS and SQL Injection Scanner

Another option of online scanning is XSS and SQL Injection Scanner where you need to upload the PHP file.
XSS Injection SQL Scanner
To do that, download the PHP file from the root folder of your website to your computer. Then follow the link and download the file for verification. Free verification is good for small projects (the maximum file weight is 5 megabytes).

To download a file from your computer, click "Choose files or ZIP archive" and select the one you need. Then click the "Scan" button. The report is received on the same page, just below the scanner.
Checking for XSS and SQL Injection Scanner Vulnerabilities

Plugins for vulnerability detection

There is a number of ready-made plugin solutions for different CMS. The number of them only depends on platform popularity. Let's look at several options using WordPress as an example.


The task of each plugin is to find loopholes in the website code. They occur due to both vulnerable subjects and the lack of timely updates of templates and plugins. Open directories for different IPs are also potentially vulnerable, for example, wp-admin. All this can be tracked via some plugins.


For example, BulletProof Security secures WordPress websites providing protection from not only XSS attacks but also from other ways of injecting the malicious code, database theft, etc.


BulletProof Security Plugin for WordPress
XSS Validated URL Validation is performed by the plugin Prevent XSS Vulnerability.
WordPress Prevent XSS Vulnerability Plugin
It is more efficient to choose one plugin that will be fully responsible for the website's security and will not load the system with various add-ons that may conflict with each other and lose effectiveness.

Conclusion

XSS vulnerability means that there are "loopholes" in the website code that may enable hackers to inject malicious code to your website. As a result, they may be able to publish their advertising, hidden links, and other things on your website.

Protection against XSS attacks is a mandatory thing for a successful project. If you underestimate it, you risk losing customers, a website and a reputation on the Internet.

To check a site for vulnerabilities, it is most effective to contact the website developer who will check your website independently and will be able to detect not only everyday errors.

If your budget is limited, you can scan the website using online services. They will provide information about routine vulnerabilities. For this purpose, you can use the Acunetix Web Security Scanner, XSS Injection Scanner, or their analogs.

In addition, there are ready-made security plugin solutions for most content management systems. There are WordPress extensions for both scanning and enhancing protection from XSS.

This article is a part of Serpstat's Checklist tool
Checklist at Serpstat
Checklist is a ready-to-do list that helps to keep reporting of the work progress on a specific project. The tool contains templates with an extensive list of project development parameters where you can also add your own items and plans.
Try Checklist now

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