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Refereed Papers

Track: Security, Privacy, Reliability and Ethics

Paper Title:
Defeating Script Injection Attacks with Browser-Enforced Embedded Policies

Authors:

  • Trevor Jim (AT&T Labs Research)
  • Nikhil Swamy (University of Maryland)
  • Michael Hicks (University of Maryland)

Abstract:
Web sites that accept and display content such as wiki articles or comments typically filter the content to prevent injected script code from running in browsers that view the site. The diversity of browser rendering algorithms and the desire to allow rich content makes filtering quite difficult, however, and attacks such as the Samy and Yamanner worms have exploited filtering weaknesses. To solve this problem, this paper proposes a simple mechanism called Browser-Enforced Embedded Policies (BEEP). The idea is that a web site can embed a policy inside its pages that specifies which scripts are allowed to run. The browser, which knows exactly when it will run a script, can enforce this policy perfectly. We have added BEEP support to several browsers, and built tools to simplify adding policies to web applications. We found that supporting BEEP in browsers requires only small and localized modifications, modifying web applications requires minimal effort, and enforcing policies is generally lightweight.

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