Menu
Online advertising company fixes severe XSS flaw

Online advertising company fixes severe XSS flaw

The flaw could have been used to steal data from people's computers through a malicious online ad

An online advertising company has fixed a vulnerability in its platform that could have allowed hackers to steal information from a large number of users.

The cross-site scripting (XSS) flaw in the platform of PublicityClerks was found by a U.K. security researcher who goes by the handle CEHSecurity on Twitter.

Cross-site scripting flaws are one of the most common faults in websites. They allow an attacker to inject malicious code into a website, which then can be used to steal data and for other attacks.

"As soon as we were aware of the issue, we fixed it ASAP and ensured our advertisers and publishers were not affected," said James Hakim, PublicityClerks' founder and CEO.

The vulnerability was specifically in a form used by advertisers to upload their ads to PublicityClerk's platform. A field in the form did not properly filter out malicious code.

CEHSecurity said in an interview over instant messaging that he would have been able to create an advertisement that, when displayed on a victim's computer, would steal a user's cookies.

Cookies are small data files created by online trackers that are stored within a person's Web browser, recording information such as a person's browsing history.

Vulnerabilities in ad platforms can be particularly far reaching. Since online advertising companies can serve ads to many websites with a high numbers of visitors, malicious ads can appear on a large numbers of computers in a short time.

The technique is known as malvertising, and online advertising companies have been working to shore up their systems to keep harmful ads out.

PublicityClerks says it has 10,000 registered websites and advertisers and serves about 15 million ad impressions monthly.

The mistake by PublicityClerks could be easily fixed, CEHSecurity said. 

He also found he could game PublicityClerks' billing system. By modifying a script, he could cause PublicityClerks' system to think an ad impression had not been delivered and issue a refund.

The process could happen repeatedly, causing much more to be issued in a refund than a person spent placing an ad, he said.


Follow Us

Join the New Zealand Reseller News newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Featured

Slideshows

Kiwi channel comes together for another round of After Hours

Kiwi channel comes together for another round of After Hours

The channel came together for another round of After Hours, with a bumper crowd of distributors, vendors and partners descending on The Jefferson in Auckland. Photos by Maria Stefina.​

Kiwi channel comes together for another round of After Hours
Consegna comes to town with AWS cloud offerings launch in Auckland

Consegna comes to town with AWS cloud offerings launch in Auckland

Emerging start-up Consegna has officially launched its cloud offerings in the New Zealand market, through a kick-off event held at Seafarers Building in Auckland.​ Founded in June 2016, the Auckland-based business is backed by AWS and supported by a global team of cloud specialists, leveraging global managed services partnerships with Rackspace locally.

Consegna comes to town with AWS cloud offerings launch in Auckland
Veritas honours top performing trans-Tasman partners

Veritas honours top performing trans-Tasman partners

Veritas honoured its top performing partners across the channel in Australia and New Zealand, recognising innovation and excellence on both sides of the Tasman. Revealed under the Vivid lights in Sydney, Intalock claimed the coveted Partner of the Year 2017 (Pacific) award, with Data#3 acknowledged for 12 months of strong growth across the market. Meanwhile, Datacom took home the New Zealand honours, with Global Storage and Insentra winning service provider and consulting awards respectively. Dicker Data was recognised as the standout distributor of the year, while Hitachi Data Systems claimed the alliance partner award. Photos by Bob Seary.

Veritas honours top performing trans-Tasman partners
Show Comments