Thursday, September 25, 2014

Website Cookies Explained with Animation by UK Guardian Animations

What are cookies? Our animated guide to website cookies, the many functions they have, and how you can control them.

A cookie, also known as an HTTP cookie, is a small piece of data sent from a visited website and stored in a user's web browser while the user is browsing that website. Every time the user loads the website, the browser sends the cookie back to the server to notify the website of the web visitor's previous activity.

Security vulnerabilities may allow a cookie's data to be read by a hacker, used to gain access to user data, or used to gain access (with the user's credentials) to the website to which the cookie belongs.

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. Cross-site scripting carried out on websites accounted for roughly 84% of all security vulnerabilities documented by Symantec as of 2007.  The vulnerabilities effect may range from a minor nuisance to a significant security risk, depending on the sensitivity of the data handled by the vulnerable site and the nature of any security mitigation implemented by the site's owner.

While finding ways of injecting malicious scripts into web pages, an attacker can gain elevated access-privileges to sensitive page content, session cookies, and a variety of other information maintained by the browser on behalf of the user. Using this method, offenders can impersonate users and their sessions.

Cross-site request forgery (CSRF, sometimes pronounced sea-surf) is also known as a one-click attack or session riding or XSRF. The forgery is a type of malicious exploit of a website whereby unauthorized commands are transmitted from a user that the website trusts. Unlike cross-site scripting (XSS), which exploits the trust a user has for a particular site, CSRF exploits the trust that a site has in a user's browser.

The attack works by including a link or script in a page that accesses a site to which the user is known (or is supposed) to have been authenticated.

The Self Destructing Cookies extension for Firefox does not directly protect from CSRF, but can reduce the attack window, by deleting cookies as soon as they are no longer associated with an open tab.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Facebook Down Again on Wednesday, September 3, 2014 -- Third Time this Summer

Facebook suffered the third outage this summer for many desktop and mobile users Wednesday afternoon with the outage lasting about 20 minutes for many people. The social media website also suffered significant outages in early August and mid-June.

Facebook officials said they were investigating the problem, while the status page for Facebook developers did not show any anomalies, though the data appeared to have been last updated prior to the outage.