Blogs & Stories

SpiderLabs Blog

Attracting more than a half-million annual readers, this is the security community's go-to destination for technical breakdowns of the latest threats, critical vulnerability disclosures and cutting-edge research.

Universal PDF XSS Revisited

The Universal PDF XSS vulnerability was a tipping point for most people involved with web application security. Now we know the Web will never be secure for as long we continue to use the exact same technologies we have in use today.

It so happened that I was swamped with work back in January when the news about the Universal PDF XSS had broken out. I kept my eye on the topic during the initial discovery period but I went back to it a month later to give it the attention it deserves. I discovered that the topic received a tremendous amount of interest initially but that the interest died shortly thereafter. The vulnerability was old news in February although there was much more to say.

My presentation, Protecting Web Applications from Universal PDF XSS, aims to be the one place where you can learn everything you need to know about this problem. It also points to an emerging trend of collaborative vulnerability research and briefly discusses its advantages and disadvantages. (As a sidenote, I find the trend very exciting and will probably revisit the topic here again.)

I gave the presentation at the OWASP conference in Milan in May but it has been updated since (so don't download it from the conference agenda page). You can download the latest version on the OWASP web site, from the web page dedicated to the problem. I will be giving the same talk later this month (June 22) for the OWASP Belgium-Luxemburg chapter.