Scrutinizing the Security and Privacy Settings of Your Website

23 October 2015

Boston: Your website is your storefront, brand and the first place of contact for customers. If it is not safe and secure, it’s more likely for your business relationships to be compromised. The threats might come from anywhere in any form - infecting the site with malware to spread malware to the visitors, acquiring customer information like names, email id’s, stealing credit card information and other transaction information, infecting, hijacking and also making the website to crash.

So you need to be very much concerned about the security settings of your site.

Inspecting the Content Security Policy (CSP)

  • Keeping the above security concerns in mind, in Firefox 41, Mozilla provides a developer tool which allows users to inspect the security settings of the website. Using the Graphic Command Line Interface (GCLI), a user can thoroughly examine the Content Security Policy (CSP) of a website. CSP is nothing but a concept of security that allows websites to be safe against cross-site scripting (XSS) and other related attacks. It allows the website authors to whitelist the sources from which the content can be loaded. Browsers enforce that the CSP allows only the whitelisted sources to be loaded on to the site.
  • The main concern of CSP is to make sure that the websites are safe from XSS and other attacks, but the protection must be deployed in such a way that it allows the support of legacy codes on the site. For instance, the keyword ‘unsafe-inline’ was actually introduced to support legacy inline scripts while transitioning the sites to make use of CSP. This keywords whitelists all the inline scripts for a site, meanwhile it also allows the attacker injected scripts to execute which makes CSP ineffective against most of the XSS attacks. Hence the developer tool doesn’t only provide the whitelisted sources but also gives a rating for the whitelisted source to indicate the protection level.

Inspecting the Referrer Policy

  • In Firefox 43, Mozilla sheds light on privacy settings of the website; it allows the users to examine the Referrer Policy. The Referrer Policy allows websites to have finer control over the browser’s referrer header. It allows the authors instruct the browser to strip the referrer completely and unveil it only while navigating within the same origin.
  • The developer tool gives an example of what referrer will be used when visiting different sites. This allows the user and developer to inspect the information sent when they are following a link. Scrutinising Content Security Policy and Referrer Policy is the only way through which you can provide some valuable feedback about privacy and security to the end users.

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