CSP: Wildcard Directive

CSP is a security standard designed to prevent cross-site scripting (XSS) and other code injection attacks by defining and enforcing the content sources that can be executed by a web application. A wildcard directive is a CSP rule that allows any content source to be loaded by a web application, making it vulnerable to various attacks.

Content Security Policy (CSP) is a security standard designed to prevent cross-site scripting (XSS) and other code injection attacks by defining and enforcing the content sources that can be executed by a web application. A wildcard directive is a CSP rule that allows any content source to be loaded by a web application, making it vulnerable to various attacks. In this guide, we will walk you through the steps to fix the CSP: Wildcard Directive vulnerability.

Step 1: Understanding the CSP Wildcard Directive Vulnerability

Before we dive into fixing the vulnerability, we need to understand its nature and the potential risks it poses to the application. The wildcard directive vulnerability occurs when a web application uses the * character to define the content source of a CSP rule. For example, consider the following CSP header:

Content-Security-Policy: default-src *;

In this header, the wildcard character * is used to allow any content source to be loaded by the web application. This means that the application can load scripts, styles, images, and other resources from any domain, which is a significant security risk.

Attackers can exploit this vulnerability to inject malicious code into the web application, steal sensitive information, or launch phishing attacks. Therefore, it is crucial to fix this vulnerability as soon as possible.

Step 2: Analyze the CSP header of the web application

To fix the CSP Wildcard Directive vulnerability, we need to analyze the CSP header of the web application. The CSP header is a HTTP response header that instructs the web browser which sources of content are allowed to be loaded by the web application. To view the CSP header of a web application, you can use the browser's developer tools.

For example, in Google Chrome, follow these steps to view the CSP header:

  1. Open the web application in Chrome and right-click anywhere on the page.
  2. Select "Inspect" from the context menu to open the Chrome Developer Tools.
  3. Click on the "Network" tab in the Developer Tools.
  4. Refresh the page to load the content.
  5. Click on the first request in the "Name" column to view the HTTP response header.
  6. Look for the "Content-Security-Policy" header in the "Response Headers" section.

Step 3: Fixing the CSP Wildcard Directive vulnerability

There are several ways to fix the CSP Wildcard Directive vulnerability, depending on the web application's requirements and security needs. Here are some best practices to follow:

  1. Use a strict CSP header: A strict CSP header only allows specific content sources to be loaded by the web application, reducing the attack surface. For example, consider the following CSP header:

Content-Security-Policy: default-src 'self' 'unsafe-inline' 'unsafe-eval' https:;
In this header, we only allow content to be loaded from the same domain ('self'), allow inline scripts and styles ('unsafe-inline'), and allow scripts to be executed ('unsafe-eval') on the same domain. We also allow content to be loaded from HTTPS sources (https:).

  1. Use the nonce attribute: The nonce attribute is a random value that is generated by the server and included in the CSP header. It allows inline scripts to be executed by the web application, but only if they match the nonce value. This prevents attackers from injecting malicious inline scripts into the web application. For example, consider the following CSP header:

Content-Security-Policy: script-src 'nonce-ABC123' https:;
In this header, we only allow scripts to be loaded from HTTPS sources (https:) and inline scripts that match the nonce value (`'nonce-ABC123'`).

  1. Use the sha256 attribute: The sha256 attribute is similar to the nonce attribute, but it allows specific inline scripts to be executed based on their hash value. This is useful when the web application needs to execute specific inline scripts that cannot be included in a separate file. For example, consider the following CSP header:

Content-Security-Policy: script-src 'sha256-ABC123' https:;
In this header, we only allow scripts to be loaded from HTTPS sources (https:) and inline scripts that have the hash value ABC123.

  1. Avoid using the unsafe-inline and unsafe-eval directives: The unsafe-inline directive allows inline scripts and styles to be executed by the web application, while the unsafe-eval directive allows scripts to be executed from strings. These directives should be avoided as they significantly increase the attack surface of the web application.
  2. Define specific content sources: When defining content sources in the CSP header, it is essential to be as specific as possible. For example, instead of allowing content to be loaded from any domain (*), we can define specific domains or subdomains that are trusted by the web application. This reduces the attack surface and improves the overall security of the application.

Step 4: Implementing the Fix

Once you have analyzed the CSP header of the web application and identified the wildcard directive vulnerability, you can proceed with implementing the fix. Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Review the requirements of the web application: Before making any changes to the CSP header, it is essential to review the requirements of the web application. You need to ensure that the new CSP header does not break any functionality of the application.
  2. Define a strict CSP header: Based on the requirements of the web application, define a strict CSP header that only allows specific content sources to be loaded. For example, you can use the following CSP header:

Content-Security-Policy: default-src 'self' https:;
In this header, we only allow content to be loaded from the same domain ('self') and HTTPS sources (https:).

  1. Test the new CSP header: After implementing the new CSP header, you need to test the web application thoroughly to ensure that all functionality works as expected. You can use the browser's developer tools to check for any CSP violations.
  2. Monitor the web application: It is essential to monitor the web application regularly to ensure that the CSP header is enforced correctly and there are no CSP violations. You can use tools like CSP Evaluator (https://csp-evaluator.withgoogle.com/) to check the effectiveness of the CSP header.

Conclusion

In this guide, we have discussed the CSP Wildcard Directive vulnerability and how to fix it. Implementing a strict CSP header is essential to reduce the attack surface of the web application and prevent various code injection attacks. By following the best practices outlined in this guide, you can improve the overall security of your web application and protect it against potential vulnerabilities. Remember to regularly monitor and update the CSP header to ensure maximum security.

Achieve SOC2 Compliance

We make your startup SOC2 compliant by implementing and managing the required security controls for you.

Get Started

Latest Articles