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Self-XSS is a social engineering attack used to gain control of victims' web accounts. In a self-XSS attack, the victim of the attack unknowingly runs malicious code in their own web browser, thus exposing it to the attacker.[1]


Self-XSS operates by tricking users into copying and pasting malicious content into their browsers' web developer console.[1] Usually, the attacker posts a message that says by copying and running certain code, the user will be able to hack another user's account. In fact, the code allows the attacker to hijack the victim's account.[2]

History and mitigation

In the past, a very similar attack took place, in which users were tricked into pasting malicious JavaScript into their address bar. When browser vendors stopped this by preventing easily running JavaScript from the address bar,[3][4] attackers started using Self-XSS in its current form. Web browser vendors and web sites have taken steps to mitigate this attack. Mozilla Firefox[5] and Google Chrome[6] have both begun implementing safeguards to warn users about self-XSS attacks. Facebook, Google+ and others now display a warning message when users open the web developer console, and they link to pages explaining the attack in detail.[7][8]


The "self" part of the name comes from the fact that the user is attacking themself. The "XSS" part of the name comes from the abbreviation for cross-site scripting, because both attacks result in malicious code running on a legitimate site. However, the attacks don't have much else in common, because XSS is an attack against the website itself (which users cannot protect themselves against but can be fixed by the site operator making their site more secure), whereas self-XSS is a social engineering attack against the user (which savvy users can protect themselves against but the site operator cannot do anything about it).[9]


  1. ^ a b Scharr, Jill (July 28, 2014). "Facebook Scam Tricks Users Into Hacking Themselves". Tom's Guide US. Purch. Retrieved 2014.
  2. ^ "Social Networking Security Threats". Sophos. n.d. Retrieved 2014.
  3. ^ "Bug 656433 - Disallow javascript: and data: URLs entered into the location bar from inheriting the principal of the currently-loaded page". Bugzilla. Mozilla Foundation. May 11, 2011. Retrieved 2014.
  4. ^ "Issue 82181: [Linux] Strip javascript: schema from pastes/drops to omnibox". Google Code. Google. May 10, 2011. Retrieved 2014.
  5. ^ "Bug 994134 - Warn first-time users on pasting code into the console". Bugzilla. Mozilla Foundation. April 9, 2014. Retrieved 2014.
  6. ^ "Issue 345205: DevTools: Combat self-XSS". Google Code. Google. May 10, 2011. Retrieved 2014.
  7. ^ "What do Self-XSS scams look like?". Facebook Help. Facebook. July 11, 2014. Retrieved 2014.
  8. ^ "What is Self-XSS?". Facebook Help. Facebook. July 15, 2014. Retrieved 2014.
  9. ^ Ilascu, Ionut (July 28, 2014). "Hackers Trick Facebook Users into Self Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) Scam". Softpedia. SoftNews NET SRL. Retrieved 2014.

Further reading

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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