3rd Party Script Attack

A third-party script attack is when a cyber criminal injects malicious code into a website or application by compromising code that you use which was created by an organization other than the website or application owner. These 3rd party scripts often improve the website by adding functionality, improving the user experience or surfacing valuable data to the website owner. It is usually added through a script tag in the HTML code.

A third-party script attack occurs when malicious code is injected into a third-party script which a website would normally find completely trustworthy.  When the website runs the trusted script, the compromised script runs as well. This allows the attacker to manipulate the website in unexpected ways, such as clickjacking, formjacking and redirects.

How Do 3rd Party Script Attacks Occur?

Unlike exploitation of a newly discovered vulnerability, cybercriminals are taking advantage of a long-known security flaw in JavaScript that gives all scripts — regardless of the source — the same level of control on the client side (customer browser). This means that any JavaScript code, including third-party and fourth-party code, has full access and authorship capabilities, which enables access to any and all data in forms, such as customers’ personal and financial information.

No component of traditional security programs can prevent client-side attacks perpetrated via JavaScript. All it takes is for the third-party vendor to be hacked and have its code changed or for an internal developer to integrate malicious code, whether accidentally or intentionally. 

Who’s A Target For 3rd Party Script Attacks?

Regardless of your particular industry, Javascript is used by all of your 3rd party digital suppliers, including payment card processors, advertising networks, social sharing services, analytics, and more. Most website functionality (online video, advertising, purchase forms, etc.) is almost always written in JavaScript. 

According to our team’s latest intelligence, there are more than 1.7 billion public-facing websites worldwide, and JavaScript is used on 95% of them. Frontend JavaScript code has grown in size by more than 347% for desktop and more than 593% for mobile during the last 8 years and keeps growing. 

And therein lies the structural security issue that poses one of the biggest threats to your most critical business channels—protecting your customer data at the point of entry. 

Ways 3rd Party Script Attacks Can Reach Your Website 

Hacking Third-Party Vendors: Because so many organizations use the same popular 3rd party applications to add functionality to their websites, cybercriminals will often seek to compromise those applications directly. If successful, they can push out malicious updates and inject malicious code into websites on a massive scale.

Cybercriminals Posed as Third-Party Vendors: Another common method of gaining access to a site’s sensitive information is by hackers duping businesses and posing as third-party applications themselves. These sophisticated hackers trick companies by posing as popular applications. They mimic the design, aesthetic, and messaging of top third-party application vendors to appear legitimate enough that users will download their applications, giving the attackers access to their business and customer information.

cybersecurity memeAnother tactic is to modify or tamper with legitimate patches before the third-party software provider distributes them. For example, a cybercriminal may modify a patch to include additional functionality or exploit a different vulnerability than the one it was intended to fix. This can allow the cybercriminal to gain unauthorized access to a system or steal sensitive information.

Inserting False Patches: One common tactic used by cybercriminals is to create and distribute fake patches that contain malicious code. These patches may be advertised as legitimate updates or fixes for third-party software vulnerabilities, but when installed, they actually introduce new vulnerabilities or malware into the system.

Tips To Protect Your Business Against 3rd Party Script Attacks

The best place to start is to gain a deeper understanding of your company’s digital supply chain. Your security team can quickly assess how much exposure your company has on its consumer-facing site by discovering the answers to these questions:

  • How many vendors are plugged into your company’s consumer-facing site?
  • What purpose does each serve?
  • Are the plugins required on highly sensitive pages?
  • Does their code give them read/write access to forms?

Deploy a Detection Solution

Client-side monitoring and reporting. It inventories script behaviors and changes. It can be deployed with no code. Scanning with Detect can be done daily or with every page view. It can keep track of your script inventory and add PCI justification within the dashboard for every script running on the site.

Deploy a Protection Solution

Client-side isolation and control. Forces scripts to execute on our virtual pages to block harmful behaviors before they reach the website visitor. This prevents attacks in real-time. Deploys with two lines of code.