Security company says Nasdaq waited two weeks to fix XSS flaw

The flaw could have been used to elicit personal details from the website's users

A Swiss security company said the Nasdaq website had a serious cross-site scripting vulnerability for two weeks before being fixed on Monday despite earlier warnings.

A Swiss security company said the Nasdaq website had a serious cross-site scripting vulnerability for two weeks before being fixed on Monday despite earlier warnings.

A Swiss security company said the Nasdaq website had a serious cross-site scripting vulnerability for two weeks before being fixed on Monday, despite earlier warnings.

Ilia Kolochenko, CEO of the Geneva-based penetration testing company High-Tech Bridge, said he repeatedly emailed Nasdaq and warned of the XSS flaw.

"I can basically say I have spammed them," Kolochenko said in an interview.

A Nasdaq spokesman did not have immediate comment. lets users create accounts and build a profile to monitor stocks and news.

Cross-site scripting is an attack on a website in which a script drawn from another site is allowed to run that shouldn't. The attack can be used to steal information or potentially cause other malicious code to run.

Kolochenko said the flaw could have been used by an attacker in several ways, including stealing users' browser histories and their cookies. It could also have been used to inject HTML into a Web page and ask for people's personal details, a request that would appear to come from Nasdaq.

In another kind of attack, Kolochenko said the XSS flaw could be used to plant a link within the Nasdaq site to a malicious website.

Kolochenko said XSS flaws are common, and he has found ones in websites belonging to the BBC, Bloomberg and the Financial Times. Those organizations acknowledged the issues, but it was often a month or so before the websites were fixed, he said.

He found the Nasdaq flaw after noticing some suspicious URLs and conducting a harmless test. At that point, he stopped probing the website and notified Nasdaq by email on their support, abuse and security addresses.

"I didn't want to take it further," he said.

Nasdaq's trading halted on Aug. 22 after a technical problem with a core data feed that distributes market data for securities listed on its exchange. A connectivity issue degraded the ability of the Securities Industry Processor (SP) system to consolidate and disseminate quote and trade information on Nasdaq listed securities.

Send news tips and comments to Follow me on Twitter: @jeremy_kirk

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags securityNasdaqExploits / vulnerabilities

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jeremy Kirk

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?