LamonteCristo LamonteCristo - 1 month ago 8
Javascript Question

What are "top level JSON arrays" and why are they a security risk?

In the video below, at time marker 21:40, the Microsoft PDC presenter says it's important that all JSON be wrapped so it's not a top level array:

http://www.microsoftpdc.com/2009/FT12

What is the risk of an unwrapped top level array?

How should I check and see if I'm vulnerable? I purchase many components from 3rd parties and have external vendors who develop my code.

Answer

This is because a few years ago Jeremiah Grossman found a very interesting vulnerability that affects gmail. Some people have addressed this vulnerabilty by using an unparseable cruft (Mr bobince's technical description on this page is fantastic.)

The reason why Microsoft is talking about this is because they haven't patched their browser (yet). (Edit: Recent versions of Edge and IE 10/11 have addressed this issue.) Mozilla considers this to be a vulnerability in the json specification and therefore they patched it in Firefox 3. For the record I completely agree with Mozilla, and its unfortunate but each web app developer is going to have to defend them selves against this very obscure vulnerability.