Input Validation / Link Manipulation

Web and API


Link manipulation is an input validation vulnerability that occurs within web or API applications. It is categorized by the Common Weakness Enumeration (CWE) directory as CWE-23 and is defined as “the failure to properly validate input passed through a link, allowing an attacker to manipulate the destination of the link”. Link manipulation is a type of injection attack that allows an attacker to use malicious inputs to manipulate the destination of a link. The Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP) Testing Guide defines link manipulation as “a web application vulnerability that occurs when an application uses user-supplied input to generate a link or URL containing malicious data.”


Link manipulation is a serious security risk as it allows an attacker to manipulate the destination of a link to gain access to sensitive data or perform malicious actions. By using malicious inputs, an attacker can manipulate a link to redirect users to a malicious website, or to a different page within the application that contains malicious code or content. This type of attack can lead to data theft, data loss, or other malicious activities. In addition, link manipulation can be used to bypass authentication or authorization mechanisms.


The best way to mitigate link manipulation is to validate all user-supplied input taken from links. This can be done by verifying the format and content of the input, and by checking that the input is within the expected range. Additionally, developers should use tools such as URL encoding or sanitization to prevent malicious inputs from being used. Finally, developers should ensure that all links used within the application are validated to prevent malicious links from being used.

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