External redirection

OWASP 2013-A10 OWASP 2017-A1 OWASP 2021-A3 CWE-601 WASC-38 WSTG-CLNT-04

URL redirection is forwarding a user from one page to another page. There are basically two types of redirection:-

  • Internal Redirection: Forwarding to internal pages.
  • External Redirection: Forwarding to external pages (Other domains).

There are many servers that are vulnerable to external redirection where an application incorporates user-controllable data into the target of a redirection in an insecure way. An attacker can construct a URL within the application that causes a redirection to any random external domain.


The following are the examples of redirection:-

        Please follow <a href="http://www.sashsite.com/">this link</a>. // Manual redirect


Server side scripting

        header('HTTP/1.1 301 Moved Permanently');
        header('Location: http://www.example.com/');






The attacker can do the following impacts:-

  • Execute malicious code
  • Unstable the web application
  • Remote Command Execution

Mitigation / Precaution

This vulnerability can be fixed by:-

  • Removing the redirection function from the application
  • Replacing the links with direct links to relevant target URLs.
  • Maintaining a server-side list of all URLs that are permitted for redirection.

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