How not to handle a responsible XSS disclosure!

Okay, so a few days ago I found a ton of XSS vulnerabilities on various high profile web sites, and on the whole, after eventually managing to contact the relevant teams for the sites, everyone was very grateful.

When will web sites owners learn that it’s a good idea to have a security contact e-mail address on their sites!

However there was one, whose name I’m not going to mention here, that came back to me with the worst possible answer ever.

This is an online retailer, and my e-mail went to their help desk, but still!

Here’s the full e-mail trail (I’ve removed certain bits of info though so that the site or the attack vector cannot be identified.) Please also note that due the nature of what this company does they are required to be PCI DSS compliant.


—–Original Message—–
From: xyberpix []
Sent: 05 January 2010 07:53
Subject: Website enquiry: General –

Sent Date: 2010-01-05 07:52:58 (GMT/UTC)

Hi There,

I have discovered a security vulnerability on your web site, and would like to please disclose this to yourselves responsibly. Could you please either contact me with the name of someone who I should report this to, or could you please get someone to contact me at this e-mail address please. If this could please be treated as urgent.

Thank you

On 5 Jan 2010, at 16:40, XXX Support User2 wrote:

Hi Xyberpix,

Thank you for your email message.

Can I please ask you to supply the screenshot of the page so that we can look into this for you?

I look forward to your reply, upon which I will do my very best to assist you.

Kind Regards,
Alex | Customer Services Representative
Note: Please do not delete the previous correspondence if you are replying to this e-mail. This will help us to assist you better.


—–Original Message—–
From: xyberpix []
Sent: 05 January 2010 16:59
To: XXX Support User2
Subject: Re: XXX

Hi Alex,

No problem at all please find attached a screenshot.

Also the string that was used in the main search bar to prove this was the following:

‘;alert yadayadayada

Kind Regards,



Thank you for contacting us and sorry for the inconvenience caused here.

May I kindly request you to clear the cache and cookies from your internet browser and then try placing your order opening a new browser.

If you have any further queries please do let us know.

Kind Regards,
Edwin | Customer Services Representative

Note: Please do not delete the previous correspondence if you are replying to this e-mail. This will help us to assist you better.

  • CythoN

    What a poes!

  • w0lf

    ha ha..good to know that the issue has been patched so quickly :P You are lucky buddy..they didn’t advice you to reboot your system though ;)

  • mike

    LoL, its better than them calling the FBI on you for “hacking into their mainframe or something.”

  • nav

    LOL !! , What a joke, they don’t even realize that there is a XSS hole in their website, and I’m sure they have no clue of what XSS or CSRF is :) lol … for people like them the best way is to give them a little bit of taste of XSS … then they would know what you are talking about.