Security Experts:

Stored XSS Vulnerability on Earned Researcher $5,000

A bug bounty hunter claims he has earned a $5,000 reward from Apple for reporting a stored cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability on

Vishal Bharad, a researcher and penetration tester from India, published a blog post earlier this week describing his findings. Bharad said he had attempted to find cross-site request forgery (CSRF), insecure direct object reference (IDOR), logic bugs and other types of issues on Apple’s website, but ultimately ended up discovering a stored XSS flaw.

The vulnerability was present in the iCloud-hosted versions of Apple’s Pages and Keynote software. Exploitation involved creating a new document or presentation and entering an XSS payload into its name field.

The attacker would then need to share a link to the malicious document or presentation with the targeted user and convince them to access the “Browse All Versions” feature from the “Settings” menu. Once the victim would click on “Browse All Versions,” the attacker’s malicious payload got executed in their browser.

Bharad said he reported his findings to Apple in August 2020 and in October the tech giant informed him that the security hole had earned him $5,000.

The researcher has published a blog post detailing his findings, as well as a video showing how an attack worked.

XSS vulnerabilities can have a significant impact, which is why companies such as Google, Facebook and Tesla have paid out tens of thousands of dollars for these types of flaws.

Bug bounty platform HackerOne reported last year that its members had earned more than $4 million for XSS vulnerabilities.

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Eduard Kovacs (@EduardKovacs) is a contributing editor at SecurityWeek. He worked as a high school IT teacher for two years before starting a career in journalism as Softpedia’s security news reporter. Eduard holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial informatics and a master’s degree in computer techniques applied in electrical engineering.