Vulnerabilities in HTTP TRACE Method XSS Vulnerability is a Low risk vulnerability that is one of the most frequently found on networks around the world. This issue has been around since at least 1990 but has proven either difficult to detect, difficult to resolve or prone to being overlooked entirely.

Contents: The HTTP TRACE Method XSS Vulnerability


Vital Information on HTTP Trace Method 

Vulnerability Name:

HTTP TRACE Method XSS Vulnerability

Test ID: 2025
Risk: Low
Category: Web Servers
Type: Attack
Summary: Your web server supports the TRACE and/or TRACK methods. Servers supporting this method are subject to cross-site-scripting attacks when used in conjunction with various weaknesses in browsers.
Impact: Attackers can run a cross-site-scripting attack on your server.
Solution: Disable the TRACE and TRACK methods. 


Product specific solutions:
* Use Microsoft’s URL Scan to prevent these two methods

Apache 2.0:
* Modify the security.conf file located under /etc/apache2/conf.d/security and set the Track option to Off

Apache 1.3: * Source Code modification (requires manually patching your Apache installation)
* Mod_Rewrite module (By using the Mod_Rewrite module it is possible to prevent this attack), in the httpd.conf add the following code:
RewriteEngine on
RewriteRule .* – [F]

Netscape iPlanet:
Procedures for removing unwanted Request Methods:
mkdir secure_lib
cp bin/https/lib/ secure_lib
cd secure_lib

* The supported methods appear in lists like: HEAD^@ GET^@ PUT^@ POST^@ DELETE^@ TRACE^@ OPTIONS^@ MOVE^@ INDEX^@ MKDIR^@ RMDIR (Ignore the spaces found in the above line)

* Find all occurrences of these lists and change the methods as required to be GET padded with spaces to match the length of the word (i.e. DELETE becomes ‘GET ‘ (three spaces))
* Edit the start script for the web server to protect and prepend the secure_lib at the front of the LD_LIBRARY_PATH. i.e.
LD_LIBRARY_PATH=${IPLANET_ROOT}/secure_lib: (the rest of the line as it appears in the script)
* Re-start the web server.

Sun ONE web server:
If you are using Sun ONE Web Server releases 6.0 SP2 and later, add the following to the default object section in obj.conf:

AuthTrans fn=”set-variable”
set-headers=”content-length: -1″

If you are using Sun ONE Web Server releases 6.0 SP2 or below, compile the NSAPI plugin located at:

CVE: CVE-2003-1567





More Information:

CVSS Score: 5.8


Scanning For and Finding Vulnerabilities in HTTP TRACE Method XSS Vulnerability

Use of Vulnerability Management tools, like Beyond Security’s beSECURE (Automated Vulnerability Detection Software), are standard practice for the discovery of this vulnerability.  The primary failure of VA in finding this vulnerability is related to setting the proper scope and frequency of network scans. It is vital that the broadest range of hosts (active IPs) possible are scanned and that scanning is done frequently. We recommend weekly.

Your existing scanning solution or set of test tools should make this not just possible, but easy and affordable. If that is not the case, please consider beSECURE. Learn more or request a trial.

Penetration Testing HTTP Trace Method

The Vulnerabilities in HTTP TRACE Method XSS Vulnerability is prone to false positive reports by most vulnerability assessment solutions. beSECURE is alone in using behavior based testing that eliminates this issue. For all other VA tools security consultants will recommend confirmation by direct observation. In any case Penetration testing procedures for discovery of Vulnerabilities in HTTP TRACE Method XSS Vulnerability produces the highest discovery accuracy rate, but the infrequency of this expensive form of testing degrades its value. The ideal would be to have pentesting accuracy and the frequency and scope possibilities of VA solutions, and this is accomplished only by beSECURE.

Security updates on the HTTP TRACE Method XSS Vulnerability

Given that this is one of the most frequently found vulnerabilities, there is ample information regarding mitigation online and very good reason to get it fixed. Hackers are also aware that this is a frequently found vulnerability and so its discovery and repair is that much more important. It is so well known and common that any network that has it present and unmitigated indicates “low hanging fruit” to attackers.

Disclosures related to this vulnerability

Confirming the Presence of Vulnerabilities in HTTP TRACE Method XSS Vulnerability

beSECURE is currently testing for and finding this vulnerability with zero false positives. If your current set of tools is indicating that it is present but you think it is probably a false positive, please request a demonstration of beSECURE.

False positive/negatives

The secret killer of VA solution value is the false positive. There was an industry wide race to find the most vulnerabilities, including Vulnerabilities in HTTP TRACE Method XSS Vulnerability, and this resulted in benefit to poorly written tests that beef up scan reports by adding a high percentage of uncertainty. This may have sold a lot of systems some years ago, but it also stuck almost all VA solutions with deliberately inaccurate reporting that adds time to repairs that no administrator can afford. Beyond Security did not participate in this race to mutually assured destruction of the industry and to this day produces the most accurate and actionable reports available.

Patching/Repairing this Vulnerability

Vulnerabilities in HTTP TRACE Method XSS Vulnerability is a Low risk vulnerability that is also high frequency and high visibility. This is the most severe combination of security factors that exists and it is extremely important to find it on your network and fix it as soon as possible. 

Exploits related to Vulnerabilities in HTTP TRACE Method XSS Vulnerability


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