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Xpath Injection

Definition of XPath Injection

XPath injection is a type of cyber attack that exploits vulnerabilities in applications that use XPath (XML Path Language) to query and navigate XML data. In simpler terms, it's a technique used by attackers to manipulate the input parameters of XPath queries in order to access unauthorized data or modify the intended behavior of an application.

Origin of XPath Injection

XPath injection has its roots in SQL injection, a well-known attack method targeting databases. While SQL injection manipulates SQL queries, XPath injection targets XML-based applications. As web technologies evolved, XML became a popular format for data exchange, leading to the emergence of XPath injection as a potent threat vector.

Practical Application of XPath Injection

Consider an e-commerce website that uses XPath to retrieve product information based on user input. If the application doesn't properly validate and sanitize user input, an attacker could inject malicious XPath queries into input fields. For instance, by modifying a product search query, an attacker could gain access to sensitive data such as customer details or even manipulate prices.

Benefits of XPath Injection

While XPath injection is a serious security risk, understanding and mitigating it offers several benefits. First and foremost, awareness of XPath injection helps developers build more secure applications by implementing proper input validation and sanitization techniques. Additionally, security measures such as parameterized queries and access controls can be implemented to thwart XPath injection attacks, thereby safeguarding sensitive data and maintaining the integrity of applications.


XPath injection primarily affects applications that use XPath to query XML data, such as web applications, APIs, and services that interact with XML-based data sources.

Developers can protect their applications from XPath injection by implementing robust input validation and sanitization techniques, using parameterized XPath queries, and applying proper access controls to limit unauthorized access to sensitive data.

Yes, there are various automated security testing tools available that can scan applications for XPath injection vulnerabilities and suggest remediation measures. However, manual code review and thorough testing are also essential to ensure comprehensive security coverage.


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