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  • Writer's pictureBrent D. Payne

Unlocking the Hidden Dangers of `target=\"_blank\"`: How to Safeguard Your Site

At Loud Interactive, we're all about uncovering the hidden aspects of digital experiences that can impact your site's security and user trust. One such overlooked aspect is the use of "target=_blank" in hyperlinks, which, while seemingly innocent, harbors potential security risks.


Understanding the Issue

When you use "target=_blank" to open a new tab, the page that opens gains a certain level of access to your page through the window.opener object. This can be exploited in a phishing attack, where the new tab can redirect your page to a malicious site without the user's knowledge. Imagine users clicking on a link from your site and suddenly finding themselves on a phishing page disguised as a legitimate one. It's a breach of trust with serious implications.


Why Does It Matter?

This vulnerability matters because it can be used to compromise the security of your site's visitors without direct exploitation of your site itself. It affects how users perceive the safety and trustworthiness of your site, potentially leading to a loss of credibility and damage to your reputation.


Securing Your Site

Fixing this vulnerability is straightforward.


Add "rel='noopener'" or "rel='noopener noreferrer'" to your links that use "target=_blank".


This simple step prevents the new page from accessing the window.opener property, safeguarding your users from potential phishing attacks.


For links opened with JavaScript's window.open();, ensure to set window.opener = null; for each new window to nullify the threat.


Further Resources

To deepen your understanding and stay informed on best practices for web security, we recommend visiting:

  • MDN Web Docs on "noopener"

  • W3C on "noopener"

  • Google web.dev on securing external links

Embracing these practices not only enhances the security of your site but also fosters a safer web ecosystem. At Loud Interactive, we're committed to helping you navigate the complexities of digital security with ease. Stay secure, and ensure your users can trust the safety of their digital experience on your site.


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