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I was browsing the web and typed in a URL to visit, when I received the following response:

A potentially dangerous Request.Path value was detected from the client (&)

I did some research on this error and found that this is associated with cross-site scripting, and began to worry when I discovered that this could be interpreted as someone trying to hack into a website??

I see ampersands in URLs I visit all of the time (I saw many when I just did a Google image search), so I didn't think it anything malicious.

What does this mean for me? Should I be concerned?

  • What did the full request URL look like? – Arminius Mar 25 '18 at 21:42
  • media.gettyimages.com/photos/… – user173913 Mar 25 '18 at 21:50
  • While I can't reproduce the error from the link you provided, it just seems to be an overeager WAF which triggers when it encounters a & where it doesn't belong. It's most likely a false positive and nothing to worry about. – Arminius Mar 25 '18 at 21:56
  • That is weird. When I typed it, it took me to the error page. But when I clicked on it, it took me to the (royalty free) photo. I'm afraid to click on the link I provided but that's the one that was typed. – user173913 Mar 25 '18 at 22:05
  • This malformed URL triggers: media.gettyimages.com/photos/… (I replaced the ? with a &.) – Arminius Mar 25 '18 at 22:07
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You tried to visit a website with a malformed URL in it. A web application firewall (WAF) or similar thought it looked a little bit suspicious, and blocked your request. Apparently, the WAF is not configured veyr well, so it displays error messages to the user, instead of just a 404 page.

Regarding & in URL:s, they would normally be seen in the query string (the part after the ?). There, they are used as separator between different parameters, as in ?color=green&size=medium. I don't think putting them in a different part of the URL is a sign of any specific attack. But it's not a bad idea to block odd input even if it is not obviously an attack, just to be on the safe side.

So to summarize: Nobody tried to attack you. The webserver mistook a misspelled URL you visited for a potential attack, and blocked it. That's completely normal. You don't need to be worried about anything here.

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