On a training website where instructors can create Q&A exams for their students, an instructor put a question about XSS. Part of the question was http://abcd.com/options#<img src=1 onerror=alert("XSS")>. When I took the exam, that part of the question showed up on my screen as:

enter image description here

I believe that the website renders any input from the instructor without sanitizing it. I tunneled the request through Burp and noticed that I did not get an alert box because the quotes around XSS were \u201c and \u201d. However, when I changed the response from <img src=1 onerror=alert("XSS")> to <img src=http://randomwebsite.com onerror=alert("XSS")> before sending it to the browser, a DNS-over-HTTPS request to resolve randomwebsite.com was initiated from my browser (I have DoH enabled on my browser).

I want to report it to their bug-bounty program but, I'm doubtful if changing the quotes to their unicode counterpart is part of a protection or simply a co-incident that the instructor copy-pasted the question from (probably) MS-Word that did the change for them. Unfortunately, I do not have access to an instructor-account.

Is there a way to confirm if this is XSS? Is the DNS-over-HTTPS request enough proof for it?

1 Answer 1


That looks like a real XSS vulnerability, and I do think you should report it.

To get around the problems with the quotes, simply pass a number instead of a string to the alert function, e.g. alert(1). That way, you don't need the quotes but you can still demonstrate that JS is executed. That should be enough to prove that the vulnerability is real.

If you really want the alert to say XSS, you can create strings without using quotes like this:

String.fromCharCode(88) + String.fromCharCode(83) + String.fromCharCode(83)
  • But, the input can only be controlled by the instructor. A student (like me) cannot change it. Is there still a possibility to prove that the script exists without any access to an instructor's account?
    – 7_R3X
    Apr 26, 2021 at 7:54
  • I can't answer what counts as proof or what you can and cant do within the context of your course, That sounds more like a question you should ask your instructor.
    – Anders
    Apr 26, 2021 at 10:12
  • I've reported the issue. Thanks for the help.
    – 7_R3X
    Apr 26, 2021 at 11:17
  • You can use the forward slash instead of the double quotes. Another solution could be to use `` instead of the () . Example : alert(/hello/) or alert`hello` May 2, 2021 at 11:07

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