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From "Robert Sussland (JIRA)" <>
Subject [jira] [Created] (LANG-1042) StringEscapeUtils.escapeHtml() does not escape single quote
Date Wed, 08 Oct 2014 01:01:33 GMT
Robert Sussland created LANG-1042:

             Summary: StringEscapeUtils.escapeHtml() does not escape single quote
                 Key: LANG-1042
             Project: Commons Lang
          Issue Type: Bug
            Reporter: Robert Sussland
            Priority: Critical

The String Escape Utils should ensure that encoded data cannot escape from a string. However
in HTML (starting with 1.0 and until the present), attribute values may be denoted by either
single or double quotes. Therefore single quotes need to be escaped just as much as double

>From the standard:
By default, SGML requires that all attribute values be delimited using either double quotation
marks (ASCII decimal 34) or single quotation marks (ASCII decimal 39). Single quote marks
can be included within the attribute value when the value is delimited by double quote marks,
and vice versa. Authors may also use numeric character references to represent double quotes
(&#34;) and single quotes (&#39;). For double quotes authors can also use the character
entity reference &quot;.

Note that there have been several bugs in the wild in which string encoders use this library
under the hood, and as a result fail to properly escape html attributes in which user input
is stored:

<div title='<%=user_data%>'>Howdy</div>
if user_data = ' onclick='payload' ' 

then an attacker can inject their code into the page even if the developer is using the string
escape utils to escape the user string.

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