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Support CenterIssue DefinitionsHTML does not specify charset

HTML does not specify charset

Description

If a response states that it contains HTML content but does not specify a character set, then the browser may analyze the HTML and attempt to determine which character set it appears to be using. Even if the majority of the HTML actually employs a standard character set such as UTF-8, the presence of non-standard characters anywhere in the response may cause the browser to interpret the content using a different character set. This can have unexpected results, and can lead to cross-site scripting vulnerabilities in which non-standard encodings like UTF-7 can be used to bypass the application's defensive filters.

In most cases, the absence of a charset directive does not constitute a security flaw, particularly if the response contains static content. You should review the contents of affected responses, and the context in which they appear, to determine whether any vulnerability exists.

Remediation

For every response containing HTML content, the application should include within the Content-type header a directive specifying a standard recognized character set, for example charset=ISO-8859-1.

Vulnerability classifications

Typical severity

Information

Type index

0x00800200