Why does Google prepend while(1); to their (private) JSON responses?
For example, here’s a response while turning a calendar on and off in Google Calendar:
[‘Calendar ID stripped for privacy’,’false’],[‘smsVerifiedFlag’,’true’]]]]
I would assume this is to prevent people from doing an eval() on it, but all you’d really have to do is replace the while and then you’d be set. I would assume the eval prevention is to make sure people write safe JSON parsing code.
I’ve seen this used in a couple of other places, too, but a lot more so with Google (Mail, Calendar, Contacts, etc.) Strangely enough, Google Docs starts with &&&START&&& instead, and Google Contacts seems to start with while(1); &&&START&&&.
What’s going on here?
It prevents JSON hijacking, a major JSON security issue that is formally fixed in all major browsers since 2011 with ECMAScript 5.
Contrived example: say Google has a URL like mail.google.com/json?action=inbox which returns the first 50 messages of your inbox in JSON format. Evil websites on other domains can’t make AJAX requests to get this data due to the same-origin policy, but they can include the URL via a