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Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF) Prevention Cheat Sheet

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Revision as of 09:28, 14 October 2009 by Paul Petefish (talk | contribs)

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Introduction

Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF) is a type of attack that occurs when a malicious Web site, email, blog, instant message, or program causes a user’s Web browser to perform an unwanted action on a trusted site that the user is currently authenticated to. For example, this attack could result in a transfer of funds, changing a password, or purchasing an item in the users’ context.

A successful CSRF exploit can compromise end user data and operation, when it targets a normal user. If the targeted end user is an administrator account, a CSRF attack can compromise the entire Web application. The sites that are more likely to be attacked are community Websites (social networking, email) or sites that have high dollar value accounts associated with them (banks, stock brokerages, bill pay services). This attack can happen even if the user is logged into a Web site using strong encryption (HTTPS).

Utilizing social engineering, an attacker will embed malicious HTML or JavaScript code into an email or Website to request a specific 'task url'. The task then executes with or without the users knowledge, either directly or by utilizing a Cross-site Scripting Flaw.

In effect, CSRF attacks are used by an attacker to make a target system perform a function (Funds Transfer, Form submission etc..) via the targets browser without knowledge of the target user, at least until the unauthorized function has been committed.

Prevention

Token Based