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Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF/XSRF), also known as Sea Surfing or Session Riding, is a web security vulnerability that tricks a web browser into performing an unintended action.

Consequently, the attacker abuses the trust that a web application has in the victim’s browser.

Now, we’ll see exactly what cross-site request forgery is and describe some examples of common CSRF vulnerabilities, as well as explain how to prevent CSRF attacks.


What is a Cross-site Request Forgery (CSRF) Attack & How Does It Work? (Examples)

Cross-Site Request Forgery (also known as CSRF) is a web security vulnerability that allows an attacker to trick users into taking actions they do not intend to take.

It allows an attacker to partially bypass the same origin policy, which is designed to prevent different websites from interfering with each other.

Cross-site request forgery (CSRF) attacks are common web application vulnerabilities that take advantage of the trust that a website has already placed in a user and the user’s browser.

By simply clicking on a seemingly legitimate link in an email or chat message, a user can unknowingly give an attacker the ability to hijack their identity and access privileges.

Thereafter, the attacker can impersonate their victim and use their account to perform anything from a harmless prank on an unsuspecting user to an illicit money transfer that drains the victim’s bank account.

When successful, a CSRF attack can be detrimental to both the company that operates the site and the user who has accessed it.

These attacks can negatively affect customer relationships, damage customer trust, and lead to cases of fraud or theft of financial resources.

To carry out a successful CSRF attack, the following key conditions are considered:


  • An attacker must find a valid URL to maliciously craft. The URL must have a state change effect on the target application.
  • An attacker also needs to find the correct values for the URL parameters. 


What is the Difference Between Cross-site Scripting and Cross-Site Request Forgery?

While Cross-site scripting allows attackers to execute arbitrary JavaScript within the browser of a victim user, Cross-site request forgery allows attackers to provoke a victim user to perform actions that they didn’t want to in the first place. 

In short words, XSS attacks don’t require an authenticated session while CSRF attacks do. 

To learn more about Cross-site scripting, visit the guide we wrote about it recently.


Can a Cross-site Request Forgery (CSRF) Attack Be Prevented? 

Is there any solution?

There are several methods to harden your web application security program so that it is less vulnerable to a potential CSRF attack.


  • Make sure to have CSRF protection – If your web application does not currently have CSRF protection, it could be vulnerable to this form of attack. Web application security tools can help you quickly determine if such a vulnerability exists within your web application and provide you with the necessary steps to fix the problem.



  • Reduce CSRF – You can help reduce the likelihood of a CSRF attack by having advanced validation techniques in place for anyone who might visit pages on your site, especially if you are operating a social networking or community site.



  • Identify CSRF – Even after you have successfully resolved a vulnerability in a web application that would have enabled a CSRF attack, vulnerabilities may emerge in the future as the application is updated and updates are made. changes to your code.


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