Cross-Site Request Forgery(CSRF) is in the Open Web Application Security Project(OWASP) top 10 2013 edition. OWASP is a non profit organization that produces a list of the top security vulnerabilities in order to help improve web software security. In the top 10 edition for 2013 the CSRF security vulnerability is #8, slipping all the way from #5 in the 2010 OWASP list. This is likely due to frameworks that provide anti-forgery tokens to reduce the CSRF vulnerability.
How does Cross-Site Request Forgery Work?
It is very common to store the websites authentication info in a Cookie. Cookies are automatically passed back and forth on every request to the web application, so it's a convenient method of passing security info to your web application.
The simplest way to demo this in the most basic sense is login to your website. Open a new tab and go to your website. Notice you are still logged into the website.
ASP .NET MVC Anti Forgery Token
In ASP .NET MVC there is a built in HTML helper called that you use inside a
<form> tag like so
@Html.AntiForgeryToken(). This little helper does quite a few things on your behalf
- sets a cookie called
- creates a hidden input tag like
<input name="__RequestVerificationToken" type="hidden" value="Wq2QX6P4GuYQ3ByivO2-zmZ4AfFak3TEjlj4mTGVbxH3s1WkIC-dZoF0HqBML-DHkpIQfjepoeOdQdV8OEh_kwnixd41" />
- adds the Response header
To validate a form POST you would then add the
ValidateAntiForgeryToken attribute to your receiving controller's action method. For example,
public ActionResult UpdateSomething(AccountModel model)
ValidateAntiForgeryToken is a filter that checks three things on the incoming post request.
- There is a cookie called __RequestVerificationToken
- There is a form field called __RequestVerificationToken
- The cookie token and form token cryptographically match