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Introduction

Imagine clicking a link and unintentionally giving a cyber thief access to your data. This article dives into the silent threat of CSRF, where your trusted web session becomes a hacker’s tool. You’ll learn what CSRF is, how it operates, and how you can protect against its deceptive maneuvers.

What is Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF)?

Cross-site request Forgery (CSRF) is a web security vulnerability that tricks users into executing unwanted actions on a web application where they are authenticated. 

Unlike other attacks that rely on directly injecting malicious scripts, CSRF exploits the trust a web application has for the user’s browser. It deceives the web application into believing that its rogue actions come from the legitimate user, not the attacker.

CSRF attacks leverage authenticated sessions by sending unauthorized commands from the user to the application without the user’s knowledge. Imagine a scenario where a user is logged into their bank account; a CSRF attack could potentially submit a transaction request if the user clicks a link or loads an image from a malicious site.

Here is a simple code example that could be exploited via a CSRF attack:

<!– A form on a bank website for transferring funds –>
<form action=“http://bank.com/transfer” method=“POST”>
    <input type=“hidden” name=“amount” value=“1000”>
    <input type=“hidden” name=“account” value=“12345”>
    <input type=“submit” value=“Transfer Funds”>
</form>

This code snippet has a form for transferring funds on a banking website. If a user is authenticated and this form lacks CSRF protections (like a token), a similar form could be placed on an attacker’s site. When the user visits the attacker’s site, the form could be automatically submitted through JavaScript, causing the user to unwittingly perform a transfer on the legitimate bank site using their authentication credentials.

CSRF is distinct from other vulnerabilities like XSS, as it does not involve injecting malicious scripts into the web application. Instead, it sends legitimate requests without the user’s consent, exploiting the fact that the user has an active session with the application. This at