What is Cross-site request forgery (CSRF)?

Cross-site request forgery (CSRF) is a type of security vulnerability that allows attackers to trick users into performing actions that they did not intend to do. This is done by making a request on behalf of the user without their knowledge or consent, using their existing session and authentication information.

CSRF attacks often involve tricking the user into clicking on a malicious link or visiting a malicious website. Once the user is on the site, the attacker can use their existing session information to make requests on their behalf, potentially allowing the attacker to steal sensitive information or perform actions that the user did not intend to do.

One common example of a CSRF attack is an attacker sending a malicious email to a user, containing a link that appears to be legitimate. When the user clicks on the link, they are redirected to a website controlled by the attacker, where the attacker can use their existing session information to make requests on their behalf.

To prevent CSRF attacks, it is important for websites to implement proper security measures. This can include using unique, unpredictable tokens for each request (also known as a CSRF token), checking the HTTP Referrer header to verify that the request is coming from a trusted source, and implementing strict security policies for handling user sessions and authentication information.

It is also important for users to be cautious when clicking on links and visiting websites, especially if they are unsure of the source or legitimacy of the link. By taking these precautions, users can help protect themselves and their information from being exploited by attackers.

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