CSRF - Cross-Site Request Forgery

What Is A Cross-Site Request Forgery Attack (CSRF)?

There are many different kinds of internet-based attacks which can happen to you. Hacking has evolved over the years to become a very real and dangerous threat, which means that people need to be extra vigilant. However, there’s one type of online attack in WordPress plugins which is quite hard to spot, and that is a Cross Site Request Forgery Attack (CSRF). But what is it?

What Is A CSRF Attack?

This is a kind of online attack which is different from a lot of others. While most cybernetic crimes usually exploit the trust which a user has on their favourite websites, this particular hack exploits the trust a website has in the browser. It forces authenticated users to do things that they don’t mean to do, and this can result in severe consequences for both the site and the website user. 

To give an example, let’s take a look at how an attack of this nature might play out. First of all, the attacker finds a code within a WordPress website which requests data to be transferred from one place to another, for example your database dump. They then alter the code so that when the request is implemented, the database dump is sent to their server and not the server of the site owner. The hacker then puts this into some hyperlink to a website or page and sends it out to the site administrator via email or by the use of social engineering. When they click on the link or go to the location of the malicious code, it automatically sends the request to the site.

WordPress plugins and CSRF

Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF) is one of the most common security vulnerabilities in WordPress plugins. If you are a WordPress plugin developer, you should be aware of that. The best method to prevent Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF) attacks is to use WordPress nonces. A WordPress nonce – is a random string generated by WordPress which acts as a special token and is used to identify the person doing a specific action such as the submission of a form.

The Consequences Of A CSRF Attack

Hackers tough to spot and identify, and can easily cause a lot of problems if left unchecked. If your site is not protected properly, you could find that one of these codes has been implemented into it and that your relationship with customers is at risk. Therefore, it is critical that you remain on the lookout for this malicious and subtle form of online attack.

Darius S.

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