Commit 841b87c6 authored by Laurent Peuch's avatar Laurent Peuch
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doc(csrf): add documentation for csrf

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.. _csrf_protection:
CSRF protection in CubicWeb
To quote `OWASP <>`_, a CSRF is:
Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF) is an attack that forces an end user to
execute unwanted actions on a web application in which they’re currently
authenticated. With a little help of social engineering (such as sending a
link via email or chat), an attacker may trick the users of a web
application into executing actions of the attacker’s choosing. If the
victim is a normal user, a successful CSRF attack can force the user to
perform state changing requests like transferring funds, changing their
email address, and so forth. If the victim is an administrative account,
CSRF can compromise the entire web application.
This is especially dangerous for every website where the users are able to do
modification requests (for exemple by submitting a form).
The way the protection is done is:
- the user asks a page with a form
- the website generates a unique token for this user
- the token is then inserted in the form as a hidden field
- the user gets the page with the form
- when the user clics on the "submit" button of the form, the token is sent to the server
- there, the server checks that the token is the same as the one generated
- this ensures that this is the user that has made the request and has not been
tricked in doing it without its knowledge
In an AJAX/frontend context, the behavior is a bit different and is handled by
how the frontend has built its strategy.
Implementation in CubicWeb
CubicWeb offers a CSRF protection by default by integrating `Pyramid's CSRF
The CSRF Policy used by CubicWeb is `CookieCSRFStoragePolicy
which inserts the CSRF token in:
- every CubicWeb forms by default (except if you have been doing weird things
in the way forms are rendered),
- in the cookie at the "csrf_token" key, which can be useful if you are doing
ajax requests without first getting a form.
Adding the CSRF token in a CubicWeb Form
By default you don't have to do anything as it is added in all forms, but if
for any reason you need to do it, it's done like this in CubicWeb:
.. code:: python
from pyramid.csrf import get_csrf_token
# in the form generation part which here is Form.__init__
# here req is a CubicWeb request in the context of CubicWeb using pyramid
# here req._request is the pyramid request
token = get_csrf_token(req._request)
self.add_hidden("csrf_token", token)
Using the CSRF token in a pyramid context
Your main source of information is the `Pyramid documentation
on csrf. It explains how to `get the token
verify the token and `integrate the token in a jinja2 template
and also `disabling the CSRF protection if needed
Using the CSRF token in a pyramid context depends on how views are built. To
get the token, one can use `get_csrf_token(request)
method from `pyramid.csrf`.
Grabbing the CSRF token from the cookie using javascript
The logic is exactly the same as in `Django js snippet
except the key for the cookie that is different.
Therefore you'll need this code or an adapted version for your frontend code:
.. code:: javascript
function getCookie(name) {
let cookieValue = null;
if (document.cookie && document.cookie !== '') {
const cookies = document.cookie.split(';');
for (let i = 0; i < cookies.length; i++) {
const cookie = cookies[i].trim();
// Does this cookie string begin with the name we want?
if (cookie.substring(0, name.length + 1) === (name + '=')) {
cookieValue = decodeURIComponent(cookie.substring(name.length + 1));
return cookieValue;
const token = getCookie('csrf_token');
To quote and adapt Django's documentation: the above code could be simplified
by using the `JavaScript Cookie library
<>`_ to replace getCookie:
.. code:: javascript
const csrftoken = Cookies.get('csrf_token');
Submitting the CSRF token using AJAX
Once you have grab the CSRF token like describe in the previous section, you
need to submit it as **HTTP Header** `X-CSRF-Token`.
To quote Pyramid documentation, if you are using jQuery here is how you can do it:
.. code:: javascript
var csrfToken = "${get_csrf_token()}";
type: "POST",
url: "/myview",
headers: { 'X-CSRF-Token': csrfToken }
}).done(function() {
Submitting the CSRF token for a request with the content/type "application/json"
Exactly like an AJAX request, once you have the CSRF token as
explained in the previous section, you need to submit it as **HTTP
Header** `X-CSRF-Token`
Manually checking the CSRF token
If for wathever reason you need to manually check the CSRF token, here is how
it's done in CubicWeb (in
.. code:: python
from pyramid.csrf import check_csrf_token, check_csrf_origin
safe_methods = frozenset(["GET", "HEAD", "OPTIONS", "TRACE"])
if request.method not in safe_methods and getattr(
controller, "require_csrf", True
Here `check_csrf_origin` is a complementary CSRF protection.
Disable CSRF for a CubicWeb View
By default, all CubicWeb views need a validation by CSRF token for every HTTP
request which are not GET, HEAD, OPTIONS or TRACE. To disable this comportment
in one view, you have to define a new Controller with a `require_csrf`
attribute at `False`. Every route using this controller will be able to be
called without CSRF tokens. Of course, you can be more precise by adding more
rules in your controller, for instance adding condition on specific view
registry id, or connected user.
Here is an example on how to register a controller that disable csrf for all views:
.. code:: python
from cubicweb.web.views.basecontrollers import ViewController
class ControllerWithCSRFCheckDisabled(ViewController):
require_csrf = False
def registration_callback(vreg):
self.vreg.register_and_replace(ControllerWithCSRFCheckDisabled, ViewController)
For a more specific behavior you'll need to overwrite the `publish` method and
decide which view needs a csrf protection.
......@@ -138,7 +138,8 @@ Security
* **Security:**
:ref:`The permission model <securitymodel>` |
:doc:`Permissions management with Pyramid <>`
:doc:`Permissions management with Pyramid <>` |
:ref:`CSRF protection <csrf_protection>`
Migrate your schema
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