Csrf Protection

Cross Site Request Forgery (CSRF), is a common attack that works by executing command on behalf of currently authenticated user but by an unauthenticated user. Alpas comes with out-of-the box support for protecting you against the CSRF attacks. If an incoming request is one of POST, PUT, PATCH, or DELETE methods, then Alpas makes sure that these requests are made by the currently authenticated user. If not, it raises a TokenMismatchException.

Enabling CSRF Protection

CSRF protection is enabled by default for POST, PUT, PATCH, and DELETE requests. The only thing you have to do on your part is to include a csrf token with any kind of above mentioned requests. This is preferably done by including a hidden input field within your HTTP form.

Alpas includes a csrf tag that you can use in your Pebble Templates to quickly populate a hidden input field with a token that is valid for the current request. If you need just the raw token and not the full input field, you can use _csrf variable instead.

<form action="/docs" method="post">
    {% csrf %}
    <input type="hidden" name="_method" value="delete"/>
    <button type="submit">Delete</button>

<h3>The current token is: {{ _csrf }}</h3>

Once a token is included in a request, Alpas validates it in the VerifyCsrfToken middleware and throws an exception if it doesn't match with the token that is saved in the current session.

/alert/The VerifyCsrfToken middleware must be applied to your route(s) to validate the incoming CSRF token. Otherwise, the validation will be skipped.

/tip/Since VerifyCsrfToken middleware is included with the web middleware group, you can instead just apply web middleware group to your routes to have VerifyCsrfToken middleware added to your request pipeline.

CSRF Validation with JavaScript

CSRF validation could get tricky if you are making requests from your JavaScript code. To ease the pain of figuring out everything, Alpas includes an encrypted token XSRF-TOKEN in the cookie.

When making a request that needs to be validated against CSRF attacks, you can include the same token in the header and pass it back as either X-CSRF-TOKEN or X-XSRF-TOKEN. The only difference between these two tokens is that the value of X-CSRF-TOKEN is considered to be unencrypted while the value of X-XSRF-TOKEN is considered to be encrypted and hence it will be decrypted before validating the accuracy of the token.

In the following example, we pass X-CSRF-TOKEN in the header of an Ajax call inside a Pebble Template.

     url:"{{ route('showmore.load') }}",
     headers: {
      'X-CSRF-TOKEN': '{{ _csrf }}'

It may look like a lot of work to make CSRF protection work when making an AJAX call from JavaScript, but in practice, a library like Axios should automatically notice that an encrypted XSRF-TOKEN cookie is included and should read it and send back as it is in the request the header. It can read the value, of course, because of the same-origin policy.