WARNING: You are browsing the documentation for Symfony 4.2 which is not maintained anymore. Consider upgrading your projects to Symfony 4.3.

You are browsing the Symfony 4.2 documentation, which changes significantly from Symfony 3.x. If your app doesn't use Symfony 4.2 yet, browse the Symfony 3.4 documentation.

How to Implement CSRF Protection

4.2 version
Maintained Unmaintained

How to Implement CSRF Protection

CSRF - or Cross-site request forgery - is a method by which a malicious user attempts to make your legitimate users unknowingly submit data that they don't intend to submit.

CSRF protection works by adding a hidden field to your form that contains a value that only you and your user know. This ensures that the user - not some other entity - is submitting the given data.

Before using the CSRF protection, install it in your project:

1
$ composer require symfony/security-csrf

Then, enable/disable the CSRF protection with the csrf_protection option (see the CSRF configuration reference for more information):

  • YAML
    1
    2
    3
    4
    # config/packages/framework.yaml
    framework:
        # ...
        csrf_protection: ~
    
  • XML
     1
     2
     3
     4
     5
     6
     7
     8
     9
    10
    11
    12
    13
    14
    <!-- config/packages/framework.xml -->
    <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" ?>
    <container xmlns="http://symfony.com/schema/dic/services"
        xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance"
        xmlns:framework="http://symfony.com/schema/dic/symfony"
        xsi:schemaLocation="http://symfony.com/schema/dic/services
            https://symfony.com/schema/dic/services/services-1.0.xsd
            http://symfony.com/schema/dic/symfony
            https://symfony.com/schema/dic/symfony/symfony-1.0.xsd">
    
        <framework:config>
            <framework:csrf-protection enabled="true"/>
        </framework:config>
    </container>
    
  • PHP
    1
    2
    3
    4
    // config/packages/framework.php
    $container->loadFromExtension('framework', [
        'csrf_protection' => null,
    ]);
    

The tokens used for CSRF protection are meant to be different for every user and they are stored in the session. That's why a session is started automatically as soon as you render a form with CSRF protection.

Moreover, this means that you cannot fully cache pages that include CSRF protected forms. As an alternative, you can:

  • Embed the form inside an uncached ESI fragment and cache the rest of the page contents;
  • Cache the entire page and load the form via an uncached AJAX request;
  • Cache the entire page and use hinclude.js to load just the CSRF token with an uncached AJAX request and replace the form field value with it.

CSRF Protection in Symfony Forms

Forms created with the Symfony Form component include CSRF tokens by default and Symfony checks them automatically, so you don't have to do anything to be protected against CSRF attacks.

By default Symfony adds the CSRF token in a hidden field called _token, but this can be customized on a form-by-form basis:

 1
 2
 3
 4
 5
 6
 7
 8
 9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
// ...
use App\Entity\Task;
use Symfony\Component\OptionsResolver\OptionsResolver;

class TaskType extends AbstractType
{
    // ...

    public function configureOptions(OptionsResolver $resolver)
    {
        $resolver->setDefaults([
            'data_class'      => Task::class,
            // enable/disable CSRF protection for this form
            'csrf_protection' => true,
            // the name of the hidden HTML field that stores the token
            'csrf_field_name' => '_token',
            // an arbitrary string used to generate the value of the token
            // using a different string for each form improves its security
            'csrf_token_id'   => 'task_item',
        ]);
    }

    // ...
}

CSRF Protection in Login Forms

See How to Build a Login Form for a login form that is protected from CSRF attacks. You can also configure the CSRF protection for the logout action.

Generating and Checking CSRF Tokens Manually

Although Symfony Forms provide automatic CSRF protection by default, you may need to generate and check CSRF tokens manually for example when using regular HTML forms not managed by the Symfony Form component.

Consider a simple HTML form created to allow deleting items. First, use the csrf_token() Twig function to generate a CSRF token in the template and store it as a hidden form field:

1
2
3
4
5
6
<form action="{{ url('admin_post_delete', { id: post.id }) }}" method="post">
    {# the argument of csrf_token() is an arbitrary string used to generate the token #}
    <input type="hidden" name="token" value="{{ csrf_token('delete-item') }}"/>

    <button type="submit">Delete item</button>
</form>

Then, get the value of the CSRF token in the controller action and use the isCsrfTokenValid() to check its validity:

 1
 2
 3
 4
 5
 6
 7
 8
 9
10
11
12
use Symfony\Component\HttpFoundation\Request;
// ...

public function delete(Request $request)
{
    $submittedToken = $request->request->get('token');

    // 'delete-item' is the same value used in the template to generate the token
    if ($this->isCsrfTokenValid('delete-item', $submittedToken)) {
        // ... do something, like deleting an object
    }
}

This work, including the code samples, is licensed under a Creative Commons BY-SA 3.0 license.