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Firefox Privacy Notice

Mozilla Foundation Security Advisory 2008-16

HTTP Referrer spoofing with malformed URLs

March 25, 2008
Gregory Fleischer, RSnake
Firefox, SeaMonkey
Fixed in
  • Firefox
  • SeaMonkey 1.1.9


Security researcher Gregory Fleischer demonstrated a problem with the HTTP Referer: (sic) header sent with requests to URLs containing Basic Authentication credentials with empty usernames. In these cases a number of leading characters, based on the length of the password in the URL, are removed from the referrer hostname. Fleischer pointed out that websites which only check the Referer: header to protect against Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF) could be attacked using this flaw. This concept was based on and expanded from a post to the forum by security researcher RSnake.