I wanted to explicitly define the referrer-policy as "strict-origin-when-cross-origin" in my web application. However, "strict-origin-when-cross-origin" is the browser's default policy when no referrer-policy is set explicitly. This is followed in almost all the major browsers such as chrome, firefox because it is a secured referrer-policy. Since the browser already has the secured default policy, do I still need to explicitly define the referrer-policy as an additional layer of security? Does it help in any way or just the browser's default policy would be sufficient?

1 Answer 1


Indeed, it's a best practice to set referrer-policy explicitly though the browsers' default to it. There are many scenarios where you can't guarantee strict-origin-when-cross-origin:

  1. Referrer leakage through injection

If users can author content within the application then an attacker may be able to inject links referring to a domain they control in order to capture data from URLs used within the application.

  1. Referrer policy precedence overriding

In some edge cases where referrer policy is set at page or element level, the browser's enforcement of policy is dependent on the position of the <head> tag, and can bypass policy enforcement if it's the resources links are referenced above the <head> tag, as found out in GitHub's gist bug.

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