Lee Bullock headed home Gary O'Neil's cross to earn Cardiff a point.
Brighton took the lead when Leon Knight latched on to Dean Hammond's pass and beat Tony Harper from short range.
Hammond missed a chance to extend the lead, mis-hitting Darren Currie's corner, while Cardiff's Alan Lee had a header blocked by Guy Butters.
Brighton keeper Michel Kuipers saved from Joe Ledley, who then saw a header hit the woodwork, while Lee missed a good chance before Bullock's equaliser.
Brighton boss Mark McGhee:
The goal we conceded was very basic.
"The goalkeeper and the keeper didn't pick up the lad and it was disappointing, but 1-1 was a fair result.
"It was a good team performance to get us a point. It keeps Cardiff behind
us, but to be honest we are punching above our weight.
"We are under no illusions. Our young players are doing their best and this is a great achievement by them."
Cardiff boss Lennie Lawrence:
"We gave Brighton an early lead but in the first half alone we had enough chances to win three games.
"It was a case of two points being lost.
"In fairness our players kept going and it would have been a real choker had we come away with nothing."
Brighton: Kuipers, Hinshelwood, Reid, Butters, Harding,
Hammond, Currie (Jarrett 62), Oatway, Nicolas (Carpenter 32),
Subs Not Used: Mayo, Molango, May.
Goals: Knight 10.
Cardiff: Warner, Gabbidon, Barker, Vidmar, Williams, Kavanagh,
McAnuff, O'Neil, Ledley (Bullock 75), Thorne, Lee (Campbell 65).
Subs Not Used: Collins, Alexander, Anthony.
Booked: McAnuff, Gabbidon, Barker.
Goals: Bullock 81.
Ref: L Mason (Lancashire).