PHP Tutorials

PHP Security Guide

php_securityPHP Security guide here is for PHP developers who want to build a secured PHP application at a cost they could afford. As a Developer, they must be aware of various possible security flaws in the process of developing applications. These vulnerable points and aspects may compromise the security of an application. For PHP developers, it is important to balance between security and expense. This means that developers must be willing to spend a certain amount of money, in order to ensure security of the application, because this data is valuable.

Another important factor to consider is a balance between security and usability. It is common to find that because of increase in security features, there is less usability. This means users will find access controls, passwords and session timeouts, all part of security measures. The last crucial aspect entails incorporating security into the design of the application. This is the only way to achieve fully the potential of having security in the applications.

The following are key PHP security issues a developer must be keen about, in order to ensure more secure applications:

  • Ensure validation of user input before making any changes to the script
  • Taking extra care with characters such as backslashes and other characters that may cause unexpected use of the script
  • Extra care is needed when executing commands with user inputs. This can enable attackers insert malevolent commands
  • When handling sensitive and secure information like passwords, ensure to use a strong password that is not east to crack. Always use a password that does not contain obvious words, phrases or words found in the dictionary
  •  Use of default file names and putting administrative rights in the admin folder compromises the application and becomes an easy target for hackers
  • Use of shortcut tags puts a users tag at risk and could even lead to the script being displayed

Registering Global Settings

When the global register settings are turned off, the source of values for variables needs to be defined clearly. When the global settings are on, users are able to use variables, hence being able to keep track of the sources of these variables.

This setting is highly beneficial because it is a proper and secure way to go through codes and initialize the crucial variables. In addition, when users know the source of a variable, and this is especially if it is coming from a POST request, it is more secure and difficult for hackers to counterfeit variables. This is an ideal and powerful security solution.

Validation of user input

input_validationThe ideal approach is to be on constant alert. This means one should not trust any kind of data and it should all be regarded as a threat. This is the whitelist approach and it is mostly used in data that is to be processed by the application. The following are steps that enable validation.

  • Checking length of approved data strings: this is a crucial step because if the string is too long, an attacker may get around this as a security measure. To ensure safety, it is better to check the data string length before using it within the PHP script
  •  Data filtration: Filtering data generally gives a secure environment. Data filtration only takes place by accepting correct ideals. This is a highly effective method because it only gives the approved values
  •  Type casting: This efficient and effective method ensures data processing in the exact way it should. Users can insert the desired code in parentheses before the variable. This process is identical to the technique used in the C programming language.
  •  Normal expression: This powerful and versatile tool has characters existing in strings. Normal expression works flawlessly when users are validating input and against email address inputs

XSS (Cross Site Scripting)

A common security loophole is cross-site scripting. This is where attackers use web applications to distribute malicious codes. This causes sensitive data such as cookies, usernames and passwords, to be sent to unknown locations. XSS attacks can be prevented in the following ways. Filtering of user inputs and removing HTML tags. This ensures Javascript cannot be run. This is the most effective and reliable method to preventing XSS attacks.

SQL Injection

This comes into play when there is direct input of a malformed user input. This can give leeway to attackers manipulating and deleting parts or sections of the database. Attackers can also make themselves administrators and corrupt crucial information. Programmers must watch out this security flaw.

File uploading

This is a common and high-risk security threat. This is like giving hackers and attackers sensitive data in a silver platter. It is important to avoid direct uploading of data on the server. To prevent attacks and compromise of data, it is better to upload only images.

In conclusion, there are various security threats involved with PHP security. Developers need to look at all these options in order to achieve security for their applications in a safe and reliable way.

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