You have been hearing about PHP’s death for many years. But you don’t know who announced its death and why. You must have noticed people frequently talking about PHP dying, but you want to give less focus to such rumors. Because PHP is not disappearing anytime soon.
Almost every other website is being designed using PHP, it’s the heart of website development. Its security should be your primary concern too. This discussion is solely PHP Security Tips related. Since it is a popular language, you must learn how to respond to disasters and plan recovery.
PHP’s popularity is not hidden from you. Even its frameworks are all the rage to make dynamic pages and applications. But, are you wondering if PHP isn’t secure? PHP is as secure as it can be but malicious users can hack your website if you have not sanitized your PHP code. It’s finally time to disinfect your PHP code and learn about PHP security best practices.
Many remain confused about the relationship WordPress has with PHP. WordPress is a content management system that is written in PHP and paired with MYSQL or MariaDB database. Though they are somehow related to each other you can use WordPress without PHP knowledge. Similarly, you must not acquire PHP coding skills to, practice, run, or direct a WordPress website. We felt it was important to clarify this confusion if it somehow existed in your mind.
PHP Security Tips
Despite the benefits, programmers remain unconscious of various ambiguities that can arise while writing codes in PHP. Those gaps cause serious damage to your sites and leave them susceptible to hacking attempts. If you use the PHP Security Tips discussed in this article wisely, you can without a doubt save your applications from potential threats. After all, you must not compromise on security measures.
1- Cross-site Scripting
Cross-site scripting attacks are also known as XSS. It’s a security vulnerability in a web application that provides attackers an opportunity to inject malicious code instead of yours inside a web page. And that’s one major problem for you as a developer. An invader uses XSS to send a malicious script to you. There is no way your browser could have known how to stop that script because it thought it came from a valid source, it executed it.
That script can find any cookies, session tokens, or other delicate data reserved by the browser to use against you. By using scripting, it can steal your passcodes, install malware, or do worse!
You can combat this attack by using HTML elite chars & ENT-QUOTES in your codebase. This helps you to eliminate single and double quote options, permitting you to get rid of any possibility of a cross-site scripting strike.
2- Cross-site request forgery XSRF/CSRF
How does a Cross-Site Request Forgery CSRF attack work? And what are some PHP Security Tips to combat it?
You all have bank accounts right and you always access your online banking accounts to make transactions. For instance, you want to log into your account and your bank gives you a sessionID to validate your request. The session token that you just received via email is sent to you by a hacker. You don’t know that, but you click on the link that appears in your email because you thought that would take you to your account. Do you realize what you just did? You gave access to the hacker to use your account on your behalf. Yes, he can now withdraw money from it or even send it to himself or others.
To prevent such an attack, first of all, you have to be smart enough to figure out hidden scripts yourself. But, it’s not always possible. You can use GET requests in your URL and make certain the non-GET requests only get produced from your client-side code.
3- Session Hijacking Attack
What is a session hijacking attack and how can you prevent it using PHP Security Tips?
Session attackers typically target your browsers or web application sessions. Such an attack is executed when the hacker takes control of your internet session while you are accessing your personal data or accounts. The attacker sends a malicious link to you while you are browning and takes control over you if you end up clicking on it.
To prevent this attack, you can bind the IP address with an actual IP address. You can even secure your sessions with page tokens to combat any attack.
4- SQL Injection
Many big corporations such as Yahoo, Sony, LinkedIn got hit by SQL injections in the past years. In an SQL attack, hackers look for software vulnerabilities to steal a company’s data. In worst cases, they can delete or modify your data just to cause system disruption.
How does it happen? The cybercriminal ads malicious commands into the web forms such as search fields, URLs, login fields of an unsafe website to gain illegal access to sensitive and valuable data.
Here is how you can avert this attack:
- Keep your database up-to-date
- Apply PoLP
- Use prepared statements and stored procedures
5- SSL certificate
SSL certificates are always encouraged for enhanced security. Using an SSL certificate on your website can help you prevent XSS attacks and more. Do you want tips to install an SSL certificate? We can surely help you with this but in our next series of PHP security tips.
Wrapping Up our PHP security tips
PHP just like other applications is mostly found to be under external attacks. One reason can be its popularity. But the above-mentioned PHP security tips can help you secure your applications from malicious attacks.