Dealing with Security Issues in PHP Web Applications

PHP provides an excellent platform for those willing to develop entrepreneurial web applications. With enterprise web applications that are more vulnerable to hacking and security threats, comes lot of security concern as well and hence, a platform like PHP can ensure the best possible safety for these applications. It is very important to take necessary precautions during PHP application development in order to ensure secure web applications are developed for the critical entrepreneurial needs. Now let’s delve into the things that need to be taken care for developing secure PHP applications.

PHP Application Development

Hash Passwords
If you are developing PHP application with user login, it is mandatory that you consider hashing passwords before storing them into database for later use in user authentication process. Hashing is typically an irreversible one-way function that produces a string of fixed length and is performed against the user password. Here you are comparing one entity with another to check whether it is coming from the same source string. If password hashing is not done, then an unauthorized user can easily access your application and database. Hence, password hashing is an important task to ensure safety of your critical data.

Data Filtering
It is recommended by the experts to sanitize and validate foreign inputs introduced to PHP code. Talking about the foreign inputs, these can be almost anything including form input data from $_GET and $_POST, data from uploaded or downloaded files, sessions, cookies etc.

If input data is unfiltered and passed to the output page, then it can execute HTML and JavaScript on the page thereby leading to Cross-Site Scripting, which can be a very dangerous attack. Hence, you need to sanitize your input data with strip_tags(), htmlentities() or htmlspecialchars() functions. With sanitization process, you can remove the unsafe characters from the application input.

Unserializing data from users or third-party untrusted users is a bad strategy that allows malicious users to be able to do improper things with your application by instantiating unnecessary objects. In case, you are developing PHP 7 application you can go for ‘allowed classes’ option for restricting the object types to unserialize.

Validating user inputs is the best way to ensure that the foreign inputs for the application are as expected not any undesired entities harming the security of your application. Hence, go for sanitizing and validating foreign inputs to your app and neglect unserialization of the same.

Configuration Files
Creating configuration files for application calls for some of the best practices to be implemented for security concerns.

  • Store configuration information in place that cannot be easily and directly accessed
  • Always name the configuration file with .php extension while storing it in document root
  • Make sure you use encryption or group/user file system permissions with configuration files in order to safeguard the information present in them.

Hence, taking care of the above things during PHP application development, one can ensure the best safety of their apps.

Grey Matter India is a leading web development company offering cut-edge PHP application development services to the firms willing to develop secure web applications for their entrepreneurial needs. Visit our website to know more about the company and its range of web development services.

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