How To Address 5 Common PHP Security Threats

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John Tie

PHP as we know is a most popular programming language that powers endless websites including the likes of Wikipedia and Facebook. The flip side of its popularity though is that it is continually vulnerable to security threats. 

Sadly, PHP is fragile as well. Even a minor bug or a coding mistake can let hackers make inroads and cause serious damage.

And if you are of the view that hacking is a one-off incident that happens once in a while, you are seriously mistaken. Hackers are given to stealing records every second and thousands of sites are hacked daily.  

Below, we have shared 5 common PHP security threats and also suggested ways in which they can be addressed. On a side note, you can outsource PHP development to India, hire PHP programmers, & save 70% if you wish to avail expert assistance in this case. The services of offshore PHP developers in India will be economical as well:
 

Cross-Site Scripting

In cross-site scripting, hackers inject a malicious script or code into a website. The malware can get to the core of your application and you may have no inkling. This kind of attack generally takes place on those sites that allow the submission of user data. 

XSS attacks can be averted if you filter all the data and use a couple of existing PHP functions and strict naming conventions. You need to keep a watch on both incoming and outgoing data and by following a strict naming rule, you can differentiate between filtered and unfiltered data, which will prove to be advantageous in the development stage. And since the existing functions are in-built, you will be spending less time in using them.   
 

Cross-Site Request Forgery

Through CSRF, hackers gain complete control over a website, thereby becoming capable of causing data theft, functional changes, etc. by injecting an infected code. Cross-Site Request Forgery victims end up transferring funds unintentionally or deleting their entire database as they assume that they are adhering to conventional requests whereas in reality, they are falling prey to the intrigues of the hackers.    

To thwart a CSRF attack, you have to be smart enough to identify a malicious link or an infected hidden script. And there are a couple of protective measures as well. You can use GET requests in URLs and make sure that non-GET ones originate only from the client-side code.
 

Session Hijacking

A hacker commits session hijacking by stealing a session ID and gaining access to an account. Session hijacking is generally carried out via an XSS attack or by finding out where session data is saved and then stealing it.

To prevent it from taking place, you must always link your sessions to the actual IP address. You must also be wary of exposing session IDs. Furthermore, you can create fields that will be difficult for hackers to replicate. You can also check locations details as well as browser info and tally them with old data to gain insights into an existing session. Going for an entry password will also be wise.     

 

SQL Injection

Those who perpetrate SQL injection attacks do so by using certain URL yardsticks in order to gain access to a database. The hackers can also use web form fields and modify the data that you pass through queries. This way they eventually reach the database and wreck havoc, sometime deleting the whole thing.  

Using parameterized SQL queries as well as PHP Data Objects (PDO) is the way out here. Parameterized queries allow a database to distinguish between parts belonging to data and query and treat them separately. PDO can be used for executing prepared snippets in a code. The other solutions include filtering your data and using quotes in it and making use of escape characters. 
 

Password storage

To discover the passwords stored inside a website, hackers resort to XSS or SQL injection attacks. Using hashing algorithms as well as salt is how you ensure password safety. However, you need to see that your hashing algorithms are not weak and basic and the same applies for salts too. You need to strike the right balance between the price and the strength of a hashing algorithm or else the server performance may suffer.    

 

As mentioned at the beginning, if you feel that implementing the above security measures is not really your cup of tea, you can outsource PHP development to India where offshore companies will let you hire PHP programmers & save 70%. The offshore PHP developers in India are a dependable lot for India has long been an outsourcing hub and tending to the needs of overseas clients is something that has been happening for years.    

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