Apr 27

KeysOne of the inherent flaws with any popular web language like PHP is the serious potential of security vulnerabilities from improperly set up installations and servers. Although ensuring a secure server installation (whether Apache or IIS) is extremely important, that process is outside the scope of this article.

Instead, I’d like to recommend one simple tool that will should enable you to pro actively plug most “holes” in your PHP setup.

The ironic part about this article is that just a short while ago I thought I had everything “plugged” myself. I had done my reading up on PHP security and felt confident that I had a secure setup. Unfortunately, in an upgrade to a more recent PHP version, I accidentally overwrote my “secure” php.ini from the previous install. This caused one particular web site to be infiltrated by a nefarious ‘hacker’. Fortunately, there was no serious damage and I quickly found the problem.

However, if I had dropped PhpSecInfo onto the server and checked it out before going live, I would’ve immediately known there was a problem.

So here’s how it works: PhpSecInfo is just a single script and a small library that does the work. You simply drop the PHP files onto your server and execute index.php in your browser. You’ll be treated with a nice looking, clean, and easy-to-understand table of security information about your current PHP setup.

There are a mighty large number of security tests performed and all you have to do is analyze the results. Using the highly familiar red, yellow, green color schemes (from stop lights)… you know which tests have failed miserably, which ones you should probably check on, and which ones you can safely ignore. I realize that it’s not the end-all security check-up for a PHP installation, but I think it’s truly helpful to anyone operating a public facing PHP web server.

So, if you’re interested, check out PhpSecInfo from the PHP Security Consortium.

Whether or not you make any changes to your setup, it’s always good to be aware of your vulnerabilities. Oh yeah, it’s also totally free!

One Response to “PHP Security – Ensuring A Safe PHP Setup”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    PHP security is important. Thanks for giving this util a plug. It was a helpful to me.

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