CodeIgniter Security - CodeIgniter

What is CodeIgniter Security?

XSS Prevention

XSS approach cross-site scripting. CodeIgniter comes with XSS filtering safety. This filter will save you any malicious JavaScript code or every other code that tries to hijack cookie and do malicious activities. To clear out records thru the XSS filter, use the xss_clean() method as shown below.

You must practice this function only when you are submitting data. The elective second Boolean parameter can also be used to check image file for XSS attack. This is beneficial for file upload facility. If its value is true, means image is safe and not otherwise.

SQL Injection Prevention

SQL injection is an attack made on database query. In PHP, we are use mysql_real_escape_string() function to stop this along with other techniques but CodeIgniter provides inbuilt functions and libraries to prevent this.

We can prevent SQL Injection in CodeIgniter in the following three ways −

  • Escaping Queries
  • Query Biding
  • Active Record Class

Escaping Queries


$this->db->escape() function automatically adds single quotes around the data and determines the data type so that it can escape only string data.

Query Biding

In the above example, the question mark (?) will be replaced by using the array within the second parameter of question () function. The primary benefit of constructing query this manner is that the values are automatically escaped which produce safe queries. CodeIgniter engine does it for you automatically, so that you do not need to take into account it.

Active Record Class

Using active records, query syntax is generated by each database adapter. It also allows safer queries, since the values escape automatically.

Hiding PHP errors

In production surroundings, we frequently do no longer need to show any error message to the customers. It is good if it is enabled in the development environment for debugging purposes. these errors messages may contain some information, which we should not display to the website customers for protection reasons.

There are three CodeIgniter files related with errors.

php errors Reporting level

the different environment requires unique levels of error reporting. by default, development will show errors, however, testing and live will hide them. there's a file known as index.php in root listing of CodeIgniter, that's used for this purpose. If we pass zero as an argument to error_reporting() function then so that it will hide all of the errors.

Database Error

Even if you have turned off the PHP errors, MySQL errors are still open. You can turn this off in application/config/database.php. Set the db_debug option in $db array to FALSE as shown below.

Error log

Another way is to transfer the errors to log files. So, it will not be displayed to users on the site. Simply, set the log_threshold value in $config array to 1 in application/cofig/config.php file as shown below.

CSRF Prevention

CSRF stands for cross-site request forgery. You can prevent this attack by enabling it in the application/config/config.php file as shown below.

When you are making form using form_open() function, it will spontaneously insert a CSRF as hidden field. You can also manually add the CSRF using the get_csrf_token_name() and get_csrf_hash() function. The get_csrf_token_name() function will return the name of the CSRF and get_csrf_hash() will return the hash value of CSRF.

The CSRF token can be regenerated every time for submission or you can also keep it same throughout the life of CSRF cookie. By setting the value TRUE, in config array with key ‘csrf_regenerate’ will regenerate token as shown below.

You can also whitelist URLs from CSRF protection by setting it in the config array using the key ‘csrf_exclude_uris’ as shown below. You can also use regular expression.

Password Handling

Numerous designers do not know how to handle password in web applications, which is perhaps why many hackers find it so easy to break into the systems. One should keep in mind the following points while handling passwords −

  • DO NOT store passwords in plain-text format.
  • Always hash your passwords.
  • DO NOT use Base64 or similar encoding for storing passwords.
  • DO NOT use weak or broken hashing algorithms like MD5 or SHA1. Only use strong password hashing algorithms like BCrypt, which is used in PHP’s own Password Hashing functions.
  • DO NOT ever display or send a password in plain-text format.
  • DO NOT put unnecessary limits on your users’ passwords.

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