It goes without saying that PHP is well known for its ability to help a programmer create websites that are more functional. This makes PHP one of the most trusted and important programming languages that a majority of the programmers rely on.

However, at times, the programmers lose themselves in using this programming language to the best of its ability. It is during this time that certain loopholes can be created in terms of the security aspect and this can wreak havoc during the process of development. There has been a tremendous progress when it comes to the Internet with people from all over the globe relying on its services for a better life.

This has put a certain amount of pressure on the programmers to develop web content and applications that can aid people. Although there is no harm in doing so, taking no notice of the security issues can land you in the soup with several people just waiting for a chance to take advantage.

Given below are some guidelines to help you make the right decisions and make the best of your PHP knowledge without compromising on the security.

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Use BBCode to Heighten Security Measures

Use BBCode to Heighten Security Measures
Instead, you must use a feature of HTML wherein you can use a certain set of tags while still ensuring the security of the web application. The BBCode works excellently well for these reasons. It is a perfect way to harmonize formatting codes without allowing any malicious content to come in the way of security.

Avoiding HTML Completely is not Exactly a Viable Solution

Although you can shun the use of HTML completely, doing so has its own risks and disadvantages. Since HTML is extremely useful when it comes to designing and formatting a website or a blog, shirking HTML is not exactly a viable option.

Beware of XSS Attacks a.k.a. Cross Site Scripting

Beware of XSS Attacks a.k.a. Cross Site Scripting
This is extremely common and because of the availability of a humongous section of the people getting access to your website and the content that forms part of it, there is a higher risk of people taking advantage of the security issues. For instance, when you write a brand new blog post, people are bound to interact with you by way of comments, messages and the likes.

Generally, these inputs from readers are included in the form of HTML. You may not realize it but this can cause more harm than good. It is because of HTML that JavaScript can be misused. With the availability of just one hole, JavaScript can be used for the hijacking process of the cookies. By doing so, a fake account gets the authority to pose as a real one and therefore, this account can be used to carry out illegal activities on a user’s website.

Avoid Using Global Variables

As a rule of thumb, always keep the value for register_globals = Off. As the name suggests, these variables are used to create global variables, which can give unauthenticated access to any unwarranted malicious user by way of authorizing variables for every GET, POST as well as the cookie variable that they may have asked for in the HTTP. Therefore, keeping register_global = On will breach security and lead to misuse of any type of content that is contained by the script. Although it cannot be completely disabled, you can turn the value to ‘Off’.

Make the Correct Usage of Error Reporting

Make the Correct Usage of Error Reporting
If you have made any errors while spelling a particular variable or have used the wrong format while writing the functions, error reporting identifies them and helps you make the necessary corrections.

However, the tables may turn when your post gets published and the users may get access to in depth website information like the software that is being used, the structure of the various folders and the likes.

This can be vastly misused by a user. Therefore, to ensure that error reporting does not play spoilsport for you, you must include error_reporting(0); at the beginning of every application file.

Understand the Magic Quotes Before Using Them

Using the addslashes can help immensely, however, you need to constantly keep tabs on this quote to ensure that it is on at all times. If it is not, then there is a good chance that any input made will remain unchecked.

Understanding ‘hidden’ and ‘token’ in Forms

Understanding 'hidden' and 'token' in Forms
It is important that you steer clear of the hidden form fields as it can easily be sued to your disadvantage by replacing values. An added security measure calls for you to furnish your form fields with token.

The Input Must Be Validated

When you validate the input, you are increasing your chances of providing additional layers of security. Usually, it gives you a certain amount of control as you get to decide the type of data that can be entered by the users.

SQL Injection

SQL Injection
The SQL injection is considered to be one of the most popular security threats that PHP programmers can face when coding for web applications.

This commonly occurs when the programmer fails to check the data. Besides, certain characters like the single and double quotes (‘ , “) does not allow an application to divert from these SQL characters, safety rules can be breached. Therefore, malicious users can use this to their advantage by adding the “True” value for every query.

Make Use of Tools to Safeguard Against SQL Injection

You are provided with tools that help you protect your system from the SQL injection and the most common one is the MySQLi’s mysqli_real_escape_string function.

About the Author: Rachel Fowler is a video choreographer for 522 production, which is a video production service for small to medium size companies.
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