PHP Security and Encryption Preventing Session Fixation - Web Development and Design | Tutorial for Java, PHP, HTML, Javascript PHP Security and Encryption Preventing Session Fixation - Web Development and Design | Tutorial for Java, PHP, HTML, Javascript

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Monday, June 24, 2019

PHP Security and Encryption Preventing Session Fixation

PHP Security and Encryption


Preventing Session Fixation


Problem

You need to ensure that a user’s session identifier cannot be provided by a third party, such as an attacker who seeks to hijack the user’s session.

Solution

Regenerate the session identifier with session_regenerate_id() whenever there is a change in the user’s privilege, such as after a successful login:

       session_regenerate_id();
       $_SESSION['logged_in'] = true;

Discussion

Sessions allow you to create variables that persist between requests. For sessions to work, each of the users’ requests must include a session identifier that uniquely identifies a session.

By default, PHP accepts a session identifier sent in a cookie, but if session.use_only_cookies is set to 1, it will accept a session identifier in the URL. An attacker can trick a victim into following a link to your application that includes an embedded session identifier:

       <a href="http://example.org/login.php?PHPSESSID=1234">Click Here!</a>

A user who follows this link will resume the session identified as 1234. Therefore, the attacker now knows the user’s session identifier and can attempt to hijack the user’s session by presenting the same session identifier.

If the user never logs in or performs any action that differentiates the user from among the other users of your application, the attacker gains nothing by hijacking the session.

Therefore, by ensuring that the session identifier is regenerated whenever there is a change in privilege level, you effectively eliminate session fixation attacks. PHP takes care of updating the session data store and propagating the new session identifier, so you must only call this one function as appropriate.

As of PHP 5.5.2, a new configuration setting, session.use_strict_mode helps prevent session hijacking. When this is enabled, PHP accepts only already initialized session IDs. If a browser sends a new session ID, PHP rejects it and generates a new one.


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