PHP developers have a duty and a responsibility to protect the privacy of the billions of users that use their websites and applications making it very important for them to be properly educated on how to write secure applications and websites so as to minimize vulnerabilities.
What is PHP?
When it comes to the issue of web development and general-purpose programming, the popularity of PHP cannot be questioned. PHP which is mainly used for web development is a server-side scripting language. A server-side scripting language is used to by website developers to manipulate data stored in databases on servers.
Uses of PHP
Below are some examples of what PHP can be used for.
PHP code can be combined with a number of web content management systems, web templates systems, web framework or integrated into HTML5 markup or HTML to add functionalities such as graphic displays or advertisements to webpages.
PHP is also used to collect user information by letting the user interact directly with the script. This can range from something basic as collecting information such as temperature which he/she wishes to convert from degrees to Fahrenheit to letting users participate in a forum or a survey.
PHP can also be used to create, modify, delete or retrieve cookies which are used to identify and store the preferences of users on a given site so that the customer doesn’t have to enter that piece of information each time he/she visits that website.
Security concerns over PHP
With the above examples, it is no doubt that over 80% of websites are written in PHP. A lot of big and well-renowned websites are or were written in PHP.
Some examples include Facebook, Yahoo, Wikipedia, WordPress and Flickr amongst others. The fact that PHP is used by most websites provides serious security concerns especially because most websites today gather personal and other private information and PHP developers have a responsibility to their customers and the general public to create websites that are secure so as to protect the privacy of their users.
In 2013, of all the vulnerabilities which were listed by the National Vulnerability Database, 9% of them were linked to PHP. Also, about 30% of all vulnerabilities listed since 1996 by the same database have also been linked to PHP. These vulnerabilities arise due to security flaws in the language itself or in its core libraries.
Also, the ever-increasing number of PHP developers some of whom are unethical raises the need for security and privacy which users require. In a bit to prevent programmers and developers from making mistakes during web development and/or programming, some languages have in-built error checking features that automatically detect errors during input, a feature which has been in development for PHP even though it’s inclusion into a PHP release has severally been rejected.
PHP developers have a duty and a responsibility to protect the privacy of the billions of users that use their websites and applications making it very important for them to be properly educated on how to write secure applications and websites so as to minimize vulnerabilities. It is therefore very important that PHP developers be properly educated on the issue of security and privacy as the websites they create hold the private information for billions of users making the need for secure applications a necessity.
Don't just sit and wait, take action
It will not happen to my website, or application - a common misconception. You already may be attacked and you event don't yet know. Start today with education and training on Web Application and PHP security.
Take a look at some books and courses that could help you built better, more secure web applications: