Laravel Security Best Practices [Ensure to Secure your Website]

By Ronak Patel   |   27 November, 2019
Laravel Security Best Practices [Ensure to Secure your Website]

laravel With technological advancements, its too tough for businesses to keep their private and customer’s information secure on the web. Cyber security is one of the most important task to keeping hackers and cyber-thieves from hacking the sensitive data. Without a proactive security strategy, businesses risk from the attacks on websites, networks, and other IT infrastructures. If a hacker is successful, attacks can spread from computer to computer, making it difficult to find the origin.

As per a report, it has been said that every 39 Seconds, hackers attack computers that have internet access.

Kelser Corporation suggests that 64% of the cyber-attacks were focused on small and medium-sized businesses.

This means it is very important that you secure your computers, websites, and applications from the malicious attacks of hackers.

When it comes to building mission-critical applications, Laravel is considered as the most recommended PHP framework in the market. Being a development framework, Laravel helps you build secure applications. It analyzes all the data and looks for issues in there. It offers you security against the common vulnerabilities out there.

Tools you can Use Check Laravel Security Issues

There are several tools available in the market which can be used to analyze the performance and security of your Laravel project, and some of them have been explained here:

Quttera

Quttera is one of those easy-to-use malware detectors which you can make use of for your project. It offers a detailed analysis in a simple manner. You can use Quttera for blacklist checking, internal and external monitoring, detect modified files, malvertising, find traffic re-directs, on-demand and scheduled scans, generic malware detection, and as well as for others. In case you find some issues in there, you can always get them resolved by taking the help of security experts.

Siteguarding

SiteGuarding is mostly used by the developers to check the website for vulnerabilities and malware. When compared with others out there, it offers a basic scan but will let you know whether your site is on any online blacklists and will provide some vital information about the website.

Web Inspector

Web Inspector is used to check vulnerabilities and malware. Just like the above tool, here you can enter the URL into the search box of the tool and then simply scan it. Based on the complexity and the size of the page and the kind of damage it has caused the page, it might take around a few minutes to complete the scan and get you the result. You can have a report generated once the scan is completed. You need to sign up into the tool first, and that is free.

AsafaWeb

Another vulnerability scanning tool that you can use for your project is AsafaWeb. All you need to do is to open the AsafaWeb search box and copy and paste the URL and then click on the scan. Now you can automatically schedule scans for your website and look for vulnerabilities. It can be done daily or once or twice within a week.

Steps to Secure a Laravel Website

Building a Laravel website is definitely the first thing that you will do for your business, but you need to be clear in mind that keeping it safe is very important too. There are some best practices which you need to follow to keep your Laravel site secure, and they are as below:

Host on a secure server

You should always look for a secure server hosting for your Laravel site. Every crucial and sensitive information and files related to your business website will be placed on the hosting server. So if it is not secured enough, you have high chances of them getting hacked and accessed by outside sources. Make it a habit to keep backup of your website, use strong credentials, set authorization and authentication for users, etc. to keep your server as safe as possible.

At the same time, if possible avoid using shared server, though using shared server will help you financially. Shared server is not good for high value website, especially, if the website contains some sensitive information. There are some common question which you can ask server providers to go with;

  • Whether the server provider;
  • Use Secure connection
  • Use SSH (Secure Shell) Protocol and Authentication
  • Use FTPS (File Transfer Protocol Secure)
  • Uses Secure Socket Layer (SSL) to pass on information safely
  • Uses Private Networks and VPNs

These are some of the top questions you can include to ask your server provider. Common questions are not included in this list, so you can consider adding them if requires. You can also include your own question if you have any.

Always use the latest version of Laravel and PHP (keep updated)

You must keep your Laravel version always updated. Every new version of Laravel is focused on making some serious improvements, new feature addition, fixing bugs, and improving in terms of security. This means if you fail to keep your Laravel version updated, you will be missing such things. So you should always keep the Laravel version updated for your project.

Similarly, it is important that you look into doing the same for your PHP framework. When you will keep it updated, you will be able to ensure that any of the security issues found earlier would have been resolved, and there may be some critical security patches made.

Update packages, modules, and plugins regularly

Using Laravel, you need to ensure that you have packages, modules and plugins are regularly updated. When any major update released by service provider, the modules and plug-in may not be compatible. In short, they are also updated accordingly which a user needs to update it accordingly. Now, most of users upgrade the major release but do not update modules and plug-ins and keep running the outdated version of modules and plug-ins.

When you do not update the modules, it will impact on the performance and vulnerable to hack. You can keep checking those modules and plug-ins and do the needful.

Just like we saw above, you must keep all the aspects of your software project updated. Things are not different when we are talking about the packages, modules, and plugins. Again, you need to be sure that you are making use of the packages, modules, and plugins that are required for the project. The ones that are of no importance should be discarded.

Check Firewall settings

It is important that you have a web application firewall installed for your Laravel site. The WAF will help your HTTP application by working as a filter and monitor. You can either plan to go for a cloud-based solution or get one installed on your server. Such a solution will offer you some benefits in the form of:

  • Brute-force attack protection
  • DDoS protection
  • Spambot protection
  • Backdoor protection
  • SQL injection protection
  • And others…

Use HTTPS

When you have your website deployed on HTTP, all the data which will be exchanged here will be sent in the form of plain text. So anyone who has plans to steal that can get it done during the transmission. So to safeguard all the information which is present on your web application, it would be wise that you deploy it on HTTPS.

You should get the help of a Laravel developer to simply setup an SSL certificate on your website. This will help you to easily move your website or application from HTTP to HTTPS with ease. You can make use of the below-defined filer when you want to hide specific routes. This step will simply redirect the users to an entirely secure route.

Route::filter('https', function()

{

if( ! Request::secure())

return Redirect::secure(URI::current());

}); 

Backup your website regularly

One of the wisest things to do towards safeguarding your business website is to take the backup regularly. You can schedule backup at some hours or the end of the day as per your wish. When you take the backup of your site, you will have a fresh copy of your website available. So you can always revert back to the original form using the backup in case you mess up with your website during some crucial changes.

Besides, when you have backup in place, you can avoid getting trapped with malicious files and reboot

Always Use inbuilt Laravel Security features

Laravel comes with security features that are built-in the development framework. It comes with an authentication system so as to keep the Laravel site secure. Most of the user authentication processes in here taken care of by the framework. So based on the authorization requirement, you can give the needed access to the particular user. This will make sure that the user accesses only the information that they need to see. This will make sure that sensitive information will not go public.

Laravel Development Services

Secure it from SQL Injection

Inserting random and unfiltered user input into the SQL query can increase the chances of an SQL injection vulnerability. Such case may arise from the user inputs coming from cookies, server variables, or often times the input values like ‘GET’ and ‘POST’.

With Eloquent ORM in Laravel, it makes use of PDO parameter binding in order to stay away from SQL injection. When you make use of parameter binding, it will stop others from making changes in the intent of SQL Queries.

There are times, when you require to write something complex or database-specific queries in SQL using ‘the DB::raw’ method. However, you need to be extra cautious while using this method as you might end up creating some vulnerable queries. Here’s an example which you need to avoid doing this;

Route::get('sql-injection-vulnerable', function() {
$name = "'Bobby' OR 1=1";
return DB::select(
DB::raw("SELECT * FROM cats WHERE name = $name"));
});

You need to protect the query from SQL injection. You can try the method given below;

Route::get('sql-injection-not-vulnerable', function() {
$name = "'Bobby' OR 1=1";
return DB::select(
DB::raw("SELECT * FROM cats WHERE name = ?", [$name]));
});

Filter and Validate All Data

We have seen above that Eloquent ORM in Laravel makes use of PDO parameter binding so as to limit the SQL injections in the application. You can even come up with SQL queries by following other ways. Whatever be the source of data is like, whether it comes from the server environment, configuration file, GET and POST or some other places, you should never leave them unchecked. Always filter and validate data.

Mass Assignment Precautions

When you create a model base, you have a very convenient feature which you can use without having to assign the each value individually. Yet, precautions should be taken while using this feature. The intruders or the cyber criminals can alter the form on the client side. It can led to serious harm and may you will end up adding new and malicious input, as follows;

<input name="is_admin" value="1" />

Using $fillable array, you can define a white list of fields which will enable you to fill them through mass assignment. The other option you have is to define a blacklist using $guarded property, though it can be harmful, in case you forget to update after adding new fields to the model.

Reduce Laravel Vulnerabilities From CSRF (Cross-Site Request Forgery)

CSRF tokens are made use by Laravel to make sure that the external third parties do not generate fake requests, and the Laravel security is not breached. For the same reason, for each active user, Laravel automatically comes with a CSRF token. When the request is invoked, it gets compared by Laravel with the saved token that is previously present in the user session. In case the tokens do not match with each other, then it considers the request as invalid, and the execution of it gets terminated. So whenever you are defining HTML for your application, you need to be sure that you add in a hidden CSRF field into it as it will take care of the rest in the form of CSRF protection. In order to generate the token field, the new Laravel version comes with a new Blade directive @csrf.

Protection against XSS (Cross-Site Scripting) laravel xss security

Any HTML object, which is the part of the view variable, will get escaped through Laravel’s@{{}} syntax. Now, this can seem to be a serious thing. Consider a situation where the hackers are trying to pass this mentioned string into the user profile or comment

<script>alert("Opps! Your website is Hacked.")</script>

If there is no cross-site scripting protection, then a view variable like the one explained above will be displayed in the form of an alert window on the web page. Such a display is annoying, and such an attack is called cross-site scripting. Such kind of well-planned attacks from some knowledgeable people may seem to be kind of irritating. They will confuse the users to quickly take some wrong actions like providing sensitive or crucial information like bank details through a JavaScript model, that will then be sent to some third-party websites.

Luckily for us, when a variable is rendered within the escape tags @{{}} which was mentioned above, a string will be rendered by Laravel in its place like:

<script>alert("Opps! Your website is Hacked.")</script>

Such a step will ensure that your Laravel application is safe from such attacks.

Wrapping it up

Laravel is one of the popular PHP frameworks in the market, which is used to develop web solutions. The availability of different plugins and Laravel security packages to have better features and functionalities in the application also makes Laravel more popular. Building the website or app on Laravel is the first step towards building a strong step for your business in the digital market. However, you need to be sure that it is made in the best possible manner by following the best practices to ensure security and high performance.

Ronak Patel

Ronak Patel is a CEO and Founder of Aglowid IT Solutions, an ever-emerging Top Web and Mobile Development company with a motto of turning clients into successful businesses. He believes that Client's success is company's success and so that he always makes sure that Aglowid helps their client's business to reach to its true potential with the help of his best team with the standard development process he set up for the company.

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