Security UPDATE--How to Write Secure PHP Code--March 14, 2007


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IN FOCUS: How to Write Secure PHP Code


- Panda Software Sees Rise in Rootkits

- Relative Unknowns Top Antivirus Test Chart

- Microsoft Pushes Ahead with OneCare

- Recent Security Vulnerabilities


- Security Matters Blog: Gaping Hole in Wordpress

- FAQ: Windows Not Ready for Daylight Savings Time

- Tell Us About the Products You Love!

- Share Your Security Tips


- NAC Appliance Gets Cheaper and Faster






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=== IN FOCUS: How to Write Secure PHP Code


by Mark Joseph Edwards, News Editor, mark at ntsecurity / net

Last week, I wrote about a few things you need to know about securing your PHP installations. I also pointed to several sites that offer good information about what to look out for and what configuration changes you might need to make. If you missed that article, you can read it on our Web site at the URL below.

If you have PHP installed, then obviously you're going to run PHP code. Some of that code might be written by third-party developers and some of it you might write yourself. Either way, you should learn about secure coding practices for PHP. Doing so can help you write better code and help you audit third-party code for potential problems.

As an example of why the latter is important, be sure to read my blog article "Gaping Hole in Wordpress" (you can link to it from the GIVE AND TAKE section of this newsletter below) to learn about how someone slipped some "back doors" into Wordpress, which is a hugely popular PHP-based blogging platform. You can write simple scripts that audit third-party code to look for potential back doors by scanning the code for any or all of the dangerous functions I discussed last week.

To help you write your own secure PHP code, I went looking for resources and found several decent Web sites that provide writing aid and some tools that look for coding vulnerabilities. The sites at the URLs below are a big help, so take some time to study them carefully. If you know of any others, send me a message with a URL and I'll share it here in the newsletter for everyone's benefit.

Secure Programming in PHP

PHP - Secure coding

Secure Programming for Linux and Unix HOWTO, Chapter 10, Language-Specific Issues, 10.8 PHP (this pertains to Windows also)

PHP Security Consortium's PHP Security Guide

PHP Input Filter (Developer Shed's Network, PHP Scripts)

SecurePHP Wiki

PHP Top 5 (security problems extracted from SANS Top 20 list)

Top 10 ways to crash PHP

Chorizo! Web Application Security Scanner

PHP Security Scanner


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Panda Software Sees Rise in Rootkits

Panda Software said that in 2006, its PandaLabs team tracked a 62 percent increase in the amount of malicious code that used rootkit technology. The figure is on track to increase even more in 2007.

Relative Unknowns Top Antivirus Test Chart

In a recent test by AV Comparatives, the top three overall performers were G DATA Software AntiVirusKit, AEC TrustPort Antivirus Workstation, and Avira AntiVir Personal Edition Premium--not household names in the US.

Microsoft Pushes Ahead with OneCare In the wake of reports that its Windows Live OneCare security suite is inadequate, Microsoft announced plans to release a Live OneCare 2.0 beta soon.

Recent Security Vulnerabilities

If you subscribe to this newsletter, you also receive Security Alerts, which inform you about recently discovered security vulnerabilities. You can also find information about these discoveries at

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SECURITY MATTERS BLOG: Gaping Hole in Wordpress

by Mark Joseph Edwards,

If you use Wordpress, you might need to upgrade to version 2.1.2 pronto! There are a couple of huge holes in the code, apparently inserted by someone for the purpose of intrusion.

FAQ: Windows Not Ready for Daylight Savings Time

by John Savill,

Q: What is the daylight saving time (DST) problem?

Find the answer at


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by Renee Munshi, [email protected]

NAC Appliance Gets Cheaper and Faster

Nevis Networks announced LANsecure OS 3.0 for its LANenforcer network access control (NAC) appliances. Highlights of the new OS version are faster endpoint posture checks coupled with identity-based access control, a three-fold increase in user capacity on LANenforcer appliances (resulting in reduced costs), and integration with existing identity-management systems to enforce predefined application access policies to simplify administration. Prices for LANenforcer appliances start at $15,000. LANsecure OS 3.0 will be generally available March 19. For more information, go to



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