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Joseph Crawford's Blog:
Going deep inside PHP sessions
February 23, 2007 @ 11:44:00

Security is becoming a more and more popular topic among PHP developers, and Joseph Crawford has followed the trend and written up his own look at the way PHP handles session and session information as it relates to the security for both the user and the server admin.

One aspect that I dislike about the internal PHP sessions is that they are stored in files on the hard disk (usually /tmp/) by default. This means anyone with access to the machine has access to read the session data. I prefer to store my session information in the database to add an extra layer of security.

He looks at the pitfalls of using this kind of setup (among them, multiple users being able to use one IP) and a simple method for creating a custom sessions handler to replace PHP's built-in one. His example works with a local database to handle saving and retrieving the session information. And, to make things unique, he generates a "fingerprint key" for each user's information to serve as a unique identifier rather than handling it on the connection.

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