In his quest for a secure method of server-side security in addition to PHP, Ben Ramsey
stumbled across Peruser MPM
, an Apache security module, seemingly with PHP in mind. In this latest blog post
he details what lead him there.
A while back, when I was doing some research for a talk on server-side security for PHP, I looked into various "secure" methods for setting up a server for multiple users. Despite my search, I couldn't find a simple and effective solution for managing a server with a large (and untrusted) user base (as is the case with many virtual hosting companies).
Sure, there's PHP's safe_mode, but its "safety" is misleading at best. There's also open_basedir, which helps a little, but it's not quite enough. For my research, I also looked at and tested mod_security, and the Hardened PHP Project's Hardening Patch.
Eventually, through this comment, he found Peruser MPM, a module that runs each Apache process with its own user/group combination. He notes a few issues that it still has (breaking mod_ssl and making Apache less scalable), but overall, it does sound pretty cool...