How Laravel Addresses Security Loopholes and the Best Practices You Can Adopt to Further Boost App Protection

Laravel remains a consistent front-runner among developers when it comes to choosing their main web application framework for several good reasons. It has reliable performance and the community is one of the most active at present. On the topic of security, on the other hand, this development platform is certainly no pushover as well — its codebase is well known among web developer circles as the most guarded at present, so much so that its maintenance team is bound to take care of any discovered loophole in no time.

Indeed, Laravel earns its place among the best because of the way it can guarantee cost-effective app development. However, despite its solid reputation for security, Laravel is not completely impervious to technical vulnerabilities. No platform ever is. It’s almost always a given that security will be an issue in any kind of app development project.

We will take a look at the most pressing security challenges then proceed to outline ways for you to tackle them. We at DCI are already well aware of these vulnerabilities in Laravel and have taken vigorous steps to integrate solutions to them in every project we do. But before diving into them, let’s first discuss Laravel’s main protection feature and one of its compelling benefits: its Authentication System.

What Is the Laravel Authentication System?

The Laravel authentication system is automatically in place in the entire framework. Not only does it provide an extra layer of protection on all your resources, but its design makes controlling the access to the said resources more simple and convenient.

This securing process is characterized by so-called guards and providers — the former is responsible for authenticating user requests, while the latter performs the retrieval of the user from the database. The developer’s, since authentication is delivered upfront, is to just set up the controllers, models, and the database itself.

Outlining the Top Vulnerabilities in Laravel

There are, at best, three main security issues that Laravel web app developers have to contend with.

  • XSS (Cross-Site Scripting)

Typically characterized by the injection of the malicious script (often in the form of JavaScript) into a website. Visitors to it will fall prey to the injected script once they access a page or utilize a form (like when a user comments in a blog post).

Unfortunately, Laravel is not immune to this kind of attack, emphasizing the importance of actively increasing your protection against XSS injections. There’s some good news, though, as Laravel does offer native support that serves as protection for codes against cross-site scripting. But it would be a long shot to say that it’s sufficient.

  • CSFR (Cross-Site Request Forgery)

This is mostly concerned with users making unwanted actions in a web app. And what’s good is that Laravel has an active shield against this via its CSFR tokens, which practically blocks third-party entities from making bogus requests.

If a specific request occurs, Laravel automatically performs a comparison of the token saved in the user session and the request token. If they do not match, then the action would not be performed.

  • SQL Injection

SQL injections are effectively deterred thanks to Laravel’s Eloquent ORM, which uses PDO binding to prevent any kind of client from altering the SQL queries’ intent. This is why learning how to effectively utilize the ORM could prove to pay off as it can repel most SQL injection attacks, and our developers certainly took the time to master it.

Consider the Best Laravel Security-Centric Packages

Security packages serve as another proof that Laravel is actively addressing the security of apps developed in its platform. Weigh your options when deciding which one to use. Below, we have outlined the three packages that stand out because of their relative focus on security.

  1. Laravel Security — Possibly one of the most popular Laravel packages, Laravel Security is defined by the active code protection it provides against XSS.
  2. Laravel-ACL — If you want to assign more secure, role-based permissions to Laravel’s definitive authentication system, then this is the package to get.
  3. Laravel Security Component — Concentrates on securing roles and objects. It also uses the “Symfony/security-core”, which provides essential security features.

Top Tips to Nail Down Laravel App Security Issues

As you can see, Laravel does its best to protect against these common security issues. But it’s certainly better to keep reinforcing the security of your app’s code. Taking the time to do the following guidelines could pay off big and should provide you with enough peace of mind.

These are the practices that our developers always follow and adhere to when handling Laravel app projects:

1. Opt to Force HTTPS If Your App Is Prone to Exchanging Vital Information

HTTPS encryption can go a long way in keeping sensitive information from being hijacked and stolen mid-transmission. If your website does not have an SSL certificate yet, then it’s high time to do so. Our own developers would be more than willing to perform the shift for you. We also opt to “hide” routes by using certain defined filters that redirect your users to a safer route.

2. Refrain from Using Raw Queries as Much as Possible

Relying too much on raw queries, regardless of their perks, only leaves your code vulnerable to SQL injection. You’ll only be going against Laravels PDO binding security feature once you continue to do so. Our app developers always use well-prepared SQL queries because they are the exact opposite of their counterparts. The former is always nothing short of excellent in mitigating SQL injection issues.

3. Stop Using Hashing Fast Hashes like MD5 and SHA1

These two are commonly regarded as weak hashing functions for passwords. DCI developers make the most of Laravel’s native hash mechanism by choosing a slow hash like BCrypt. Simply put, slow hashes provide better protection than their fast counterparts, so we’ll always choose them in our Laravel projects as much as possible.

4. Consider using Laravel HTML Purifier

This is especially true if you still want to rely on HTML codes when using Laravel. With the HTML Purifier, you can safely yield HTML variables directly from the database. It cleans up the code, so to speak, by removing missing and omitted HTML codes.

5. Repel XSS Attacks by Relying on Escape Content

Using the double brace syntax, for example: ({{ $variable }}), manages to impart potent protection to your data already. Unless you are fully certain that displaying the data in the variable is safe, then don’t hesitate to rely on it.

6. Validate All Your Data

This might sound extreme but opting for custom validation that always filters the data coming from various sources bestows your code with an undeniably stronger blanket of security. DCI’s developers are more than willing to take these extra steps simply because it greatly reinforces your app’s overall safety.

Conclusion

The security of web applications is no joking matter, as proven by the fact that these vulnerabilities are still bound to plague Laravel applications with inadequate protection in place. Knowing how Laravel sets up a robust foundation for building up security, it should basically be a no-brainer for most Laravel developers to take advantage of them to keep the said issues at bay. It’s safe to say that our own developers count themselves among those who do.

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store