How can I increase the security of my sessions?
I've been throwing this little bad boy around for my ajax calls. Some cases I haven't. Then I was like, is this really secure using id from the DOM? what if the DOM is changed to hack user accounts data? So then I was like I guess anytime a user is doing something relating to their id, only sessions should be referenced. Am I right?
Referenced like so:
Then I read this:
While the session data array stored in the user's cookie contains a Session ID, unless you store session data in a database there is no way to validate it. For some applications that require little or no security, session ID validation may not be needed, but if your application requires security, validation is mandatory. Otherwise, an old session could be restored by a user modifying their cookies. http://codeigniter.com/user_guide/libraries/sessions.html
I'm not going to be storing financial data but I don't want any data on my site corrupted ever. Does SO use session validation? How much overhead will this validation cost? How would a session be hacked? What are some things to look out for with session security?
Using CodeIgniter sessions with database is going to be fairly secure. You just don't have to trust the input that the user gives. Even if you are using AJAX, the CodeIgniter session will work just like any standard call, so the same security goes on.
What happens with the CodeIgniter session is that the server stores the cookie, and every time the user does an action that would change the content of the cookie, it is first compared to the previous cookie.
If the user changes the content of the session cookie in the browser, CodeIgniter will notice on the next server call, and create a new session for the user, basically logging him out.
CodeIgniter doesn't really need the data stored in the cookie in the user's browser, and as long as you're using
you're going to get trusted server-side data. The user can't change that. Furthermore, the cookie can be encrypted, and you should have it encrypted. Just look in config.php of CodeIgniter.
There are several other protections around the session data: the short refresh timeout (usually 300 seconds), it checks if the IP changed, and if the browser changed. In other words, in the worst case scenario, the only way to spoof the session data is by having the same version of the browser, having the same IP, getting direct access to the computer to copy/paste the cookie, and getting this done within 5 minutes.
So, watch out for the guy sitting beside you!