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Security and Safe Mode> <Persistent Database Connections
[edit] Last updated: Fri, 22 Jul 2011

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Safe Mode

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The PHP safe mode is an attempt to solve the shared-server security problem. It is architecturally incorrect to try to solve this problem at the PHP level, but since the alternatives at the web server and OS levels aren't very realistic, many people, especially ISP's, use safe mode for now.

Warning

This feature has been DEPRECATED as of PHP 5.3.0. Relying on this feature is highly discouraged.



Security and Safe Mode> <Persistent Database Connections
[edit] Last updated: Fri, 22 Jul 2011
 
add a note add a note User Contributed Notes Safe Mode
Anonymous 19-Aug-2008 01:09
If you do it right, you dont have to use safemode on iis.

Running as an anonymous user will make it possible to restrict (on ntfs) access everywhere you dont want users/scripts to read from.
or the other way: permit access to the http-root-HDD (in my case) or directory and deny the rest.

wanting users not be able to access the other one's dir will either require you to use for every user another "website" or safemode (which is easier to do).

so based on your security needs you know what todo:P
14-Sep-2006 05:18
Each IIS server in Windows runs as a User so it does have a UID file ACLs can be applied via a Group (GID) or User.  The trick is to configure each website to run as a distinct user instead of the default of System.
martin at example dot com 01-Nov-2005 12:07
On the note of php security

have a look at: http://www.suphp.org/Home.html

 suPHP is a tool for executing PHP scripts with the permissions of their owners. It consists of an Apache module (mod_suphp) and a setuid root binary (suphp) that is called by the Apache module to change the uid of the process executing the PHP interpreter.
hunter+phpnet at spysatcentral dot net 08-Aug-2005 05:25
I use mkdir just fine. You just have to make sure you set sticky bits on the directory you are creating the files in. Look at "man chmod" clipping:

4000    (the setuid bit).  Executable files with this bit set will run with effective uid set to the uid of the file owner. Directories with this bit set will force all files and sub-directories created in them to be owned by the directory owner and not by the uid of the creating process, if the underlying file system supports this feature: see chmod(2) and the suiddir option to mount(8).
mordae at mordae dot net 18-Jul-2005 02:19
It is possible to patch PHP/4 so it checks if just any directory in path is owned by proper user, e.g.
/home/mordae/www/dir/file
(where /home/mordae/www is mine and dir and file Apache's) will be readable if proper permissions set.
Read more at http://titov.net/safemodepatch/
jo at durchholz dot org 18-Jul-2005 08:18
Note that safe mode is largely useless. Most ISPs that offer Perl also offer other scripting languages (mostly Perl), and these other languages don't have the equivalent of PHP.
In other words, if PHP's safe mode won't allow vandals into your web presence, they will simply use Perl.
Also, safe mode prevents scripts from creating and using directories (because they will be owned by the WWW server, not by the user who uploaded the PHP script). So it's not only useless, it's also a hindrance.
The only realistic option is to bugger the Apache folks until they run all scripts as the user who's responsible for a given virtualhost or directory.
03-May-2005 04:37
To separate distinct open_basedir use : instead of on , or ; on unix machines.
plyrvt at mail dot ru 29-Apr-2005 10:14
[In reply to jedi at tstonramp dot com]
Safe mode is used "since the alternatives at the web server and OS levels aren't very realistic". Manual says about UNIX OS level and UNIX web-servers by design (Apache). It's not realistic for unix-like server, but for NT (IIS) each virtual host can run from different user account, so there is no need in Safe Mode restrictions at all, if proper NTFS rights are set.
bertrand dot gorge at epistema dot com 23-Sep-2004 12:58
Beware that when in safe mode, mkdir creates folders with apache's UID, though the files you create in them are of your script's UID (usually the same as your FTP uid).

What this means is that if you create a folder, you won't be able to remove it, nor to remove any of the files you've created in it (because those operations require the UID to be the same).

Ideally mkdir should create the folder with the script's UID, but this has already been discussed and will not be fixed in the near future.

In the meantime, I would advice NOT to user mkdir in safe mode, as you may end up with folders you can't remove/use.
Russ 31-Aug-2004 03:52
Sometimes you're stuck on a system you don't run and you can't control the setting of safe mode.  If your script needs to run on different hosts (some with safe mode, some without it), you can code around it with something like:

<?php
// Check for safe mode
if( ini_get('safe_mode') ){
   
// Do it the safe mode way
}else{
   
// Do it the regular way
}

?>
daniel dot gaddis at tlc dot state dot tx dot us 17-Mar-2004 07:03
on windows if multiple directories are wanted for safe_mode_exec_dir and open_basedir be sure to separate the paths with a semi colon and double quote the whole path string. For example:

safe_mode = On
safe_mode_exec_dir = "F:\WWW\HTML;F:\batfiles\batch"
open_basedir = "F:\WWW\HTML;F:\batfiles\batch"
uuganbat at datacom dot mn 26-Feb-2004 09:32
users executing shell scripts by filename.php, and I take the server in safe mode but some things are not working on web server, and disabled functions by php.ini but the simple commands in Unix are executing how  disable to execute shell scripts via *.php file.

example
<?php
echo `ls -l /etc/`; echo `more /etc/passwd`;
?>
matthias at remove-this dot hrz dot uni-kassel dot de 12-Nov-2003 05:38
Beware: Safe mode will not permit you to create new files in directories which have different owner than the owner of the script. This typically applies to /tmp, so contrary to Unix intuition, you will not be able to create new files there (even if the /tmp rights are set correctly).

If you need to write into files in /tmp (for example to put logfiles of your PHP application there) create them first on the command line by doing a

touch /tmp/whatever.log

as the same user who owns the PHP script. Then, provided the rest is configured correctly, the PHP script will be able to write into that file.
info at phpcoding dot net 08-Mar-2003 02:44
readfile() seems not always to take care of the safe_mode setting.
When the file you want to read with readfile() resides in the same directory as the script itself, it doesn`t matter who the owner of the file is, readfile() will work.
gtg782a at mail dot gatech dot edu 26-Jan-2003 05:14
zebz: The user would not be able to create a directory outside the namespace where he/she would be able to modify its contents. One can't create a directory that becomes apache-owned unless one owns the parent directory.

Another security risk: since files created by apache are owned by apache, a user could call the fputs function and output PHP code to a newly-created file with a .php extension, thus creating an apache-owned PHP script on the server. Executing that apache-owned script would allow the script to work with files in the apache user's namespace, such as logs. A solution would be to force PHP-created files to be owned by the same owner/group as the script that created them. Using open_basedir would be a likely workaround to prevent ascension into uncontrolled areas.
10-Sep-2002 10:30
Some paranoid web managers also restrict the set_user_abort() function.

This constitutes a security issue for hosted web sites, because the hosted script cannot guarantee safe atomic operations on files in a reasonnable time (the time limit may still be in effect):

If set_user_abort() is disabled by the web admin, a user can corrupt the files of a hosted web site by simply sending many requests to the PHP script, and aborting it fast. In some cases that can be easily reproduced after a dozen of attempts, the script will be interrupted in the middle of a file or database update!

The only way for the hosted web site to protect itself in this case is to use a sleep() with a random but not null short time before performing atomic operations.

Web admins should then definitely NOT disable the set_user_abort() function which is vital to ensure atomic operations on hosted critical files or databases.

Instead they should only disable the set_time_limit() function, and set a constant but reasonnable time for any script to complete their atomic operations.
10-Sep-2002 10:19
disk_free_space($directory) is also restricted by the safe_mode ! It can also be completely forbidden as this would allow a script to test the available space in order to fill it with a giant file, preventing other scripts to use that space (notably in "/tmp").
disk_free_space() is then informational, and this does not prevent system quotas to limit the size of your files to a value lower than the available free space!
Most web server admins that propose PHP hosting, will implement quotas for your hosting account, but also on any shared resources such as temporary folders.
tom at tom420 dot com 19-Jul-2002 08:33
open_basedir only restricts file operations to files and directories under a specified directory, but you can still user system ("vi /home/somedir/somefile"), so safe_mode still has a place here as it is much more restrictive then open_basedir.

Also, to reply to someone who said that 'above' and 'below' was a matter of perspective, sure it is. Of course, a file is not under another one, etc, it just pointed by some inode. But in the common language we consider the root (/) to be above everything else, and /home is below root, and /home/myfile is below /home. There is no written standard, but most people (those I know anyway) agree on that syntax.
zebz at ihaveenoughspam_hotmail dot com 28-Apr-2002 03:42
All the filesystem-related functions (unlink, fopen, unlink, etc) seems to be restricted the same way in safe mode, at least on PHP 4.2. If the file UID is different *but* the directory (where the file is located) UID is the same, it will work.

So creating a directory in safe mode is usually a bad idea since the UID will be different from the script (it will be the apache UID) so it won't be possible to do anything with the files created on this directory.
devik at cdi dot cz 25-Jan-2002 12:45
Just to note, I created patch which allows VirtualHost to set User under which all (PHP too) runs. It is more secure than safe_mode. See luxik.cdi.cz/~devik/apache/ if you are interested
jedi at tstonramp dot com 08-Sep-2001 02:17
Many filesystem-related functions are not appropriately restricted when Safe Mode is activated on an NT server it seems.  I would assume that this is due to the filesystem not making use of UID.

In all of my scripts, no matter WHO owns the script (file Ownership-wise) or WHO owns the directory/file in question; both UIDs display

(getmyuid() and fileowner()) as UID = 0

This has the rather nasty side effect of Safe Mode allowing multiple filesystem operations because it believes the script owner and file/dir owner are one and the same.

While this can be worked around by the judicious application of proper filesystem privileges, it's still a "dud" that many of Safe Mode's securities are simply not there with an NT implementation.

 
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