[Owasp-alabama] using SESSION Vars to store sensitive data...

owasp-alabama at lists.owasp.org owasp-alabama at lists.owasp.org
Tue Jun 21 13:08:58 EDT 2011

Hey Chris,

I'm guessing the authenticated users will be from the Intranet and Internet?
Either way, it's going to be very important to protect the  authentication
session variable from "session hijacking".  This is the same theory in all
apps that use authenticated sessions. But especially important when dealing
with AD credentials as they could be used to further authenticate to the

I'm not real familiar with adldap but will any of the seamless auth options
work ?

I would definitely try to not rely on obfuscation as most any attacker
recognizes it and will decode it.


-----Original Message-----
From: owasp-alabama-bounces at lists.owasp.org
[mailto:owasp-alabama-bounces at lists.owasp.org] On Behalf Of
owasp-alabama at lists.owasp.org
Sent: Tuesday, June 21, 2011 11:59 AM
To: owasp-alabama at lists.owasp.org
Subject: [Owasp-alabama] using SESSION Vars to store sensitive data...

Ok all, here it goes...

i have a large enterprise product im working on, it has been in production
for some time...  they now want me to add LDAP (AD via LDAP) authentication

- The app is PHP . . . ok ok lets keep the rhetoric down ;-)
- It must run on any web server that supports PHP, and yes all functions
should work from any hosted OS
- Backend is Mysql, (but thats not really relevant...)

Im using ADLDAP.php, seems to be fairly solid... --->

i can authenticate fine from any hosted OS, all is great there...

here's the problem..

i often have to go back to the ldap server during the course of setup to get
different values, to do this i need to re-authenticate with the LDAP server
on every request... so this means the user could have to enter the
credentials multiple times... that sucks...

the only solution is to store the user / pass the first time they enter it
somewhere, so i can grab it and resend to LDAP when i need it...  

so where to store it?

- i dont want to store them anywhere permanent of course
- i only need it for the existing session
- it really only important when the admin is changing stuff for users or
ldap config.
- i cant use a one way hash, cause i need to send it to another server... 
- i could do some sort of obfuscation, but is that really secure? better
than nothing?

- Session Var certainly an option... but other than the obvious session file
on the server are there other risks?

- i could store it in the DB, but then thats seems more risky than the
session because there are more points of access..

- an obvious one is to pull all the data from LDAP on the first login and
stuff that in a session, but on large LDAP it will slow user login time
down... non-starter...

of course regular session security needs to be optimal...

IDEAS or COMMENTS?  I can handle flames as long as they are intelligent...

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