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I am to build a PHP application for a website that already has another PHP application running on the same domain/server. My app will of course be using sessions, and I don't want my sessions to interfere with the existing app. For example if I want to use $_SESSION['username'], maybe the other app also uses $_SESSION['username'], which could be a problem. I'm not looking for an extra layer of security, I trust the application I'm sharing the host with. I just want to avoid bugs.

One way would be to do something like $_SESSION['MY_APP_NAME']['username'], but I want to know if there is an easier way.

I see on the PHP documentation that there is a function called 'session_module_name'. The name sounds good, but the docs don't really explain what it is for.

Any advice?



There is an easier way: session_name.

Prior to calling session_start(); call session_name("something"); (where you change something to whatever you want it to be called).

Sunday, November 13, 2022

The behavior you describe opposes the concept of a browser session. Why would a user want more than one session? Is it a matter of user access controls needing to be enforced? If so, assign users to logical groups and grant permissions to specific groups. Do users need to perform some action on behalf of other users? If so, design the website around that concept instead of trying to create multiple sessions for a single user.

If you really have to do this, you could do something horrible like pass along a query parameter (very insecure!) between pages to act as a session ID, bypassing the actual $_SESSION altogether and managing your own concept of a session. Again, this is not normal and will only lead to headaches/security issues in the future.

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

You can modify another users session (see below), although personally, I would recommend against it. As I imagine it can open up a whole world of session hijacking and other vulnerabilities.

With your example use case

A common user is logged, while in the same time an administrator uses the Admin functions and change some value for this user. If the value is not something obtained from the database every time, the session variable for that current logged in user need to have its value changed.

You would be better of updating the value in the database and then just checking to see if it's changed before you process the next page. If you don't want to be checking multiple user fields before each page load then when you update the user in the admin panel, you can build a hash of the values and add it to a new column called session_hash. Then just compare this field on page load

But if you still want to modify another user's session, you can set your current session_id to the targets.

// End my current session and save its id
$my_session_id = session_id();

// Modify our target session 
$_SESSION['is_logged_in'] = false;

// Start our old session again



Example Src:

Monday, December 5, 2022

Answering your last question first:

The Session PgSQLDocs you linked is the PostgreSQL Session Save Handler. It is a Session Save Handler you can configure to use instead of the default session save handler. The default session save handler in PHP is storing sessions to disk (files). If you use the save handler for PostgreSQL sessions are saved into a PostgreSQL database instead (pgsql).

Saving sessions inside a database can make sense if you want to allow access to the session store from multiple webservers (scaling an application) or in your case (probably) to access all sessions with SQL queries albeit normally a tailored session save handler is defined for that (which could be based on the PgSQL session save handler functions).

To answer your first question then:

Yes you can do so as long as you've got a reference to the object you relate to and you know how to access it. This can be either done by manually accessing the session storage or by sharing a session on it's own and switching sessions to access other session data. It depends on your needs, in your case it's probably more easy to just access serialized data that is stored by the ID in some extra table that has nothing to do with sessions. You should think about how to take care of the data if you don't need it any longer, e.g. remove it after some time of inactivity. In the end you're writing your own session implementation that way which is do-able. PHP before version 4 had no session support out of the box and the session support it has nowadays is very lightweight so if you need to do more specific stuff like you need to do, you normally write your own.

So multiple clients can use the same session (share a session) which is actually as well a way to attack webapps (session hijackingAttack) but as long as the "hijack" is intended inside your application data-flow, I do not see anything technically wrong with it. In PHP that means you need to close the current session, open the other one (sessions are identified by their name and ID), read the value, close the other session and re-open the current one. It technically works in PHP however write solid code when you do this because session problems are quite hard to debug.

This is also often a good reason to write your own object-sharing mechanism between multiple clients instead of re-using PHP's session featureDocs for that.

Friday, August 19, 2022

Instead of setting the time in ini to a fixed length, remind that session timeout is reset on reload. So create some ajax code that does a request every 5 minutes or so to a file (image or smth). This way the timer is reset every 5 minutes and users can spend a day filling out your forms.

Saturday, November 5, 2022
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