When developing WordPress plugins it is always a good idea to be thoughtful about security. Follow these simple tips to harden your plugin:
Validate User Input
When you get data back from a user, validate it! There are a number of useful functions to help with input validation. For example:
- Use intval() when you expect numbers
Depending on the context, data must be sanitized when displayed back to the user. Again, WordPress has a number of helpful functions to make this easy. For example:
You must be sure that when data is posted to WordPress, that you know where that data came from. Nonces help you “trust” a source. You can add a nonce to a URL using wp_nonce_url() or add a hidden nonce filed to your form using wp_nonce_field(). You can then verify the nonce by using check_admin_referer.
Prepare SQL Queries Correctly
For example, this is BAD:
"INSERT INTO employee (username, name) VALUES ('$username', '$name')" )
This should rather be written like this:
"INSERT INTO employee (username, name) VALUES (%s, %s)", $username, $name )
Trust WordPress Functions
When possible (and most times it is possible) use the built-in WordPress functions. These functions have been tried and tested and offer the most secure way to accomplish a specific task. For example, use the get_posts function rather than writing a custom select query and passing that to $wpdb->get_results.
It is always wise to check that a user can perform a certain task before doing it. You never know, if a user somehow manages to run your top secret function, they could potentially do something malicious. So check they have the correct capabilities first, using current_user_can(), then you can safegaurd yourself against any possible issues.
Check out these other resource to learn more and get more clued up:
- Mark Jaquith: Theme & Plugin Security
- Brad Williams: Writing Secure WordPress Code
- Data Sanitization And Validation Within WordPress
- Review an intentionally vulnerable plugin, and then how to fix it.