Sandor A Sandor A - 3 months ago 26
PHP Question

"Do not Access Superglobal $_REQUEST Array Directly." Netbeans 8.0 PHP

This questions is being asked after having read a few others.

Do not access superglobal $_GET array directly

“Do not Access Superglobal $_SERVER Array Directly” on Netbeans 7.4 for PHP

Why is filter_input() incomplete?

I have loaded up the latest version

Netbeans 8.0
and I have seen a warning


Do not Access Superglobal $_REQUEST Array Directly.


Great, I am happy to be shown when I am doing something which can be improved upon, so I look at the
hints
.

The suggestion is quite simple.


Use some filtering functions instead (e.g. filter_input(), conditions
with is_*() functions, etc.).


So I start looking into
fliter_input()
however it is not yet implemented for
$_REQUEST
. This seems like a little bit of a dead end.

Then I read something which was quite helpful from (@bobince) "At the start of your script when you're filtering, you don't know where your input is going to end up, so you don't know how to escape it."

It reminded me, I know exactly where my input is going to end up, and exactly what it will be used for. So, I wanted to ask everyone if the approach I am going to take is essentially
safe
.

I am designing a REST-ish API and I am using
$_SERVER['REQUEST_METHOD'];
to determine the resource which needs to be returned. I am also using
$_REQUEST['resource'];
which should contain everything on the
URI
after
/api/
following the
.htaccess rewrite
.

The questions I have about my approach are:


  1. If I always validate
    $_SERVER['REQUEST_METHOD'];
    to be within the required
    GET
    PUT
    POST
    DELETE
    (which i will need to do anyway), is there really a problem not filteing the input?

  2. Should I be accessing the
    $_REQUEST['resource'];
    by using
    filter_input (INPUT_GET, 'resource');
    ? When this will only be used to determine a resource, and where the resource can not be determined (say someone attempts to add malicious code) we will simply not find a resource and return a
    404 Not Found
    status.

  3. Are there any other considerations I need to take into account and have I missed anything critical in my understanding?



I realise, this may seem like a lot of concern for what is only considered a warning however, in my experience, fixing just the errors will give you working code, but fixing the warnings will help you understand why the code works.

Answer

So I start looking into fliter_input() however it is not yet implemented for $_REQUEST. This seems like a little bit of a dead end.

I'd say it is not a dead end but on purpose. filter_input() requires you to clearly specify the input type. $_REQUEST is not clear about it, it contains input from various sources, allowing one source overwriting another.

Next to that this is also not what the warning precisely wants to tell you. Swapping a superglobal like $_GET with an equally superglobal function like filter_input(INPUT_GET, ...) shows the same design flaw. But Netbeans can't warn you as easily about it.

And getting rid of superglobals is already a good idea.

Instead, inject input data to your application at a low-level place, e.g. bootstrapping the request information and do not use any superglobals nor the filter_input function in the rest of your code.

That will allow you to easily simulate any request method without even having an actual request.

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