September 30, 2012

how to prevent script tags in zend form

Question by Awais Qarni

Hi there I am just testing my own developed application and got a problem. I entered

<script>window.location = "";</script>

in Zend_Form_Element_Text element. I pressed submit and the value is saved. After saving value I redirect the user to listing and when it redirects to listing, script tag executes and it goes to

My form element looks like

 $first_name = new Zend_Form_Element_Text('first_name');
            ->addValidator('StringLength', false, array(2, $metaData['first_name']['LENGTH']))
            ->setDecorators(array('ViewHelper', 'errors'));

I want to know how can I prevent the user to enter such kind of values? Is there any built in validation or any other way?

Answer by vascowhite

Well done for testing your app, many people don’t bother. Don’t worry about storing that string in your database it won’t do any harm and changing it may give you problems with other, valid, entries. As vstm says, escape it when you use it.

However, as you are specifically talking about a ‘First Name’ field there is probably some more validation that you can do, such as rejecting any names with a / in them. I’m not aware of any language that has that as part of a name. If there is, I’d love to know how it’s pronounced. You could probably add . = and some others to that list too, but don’t get too carried away.

You should carefully consider every field in your form with regards to what input you would reasonably expect to receive and validate the input accordingly. Anything that doesn’t pass validation is rejected. A string like '<script>window.location = "";</script>' should certainly never pass validation for a field expecting a person’s name.

Personally, I never filter input. It either passes validation and is accepted, or it doesn’t and is rejected. I can’t make good input out of bad input by filtering it, so it gets rejected and the user is asked to re-enter their data. For example, using a StripTags filter on

<script>window.location = "";</script>

will leave you with

window.location = “”;

which is still not a valid name and should be rejected.

Your validation will never work 100% of the time and that is why you should always escape values received from user input before echoing them out to the browser.

Zend Framework has a raft of validators that you could use and don’t forget the validators and filters that PHP has already available for you. Use them properly and you will greatly reduce the risk of malicious input hurting either your application or, more importantly, your users.

Those validators and filters are there for you to use, but neither PHP nor Zend Framework know what kind of data you are expecting, so it is very important that you read the documentation and learn exactly how they work, how to use them and when to use them.

There is an excellent resource at The Web Application Security Project that every web dev should be forced to read on pain of death.

Validate input and escape output.

Answer by Starx

You can use filters to restrict input from the user. Read about the filters

There is a filter in Zend Framework called Zend_Filter_StripTags which will give you the option to strip all or selected tags. Here is an example from the site itself.

$filter = new Zend_Filter_StripTags();     
print $filter->filter('<B>My content</B>'); 

As result you will get the stripped content ‘My content’.

On your case the following

            ->addFilter('StripTags') //Here a add a filter to strip tags
            ->addValidator('StringLength', false, array(2, $metaData['first_name']['LENGTH']))
            ->setDecorators(array('ViewHelper', 'errors'));
July 13, 2011

Zend Framework: Zend_Form is not including 'name' attribute in form tag

Question by Simpanoz

I have following class for a form:

class Application_Form_ContactForm extends Zend_Form
    public function init()
       I have also used follwing statements (one by one) to set name attribute 
       // $this->setAttrib('name', 'myForm-name');
       // $this->setAttribs(array('name' => 'frm', 'id' => 'frmlogin')); 

When I run this form, I get follwoing html code:

<form id="contact_us" enctype="application/x-www-form-urlencoded" action="" method="post"><dl class="zend_form">

The above mentioned html code doesn’t show ‘name’ attribute of the form html tag.

Can some one guide me in this regards, how to rectify it.

Answer by Starx

The “name” attribute is allowed in HTML4 but has been deprecated in XHTML1.0. The HTML specification does not allow for a “name” attribute for forms. Check Here and here.

Zend Framework is just following the rules.

But why do you need a name is form anyway? Almost everything can be done using class and id.

But, if you really need it that bad try setting a ID first and then the name, it might work.


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