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Preventing access to images

Posted on 2011-04-28
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Last Modified: 2012-05-11
I know how to code to  restrict access to php pages, but I am wondering how to prevent images being download, if someone knows the path (without going via the web app).

I want to make sure only my registered users with the right credentials can access them, but restrict others from accessing them with the path.

I am not concerned about the authorised users, with the correct credentials from accessing or even downloading them.  I just want to make sure for security reasons, that they cannot be accessed unless the person has the correct credentials.

I would appreciate advice here.  I am not sure if this needs to be done at the server level or the app level.
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Question by:debbieau1
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by:mrjoltcola
mrjoltcola earned 600 total points
ID: 35488426
You can setup an Apache authentication module to protect directories.

Or you can create a PHP image handler that serves up all images. So all links woudl change from /images/foo.jpg to /php/getImage/foo.jpg

I'd go with the first option for performance reasons, but it all depends on how you do your authentication at this point. There are a lot of auth modules out there, ranging from the simplest mod_auth which uses password files, to database access or ldap access (for example mod_auth_mysql)
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by:Ray Paseur
Ray Paseur earned 600 total points
ID: 35491998
The problem with leaving the image in a folder that can be accessed by a web browser is that the image can be "accidentally" discovered.  You can move the images outside the WWW directory tree and use a script to render them on the browser screen for authorized clients.  The script would check client authentication/login status, then issue the appropriate headers and read-regurgitate the image contents into the browser output stream.
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arober11 earned 800 total points
ID: 35496377

If you decide to use Apache as the control mechanism, then the following article may be of some use: http://www.experts-exchange.com/A_3270.html
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by:debbieau1
ID: 35498736
Thanks everyone they were all very useful
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