Common Ways Drupal Gets Cracked

This section is a review of some of the most common vulnerabilities found in Drupal.

The Drupal API provides protection against most of these common security vulnerabilities, but in order for that protection to work, themers and module developers must actually use that API. Unfortunately it is often the case that new developers to Drupal are unaware of how to properly use the API.

Vulnerabilities within the code of a site are the biggest category of weaknesses. However, as you'll see in Chapter 2, they are only one kind of potential weakness in your site.

This chapter introduces the Vulnerable module. Drupal's functionality can be extended with the use of modules. Modules are a common source of security weaknesses on sites. You can download the Vulnerable module from


This URL is formatted with the full http:// on the front of it because you are expected to actually visit it. Either or the short-hand notation for a URL that shows just the information after the Drupal root is used throughout the rest of the book for URLs that are important less for their content than how the data is used in the URL. For example, the URL for the login page in an example can be expressed either as or simply /user.

The purpose of the Vulnerable module is to provide easy-to-understand examples of the different vulnerabilities covered in this book and how to fix them. These examples are fake, but the vulnerabilities they represent are real, and you only have to look at past security announcements to see real-world examples of the flaws. This module is useful as an example for the book and for your own study, but it should never be installed on a real site.


The entire set of vulnerabilities attackers use is enormous and growing all the time. Covering all of them would be a waste of your time. Instead, this book covers just the most common and most important vulnerabilities so that you can focus on what really matters.

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