Because of its ubiquity, phpMyAdmin is a popular target for attackers, and you should take extra care to prevent unauthorized access. One of the easiest ways of doing this is to place a gateway in front of the entire application by using Apache’s built-in .htaccess authentication and authorization functionalities.
To do this, you must first enable the use of .htaccess file overrides by editing your Apache configuration file.
Edit the linked file that has been placed in your Apache configuration directory:
sudo nano /etc/apache2/conf-available/phpmyadmin.conf
Add an AllowOverride All directive within the <Directory /usr/share/phpmyadmin> section of the configuration file, like this:
/etc/apache2/conf-available/phpmyadmin.conf <Directory /usr/share/phpmyadmin> Options FollowSymLinks DirectoryIndex index.php AllowOverride All . . .
When you have added this line, save and close the file.
To implement the changes you made, restart Apache:
sudo systemctl restart apache2
Now that you have enabled .htaccess use for your application, you need to create one to actually implement some security.
In order for this to be successful, the file must be created within the application directory. You can create the necessary file and open it in your text editor with root privileges by typing:
sudo nano /usr/share/phpmyadmin/.htaccess
Within this file, enter the following information:
/usr/share/phpmyadmin/.htaccess AuthType Basic AuthName "Restricted Files" AuthUserFile /etc/phpmyadmin/.htpasswd Require valid-user
Here is what each of these lines mean:
- AuthType Basic: This line specifies the authentication type that you are implementing. This type will implement password authentication using a password file.
- AuthName: This sets the message for the authentication dialog box. You should keep this generic so that unauthorized users won’t gain any information about what is being protected.
- AuthUserFile: This sets the location of the password file that will be used for authentication. This should be outside of the directories that are being served. We will create this file shortly.
- Require valid-user: This specifies that only authenticated users should be given access to this resource. This is what actually stops unauthorized users from entering.
When you are finished, save and close the file.
The location that you selected for your password file was /etc/phpmyadmin/.htpasswd. You can now create this file and pass it an initial user with the htpasswd utility:
sudo htpasswd -c /etc/phpmyadmin/.htpasswd username
You will be prompted to select and confirm a password for the user you are creating. Afterwards, the file is created with the hashed password that you entered.
If you want to enter an additional user, you need to do so without the -c flag, like this:
sudo htpasswd /etc/phpmyadmin/.htpasswd additionaluser
Now, when you access your phpMyAdmin subdirectory, you will be prompted for the additional account name and password that you just configured:
After entering the Apache authentication, you’ll be taken to the regular phpMyAdmin authentication page to enter your MySQL credentials. This setup adds an additional layer of security, which is desireable since phpMyAdmin has suffered from vulnerabilities in the past