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A security extension for devise, meeting industrial standard security demands for web applications.
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Devise Security

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A Devise extension to add additional security features required by modern web applications. Forked from Devise Security Extension

It is composed of 7 additional Devise modules:

  • :password_expirable - passwords will expire after a configured time (and will need to be changed by the user). You will most likely want to use :password_expirable together with the :password_archivable module to prevent the current expired password being reused immediately as the new password.
  • :secure_validatable - better way to validate a model (email, stronger password validation). Don't use with Devise :validatable module!
  • :password_archivable - save used passwords in an old_passwords table for history checks (don't be able to use a formerly used password)
  • :session_limitable - ensures, that there is only one session usable per account at once
  • :expirable - expires a user account after x days of inactivity (default 90 days)
  • :security_questionable - as accessible substitution for captchas (security question with captcha fallback)
  • :paranoid_verification - admin can generate verification code that user needs to fill in otherwise he wont be able to use the application.

Configuration and database schema for each module below.

Additional features

  • captcha support for sign_up, sign_in, recover and unlock (to make automated mass creation and brute forcing of accounts harder)

Getting started

Devise Security works with Devise on Rails 4.2 onwards. You can add it to your Gemfile after you successfully set up Devise (see Devise documentation) with:

gem 'devise-security'

Run the bundle command to install it.

After you installed Devise Security you need to run the generator:

rails generate devise_security:install

The generator adds optional configurations to config/initializers/devise-security.rb. Enable the modules you wish to use in the initializer you are ready to add Devise Security modules on top of Devise modules to any of your Devise models:

devise :password_expirable, :secure_validatable, :password_archivable, :session_limitable, :expirable

E-mail Validation

for :secure_validatable you need to have a way to validate an e-mail. There are multiple libraries that support this, and even a way built into Ruby!

Ruby Constant


Devise.setup do |config|
  # ==> Security Extension
  # Configure security extension for devise

  # Password expires after a configurable time (in seconds).
  # Or expire passwords on demand by setting this configuration to `true`
  # Use `user.need_password_change!` to expire a password.
  # Setting the configuration to `false` will completely disable expiration checks.
  # config.expire_password_after = 3.months | true | false

  # Need 1 char each of: A-Z, a-z, 0-9, and a punctuation mark or symbol
  # config.password_complexity = { digit: 1, lower: 1, symbol: 1, upper: 1 }

  # Number of old passwords in archive
  # config.password_archiving_count = 5

  # Deny old password (true, false, count)
  # config.deny_old_passwords = true

  # captcha integration for recover form
  # config.captcha_for_recover = true

  # captcha integration for sign up form
  # config.captcha_for_sign_up = true

  # captcha integration for sign in form
  # config.captcha_for_sign_in = true

  # captcha integration for unlock form
  # config.captcha_for_unlock = true

  # security_question integration for recover form
  # this automatically enables captchas (captcha_for_recover, as fallback)
  # config.security_question_for_recover = false

  # security_question integration for unlock form
  # this automatically enables captchas (captcha_for_unlock, as fallback)
  # config.security_question_for_unlock = false

  # security_question integration for confirmation form
  # this automatically enables captchas (captcha_for_confirmation, as fallback)
  # config.security_question_for_confirmation = false

  # ==> Configuration for :expirable
  # Time period for account expiry from last_activity_at
  # config.expire_after = 90.days

Other ORMs

Devise-security supports Mongoid as an alternative ORM to active_record. To use this ORM, add this to your Gemfile.

gem 'mongoid'

And then ensure that the environment variable DEVISE_ORM=mongoid is set.

For local development you will need to have MongoDB installed locally.

brew install mongodb

Rails App setup example with Mongoid

# inside config/application.rb
require File.expand_path('../boot', __FILE__)

# Require the gems listed in Gemfile, including any gems
# you've limited to :test, :development, or :production.

module MyApp
  class Application < Rails::Application


The captcha support depends on EasyCaptcha. See further documentation there.


  1. Add EasyCaptcha to your Gemfile with
gem 'easy_captcha'
  1. Run the initializer
rails generate easy_captcha:install
  1. Enable captcha - see "Configuration" of Devise Security above.
  2. Add the captcha in the generated devise views for each controller you have activated
<p><%= captcha_tag %></p>
<p><%= text_field_tag :captcha %></p>


Password expirable

create_table :the_resources do |t|
  # other devise fields

  t.datetime :password_changed_at
add_index :the_resources, :password_changed_at

Note: setting password_changed_at to nil will require the user to change their password.

Password archivable

create_table :old_passwords do |t|
  t.string :encrypted_password, null: false
  t.string :password_archivable_type, null: false
  t.integer :password_archivable_id, null: false
  t.string :password_salt # Optional. bcrypt stores the salt in the encrypted password field so this column may not be necessary.
  t.datetime :created_at
add_index :old_passwords, [:password_archivable_type, :password_archivable_id], name: 'index_password_archivable'

Session limitable

create_table :the_resources do |t|
  # other devise fields

  t.string :unique_session_id


create_table :the_resources do |t|
  # other devise fields

  t.datetime :last_activity_at
  t.datetime :expired_at
add_index :the_resources, :last_activity_at
add_index :the_resources, :expired_at

Paranoid verifiable

create_table :the_resources do |t|
  # other devise fields

  t.string   :paranoid_verification_code
  t.integer  :paranoid_verification_attempt, default: 0
  t.datetime :paranoid_verified_at
add_index :the_resources, :paranoid_verification_code
add_index :the_resources, :paranoid_verified_at

Documentation for Paranoid Verifiable module

Security questionable

# app/models/security_question.rb
class SecurityQuestion < ActiveRecord::Base
  validates :locale, presence: true
  validates :name, presence: true, uniqueness: true
create_table :security_questions do |t|
  t.string :locale, null: false
  t.string :name, null: false

SecurityQuestion.create! locale: :de, name: 'Wie lautet der Geburstname Ihrer Mutter?'
SecurityQuestion.create! locale: :de, name: 'Wo sind sie geboren?'
SecurityQuestion.create! locale: :de, name: 'Wie lautet der Name Ihres ersten Haustieres?'
SecurityQuestion.create! locale: :de, name: 'Was ist Ihr Lieblingsfilm?'
SecurityQuestion.create! locale: :de, name: 'Was ist Ihr Lieblingsbuch?'
SecurityQuestion.create! locale: :de, name: 'Was ist Ihr Lieblingstier?'
SecurityQuestion.create! locale: :de, name: 'Was ist Ihr Lieblings-Reiseland?'
add_column :the_resources, :security_question_id, :integer
add_column :the_resources, :security_question_answer, :string


create_table :the_resources do |t|
  # other devise fields

  t.integer :security_question_id
  t.string :security_question_answer



  • see the github issues (feature requests)


  • 0.1 expire passwords
  • 0.2 strong password validation
  • 0.3 password archivable with validation
  • 0.4 captcha support for sign_up, sign_in, recover and unlock
  • 0.5 session_limitable module
  • 0.6 expirable module
  • 0.7 security questionable module for recover and unlock
  • 0.8 Support for Rails 4 (+ variety of patches)
  • 0.11 Support for Rails 5. Forked to allow project maintenance and features

See also Github Releases


Contributing to devise-security

  • Check out the latest master to make sure the feature hasn't been implemented or the bug hasn't been fixed yet
  • Check out the issue tracker to make sure someone already hasn't requested it and/or contributed it
  • Fork the project
  • Start a feature/bugfix branch
  • Commit and push until you are happy with your contribution
  • Make sure to add tests for it. This is important so I don't break it in a future version unintentionally.
  • Please try not to mess with the Rakefile, version, or history. If you want to have your own version, or is otherwise necessary, that is fine, but please isolate to its own commit so I can cherry-pick around it.

Running tests

Standard tests can be invoked using rake. To run the tests against the mongoid ORM, use DEVISE_ORM=mongoid rake while mongodb is running.

To locally simulate what travis-ci will run when you push code use:

$ gem install bundler -v '1.17.3'
$ BUNDLER_VERSION=1.17.3 wwtd


Copyright (c) 2011-2017 Marco Scholl. See LICENSE.txt for further details.

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