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A security extension for devise, meeting industry-standard security demands for web applications.

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Devise Security

Build Status Coverage Status Maintainability

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
    together with the
    module to prevent the current expired password from being reused immediately as the new password.
  • :secure_validatable
    - better way to validate a model (email, stronger password validation). Don't use with Devise
  • :password_archivable
    - save used passwords in an
    table for history checks (prevent reusing passwords)
  • :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 won't be able to use the application.

Configuration and database schema for each module below.

Additional features

captcha support for

(to make automated mass creation and brute forcing of accounts harder)

Getting started

Devise Security works with Devise on Rails >= 5.2. 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

. 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


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!
  • (Recommended) Ruby built-in
    constant > Note: This method would require a
    method to be defined in > order to hook into the
    method defined here.
  • email_address gem
  • valid_email2 gem
  • railsemailvalidator gem (deprecated)


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_change_password! 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

Allow passwords to be equal to email (false, true)

config.allow_passwords_equal_to_email = false


Other ORMs

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

gem 'mongoid'

And then ensure that the environment variable

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 #... end end


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


  1. Add EasyCaptcha to your
   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.


Password expirable

create_table :the_resources do |t|
  # other devise fields

t.datetime :password_changed_at end add_index :the_resources, :password_changed_at

Note: setting

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 end

Bypassing session limitable

Sometimes it's useful to impersonate a user without authentication (e.g. administrator impersonating a user), in this case the

strategy will log out the user, and if the user logs in while the administrator is still logged in, the administrator will be logged out.

For such cases the following can be used:

sign_in(User.find(params[:id]), scope: :user, skip_session_limitable: true)


create_table :the_resources do |t|
  # other devise fields

t.datetime :last_activity_at t.datetime :expired_at end 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 end 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 end



  • 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 signup, signin, 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

. To run the tests against the
ORM, use
DEVISE_ORM=mongoid rake
is running.

Maintenance Policy

We are committed to maintain support for

for all normal or security maintenance versions of the Ruby language as listed here, and for the Ruby on Rails framework as per their maintenance policy.

In order to avoid introducing bugs caused by backwardly incompatible Ruby language features, it is highly recommended that all development work be done using the oldest supported ruby version. The contents of the

file should reflect this.


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

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