Regarding PHP security risks, I would say they're no worse than the other languages you mention. Any language can...
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pose security risks if care is not taken, but PHP is not to my knowledge any risker than Python or Perl.
As to why they're part of the default open source stack -- well, because they're so handy and are good for quick creation and modification opf programs, they are a very useful part of the open source toolkit. Because they are so useful, they got included in the default stack. We're just lucky they all start with the letter "P!"
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