02 Jul 2021
10 Node.js Security Risks and their Solutions You Shouldn’t Ignore
Nowadays, Node.js is extremely popular as a backend server for web applications. On the other hand, Microservices may be found almost anywhere in the globe, serving various and significant functions in a giant application stack.
One of the benefits of Node.js is installing new modules, which gives more opportunities to create back doors from a security standpoint.
While web security is now stricter than before, An experienced attacker will almost certainly find a way to exploit an unsafe app in some way.
Overview of the security issues
The Node.js Package Manager, or NPM, is one of the largest open-source package ecosystems in the world. The app's functionality and developer productivity have both improved as a result of this extensive environment.
Hundreds of thousands of these packages may be found in Node.js codebases. Perhaps developers are unaware of the packages' direct and indirect dependencies and the security dangers associated with them.
With the debut NPM audit in 2018, NPM began focusing on security. Their new command performs a real-time security examination of a project's dependency tree and generates an NPM audit security report. This report contains information on security vulnerabilities in dependencies and NPM scripts and advice for further debugging.
Why Do Node.js Projects Have Security Issues?
The open-source aspect of open-source apps creates licensing and security problems. Furthermore, security detection technologies such as static and dynamic code analysis are ineffective in discovering open-source vulnerabilities.
You must examine the NPM index files that describe the dependencies to find open-source parts in Node.js. These index files, however, do not include any repeated open-source content.
The open-source community sometimes reuses open-source projects to reduce time-to-market, accelerate development, and add a feature.
As a result, both commercial and open-source developers will embed code snippets, functions, and approaches into files, threatening app security. In addition, many Node.js app development projects use terms other than the official Node.js license.
Top Node.js Security Risks and Solution Practices
The security flaws with Node.js might expose you to man-in-the-middle attacks, code injection, and sophisticated, persistent threats. We'll look at ten security vulnerabilities and the best security measures you can put in place right now to keep your Node.JS project safe. Let's get started without further ado.
1. Restrict XSS attacks by validating user inputs
Let's start with SQL Injection, which is one of the most common attacks. A SQL injection attack occurs when a hacker can execute SQL commands on your database, as the name implies. This is possible if the input from the front end is not protected.
You can validate the user's input as a solution. You may use output encoding tools like the Jade engine with in-built encoding frameworks to avoid XSS attacks in Node.js. You may also use XSS filters or Validatorjs to do this.
2. Abstain from data leaks
Don't always rely on what the frontend gives you; additionally, consider what you'll provide it. You may quickly transmit all information about a given object to the frontend and just display what you want. Nonetheless, a hacker can easily discover the concealed data transferred from the backend.
If you only need first and last names, just pull them from the database. This may need a little more effort on your part, but it will be well worth it.
3. Utilize security linters
Vulnerabilities may be automatically scanned. Furthermore, you may detect basic security flaws even as you're composing the code.
Use linter plugins like eslint-plugin-security. This form of security linter will notify you if you use unsafe programming methods.
4. Implement access control on each request
This is frequently linked to how thoroughly an app has been reviewed regarding user rights to specific URLs or sections within it. As a result, if you want to have restricted portions of the program, such as the admin dashboard, and normal users without the necessary role may access it at any time, you may utilize access exposure.
Middlewares, as well as access control rules, should be implemented on the server-side to prevent the risk of access permissions being manipulated on the client-side via JWT (JSON Web Token) authorization tokens or cookies.
It's necessary to set up log access control and API rate limiting. This is how administrators are notified when crucial action needs to be performed to reduce the attack and failures.
5. Secure deserialization
Deserialization and application of flawed objects via remote code implementation or API calls are examples of insecure deserialization. This is called a CSRF (Cross-site Request Forgery) attack, where end-users are forced to do undesired activities on legitimate web apps as a result of this assault.
Because the hacker cannot observe the faked request reaction, CSRF attacks target changes in app state requests. Attackers can utilize social engineering techniques, such as distributing links through email or chat to lure victims into performing strange behaviours.
CSRF can compel state-modifying requests, such as email id transformation and subsequently fund transfer. For admin users, CSRF can compromise the entire web app.
Anti-forgery tokens in Node.js may be used to do this. Anti-CSRF tokens are used to avoid one-click attacks and check and validate the validity of user requests. You can outsource this help to some node js development company, as well.
6. Execute HTTP response headers
Express is one of the most widely used Node.js web app frameworks that are used in node.js app development. However, it was not designed with security in mind. As a result, earlier Express versions might pose a security risk.
The most basic techniques, such as CORS, will increase the security of your API, but modules like the Helmet, which provides even more headers to safeguard your application, should be considered. With only one line of code, Helmet can build eleven different header-based security methods for you.
7. Establish logging and monitoring
Security in Node.js also includes logging and monitoring. After all, your goal is to make mechanisms secure from the outset, but this necessitates a long-term process. You'll need logging and monitoring for this.
Unlike usual practice, some hackers choose to remain anonymous for a longer period of time. In this scenario, log and metrics monitoring will assist you in identifying the invalid matter. You won't be able to tell if strange-looking requests are coming from your app, a hacker, or a third-party API with simply basic logging.
Everything that happens inside an app is recorded and monitored. As a result, the monitoring serves as a warning voice that will confront you if something susceptible is detected.
8. Execute strong & complete authentication
The second most prevalent vulnerability has a faulty, weak, or inadequate authentication method. It's most likely because many developers conceive of authentication as "we have it, thus we're safe." It's simple to get around poor or inconsistent authentication.
Keep a few things in mind if you wish to use Node.js authentication solutions.
Never use the built-in crypto library in Node.js when creating passwords; instead, use Scrypt or Bcrypt. Ensure that unsuccessful login attempts are limited and that users are never told if their password or username is incorrect.
In addition, you'll need policies for handling sessions. Make sure you use two-factor authentication. It may greatly improve the security of your app if done correctly.
Due to this complex procedure, node js development companies are popular as they additionally use modules like Speakeasy or node-2fa to do this.
9. Regularly scan apps automatically for vulnerability
There are various libraries and modules to install in the Node.js ecosystem. Many of these can be used in your projects regularly. As a result, there is a security risk. You can't be certain it's safe if you're utilizing code developed by someone else.
You may use NPM analysis for simple monitoring, but you should think about employing tools like Retire.js, OSS INDEX, WhiteSource Renovate, OWASP Dependency-Check, Acutinex, and NODEJSSCAN.
10. Make fluid build pipelines for security patches
Security misconfiguration vulnerabilities occur when web servers or apps are left unsecured or secured with insufficient security standards. Several components of the app stack are subject to attacks as a result of this flaw.
Weak build pipelines are a common source of entry for security misconfiguration attacks, such as staging or development area credentials making it to creation.
It's best to maintain all three environments (development, staging, and production) the same with different credentials and access levels.
In the end, even if you don't believe someone would try to hack you, the list serves as a compass for developers, especially newcomers, to better understand how risks exist on the web and how they might influence your apps. When in doubt, you can always reach out to a node.js development company to do the security work for you.
Remember that the larger and more significant your apps are, the more vulnerable they are to security breaches. Experienced Node.js app developers can build more secure solutions for consumers since they stay on top of recent Node.js security standards.