Like any other framework, Node.js is vulnerable to a variety of web application flaws. Although Node.js is secure at its core, third-party packages may necessitate additional security steps to safeguard your web applications.
What is NPM?
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Why do Node.js Projects have Security Issues?
Any security and licensing vulnerabilities in open source components are passed on to open source apps. The issue is that security testing technologies such as dynamic and static code analysis are inadequate in finding open source flaws.
You must examine the package manager index files that define the dependencies in order to locate open source components in Node.js.
Open source projects are frequently reused by the open-source community to speed development, reduce time to market, and add features. The result is that open-source and commercial developers alike can add functions, code snippets, and methods to files. As a result, many Node.js web development projects use terms other than the Node.js license.
Is Node.js a Security Risk for Apps?
Because of the lack of default error handling induced by platform architecture, some developers believe Node.js to be a security risk. Servers might be turned off as a result of errors or application failures.
NPM phishing and regular expressions Denial of Service are two of the most prominent Node.js security problems. There are also the standard online security vulnerabilities, such as cross-site request forgery, cross-site scripting, unvalidated redirection, and security misconfiguration, in addition to the Node-related dangers.
Top 10 Solution Practices to make your Node.js Application Secure
Two Factor Authentication
The majority of node.js development environments require a password to gain access. However, passwords like letmein or donkeykong are easy to guess, leaving the system vulnerable to hackers. In most cases, weak session management policies in applications give attackers a wide-open door. You might have a user logging in from a public computer using a password manager, and the password you or your firm spent hours creating is now out to the public.
The solution: To keep all of your passwords safe, use Two-Factor Authorization. Even if an attacker has your user’s login credentials, they won’t be able to access your system until they have access to a secondary device, such as a mobile phone. Use pre-existing solutions like Okta or 0Auth, or use a package like Speakeasy to enable Two-Factor Authorization in-app.
Validate User Inputs to Limit Cross-site scripting Attacks
Hackers can inject vulnerable client-side scripts into website pages viewed by different users via Cross-Site Scripting. Data breaches can be caused via weak client-side scripts.
So whatever the users type into the search area will be returned to them in the same format if it isn’t found in the database. As a result, if a hacker types JS code into the search bar instead of the product name, he can run JS code that is comparable.
The solution: You can validate the user input. For preventing Cross-site attacks in Node.js, you can utilize output encoding methods or tools like the Jade engine with in-built encoding frameworks.
Escape JS, HTML and CSS Output
Content and executable code are frequently mixed in web languages like HTML. Your code may be in the form of an HTML paragraph that includes a visual representation of the data as well as JS instructions to execute. When the browser interprets and executes JS code that was not intended to be displayed while rendering the HTML, the browser may interpret and execute it.
The solution: Instruct the browser to treat any untrusted data piece as content only, never interpreting it. Escaping is the name given to this method. Many NPM libraries and templating engines include escape features.
Utilize Security Linters
Vulnerabilities can be automatically scanned. Furthermore, you can detect basic security flaws even as you’re composing the code.
The solution: Plugins such as eslint-plugin-security can be used as linters. This form of security linter will notify you if you use insecure programming methods.
Default Cookie Session Name
Websites can identify users via session cookies. Any action you take on the website is recorded in the form of a cookie. E-commerce sites’ shopping carts are the most common example of this capability.
The session cookie keeps track of the things you’ve chosen on the e-commerce site. As a result, when you’re ready to check out, these goods will be in your shopping basket. Without session cookies, the new page will not recognize your previous activities on other pages.
The solution: Using default cookie names is dangerous because attackers can readily recognize them and use them to harm your application. Use one of the middleware cookie session modules, such as express-session, to solve the problem.
Implement Access Control on each Request
The Solution: Manually testing app modules that require certain user rights is the best way to eliminate this vulnerability. Middlewares and 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.
Hide error messages from clients
Sensitive application details such as third-party modules in use, server file locations, and other internal procedures of the program can be exploited if you don’t manage errors appropriately in a Node.JS application. A leak in the stack trace can also give an attacker access to the information. As a result, we propose using an integrated express error handler that by default hides the problem details.
The solution: You can use custom Error objects to construct your own error handling logic if you aren’t utilizing an integrated express error handler. If you use this strategy, make sure you don’t give the client the complete Error object. This will prevent the disclosure of confidential application information.
Be careful working with child processes
One of the most prevalent exploits on an insecure Node.js application is shell injection. In a shell injection attack, the attacker gains control of the server’s operating system and instructs it to run arbitrary instructions, compromising the application and all of its data. Shell injection attacks are often made possible by using child processes and not sanitizing input data.
We don’t want attackers to be able to execute commands using a child process instance established by our app.
The solution: Use a child process.exec file that will only run one command with a set of parameters and will not expand shell parameters.
Serialization is the process of converting an item into a data format that may be restored to its original state later, and deserialization is the reverse of that process. Deserialization and execution of malicious objects can be done via API calls or remote code execution if deserialization is done insecurely. The attacker can affect the behaviour of the program by executing remote code on application classes. With malicious intent, the attacker can tamper with data objects like cookies.
The solution: To counteract such attacks, we use a technique known as cross-site request forgery (CSRF). It’s as easy as getting a CSRF token from our server and entering it in a hidden form field. The CSRF middleware compares the incoming token to the one previously sent and denies requests when the tokens do not match.
Regularly Scan Apps Automatically for Vulnerability
There are various libraries and modules in the Node.js ecosystem that must be installed. Many of these can be used on a regular basis in your projects. There is a security risk as a result of this. When you use code developed by someone else, you can’t be sure it’s secure.
The solution: To address this, you must do automated vulnerability scanning on a regular basis. This aids in the discovery of dependencies with common flaws.
Furthermore, for simple monitoring, you can use NPM analysis, but you should think about employing tools like Retire.js, WhiteSource Renovate, OWASP Dependency-Check, OSS INDEX, Acutinex, and NODEJSSCAN.
Node.js is a complex ecosystem used by prominent corporations, and it is the master key solution for start-ups to quickly simplify development. Even the most secure data must be vigilant against theft and attacks. And when you’re utilizing the most valuable web framework for a lucrative project, you’ll want to make sure it’s safe from theft.
Whether you want to protect your Node.js application or need help building data-intensive apps designed to match your company’s needs, we let you hire Node.js developers and consultants from us. Our experts at Brainvire provide Node.js development services that will protect your system from unauthorized breaches.