Top 10 Node.js Security Best Practices

Top 10 Node.js Security Best Practices

Node.js is a Javascript runtime built on Chrome’s V8 Javascript engine. It is widely used for building scalable and lightweight network-driven applications. It can be scaled up easily horizontally as well as vertically. Apps development with Node.js are used for both client-side and server-side apps. It has an open-source Javascript runtime environment/ model which provides caching of single modules. Similar to the other programming languages or frameworks, node.js is susceptible to each type of web app exposure. Though the Node.js is secure, third-party packages may require more security standards to protect your app. According to the study, 14% of NPM ecosystem is impacted and 54% of the NPM ecosystem is about to be impacted indirectly. Here we’ll see the top 10 best practices for node.js security. But before going to the security best practices, let see, why do node.js projects have security issues?

Know the amazing new features of Node.js 15 at- What’s New In Node.js 15?

Why Do Node.js Projects Have Security Issues?

Open-source apps derive licensing and security risks from their open-source elements. Also, the security detecting tools like static and dynamic code assessment cannot detect open-source exposures efficiently. 

To detect open-source elements in Node.js, you need to assess the NPM index files which explain the dependencies. All things considered, these index files don’t incorporate reused open-source elements. Some of the time, open-source community open-source projects to lower time-to-market, speed-up development and add functionality. As a result, developers can launch code snippets, functions and techniques into files. Also lots of node.js web development projects include licensing terms other than real Node.js license.

Top 10 Node.js Security Risks And Solution Practices-

Node.js security issues can show you vulnerabilities like code injection and advanced constant threats. Let us see a list of Node.js security risks that may cause these vulnerabilities and its possible solution practices.

1. Validate User Input To Limit SQL Injections And XSS Attacks-

Cross-site scripting or XSS lets hackers to infect vulnerable client-side scripts into website pages viewed by various users. Vulnerable client-side scripts can cause data breaches. Also the hacker can use Javascript code. Reason for this is not validating input from users. So, whatever users type in the search field, if doesn’t discovered in the database, it will be sent back to them in the same old form. So, if a hacker puts JS code instead of the product name in the search bar, he can execute a similar JS code.

Solution-

One can validate user input. To prevent XSS attacks in Node.js, one can use output encoding methods or tools like Jade engine with in-built encoding frameworks. You can also opt for, XSS-filters or Validatorjs for this.

2. Implement Strong Authentication-

Having weak, broken or incomplete authentication mechanism is a next most common vulnerability. Mostly it is because, may developers think about authentication as “we have it, so we’re secure”. In fact, weak or inconsistent authentication is easy to bypass. 

Solution-

One solution is to use authentication solutions like OAuth or Okta. If you prefer to stick with Native Node.js authentication solutions, you have to know some things. When you create passwords, don’t use Node.js built-in crypto library, use Bcrypt or Scrypt. Ensure to limit failed login attempts, and don’t tell the user if it’s username or password that is incorrect. Rather, return a generic “incorrect credentials” error. Also, you need proper session management policies. Instead, return a generic “incorrect credentials” error. Also, you require proper session management policies. And be sure to implement 2FA authentication. If it all done in a proper manner, it can increase security of app to the next level. You can so it with modules like node-2fa or speakeasy.

3. Avoid Data Leaks-

It is easy to send all data for a particular object to the frontend and just filter what to show there. Also, attackers can easily get hidden data sent from the backend. For instance, imagine that you want to show a list of users who signed up for an event. You execute a SQL query to get all users for that particular event and send those data to the frontend, and there you filter it to just show the first and last name. But all the data you don’t want to show is easy to access through the browser developer console. This causes data seaks.

Solution-

Only send the data that is required. If you just need first and last names, retrieve just those from the database. It creates more work, but it’s worth it.

4. Regularly Scan Apps Automatically for Vulnerability-

Node.js ecosystem contains some libraries and modules to install. Generally, most of them can be used in your projects. It produces a security risk. You cannot be completely sure that it’s secure while using code written by someone else. 

Solution-

To resolve this, you must run regular automated vulnerability scanning. It helps to find dependencies with common vulnerabilities. Also, you can opt for NPM analysis for basic monitoring, yet consider using tools like Retire.js, WhiteSource Renovate, OWASP Dependency-Check, OSS INDEX, Acutinex, and NODEJSSCAN. 

5. Establish Logging And Monitoring-

Monitoring and logging are associated with Node.js security. As your main goal is to make mechanisms secure from start, but in fact it needs a continuous procedure. And for this, you need monitoring and logging.  

Solution-

Some of the hackers want to stay unidentified for a longer time, whereas some of them want to make your app unavailable that can be found out without logging. In such cases, log and metrics monitoring will help to detect the wrong matter. With a basic logging, you can’t get enough data for understanding if you get strange-looking requests from your app, a hacker or a third-party API. Some of the tools offer the precise layers to improve the protection of your system, depending on data. Data is vital to assess and identify probable exposures and invasions of your app. One can make various routines that implement depending on a few pre-decided system behaviors. Monitoring and logging explain everything that occurs inside an app. So the monitoring functions as an indicator of it will come to you if anything vulnerable is recognized. 

6. Manage HTTP Headers-

So as to prevent clickjacking, cross-site scripting(XSS attacks) and other malicious attacks, you can create effective node.js apps with secure HTTP headers. You can use plug-ins that are easy to configure and create our own Node.js security rules.

Recommendation-

Use HTTP headers according to the project requirements-

  • Server- Describes server data that generates the response
  • Strict-Transport-Security- Insurers website is accessed through HTTPS rather than HTTP.
  • Access-Control-Allow-Origin- It shows if the response can be shared with requesting client from given origin.
  • X-Content-Type-option- Ensure that MIME types mentioned in Content-Type cannot be changed. With this, you can restrict the app from MIME type sniffing.
  • X-XSS-Protection- In previous versions of IE, Chrome and Safari it prevents web pages loading when they find XSS attacks. Recent web browsers don’t need this setting when sites implement a strong Content-Security-Policy because it already disables inline javascript.
  • Content-Security-Policy- It helps to track and stop threats like XSS attacks and data injection. Those attacks can attack data theft, site defacement, and distribution of malware.
  • X-frame-options- It helps to ensure whether the page is allowed to be rendered in frame/iframe.
  • Referrer-Policy- It controls how much referrer data ought to be included in requests

7. Utilize Security Linters-

You can automatically scan vulnerability. Also, it is feasible for you to catch basic security exposure even while writing the code.

Solution-

One can use linter plugins such as eslint-plugin-security. Such kind of security linter will give you a notification whenever you use insecure code practices.

8. Don’t Run Node.js As Root-

In the Docker and microservices world, mostly we forget about how Node.js is really executed. It’s not difficult to simply spin up a Docker container and assume it’s separated from the host machine so it’s secure. Yet using Docker doesn’t imply that running Node.js as root is not an issue any longer. Join the capacity to run any Javascript code by means of XSS attack with Node.js running as root and you’ll wind up with unlimited hacking abilities.

9. Make Fluid Build Pipelines For Security Patches-

When web servers or apps are left unprotected or protected with weak security norms, security misconfiguration vulnerabilities occur. Because of this vulnerability, a few parts of the application stack (application containers, database, server, and so on) become prone to vulnerable exploits. Weak build pipelines are a major entry point of safety misconfiguration type assaults like staging or development area accreditations at times make it to creation. This leaves the application uncovered as staging or development area configurations to get free security guidelines.

Solution-

It is recommended to keep each environment equal with various credentials and access levels. Default package settings and user account passwords also introduce vulnerabilities in Node.js apps as hackers can open up brute-force dictionary attacks against login forms with weak credentials. Whereas, default package settings leave vulnerability parts for malevolent hackers.

10. Secure Deserialization- 

Insecure deserialization includes deserialization and use of cart objects via remote code implementation or API calls. Such an attack is called as CSRF(Cross-site Request Forgery) attack. This attack forces end-users to implement unnecessary actions on valid web apps. Objects of CSRF attacks are modifications in app state requests, as the hacker cannot see the forged request reaction. Hackers can trick on users via unusual actions by using social engineering methods, like link sending through email or chat. CSRF can compel state-modifying requests like transforming email ids and then fund transferring. CSRF can compromise the entire web application for admin users.

Solution-

To avoid such hacks or attacks, you have to prevent CSRF. One can do it by using anti-forgery tokens in Node.js. These anti-CSRF tokens are used to prevent and check the authenticity of user requests.

Know the amazing Nodejs CMS platforms at- Best NodeJS CMS platforms to use in 2020

Wrap Up-

Node.js is a popular framework to build apps. Knowing the above mentioned security best practices will help you to create a successful node.js web app without any security issues. If you are facing any issues, consult with Solace experts. We are here to help you through consultation and development. You can also hire Node.js developers of solace team for a successful Node.js app development. Connect with Solace and get a free quote for Node..js web app development. We will be happy to help you.

Related Post