- Client-side data exposure: Storing sensitive data on the client side exposes it to potential theft through browser extensions or inspection tools.
Core Security Concepts
- Confidentiality: ensures that sensitive data remains hidden from unauthorized access;
- Integrity: guarantees that data remains unaltered and trustworthy;
- Availability: ensures that web applications remain accessible and operational even with the most complicated security systems.
Secure Coding Fundamentals
Considering the information provided above, let’s see what developers can do to secure web applications. In this section, we wrote some general security practices, while specific server-side techniques are provided in the following section.
Robust data validation itself is an excellent step to prevent security vulnerabilities. In brief, this practice can help ensure that data inputs are dependable and adhere to anticipated patterns, thereby mitigating numerous vulnerabilities. Validating user input in such a case is helpful in maintaining data integrity and averting potential exploits.
While XSS attacks can be devastating, they are not insurmountable. Preventing XSS attacks involves a combination of escaping user-generated content, output encoding, HTTP-only cookies, enabling the X-XSS-Protection header, and validating input to ensure that potentially harmful scripts cannot be executed.
Content Security Policy (CSP) Headers
CSP headers define which content sources are allowed on web pages, mitigating risks associated with content injection. Implementing strict CSP rules is crucial to prevent the execution of malicious scripts and enhance overall web security.
Authentication and Authorization Security
Reliable authorization and authentication are indispensable components of security that should be integrated into the development process at the very early stages. Some of the typical practices for authentication include strong password policies, multi-factor authentication, secure password storage, a limited number of login attempts, session management, and an account lockout mechanism. In contrast, token-based authentication, access control lists, role-based access control, and secure API endpoints are common practices for secure authorization.
This practice involves examining the software dependencies and third-party libraries used in the web application’s codebase. Dependency scanning is essential for addressing vulnerabilities and outdated components that attackers can exploit. This practice is typically implemented by automated tools and services that regularly inspect the dependencies, ensuring they are free from known security flaws.
Server-Side Security Measures
Password hashing converts user passwords into irreversible and secure hash values. This step is important to ensure that the plain-text passwords are not stored, minimizing the risks of unauthorized access. Using strong hash functions, salts, and iterative hashing approach are key elements to getting maximal efficiency of this practice.
Secure Socket Layer (SSL) Usage
SSL is a protocol that encrypts data during transmission, ensuring secure communication. It’s vital for safeguarding sensitive data as it prevents eavesdropping and tampering, ensuring data integrity. The “Always Use HTTPS” is the classical principle of this practice. Such an approach, combined with proper certificate management and implementing HSTS, is the typical way to implement the SSL.
Defending against CSRF attacks is essential, especially against CSRF attacks that could manipulate user actions or data without their consent. Usually, this practice includes implementing anti-CSRF tokens and same-site cookie attributes, minimizing the risk of severe attacks.