Best JavaScript Security Practices for 2021

Best JavaScript Security Practices for 2021, by Martin William

JavaScript has taken the web and app development world by storm, and for good reason. It is one of the most efficient and popular programming languages used for web development. So much so that it has been the most used language for the last 7 years.

Unfortunately, this popularity also exposes JavaScript to cyberattacks and exploitation. Since it is the most used programming language, it is predisposed to more vulnerabilities.

However, there are some safety methods that can be put in place, which is what this article is about. Today, we’ll talk about JavaScript security as well as which JavaScript practices are crucial for web developers in 2021.

JavaScript Vulnerabilities 

There are several types of JavaScript vulnerabilities that an average website is exposed to. Cyberattacks ranging from distributed denial-of-service to SQL injection, and everything in between can happen. Here are some vulnerabilities that we’re bound to see more of moving forward.

  1. CSRF

CSRF, short for Cross-Site Request Forgery, is a way a hacker can impersonate the user’s browser and commit malicious activities. The attack works by stealing the user’s browser cookie and using it to run destructive commands on the server or application. 

  1. SSJI

Server-Side JavaScript Injection, more commonly known as SSJI, is another lethal cybercrime weapon that’s been catching traction lately. It is a lot more recent than the traditional JavaScript hijacking methods, which is exactly why developers aren’t too familiar with it.

An attacker can perform SSJI by uploading and running malicious code on the website through special binary files. Such attacks can be severely devastating for any system, but the most common victims of SSJI are Node.JS and NoSQL apps.

  1. Malicious External APIs

Introducing external APIs to your client’s system isn’t the brightest idea. This can lead to additional vulnerabilities that are brought about by the API you installed. Remember, an app can be completely innocuous in itself, but when it exposes your system to hackers through vulnerabilities, it becomes dangerous.

Poor web development, bad JavaScript security practices, and loopholes in your system will atrophy it severely. Let’s say you’ve got a browser script on your server that has access to sensitive user information like cookies and session IDs. Hackers can exploit such scenarios and take advantage of the developer’s carelessness.

These are only a handful of JavaScript vulnerability trends that we’re going to see more and more of in the coming years. There’s definitely more. However, the good news is that there are solutions, or counteracting methods that you can use to minimize their effectiveness.

Getting Safer In 2021 – JavaScript Security Practices 

Moving forward in 2021, there are numerous important security practices that must be implemented in order to protect our websites. Listed below are some crucial ones.

  1. Using RASP 

Runtime Application Self-Protection, or RASP, is a cybersecurity technology developed to identify attacks in real-time. This is done by studying the application’s functionality and detecting what causes abnormal behavior. 

The most useful feature that RASP offers is that it doesn’t require human intervention to detect and solve problems. It mitigates all emerging issues in real-time, thus the cyber wellbeing of the app is ensured autonomously.

  1. The eval() Function

Web developers use a special function to execute their pieces of text as code on their websites. This is the eval() function, widely considered a bad practice in the JavaScript development community.

The crux of the matter is that the eval() function exposes your system to cyberattacks and gives rise to potential vulnerabilities. If you want your website to be safer in 2021, definitely steer clear from the eval() function.

  1. Using Strong Encryption Methods

Encryption is the way of the future. By using strong, impenetrable encryption methods like SSL and HTTPS, you relinquish any sort of malicious access to the data on your website. Therefore, even if a cybercriminal hijacks your website, they won’t be able to decipher or use your data for damaging purposes.

Additionally, you can secure your cookies by limiting their access to encrypted, safe pages only. In short, encryption is the backbone behind any stable and secure JavaScript system.

  1. Enhancing API Security

APIs are widely used in all sorts of applications. Their rise to fame is accounted for by their high access to sensitive information and private data. However, this also makes them a prime target for hackers.

This is why all JavaScript developers must enhance API security. Securing API keys on the client end is a good starting point for web developers. Moreover, you can limit their access to a select few IP addresses.

  1. Performing Integrity Checks

Many Javascript developers use <script> tags in their code to import libraries and third-party modules. However, there are several potential risks associated with this. There are cases when such libraries are manipulated through malware. 

So, the next time you are about to use a third-party resource, make sure to run a Subsource integrity code with your script. This additional attribute will ensure that if a resource has been tampered with, it never loads on your system.

  1. Testing for NPM Vulnerabilities Regularly

When building a website or application, you have probably installed dependencies on your system. However, in many cases, these dependencies can turn out to be vulnerable and unsafe. Some can even be critical and fatal for your system.

To battle dependency vulnerabilities, you can run the “npm audit” command and detect if there are any problems. You’ll also get reports on these vulnerabilities and possible ways to fix them. Furthermore, if you’d like to go the extra mile, you can automate this entire detection process as well.

  1. Using Linters

Linters are convenient code analysis programs that you can use to not only increase quality but also improve the general security of your system. Some common Linting tools include JSLint, ESLint, and JSHint. There are other options as well if you’d like to explore further.

As we progress further in the fields of web and app development, we’re going to see more cyber exploits occur. If you’re interested, learn more about solidifying effective cybersecurity practices.

To Sum Up

With each technological advance, we are faced with a bundle of hurdles. However, there are effective ways to minimize these cyberattacks. These include using RASP, performing integrity checks, testing for NPM vulnerabilities, using Linters, focusing on API security, and much more. All in all, it’s exciting to imagine what the future holds for JavaScript security and cybersecurity in general.

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