Node.js Security Best Practices

node.js security

Node.js is one of the most reliable software to scale a growing business. It’s the best option for tech leaders such a Uber and eBay. Simply because it allows building complex mobile apps using simple lines of code. Despite the software is widely used worldwide, Node.js security is something your developer needs to take into account.

Like any other framework or programming language, Node.js can be affected by different web application vulnerabilities. The core of the framework remains untouched, but third-party packages require additional security measures. GitHub estimates that 14% of the Node Package Manager (NPM) ecosystem is affected. Meanwhile, the indirectly affected packages are almost 54% of the ecosystem.

Besides these security issues, 51% of programmers use Node.js instead of other frameworks and tools. Therefore, Node.js remains one of the most reliable options to scale global and growing businesses with multiple databases. As it is written in JavaScript, programmers can handle several databases and requests simultaneously with just a few lines of code. 

Why Node.js Projects Have Security Risks?

Node.js allows creating an application in which users can interact and leave input to the server in real-time. This free exchange of data and input can happen in multiple machines in different locations. In JavaScript, Node.js connects with almost any database working smoothly in Microsoft environments and open-source operating systems. Which means that you can collect and organize massive amount of data coming from different server simultaneously.

This agility of the open-source structure is also the reason why Node.js has security vulnerabilities. In addition, security detecting tools like static and dynamic code assessment sometimes cannot identify open-source exposures.

Node.js security issues can expose you to vulnerabilities like code injection or advanced constant threats. Node app security requires attention and effort, but you can always find a solution – or at least your developer can. 

Here are the best practices when you encounter Node.js security issues:

Best Practices for Node.js Security  

1. XSS Attacks & User Inputs

When you use XSS or Cross-Site Scripting, hackers can inject vulnerable client-side scripts on your website pages viewed. These scripts are visible for different users and can cause data breaches. Most importantly, hackers also use JavaScript code to invalidate input from users.

For this Node.js security issue, the most common practice is validating the user input. To prevent XSS attacks, your developer can utilize output encoding methods or tools with in-built encoding frameworks. Additionally, you can implement the system with XSS filters or Validatorjs.

2. Data Leaks

With Node.js, you can send a vast amount of information for a specific object to the front-end, filtering what to display.  

For hackers, finding the hidden data sent by the backend, it’s an easy game. For these security issues, send only the necessary information, like first and last name. 

3. Security Linters

Node.js allows scanning vulnerability automatically. Additionally, it is possible to catch primary security exposures during the process of writing the code. In this case, your developer can use linter plugins, like eslint-plugin-security, to notify insecure code practices.

4. Implement Access Control 

Another Node.js security issue relates to user permissions to various URLs or areas. For example, if you have limited app areas like the admin dashboard where users can access without role, you have access exposure.

The most common solution for this security issue is manually testing app modules that require special user permissions. Middle and access control rules work better on the server-side because they reduce the room for manipulating access permissions from the client-side. Secondly, set up log access controlling and API rate restricting must be set up to alert the admin of possible attacks. 

5. Secure Deserialization

Another Node.js vulnerability is insecure deserialization. Known as CSRF (Cross-site Request Forgery), this attack forces users to follow unwanted actions on valid web apps.

Hackers can trick users using social engineering methods with email or chat. Node.js allows using anti-forgery tokens to reduce these attacks and to prevent CSRF.

6. HTTP Response Headers

Express is one of the most popular Node.js web app frameworks. Like Node, Express needs some security consideration. With this framework, your developer needs to maintain and update versions to implement security. It’s possible to reduce external attacks by adding security-related HTTP headers to your apps, like CORS or Helmet.

7. Logging and Monitoring

Logging and monitoring are the most popular issues associated with Node.js security. Hackers can make your app unavailable and hide the logging. Monitoring log and metrics, it is possible to redirect the users interactions of different pages or tracking the wrong input. There are different tools to add the distinct layers to implement your system security depending on the data amount. Through data, it’s possible to asset and identify exposures and invasions. 

8. Complete Authentication

One of the most dangerous Node.js security vulnerabilities is an incomplete or broken authentication system. In this case, your developer can opt for authentication solutions like OAuth, Firebase, Auth, or Okta. Furthermore, for passwords, it’s better to avoid Node.js in-built crypto library, but rather Scrypt or Bcrypt. 

9. Scan Apps for Vulnerability

Node.js comprises multiple libraries and modules to install, which can turn into security vulnerabilities. Your team can run regular automated vulnerability scanning to find dependencies with common vulnerabilities to prevent the problem.

10. Pipelines for Security Patches

Another Node.js risk is security misconfiguration. This vulnerability exploits several parts of the app stack like the app containers, database, server, etc. Weak pipelines are usually the main reason for this issue, leaving the app exposed to losing security standards. From development to staging to production, it’s necessary to keep each environment equal with various credentials and access levels. 

node.js security

Best Solution To Make Node.js Secure? Hire a Talented Node.js Developer!

Node.js is excellent software, and its potential for mobile applications is endless. Like any other tool, there are weaknesses and pitfalls. We just listed a few common security issues and best practices related to the software.

But the best practice for Node.js security is hiring a great Node.js developer to run the code and maintain the app’s functionality. 

A developer can manage the server and the users’ data interchange, taking care of your privacy and data storage. If you want to hire the best Node.js developer to implement the security for your app, contact us!

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Costanza Tagliaferri

Costanza Tagliaferri

Costanza Tagliaferri is a Writer and Content Marketer at DistantJob. She has covered a wide range of topics, and now she is focussing on technology, traveling, and remote work.