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Top JavaScript Security Vulnerabilities and Protection Recommendations
12 May 2023

JavaScript is arguably the most widely used language in web development.

According to a survey, about 67% of developers use JS. Similarly, the language is used in above 90% of sites.

Despite the wide use of JavaScript in development, the language is also one of the vulnerable languages in terms of security. That’s why developers must learn about the top JavaScript security vulnerabilities and how to avoid these to stay on the top in protecting and defending your JS applications.

Top JavaScript security vulnerabilities to know and best protection recommendations

Here we have brought some of the most common JavaScript security vulnerabilities and solutions to protect from these.

So, here we go:

Third-party security vulnerabilities

The front-end development process typically uses various third-party libraries and tools. These third-party solutions are generally open to all types of exploits. Some of such tools, such as React by Facebook, have been developed and maintained by big corporations.

Such tools are typically following best security practices and fix issues reliably. On the other hand, third-party tools developed by smaller teams or indie developers don’t have enough resources to audit and update their code regularly. Ultimately, using these tools make your JavaScript applications vulnerable to attacks.

The solution to avoid third-party security vulnerabilities

Here are some best practices you can consider to avoid security vulnerabilities by third-party tools and libraries:

·        Update your libraries and plugins regularly with security patches that third-party providers releases. Apply these security patches instantly to avoid any security issues.

·        Utilize Subresource Integrity (SRI) to identify that the resources or tools loaded by third-party aren’t tempered.

·        Another key to avoiding third-party security vulnerabilities is to reduce the use of third-party libraries, tools, and plugins in your applications.

Cross-site scripting

Cross-site scripting is a problem that occurs when attackers inject malicious code into a webpage that others view. The unsuspected users can then execute the code that allows attackers to perform unauthorized actions or steal sensitive information on the site user's behalf.

The XSS attacks can lead to serious consequences. Therefore, it is critical to protect your JavaScript-based applications from these.

How to avoid cross-site scripting?

Follow the tips below to avoid XSS:

·        Always validate the user's input with a white-list approach.

·        Utilize HTML sanitizer to remove wrong scripts from the application.

·        Use encoding to display the user's information on the page.

·        Use CSP headers.

Source code vulnerabilities

Flaws or errors in code can cause source code vulnerabilities. These vulnerabilities will make attackers implement malicious code to steal information and have unauthorized system access.

The problem can occur for multiple reasons, including programming errors, lack of security knowledge, and poor coding skills.

How to avoid source code vulnerabilities?

There are two ways to avoid source code vulnerabilities including:

·        Use a secure software development lifecycle to conduct penetration testing and regular security assessment. Ensure to implement secure coding practices.

·        In addition, following a source coding standard will also help prevent potential vulnerabilities and avoid common coding mistakes.

Sensitive cookie exposure or sensitive data leakage

Here is another security vulnerability type in which attackers can get sensitive user information such as session ID, user credentials, etc. Poor security practices can sometimes lead to this problem. These practices may include not sending secure sessions or storing sensitive information in plain text.

The solution is to avoid sensitive cookie exposure or data leakage.

Solutions to avoid these problems generally include:

·        Implementing secure cookie handling. Use secure flags to keep attackers from stealing information.

·        Sanitize output: When sending data to the client side, avoid sending sensitive information. Always strip and send necessary information only to the client side.

Outdated or vulnerable components

This problem can let attackers deed familiar security flaws in outdated components. Attackers can exploit these vulnerabilities by determining and targeting certain outdated libraries and components within your JS application. An attacker may also utilize automated tools for scanning for such familiar vulnerabilities in common libraries or tools.

How to fix outdated or vulnerable components?

Here are the best ways to fix outdated and vulnerable components problems:

·        Update outdated components in your JavaScript applications regularly.

·        If you have any deprecated components, replace these.

·        Avoid the use of unnecessary components in your JavaScript application.

Key guidelines to enhance security while using JavaScript.

Adopting good security practices to secure your applications against common JavaScript security vulnerabilities is imperative. You have to protect your application on both the server and client sides.

Here we have a few key guidelines that you must follow every time you are using JavaScript for enhanced security:

·        Don’t trust user input

·        Use proper escaping or encoding.

·        Always sanitize your user input.

·        Establish content policy.

·        Always secure API keys on your client side.

·        Encrypt your data transmitted between server and client.

·        Use APIs and secure components for application development

·        Always use updated frameworks and libraries only to avoid security vulnerabilities.

·        Don’t forget to conduct regular scans of your code base.

Remember that considering best coding practices is typically the first step to securing your JavaScript applications.

Final Thoughts

Arguably, JavaScript is a powerful language but comes up with various security vulnerabilities. As we have mentioned above, you must avoid these security vulnerabilities to keep your applications from being exploited by attackers.

Protectumus acts as a web application firewall (WAF) and scans the website for known malware. Once the malware is found it will be automatically removed. The software uses Artificial intelligence and Machine learning to learn from previous detections and is able to act alone.

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