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React Security Vulnerabilities & Best Practices to Avoid Them

When building their web applications with React.js, web developers should keep in mind that React.js does not have default security settings. Therefore, they need to know how to deal with the most common security issues that can arise in web applications. React security vulnerabilities are hard to detect. However, we will try to discuss some of the most widely occurring and review the best practices on how to fix them for you to enjoy all the benefits of react development.

React Security Vulnerabilities & Best Practices to Protect App 5

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Why use React js?

React js is widely used for building the most interactive user interfaces and web applications fast and efficiently with significantly less code than you would need to do the same with vanilla JavaScript or any other framework. In React, you develop your apps by creating reusable components that you may think of as independent Lego blocks, which makes the process really practical and flexible. Once you have learned it, you may use it on a vast variety of platforms. It is a powerful solution for creating interactive interfaces. With React.js, web developers create large web applications with high performance and easy scalability.

The most common React.js security threats

Though React has a smaller attack points number than other frameworks, react security is still vulnerable which makes it not entirely secure, of course. And since React is easily compatible with other open-source components and thus does not have powerful default security settings, it is vulnerable to security slips naturally. Here is what may occur commonly:

Cross-Site Scripting (XSS)

So, Cross-Site Scripting is considered to be one of the most widely occurring JavaScript security vulnerabilities. Cross-Site Scripting vulnerability enables the attackers to manipulate developed websites in order to return malicious scripts back to visitors. Such malicious scripts then may execute in a manner determined by the attacker on the client side.

Distributed Denial of Service (CSRF)

Another common issue is Cross-Site Request Forgery. This vulnerability allows attackers to manipulate the victims’ browsers with the aim to take unintended actions on other sites. This becomes possible when target sites authenticate the requests entirely using cookies and this way allows the attackers to send requests carrying users’ cookies. This JavaScript security issue or similar may lead to data theft, account tampering, fraud and so much more.

Both Cross-Site Scripting and Cross-Site Request Forgery vulnerabilities exist in the app layer and require that only correct development techniques should be applied and followed to avoid these issues.

React.js security vulnerabilities and how to fix them

Let’s have a look at some of the most common React.js vulnerabilities and consider how to prevent them.

Server-side rendering

Many web applications use server-side rendering when displaying their web pages and content to users. Server rendering has many advantages. This improves application performance, speeds up web page loading, and ensures stable SEO performance. However, this type of page rendering can cause some security issues.

Dangerous URLs

Any links to other resources may become dangerous in the case hackers add specifically malicious code to URLs that begin with JavaScript. When the user clicks on the link, it activates the script in the browser. React.js application security does not prevent links without HTTP: or HTTPS: protocols, having no features to prevent potential threats.

Broken authentication

An insecure connection between the web client and the server results in a violation of user authentication and authorization. Hackers can interfere with authentication and authorization processes and corrupt user account information, passwords, session tokens, and other objects.

Zip Slip

The Zip Slip vulnerability occurs when application users send reduced size zip files to React.js applications. When the web application decompresses such types of files, it restores them to their original size. Some of these files may contain hack codes that give attackers access to the system.

SQL injection

This type of attack targets the application’s databases. Attackers inject malicious SQL code into the database and gain access to stored information. Once they have administrator credentials, they may edit it, delete it, or create new entries.

5 React security best practices

Vulnerabilities in React.js can occur if you believe you are using the library’s security features. It is extremely important to remember what React can do and cannot do for you. It is extremely important to follow some security guidelines to avoid common security pitfalls. And look at some of the React.js security best practices that you can use in your projects to minimize the vulnerability risks

JSON state rendering

When rendering the initial state of a web page with the Redux library, web developers may generate a document variable from a JSON string as one of the react security best practices that look like this:

<script>window.__STATE__ = ${JSON.stringify({ data })}</script>

JSON.stringify() can be a risky method because it will convert any data into a string and display it on the web page. As a result, attackers can insert malicious code into a JSON string and eventually take control of a web application or its data.

To fix this vulnerability, web developers need to:

  • do code reviews frequently and check the data that appears in JSON.stringify();
  • use the serialization-JavaScript NPM module to avoid rendering JSON.

Minimize the number of SQL attacks

There are different types of SQL injection such as error-based, timing-based, and logic-error-based, and React applications are vulnerable to all of them. Thus, to minimize the number of SQL attacks, web developers may:

  • apply whitelists in order to filter out all kinds of inputs,
  • implement the principle of least privilege to all accounts when a web application can apply only one statement (SELECT, INSERT,UPDATE,
  •  or DELETE) for certain operations;
  • assign database roles to different accounts;
  • use vulnerability scanners;
  • validate all API functions against their API schemas.

HTML rendering

To protect their React.js-based applications from XSS attacks, web developers may achieve React XSS prevention in a different way.

  • Disable or avoid writing code where attackers could potentially insert instructions to run malicious scripts, such as omitting HTML elements such as <script>, <object>, <embed>, and <link>;
  • use snippet libraries such as ES7 React, Redux and others;
  • use {} for default data binding so React automatically escapes values;
  • use the web application firewall in the application code;
  • use special tools to scan embedded applications for XSS vulnerabilities.

HTTP Basic Authentication protocol security

To secure HTTP Basic Authentication protocols, web developers need to:

  • determine if the “WWW” domain header has a real attribute that helps avoid mismatches in user IDs and their passwords;
  • use the correct authentication methods, for example, make sure the web application responds with a 401 status error page in case of authentication failure as one of the react-scripts vulnerabilities;
  • implement multi-factor authentication;
  • implement cloud authentication, such as Google Cloud Identity Platform or Azure Active Directory;
  • implement password checking for strengths and weaknesses.

Eliminate Zip Slip possibility

To eliminate the possibility of a Zip Slip hack, web developers can:

  • make sure that all files in their web application have standard names and do not contain special characters;
  • generate new names for zip files uploaded to the system.

React.js is a robust and efficient framework that helps you build fast, high-performance, and rich web applications. It’s important to keep some React JS security best practices in mind when working with React in real applications, even though it’s generally considered very secure react vulnerabilities.

Web applications with well-designed and operational security solutions help organizations stay on top and build trust with their customers. Security solutions help businesses preserve their brand and minimize losses by preventing sensitive data from being leaked.

However, like any software development framework, React.js is not 100% hack-resistant. Thus, web developers can take some steps to minimize the number of malicious attacks.

Also, find more peculiar data on React.js on GitHub.

Wrap Up

For businesses that rely heavily on React.js, the dangers and consequences of an attack or security breach are inevitable. You must pay special attention to the creation of the entire website, including your web application, web server settings, creating and changing passwords, and client-side code, in order to successfully secure the application with the help of React authentication best practices and professional developers. Hire react.js developers with Fireart to code your apps,  secure your framework data, and prevent attacks to minimize any React vulnerability.

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