Now given that NodeJS is still a relatively new technology, it is consistently being improved with new features and capabilities to improve the development environment as well as the quality of the final product. Here are the key steps you must not forget while building your NodeJS application:
While authorization is used to identify users for access to services, authentication, authentication ensures that authorized users access only those services they are entitled to. And while both of these security measures fend off attacks to some extent, they aren’t insulated from Brute Force attacks. To make the most out of these security features, you can apply some kind of rate-limiter that limits the number of access requests that can be made in a time window. You can also opt to add an additional layer of captcha to prevent against bot attacks if you are willing to sacrifice a bit of user experience.
While cookies are essential to offering superior user experience, they are also glaring security loopholes that are often exploited to bypass security. To make the most out of cookies without succumbing to its shortfalls, you must carefully define its scope and set flags in right order. It should be sent only over a secure connection. It must check not only the domain but also the URL path before sending a cookie and perhaps most importantly of all, an expiry date should be defined to prevent misuse of persistent cookies.
If not configured properly, each of your IP packets is vulnerable to a whole range of security attacks- from snooping to masquerading. To keep the environment secure, you must carefully configure HTTP headers including Content-Security-Policy that prevents from Cross-site scripting and other cross-site injections, X-Frame-Options that provides clickjacking protection, Strict-Transport-Security that enforces HTTPS connection to the server, among others.
Another point of security vulnerability where the risk of data leakage is high is during transmission. Because HTTP is a text-only protocol, an additional layer of encryption needs to be implemented to ensure the sanctity of transmitted data. Depending on the sensitivity of data you can choose from many available encryption methods of which SSL and TLS remain the most popular. A 256-bit encryption of any kind coupled with some certification validation function should be enough to discourage most of the attacks given there aren’t any other known vulnerabilities as well.
There is another kind of security attack where the attackers can’t only steal sensitive data but can also potentially put the entire system at risk. They are data injection attacks, of which SQL injection remains the most common. These can be easily defended against by using parameterized queries or prepared statements. But to prevent against OS command injection on a remote server, you would need to put in place mechanism to filter each user input.
Microservices are a single self-functional system that can be independently developed, scaled and deployed without affecting any other parts of the system. If used properly, microservices can improve the startup time of application; make it more stable and highly resilient. For instance, if a microservice fails, it can easily and quickly be replaced without affecting the state of the entire application.
At any point of time, there are bound to be multiple services running in your application. While the failure of some might not even be noticed, others can potentially alter the state of the application. But even the worse are those that create a domino effect- not initially noticed but gradually bring the entire system down. The only way to prevent against such circumstances is to continuously monitor your application. There are a whole range of APM (Application Performance Monitoring) tools these days that consistently keep track of various metrics including memory usage, database latency, and garbage collector behavior, among others. It is only if you monitor your services you would be able to fix issues before they create problems
There is no doubt that NodeJS development has taken the entire web development services by storm and is still rapidly expanding its footprint. But tools themselves do not create fine products. You as a developer would have to play your part as well.