Risks and challenges are an integral part of a project development cycle. Complex requirements, technical shortcomings, and security vulnerabilities add up to it, and it becomes a brainstorming delight for a software developer.

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Among the other frameworks, react has garnered a prominent position and has become a preferred frontend framework among the others.

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ReactJS offers some of the unique advantages over the other frontend frameworks, which includes simplification of scripting components, stable code, and time-effective rendering.

However, despite the manifold benefits that the frontend framework offers, there are various concerns regarding the react security vulnerabilities that you should know about.

In this comprehensive blog, you will learn about the challenges that are associated with ReactJs. However, by no means do we intend to project that it is a vulnerable library.

Why is reactjs a popular javascript framework for 2020 and beyond?

ReactJs was first released in the year 2013, and even in 2020, it is perceived as the present and future of the mobile app development. It holds relevance even after seven years, on the back of the advantages that it offers to the web and mobile application.

Numerous top applications are have been developed using ReactJs, which includes—Netflix, WhatsApp, Instagram, BBC, and Facebook.

If you are thinking to develop a mobile application or web application as java experts, you can select ReactJs among the other Javascript libraries for the following reasons:

Short training for even complex implementation

React is but a Javascript with a small API. As a result, there are just some of the functions that Java developers need to understand, and they can start using react for a web application.

Reusable components

Deployment of ReactJs is possible even if you, as a developer, possess a basic knowledge about the JavaScript. The developers can easily learn about all the components and can reuse it while building the application.

Quick render

Rendering is one of the most crucial aspects when it comes to the development of an application. Since the document object model holds the tree-structure, any changes made at the top layer may cause a ripple effect. In order to counter such a scenario, a virtual document object model has been introduced, which offers better rendering.

SEO friendliness

Today, everything is optimized for the search engine to read and provide the best results to users. In such a case, if the code is SEO-friendly, it can help improve the visibility of the application in the user’s space. On similar lines, the SEO-friendliness of ReactJS can help read JavaScript high volume apps.

Flexibility

When you weigh the flexibility of the other frontend frameworks with that of the ReactJS’s, you will find that the latter is less complicated to use. This is on the back of its modular structure. The flexibility that ReactJs has to offer stands out with huge time-saving and cost-saving instances.

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What are the security vulnerabilities in reactjs?

The business trend is to go about building a react application for web platform. In this venture, numerous businessmen seek highly secured applications. In such a scenario, react comes to their rescue with its myriads of advantages and simplicity of development.

However, alongside, the developers have also identified react to hold several application security vulnerabilities. Most of the software development companies aren’t sure whether their developed react application will pass through the security standards.

Wait for something more intense!

Applications without a security pass may bring unexpectedly bad consequences, including data and security breach. In such a case, it is crucial that you have an eye on the react security vulnerabilities right from the start to avoid any security lapse and lawsuit.

So, what’s the best approach to use react and not fall for the vulnerabilities?

The best approach to securing the react application is to hire dedicated ReactJS developers, who are well-versed with the issues and know how to tackle these challenges.

If not, we have compiled a list of how you can secure a react web application.

Cross-site scripting

Among the other security vulnerabilities that a react application has to undergo, cross-site scripting is a common one. It is a client’s side of vulnerability that can turn into a grave issue for the application’s security.

This kind of attack can happen when an attacker successfully tricks a website. Once the website is tricked into executing an arbitrary JavaScript code, the security of users goes haywire.

There are basically two types of cross-site scripting attacks—reflected cross-site attack and stored cross-site attack. Reflected cross-site attack means that the attacker plants a link containing sensitive information of the user that is to be run in the browser.

On the other hand, stored cross-site scripting attack means that the attacker can access the server and data can be extracted from the web page of the client when the code is run.

What is the potential solution to avoid cross-site scripting?

In order to come to the solution, we need to take a look into the root cause of the issue. Since the cross-site scripting can only be done when the code is executed in a browser with specified instructions, you can disable markup that might hold the instructions for executing code.

If you are looking through an HTML code, this can include commands such as <link>, <embed>, <script>, and <object>.

SQL Injection

Wondering what an SQL injection is? It is a type of attack or a web security vulnerability that enables an attacker to modify any data with or without the user’s permission. The attacker can basically execute the arbitrary SQL code and extract any sensitive information.

Other than having complete access to the user’s data, a successful injection is the one that can replicate fake credentials, build new credentials, and gain admin privileges to access the server.

There are many types of SQL injection that are used to turn off the highly secured react application. This includes time-based SQL injection, error-based SQL injection, and logic-based SQL injection.

What is the potential solution to avoid sql injection?

The potential solution to eliminate SQL injection attack is by validating API call functions against the respective API schemas. In order to tackle the issue of time-based SQL injection attack, you can undertake timely validation of the schema to avoid any suspicious code injections.

Besides this, one of the most effective ways to work against the SQL vulnerability is by using a cheap SSL certificate.

Insecure Randomness

In most of the web applications developed today, the data is generally user supplied. In such a case, when an attacker adds a link or a code that starts with JavaScript, then it can lead to insecure randomness in the application.

When the attacker successfully adds a malicious link and the user uses the link, the script will be run in the browser. This can prove to be hazardous for the user’s security, as the attacker can extract sensitive information and even modify it using the admin authority.

In such a situation, it is not only the links that are vulnerable to such attacks. Any element of an application is vulnerable when the attacker has complete control over the uniform resource identifier.

What is the potential solution to avoid insecure randomness?

In order to avoid insecure randomness, it is important to build links using the whitelisted protocol and leverage HTML entities. In addition to this, you can undertake integrity investigations to check and avoid the injection of vulnerable codes and links.

If the problem still persists, you can try isolating the code from the other ones. Besides this, you can also opt for strict restrictions to the building of code objects to avoid the injection of randomness.

Server-side Rendering Attack

The server-side rendering vulnerability can arise if a developer is rendering an app from the server-side. This is one of the very common failures that lead to the monitoring of the web app.

Any version of the server-side rendering can lead to the data leak. For instance, when a developer develops a page, he can create a document variable from a JSON string itself.

In such a case, the JSON string can increase the vulnerability as it can convert data into a string, and this string will be rendered into a page. If you have to spot the server-side rendering attack in code, you can look for JSON.stringify(). This should be typically be called along with another variable that may have an untrusted string of data.

In some of the other cases, the server-side rendering attack is hard to find out when context.data is not properly found.

What is the potential solution to tackle server-side rendering attack?

One of the most crucial way to approach the issue to use the serialize Javascript with NPM module, in order to escape the rendered JSON. In addition to this, it is recommended that you cross-check and monitor that any failure in server-side data validation is reported for identification.

This way, any kind of suspicious data can be tracked down, and instances of data deletion or modification can be avoided.

Arbitrary Code Execution

Arbitrary code execution implies that the attacker has the potential to run the arbitrary commands or codes on a specific process. To put this into perspective, arbitrary code execution is, in a way, a kind of security issue in the hardware or the software that processes the arbitrary code.

A special program that is leveraged to such a vulnerability is known as arbitrary code execution exploit. Such a kind of exploit is highly vulnerable, and at any cost, it should not be exposed to public services and products.

When it gets exposed to public products, all the individuals using the product will be vulnerable to it.

What is the potential solution to tackle arbitrary code execution?

One of the robust approaches to tackling arbitrary code execution is to ensure that the application only reads the tokens that have been stored previously during the development. After this, you can ensure that the system only produces relevant headers by authenticating the request by making one to the server.

In addition to this, developers need to eliminate these kinds of attacks on a timely basis to reduce the vulnerabilities.

Zip Slip – Arbitrary File Write Via Archive

If you are wondering how zip slip happens, it is due to the overwritten arbitrary files in addition to the directory transversal attack. This can be executed through the extraction of the files from the archive of the directory.

When any archive is unpacked through the use of any vulnerable library, the attacker is potential to unzip the malicious file. Once the file is unzipped, the attacker will have access to the file, and can overwrite it the way he wants it. This holds true for any kind of files including configuration files, executable files, or an important system.

All-in-all, the arbitrary code can be accessed remotely by the attacker.

What is the potential solution to tackle zip slip – arbitrary file write via archive?

The approach that developers can take to find the vulnerability is to be on the fixed versions of the archive processing libraries. Once you are sure about it, you can look for codes that can be vulnerable and add it to the test for directory transversal.

Next, you can add a zip slip security testing to your pipeline. You can also use dependency vulnerability scanning tool such as Snyk to find out if you are vulnerable.

Lack of End-to-End Encryption

Web security has taken a back seat, and we cannot help but thank the data breaches that are happening at a global level. In most of the cases of data breaches, it is found that the lack of end-to-end encryption is the root cause.

Once the attacker can break in through the leaked system, the data and privacy go for a toss. Besides this, the addition of the third-party APIs is also deemed as a crucial source of such security vulnerabilities.

In order to avoid such security leaks, it is important to ensure the security of your react web application using end-to-end encryption.

What is the potential solution to tackle lack of end-to-end encryption?

You can make use of the private and public-key encryption. In the start, you may feel that it is a bit complicated in nature; however, it is an effective source to tackle the lack of end-to-end encryption.

In addition to this, developers can also make use of asymmetric algorithms such as RSA for the encryption of the primary key of a react application.

Developers can also make use of the cryptojs and encryptjs libraries. This way, they can encrypt and decrypt data in an end-to-end manner amidst the server-side and client-side of the application.

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How can Peerbits help in ensuring the utmost security to your react web application?

React is becoming the go-to-technology for the developers, given the ease of coding. However, the security vulnerabilities that surround react web applications are shifting the eyes of developers towards the react community to come up with a feasible and practical solution.

Indeed, the react community is huge and is trying to be as helpful as possible by coming up with a practical solution. However, the increasing rate of security vulnerabilities has put the onus on the top heads of the IT industry to tackle the issue and find the best approach.

As a result, we, at Peerbits, feel responsible and authoritative to devise a workable solution to fight such vulnerabilities. Some of the react security vulnerabilities have been tackled in-house when our clients have requested for certain react web applications.

While our ReactJS developers love to study cases about the potential challenges and take it as their purview to set the trail for the other developers to follow.

This approach has helped us form a set of the best practices to beat the react security vulnerabilities. We look into the security measures that include all the aspects during the project lifecycle and after—data encryption, data validation, authentication, HTTP headers, and more.

Below is our perception about the react security vulnerabilities

Security check

We believe in taking a step towards the complexity right from the start. As a result, we undertake a security check at each and every step while developing a web application.

Validation and compliance

Since security checks are done at every stage of the app development, we validate the subsets of the application. Our developers check and validate the data formats, data types, and values to make sure that the data in the development is compliant with the react security norms.

End-to-End encryption

Data can be highly sensitive, and the only best way to make sure that no leakage is there in the system is through end-to-end encryption. Our developers use end-to-end encryption method to safeguard the highly sensitive data from the prying eyes.

Self control

Our developers ensure that the react web application have their own intelligence and that they are able to control operations such as enabling an operation, pausing an operation, and tackling any security concern that arises during the process.

Multi-stage authentication

Security at one stage is favourable. However, if we are to ensure complete security of a react web application, we need to go beyond what’s already done for security. We leverage the multi-stage authentication method of access control to allow only the validated access to the next stage.

Mitigation of attacks

During the authentication and validation of data, if our developers sense any attack of DDoS, XSS, and XXE, they leverage IP masking, on-demand data packet scrubbing, traffic visibility, and application latency to secure against the react security issues.

Timely management

Once the security is analyzed and tested, it may be possible that the concerns may arise at the next stage. In such a case, it is crucial that the developers manage the webservers by monitoring, upgrading, as well as updating the react web application on a periodic basis.

Reports

Once the users start using a web application, the vulnerability increases. As a result, our developers undertake a proactive approach to track the user’s behaviour patterns, generate reports to analyze the same, and identify any mismatch.

Conformity to HIPAA Guidelines

Our developers follow the HIPAA guidelines to ensure that the react web application is safe from the data breach by passing through the OWASP top 10 as well as SANS 25 tests.

Final Words

React security vulnerabilities demand more than the time and experience of developers; it requires strong decision-making powers and attention to details about these occurrences. Our developers, at Peerbits, have worked on and tackled multiple react security issues and have actively contributed to the react community.

This has helped us stay at the top of the software development when it comes to ReactJS. With time and experience, our developers have understood that these are just some of the vulnerabilities, and the future has many more of these.

So, the plan is to understand these security vulnerabilities with every upgrade to react and provide our clients with the best react web apps.

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