For software developers, everything can change except for one thing: the threat hackers pose to their work.
We can safely consider software developers as the protectors of the digital realm, and for this role, they need to stay up to date with everything that cyber criminals come up with to mess with other people’s data.
In this article, we will explore the world of both web and app frameworks, analyzing which one is the most susceptible to hacking. Information is power, and this is what helps software developers to keep their creations safe.
But before we start with that, let’s go back to the basics. What are the most common vulnerabilities hackers can take advantage of?
1. Flawed Authentications And Authorizations
Table of Contents
Both authentication and authorization are essential, and we could think of them as gatekeepers of the website or the app. If they’re not strong, they won’t be of use against an attack. Hackers are experts at gaining unauthorized access to important data.
Developers must have a very firm grasp of both user authentication mechanisms and authorization protocols. Consider:
- MFA, or multi-factor authentication;
- Perform security audits to fix vulnerabilities;
- Train your team. Teach them about the latest cyberthreats and how to prevent them.
2. Cross-Site Scripting (XSS)
Cross-site scripting, or XSS, is a kind of attack that criminals use when they are organizing a cyber heist, among other things. They inject malicious scripts into web apps, and what used to be a perfectly safe website becomes dangerous.
Although this can affect your web page, the main problem is that it compromises your users’ data and safety. That’s why it’s so important to understand how XSS works. This is what you can do:
- CSP, or Content Security Policy: you can implement it to identify and isolate different scripts, reducing the risk of someone executing unauthorized code.
- Escape user-generated content: make sure that it is escaped properly and prevent hackers from interpreting it as code.
- Test the safety regularly: enforce regular security assessments to identify and address XSS vulnerabilities.
3. Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF)
Cybercriminals can trick their victims into submitting a malicious request, for example, transferring funds or changing their personal information. This is known as CSRF.
When this type of attack goes unchecked for too long, the consequences can be massive data breaches or other unauthorized actions. In this case, it’s crucial to remain vigilant.
4. SQL Injection
SQL Injection is a classic hack that exploits the queries that an app makes to its database. Most of the critical vulnerabilities found in web apps are because of SQL injections, unfortunately. In the real world, it would be the equivalent of someone forging a letter and pushing it through your mail, exposing your data.
To avoid this attack, developers have to validate and “clean up” user inputs to protect them against SQL injections. Furthermore, they should consider:
- Using parameterized queries or prepared statements to execute database queries safely;
- Using an ORM framework to minimize the danger of SQL injections by abstracting database interactions.
Vulnerable Web Frameworks
Now that the basics are covered let’s explore some web frameworks that might not be as safe as they seem.
1. Ruby on Rails
Ruby on Rails, loved by amateur developers for its intuitive nature, has faced a few security challenges over the years. Although for a lot of things, it’s safe, developers will have to review it often to identify vulnerabilities, such as SQL injection, the kind of attack we mentioned before.
There are roughly 3.7 million active websites that use Ruby on Rails as a framework. It’s essential to focus on security.
When the team conducts a review and updates the dependencies and gems regularly, they enhance the security of this framework and keep it very resilient in an ever-evolving digital world.
Python developers love Django. It’s their go-to framework because it has great tools for building web apps. However, its security can be in danger when developers skip the fundamentals of user authentication.
It’s very important to set things up right and monitor them constantly; that’s the only way that Django-based apps will stay safe from hackers.
Suppose they also take advantage of Django’s built-in security features, such as a strong user authentication system and protection against the most common web vulnerabilities. In that case, they can amp up the overall security of their web applications.
Laravel, a popular PHP framework, is not completely safe, although it has been built keeping cybersecurity in mind. Like most frameworks, staying vigilant will keep the Laravel-based apps secure.
Aside from that, you can:
- Implement web application firewalls or WAFs;
- Monitor your app for weird behavior;
- Conduct regular security assessments and code reviews.
These three factors are key when enhancing the defense mechanisms of Laravel applications.
The highlight of Angular JS is its versatility. This is what creates dynamic web applications, but it can be vulnerable to XSS attacks if developers don’t use it correctly.
For this framework, cleaning up user inputs is mandatory to avoid hackers. When handling user-generated content, developers have to be extra careful to mitigate potential vulnerabilities.
It’s also very important to protect user’s sensitive data that is stored on the server. One way to shield this information from prying eyes is by encrypting data at rest and in transit.
Lastly, keeping dependencies and libraries updated is crucial because there are external components that could be the cause of a vulnerability. When developers combine input validation, data encryption, and a good maintenance routine, a web application will be pretty much untouchable.
Vulnerable App Frameworks
When someone wants to develop a good app for mobile phones, they need to use app frameworks.
Although these are great, it doesn’t mean that they’re free from vulnerabilities. Let’s explore the most common ones:
1. React Native
This is one of the most popular frameworks, and it also serves as a cross-platform tool. Statistics show that 13% of professional developers are already using it, and even better, another 11% of developers want to learn it.
React Native developers should be especially strict with how they handle data and keep API security measures as a top priority. Remember that poor server authentication and inadequate API security can endanger the apps they create.
This is what you can do to enhance the React Native’s app security:
- Employ strong authentication mechanisms;
- Encrypt data transmission;
- Update the website to patch up potential vulnerabilities.
React Native developers know that their apps are trustworthy in this competitive market for one reason: they keep a laser-like focus on security.
Xamarin is another powerful cross-platform solution, but it isn’t; security threats are always evolving. When sensitive data isn’t properly encrypted, data leakage is one of the main concerns.
Although Xamarin has strong alternatives for cross-platform app development, they have to know that cybersecurity is an ongoing process. Even the strongest encryption methods can become vulnerable over the years.
Here’s what you can do:
- Keep regular security audits;
- Review your code;
- Penetration testing.
These should be integrated into your development lifecycle.
3. Apache Cordova
Apache Cordova is great for mobile apps, but it becomes essential to keep up with the plugins. Vital, even.
Simply put, outdated plugins are a risk and expose your app to hackers. Developers have to make sure that their plugins are up to date and reviewed for security improvements.
Plugin updates should be a priority if developers are working with Apache Cordova. It’s also crucial that they stay vigilant with the underlying web views. These can be exploited by cybercriminals.
While you work on preventing cyberattacks, consider getting a VPN. You can pick, for example, Canadian VPN servers that will mask your IP address and let you work safely from wherever you are in the world.
Aside from this, regularly applying security patches, configuring Content Security Policies (CSP), and performing thorough code reviews of the web views are essential practices to create a more secure and robust mobile app.
While no framework is entirely immune to hacking, the key factor to minimizing risks lies in developers’ knowledge and diligence.
Keep your frameworks and libraries up to date, follow best practices for user authentication, and validate inputs rigorously. A proactive approach to security is your best defense against hackers.
Remember, knowledge is your most potent tool in the battle against cyberthreats. By staying informed and actively safeguarding your web and app projects, you can help ensure a safer digital world for all. Happy coding!