Security ✅ ! Here's How to Build Secure Software with AngularJS


Thinking to build a large website and betting on AngularJS?

Well, the development of a large website is already a huge undertaking. And, while AngularJS is the frontend framework of choice for enterprises, you might have to look beyond what catches your eye when you have to build secure software with AngularJS.

While AngularJS is known for its ease of use, ease of navigation, and operations with MVC, there are some security issues its might show, owing to the large size of the website. In this section, we will talk about the top challenges enterprises face and ways to build secure software with AngularJS.

What are the Key Challenges Entrepreneurs Encounter with AngularJS?

So, do you believe your web app is safe with AngularJS? I want you to think again.

A study carried out by Contrast Security identified that nearly 90% of apps have not been tested for vulnerabilities during the QA and development phases. Even the website modernization services project we receive are found to have underlying vulnerabilities, which go unnoticed.

In such a case, it is crucial for you to prioritize security for your AngularJS software for the challenges faced. Below are some of the key issues that entrepreneurs face when they build secure software with AngularJS:

1) Cross-site Scripting (XSS):

When you are building a large website with one or more web pages with untrusted data, you might encounter cross-site scripting vulnerabilities. Cross-site scripting allows cyber attackers to inject malicious code into your web pages. When such code has been successfully added to your page, it might steal the user data. When cyber attackers have login data, they can manipulate the system by impersonating the user.

2) Security Misconfiguration:

There are multiple frameworks, including AngularJS that limit the protocols, which might be available for images and links. Primarily, this might block inline JavaScript from running and cause serious issues such as cross-site vulnerabilities in the application. As a result, it might lead to exposing your data to attackers. Hence, when they enter through your web pages, they can easily take charge of your system.

3) Sensitive Data Exposure:

Such a vulnerability can occur when a web application is poorly designed. It enables attackers to implement various security measures and identify the source of the sensitive data pertaining to your particular website. Through sensitive data exposure vulnerability, the cyber attackers can determine sensitive data like session tokens, databases, credentials, and more. Using such sensitive sources of data, an attacker can easily exploit your web application by breaching the security of the website.

4) Directory Busting:

Also known as directory brute, directory busting is one of the most common security vulnerabilities. Through directory busting, an attacker may have access to sensitive information from the files that are stored on the website server. Since AngularJS developers have to ensure the smooth functioning of the web applications, they have to use multiple critical files, secured on the webserver.

During the development as well as the deployment process, developers have to be extremely cautious about these files or directories. They have to keep these hidden or away from the eyes of the cyber attackers. However, when such directories are exposed to attackers, they can manipulate the data.

5) Lack of Function Level Access Control:

The missing function level access control vulnerability enables users to work with functions, which should be limited. Usually, resources and functions are seamlessly secured using the configuration settings. However, it is not always possible to do it in a correct manner. It is crucial to implement proper checks, which might be difficult in some cases as modern applications might have various types of groups and roles, thereby adding it to the complexity.

6) Unverified Redirects and Forwards:

Unvalidated redirects as well as forwards are also commonly known as URL redirection vulnerability. It is a significant type of bug identified in the web application. When a user opens a particular URL, the web page exposes them to a malicious website.

The instance usually occurs when your web application permits untrusted input, which might lead the web application towards redirecting the request to a particular URL with untrusted input. When the browser of your web application receives a particular redirect, they load the new URL offered in the location header.

A skilled attacker has multiple gateways to your web application.

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How to Ensure Security of your AngularJS Software?

If you want to bloc all the possible doors to prevent the vulnerabilities to sweep in through your AngularJS web application, we have charted down some of the best tips. These tips will help you build secure software with AngularJS.

Focus on the Basics:

You can ask your AngularJS developers to design and develop the web applications in a way that doesn’t allow attackers to modify any kind of client-side templates. The best way to do so is by segregating client as well as server templates. This is the best way to prevent cross-site scripting vulnerabilities.

In addition to this, it is recommended to not use the user input to generate a dynamic template. This way, you can protect the login details of your users. Besides that, you can also leverage a tightly-integrated CSP to build secure software with AngularJS.

Opt for the Default AngularJS Security Features:

When you want to build secure software with AngularJS, you can prefer to automate output encoding as well as sanitize context-aware input offered by AngularJS. These default AngularJS security features can help you mitigate cross-site scripting vulnerabilities. As a result, it can help you encode all the unsafe symbols along with the HTML control characters. You can use it alongside ng-bind.

Restrict the Utilization of DOM APIs:

It is recommended for you to avoid Angular DOM-oriented input injection. Besides this, you should also prevent the direct utilization of DOM APIs. Instead of the DOM APIs, you can make use of the Angular templates and data binding while carrying out the interaction of the DOM. Without implementing Trusted Types, it is denoted unsafe to use third-party APIs for libraries.

In addition to this, you can ensure proper sanitization of untrusted values using DOMSanitize.sanitize. There are numerous Angular APIs that pose several security risks. You can also rely on native options such as templating or data binding capabilities.

Make Use of Template Injection:

In order to build secure software with AngularJS, you can utilize template injection. A template injection is a type of offline template compiler for getting better performance as well as a complete suite of security features. You should, however, keep in mind to utilize the template injection in production deployments.

In addition to this, it is also recommended to utilize the Ahead of Time compiler of Angular. The compiler will assist you in compiling templates offline. The developers are often habituated to loading templates using multiple sources. However, when it comes to untrusted domains, it could further create new pathways for further vulnerabilities.

Do Away with Specific Unsafe Patterns:

When you are developing an AngularJS web app, you can look out for certain patterns. When you find patterns like window.location.href=$location.hash might turn out to be a direct and a warm invitation for hackers. In such a case, it is crucial for you to avoid open redirects as well as JavaScript code injection to leverage dictionary maps for navigation and page references.

You can also tackle server-side code injection with proper treatment of templates within an application context of either server or client. In addition to this, it is recommended to prevent the use of angular.element() of Angular jQuery compatible API to manipulate DOM. It can develop HTML elements on DOM that leads to more cross-site scripting vulnerabilities.

Checkout the In-built Security Features:

You need to utilize the in-built cross-site request forgery token of AngularJS as well as cross-site script inclusion for offsetting HTTP-level vulnerabilities. The cross-site request forgery revolves around attackers redirecting the users to a new page, The next step is they send malicious requests down the server.

The developers can make use of the auto-generated authentication tokens, authenticate the visible tokens for their own apps, and verify the source of the header sent from the browser of the user. When it comes to a cross-site request forgery, the token values from the server as well as the client sides are when to compare to check out if at all there is a matching post and then the request goes ahead. However, the AngularJS developers need to implement the functionality on their own at the server-end.

Ensure to Use DomSanitizer Correctly:

The cross-site scripting attack is one of the most common data theft attacks, wherein the hackers need to insert scripts to a DOM element on particular packages. Another set of vulnerabilities includes malware attacks and data stealing. As a result, sanitization includes the inspection of untrusted values as well as switching them to safe values. It encourages the sanitization of untrusted inputs between URL, HTML, CSS, referring files, resource URL, and attributes.

Do Away with Dynamically Loading Angular Templates:

When you are developing Angular templates along with the files, they can be bound to an Angular app while working on the build time. In addition to this, you can find it possible to lazy-load the HTML templates during the run time from the client end. It can send a request for downloading the template for dynamically evaluating it.

It also exposes you to the risk of loading templates in an insecure manner over the untrusted domains, which are way beyond the control as well as the trust of an app. In addition to this, you can hire AngularJS developers can consider taking a further note to access the templates over the security protocols like up-to-date versions for TLS for mitigation of Man-in-the-Middle attacks.

Is your AngularJS web app suffering from an uncommon security vulnerability?

Our experts can audit your code to check out the vulnerabilities.

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Tick it Off: Best Practices to Build a Secure Software with AngularJS

On the go?

We have curated the best tips for you to consider for meeting your AngularJS code with the required standards.

  • Organize your code when you are to build secure software with AngularJS. While building a scalable web application, the code base expands continuously and you will need to add more services and controllers, which might add up to the complexity. Hence, the key is to organize the code through the development of a directory for archetypes and segregate the objects into their own file.
  • It is not a good practice to end up with hundreds of JavaScript files as these files get loaded one by one and are highly dependent on other JS files as well. Hence, it might affect the performance of the site. As a result, you can load the JavaScript files dynamically instead of allowing them to get loaded upfront.
  • It is a known fact that in any project, you might encounter issues with debugging. Based on the size of the structure of the directory, it might turn out to be a time-consuming gig to identify issues. However, if you use AngularJS Batarang, it eases out the debugging process by enabling you to drill down and choose the scope you wish to view. It also offers you a view of the dependency graph that makes it easy to access and view which objects are dependent to function on other objects.

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Vishal Nakum

Vishal Nakum is a tech enthusiast with a passion for exploring the latest developments in the world of technology. He has a keen interest in emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Blockchain, and enjoys keeping up-to-date with the latest trends and advancements in these fields. Vishal is an avid learner and is always on the lookout for new ways to expand his knowledge and skills. He is also a creative thinker and enjoys experimenting with new ideas and concepts. In his free time, Vishal enjoys playing video games and reading books on technology and science.