Top 9 Javascript security vulnerabilities in 2024

JavaScript, as a powerful and widely-used programming language for web development, brings a multitude of features and capabilities to modern applications. However, its extensive adoption and the dynamic nature of the language also make Javascript a target for various security vulnerabilities, attack vectors and threats. These JS vulnerabilities can lead to severe consequences, including unauthorized access to sensitive data, manipulation of application functionality, or even complete control over the affected system by malicious actors.

Why is JavaScript vulnerable to vulnerabilities?

Client-side execution: JavaScript code runs in the user’s browser, making it more susceptible to manipulation by attackers. Hackers can modify the code or inject malicious scripts to compromise the application or exploit security vulnerabilities.

  • Complex ecosystem: The JavaScript ecosystem is vast and constantly evolving, with numerous libraries, frameworks, and third-party components. Some of these dependencies may have security vulnerabilities that can be exploited by attackers. Keeping track of all dependencies and ensuring they are up-to-date and secure can be challenging for developers.
  • Insecure coding practices: Developers may inadvertently introduce vulnerabilities into their applications through poor coding practices, such as not validating user input, not sanitizing output, or not following secure coding guidelines. These vulnerabilities can be exploited by attackers to perform actions like injection attacks or cross-site scripting (XSS).
  • Dynamic nature of JavaScript: The dynamic nature of JavaScript enables powerful features, but it can also lead to security risks. For example, JavaScript’s ability to generate and manipulate HTML and DOM elements at runtime can make it more prone to XSS attacks if proper sanitization and output encoding are not implemented.
  • Lack of built-in security features: JavaScript does not have many built-in security features, which means developers must be diligent about implementing security best practices to protect their applications. This reliance on developers to manually implement security measures can lead to oversights and vulnerabilities.

These factors contribute to the susceptibility of JavaScript applications to vulnerabilities, which hackers and other threat actors can exploit to input malicious query strings into forms, access sensitive data, and compromise the security of the application. It is crucial for developers to be aware of these risks and follow best practices to ensure the security and integrity of their JavaScript applications.

Which are the top 9 most common common JavaScript vulnerabilities and how to mitigate?

Javascript source code vulnerabilities

JavaScript source code vulnerabilities can be classified into several categories, each with its specific risks and implications from a technical point of view. Here are some common JavaScript vulnerabilities and their technical aspects:

  • Cross-Site Scripting (XSS)
  • Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF)
  • Insecure Direct Object References (IDOR)
  • Insecure Deserialization
  • Server-Side JavaScript Injection (SSJI)
  • Insecure Use of Third-Party Libraries and Components

Cross-Site Scripting (XSS)

XSS is a type of injection attack where an attacker injects malicious scripts into a legitimate website or web application. This occurs when user input is not properly sanitized or validated before being incorporated into the web page’s HTML or JavaScript code. When other users visit the affected web page, the malicious script executes in their browsers, potentially leading to data theft, session hijacking, or other malicious actions.

Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF)

CSRF is an attack that forces users to perform unwanted actions on a web application while they are authenticated. This is achieved by tricking users into executing unauthorized requests using their own credentials. In JavaScript applications, CSRF vulnerabilities can arise when a developer fails to implement proper anti-CSRF measures, such as using CSRF tokens to verify the authenticity of requests.

Insecure Direct Object References (IDOR)

IDOR occurs when an application exposes internal object references to users without proper access control mechanisms. This can lead to unauthorized access to sensitive data or functionality. In JavaScript applications, IDOR vulnerabilities can stem from insecure handling of user-supplied input, such as using unsanitized input to access objects or resources directly.

Insecure Deserialization

Insecure deserialization occurs when an application deserializes untrusted or malicious data without proper validation or sanitization. This can lead to remote code execution, denial of service, or other attacks. In JavaScript applications, insecure deserialization can result from using functions like eval() or Function() to parse JSON or other data formats, which may contain malicious code.

Server-Side JavaScript Injection (SSJI)

SSJI is an attack in which an attacker injects malicious JavaScript code that is executed on the server side. This can lead to unauthorized access, data manipulation, or remote code execution on the server. SSJI vulnerabilities can arise in JavaScript applications that use server-side JavaScript engines like Node.js when developers do not properly validate or sanitize user input before executing it on the server.

Insecure Use of Third-Party Libraries and Components

JavaScript applications often rely on third-party libraries and components to simplify development and add functionality. However, using outdated or insecure libraries can introduce vulnerabilities into the application. Developers should carefully review the security of third-party components, keep them up-to-date, and minimize their attack surface by removing unnecessary dependencies.

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