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Thirteen Guides to Developing Secure Java Applications
Java Applications – Security is one of the most complex, comprehensive, and important aspects of software development. Software security often overlooks or neglects to make only minor modifications at the end of the development cycle. We can see the results in the annual list of the most important data security vulnerabilities, which revealed more than 3 billion records in 2019.
The good update is that Java is a platform for long-term development with many built-in security features.
Java Applications Security Rule 1: Write Spotless, Strong Java Code
Exposures like to hide in the middle of complexity, so keep your Code as simple as possible without sacrificing functionality. Using proven design principles like DRY (Don’t Repeat Yourself) will help you write Code that is easy to review for glitches.
Always expose as little information as probable in your Code. Implementation details support both hide able and Secure Codes. These three tips will go a long way in writing secure Java code:
- Make good use of Java access modifiers. Knowing the different access levels of classes and methods and how to declare their attributes will go a long way toward protecting your Code. Anything that can be made private must be private.
- Avoid reflection and introspection. There are cases when such advance techniques are possible, but most of the time they should be avoided. Using reflection eliminates strong typing, which can lead to vulnerabilities and instability in your Code. Comparing class names as strings is error-prone and can easily lead to a namespace conflict.
- Always select the shortest possible API and interface. Separate the ingredients and let them react in as little space as possible. Even if one area of your app is terrible, other sites will still be safe.
Java Applications Security Rule 2: Avoid Serialization
This is another coding tip, but having your own rules is significant. Serialization takes the remote input and turns it into a fully completed object. It removes constructors and access modifiers, and allows an anonymous data stream to become running code in the JVM. Therefore, Java serialization is inherently deep and dangerous.
Java Security Rule 3: Never Reveal Unencrypted Credentials or Personal Information
It’s hard to believe, but this preventable mistake causes pain year after year.
When a user types a password into the browser, it is sent to your server as plain text. It should be the last time he sees the light of day. You must encrypt the password via one-way encryption before putting it into the database and then encrypt it again for that value.
Java Security Rule 4: Use Well-Known and Tested Libraries
Close your eyes to these questions and answers about deploying your own security algorithms. The lesson: Use known and trusted libraries and frameworks whenever possible. This applies to various applications, from password hashing to REST API licensing.
Fortunately, Java and its ecosystem support you here. For application security, Spring Security is the de facto standard. It provides a wide range of options and flexibility to fit any application architecture, and includes a range of security methods.
Java Security Rule 5: Get Crazy About External Input
The user writes to a form, data store, or remote API and never depends on external input.
A less well-known example is – one of many – the “billion laughter attack”, where expanding XML entities can result in a denial of service.
Every time you get an entry, it should check and clean. This is especially true for anything that can be sent to another device or system for processing.
Java Security Rule 6: Always Use Prepared Declarations to Handle SQL Parameters
Every time you build an SQL statement, you risk losing a piece of your executable Code. It always recommend to use java.sql.Prepared Statement class to build SQL. Similar functionality exists for NoSQL stores like MongoDB. If you are using the ORM layer, the implementation will use prepared statements for you under the hood.
Java Security Rule 7: Do not expose Execution Via Error Messages
Production error messages can be a fertile source of information for attackers. The stack trace, in particular, can reveal information about your technology and how you are using it. Avoid exposing the stack trace to end users.
Tips for Increasing Java Application Security
1. Keep your Code Clean and Robust: Java Applications
Complex and chaotic coding is fertile ground for security vulnerabilities. Therefore, keeping your code clean and simple is always prudent and wise without compromising quality. By adopting practices like avoiding redundancy, you can easily make your code cleaner and more secure.
Try to divide the information into icons as little as possible. Hiding implementation details means protecting your Code against many security vulnerabilities. Take advantage of Java access modifiers. Learn how to set different access levels for things like categories and methods.
Define the minor API possible and allow components to interact in the smallest areas. It will ensure that even if one solution domain is compromise, the other domains will remain secure.
2. Don’t Reveal Unencrypted Credentials: Java Applications
Encrypt passwords using one-way encryption before merging them into the database. This action should be taken when processing personally identifiable information, including credit card details, bank account details, social security numbers (for countries like the United States), etc. This process becomes essential when developing enterprise applications in Java.
3. Avoid Serialization in Coding
It can be a simple yet very effective way to ensure Java security. When serialization is used in tokens, it creates a remote input and turns the ticket into a fully terminate object. Serialization allows anonymous data to pass through the JVM code. Serialization is a profound security threat to Java programming, and software giants like Oracle are already considering full deserialization.
4. Use only Native and Tested Java Libraries: Java Applications
It would help if you used various support libraries when writing Code for Java applications. While using any easily accessible library is tempting, it comes with significant risks.
5. Avoid Exposing the Implementation Via Error Messages
Error messages are a common source of essential information for hackers. Messages such as a stack trace can reveal important information, such as the type of technology you are using and the development process. Never disclose the stack trace to end users of the application. Other error messages, such as failed login alerts, also fall into this security risk category. Provide minimal information in case of unsuccessful login.
6. Stay Informed About Security Releases
As a creator, you should be alert to every security update, and updates should be applied immediately to the Java Runtime Environment and the Java Development Kit. Pay attention to updates to Oracle versions of Java. It’s often easy to miss updates during a busy coding schedule, and Oracle releases an auto-correction updated quarterly. However, the fix is only available if you have a paid Java support license.
7. Track Dependency Vulnerabilities
It’s also important to be aware of dependency risks when securing Java web development, and you should scan the code base to find such vulnerabilities. The good news is that plenty of tools are available to check source code and dependency vulnerabilities automatically. For example, you can use the Open Web Application Security Project to improve code security.
The software industry has long benefited from the breadth of Java development services. Java covers the full spectrum of software development, from mobile applications to enterprise solution development. Security is essential for all types of Java web and mobile application development, and every Java application can be made highly secure by following dozens of product best practices.
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