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magento & ecommerce

Tips to Improve Your PWA Security

Your PWA (Progressive Web Application) can deliver a seamless user experience and draw more people to your platform. But as your page grows, so does the risk of data breaches. On top of that, the internet wasn’t designed to meet today’s security needs upon its launch. You’ll need to take matters into your own hands to protect your PWA.

This article will explain how to enhance your PWA security. But first, we’ll discuss why your PWA might be under threat.

PWA Security Issues

PWAs are responsibly developed, featuring smooth navigation bars that let your customers explore the platform without a hitch on their smartphones and PCs. They also facilitate data sharing and play a pivotal role in transactions.

However, not even a PWA can guarantee absolute security. It relies on advanced technology, opening up various avenues of cyber-attacks. This makes your platform vulnerable to all sorts of data breaches, but what exactly should you be on the lookout for?

There are several things, but most of the risk comes from cookies. These tiny files are generated by web servers and sent to your PWA. If an attacker obtains a post-multifactor authentication cookie, they might be able to hack into your system and access your network. This process is known as cookie or session hijacking. If an attacker hijacks your session, they may acquire crucial details (cookies) that let them disguise themselves as an authorized user and perform certain actions.

When your users don’t log out of their browser and close your PWA, the session doesn’t end immediately. It takes time for the server to deactivate, enabling cybercriminals to invade the network and collect information. To make matters worse, they can also gain access to a linked service until the session terminates or they fulfill their goals. The hacker has circumvented security protocols, harming the reputation of your platform.

How to Enhance Your PWA Security

With so many advanced tools available, you’d think there’s no way to stop hackers from compromising your PWA. Fortunately, there are many things you can do to optimize security, which we’ll detail below.

Make the Most of HTTPS

You need to provide your web application through a 100% secure network. This isn’t just a recommendation; it also tells your users your PWA is trustworthy, which is paramount when making transactions.

By default, PWAs are provided through an SSL-certified server through the HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS). This is a safer form of HTTP, the standard protocol that sends data back and forth between your website and the user’s browser.

The final ‘S’ (secure) is there for a reason. It implies the data exchange is encrypted. This allows your customers to carry out safe online transfers, like shopping and banking. As a result, there’s higher PWA security, which reduces the chances of data theft.

Streamline Your RASP Solution

RASP (Runtime Application Self-Protection) resides within your PWA’s runtime code. It provides the platform with information about user requests and function calls made by the software.

Advanced RASP solutions don’t entirely eliminate the chances of cooking jacking. This is especially true if the attacker can access user sessions. However, they’re perfect for PWA security because they detect strange application behavior due to cookie theft. They also take appropriate action to terminate the session, reducing the time hackers spend on the network.

Robust RASP settings intercept app-to-system calls to maximize their security. They check all data queries in your app to enhance overall security by monitoring and rejecting inputs that can facilitate attacks. Furthermore, they shield your runtime platform from unauthorized manipulation and changes. This gives you exceptional protection and insights while swiftly preventing attacks until you can resolve underlying vulnerabilities.

Tips to Improve PWA Security

To sum up, here’s what a high—quality RASP can do for your PWA:

  • Application protection – Your RASP keeps hackers from exploiting application vulnerabilities without interfering with normal operation.
  • Threat intelligence – RASPs can provide your security team with optimal visibility of the network so they can identify who’s trying to compromise it. What is more, they can inform your staff about the strategies used by the attackers and what part of the network is targeted.

Take Storage Architecture to the Next Level

When setting up your PWA, the simplest storage solution is to use Javascript or Typescript. It lets users enter the network, obtains the authorization token from the directory, and keeps it in easily accessible browser storage. The system then loads your token from the repository when necessary and sends it to your API. This option is implemented often, but it’s fundamentally insecure.

The main problem with this type of architecture is that it allows the attacker to steal cookies more easily. They can duplicate the access token, and the storage is vulnerable to XSS (cross-site) scripting hacks.

Although web storage can increase the performance of your PWA and reduce the time it takes to process user requests, there are more secure options. Consider switching to a local alternative to protect your cookies and prevent hackers from jeopardizing the system.

Use Manifest File

Many PWA owners enhance their network with a manifest file. This JSON item is comprised of the information users need to download and use the app properly. The list includes the app name, description, display options, and home screen icon.

Your PWA isn’t under a major threat if you don’t have a manifest file, but this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t incorporate it into your network. For example, many cyber-attackers utilize various cross-site scripting tools. They inject malicious scripts into the target application to extract valuable information.

Alternatively, they can link their manifest file if you haven’t configured one for your system. The security risks associated with such attacks are usually limited to aesthetics, like the name, colors, and app name. This might seem insignificant, but it can drive users away from the PWA and hurt your brand.

The best way to avoid this scenario is to integrate a manifest file. It’s installed into your HTML, safeguarding the design and presentation of the platform. It protects several crucial elements, like the background color, name, and icon. With a properly configured manifest, malicious users can’t override the information and target your application. Hence, your PWA’s description, icon, and name are secure.

Extend Your IAM Services

IAM (Identity and Access Management) services help ensure only the select people in your organization can access specific tools. The system enables you to manage your PWA without accessing the platform as the administrator. Moreover, you can use the configuration to control various identities (software or people) and hardware, like IoT devices or robotics.

Most IAMs are comprehensive and don’t work great as standalone services. For instance, multifactor authentication used independently can’t defend your PWA application. But when coupled with complementary technology (e.g., HTTPS and RASP), IAM solutions drastically lessen the risk of security breaches.

In most cases, IAM accomplishes two functions:

  • Validating credentials – Your PWA IAM identifies the credentials of any user, software, or hardware using a database. This ensures that anyone trying to access the system isn’t an attacker. The solution is superior to traditional verification methods, like encrypting the platform with usernames and passwords only.
  • Limiting access – IAMs only offer a certain level of access to users and members of your organization. Rather than provide unrestricted access to anyone and give them total control over your platform, they let you designate only certain individuals with full entry. Others can perform just two or three functions, such as editing, viewing, and commenting on your content.

IAM services are secure, but you shouldn’t settle for just about any solution. You should choose a system that goes beyond your local stacks. Your best bet is to incorporate cloud-based applications, especially if you plan on setting up more PWAs.

Improve Your PWA Security

Activate Service Workers

Service workers are scripts that let you intercept and determine how your web browser processes asset caching or network requests. Online developers utilize them frequently to generate fast sites and a seamless user experience.

In other words, these are background processes that work independently of the main thread of your browser. They provide many convenient APS for your PWA while performing resource caching. This allows your page to complete activities even when you’re not using it.

But they have another feature that makes them a paramount security asset. Namely, you can only register service workers in an HTTPS-encrypted browser to safeguard against tampering. Plus, this gives you additional security tools to thwart attackers.

 Here’s why you should integrate a service worker:

  • They’re JavaScript-based – As service workers rely on JavaScript, they can’t access your cookies or DOM (Document Object Model) directly. Instead, they rely on postMessage protocols to link to other pages, narrowing hackers’ options when trying to steal information.
  • Limited to indexedDB and Cache Storage – Service workers cache resources using indexedDB and cache storage. They don’t require your session or local web storage.
  • Restricted headers – Service workers can’t set or read prohibited headers, meaning cyber-criminals can’t use them to manipulate the elements.

Take Good Care of Your PWA

The last thing you want is to endanger your reputation by exposing your PWA to hijackers. Users could lose critical data or money, and they may lose faith in your platform. Implementing the above steps mitigates this risk. It can make your system practically impenetrable, giving your customers peace of mind when visiting your network.

By interactivated • on July 15, 2022

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