Secure Coding in TypeScript - Best Practices to Build Secure Applications

Secure Coding in TypeScript - Best Practices to Build Secure Applications

Developers can mitigate risk and build secure TypeScript applications using secure coding best practices.
TABLE OF CONTENTS

TypeScript, a statically typed superset of JavaScript, has become increasingly popular for building applications. While TypeScript's type system can help catch many errors at compile-time, it's not a silver bullet for security. 

Comprehending and applying secure coding best practices is indispensable for developing secure software applications. This blog post explores essential secure coding practices tailored for TypeScript, complete with examples. When reviewing code, developers must thoroughly grasp and consistently use these best practices to guard against vulnerabilities and risks.

1. Embrace TypeScript's Type System

While TypeScript's type system can't prevent all security issues, it can catch potential problems at compile time. Ensure that you:

  • Avoid using the `any` type, which bypasses type checking.
  • Use `unknown` when unsure about a type, and then use type guards to narrow down the type.

Example: Avoid `any` and Use `unknown`


// Avoid
function riskyFunction(input: any) {
  console.log(input.someProperty);
}

// Prefer
function saferFunction(input: unknown) {
  if (typeof input === 'object' && input !== null && 'someProperty' in input) {
    console.log(input.someProperty);
  }
}

2. Validate and Sanitize User Input

Even with TypeScript's type system, always validate and sanitize user input, especially if it interacts with databases, file systems, or third-party services.

Example: Type Guards


function processUserData(id: unknown, name: unknown) {
  if (typeof id === 'number' && typeof name === 'string') {
    // Process the data
  } else {
    throw new Error("Invalid input");
  }
}

3. Avoid `eval()` and Dynamic Code Execution

As in JavaScript, using `eval()` or other dynamic code execution methods can introduce security vulnerabilities in TypeScript. Always look for safer alternatives.

Example: Avoid Using `eval()`


// Avoid
const result = eval('2 + 2');

// Prefer
const result = 2 + 2;

Further insights can be found in the comprehensive Developer Checklist for JavaScript Security Best Practices.

4. Use Content Security Policy (CSP)

Implement a CSP to mitigate potential cross-site scripting (XSS) attacks. This is especially crucial if you use TypeScript with frameworks that manipulate the DOM.

Example: Meta Tag for CSP



5. Limit Dependencies and Keep Them Updated

Third-party packages can introduce vulnerabilities:

  • Only use well-maintained and trusted libraries.
  • Regularly update your dependencies and check for known vulnerabilities using tools like `npm audit`.

Example: Safely Importing Types


// Avoid importing types that you don't trust
// import { UntrustedType } from 'untrusted-package';

// Prefer types from trusted sources
import { TrustedType } from 'trusted-package';

6. Be Cautious with External Type Definitions

When using DefinitelyTyped or other type definitions, ensure they accurately represent the library's behavior. Incorrect type definitions can lead to false security assumptions.

7. Use Access Modifiers

TypeScript provides `public`, `private`, and `protected` access modifiers. Use them to restrict access to class members, ensuring that sensitive data or methods aren't inadvertently exposed.

Example: Use Access Modifiers


class User {
  public id: number;
  private passwordHash: string;

  constructor(id: number, passwordHash: string) {
    this.id = id;
    this.passwordHash = passwordHash;
  }
}

8. Implement Proper Error Handling

Avoid leaking sensitive information through error messages. Implement a global error handler that sends generic error messages to the client while logging detailed errors server-side for review.

Example: Generic Error Messages


try {
  // some risky operation
} catch (error) {
  console.error("An unexpected error occurred");  // Generic message to the user
  console.debug(error);  // Detailed log for debugging
}

9. Secure Your Build Process

Your TypeScript code gets transpiled to JavaScript:

  • Ensure your build process is secure and doesn't introduce vulnerabilities.
  • Avoid publishing source maps in production, as they can reveal the original TypeScript code.

Example: tsconfig.json

In your `tsconfig.json`, enable the `strict` flag to enforce stricter type checking.


{
  "compilerOptions": {
    "strict": true,
    // other options
  }
}

10. Educate Your Team

Security is a team effort. Regularly educate your team about the latest threats, vulnerabilities, and best practices. Consider periodic code reviews focusing on security aspects.

11. Integrate Security Testing

Incorporate automated security testing into your CI/CD pipeline. Tools like OWASP's Dependency-Check can identify known vulnerabilities in your dependencies. 

Conclusion

While TypeScript offers a more structured approach to coding than vanilla JavaScript, adding types doesn't inherently make your code secure. By integrating the above practices, developers can mitigate risk and build secure TypeScript applications.

Why Product Teams choose Aptori

Searching for an automated API security solution? Aptori is your top choice. It effortlessly discovers and secures your applications and can be implemented in minutes.

Setting up and performing application security scans using Aptori is a breeze. Whether it's you or your security team, it's operational in no time. Benefit from in-depth security insights and expedite the remediation process by integrating security checks seamlessly into your SDLC.

Experience the full potential of Aptori with a free trial before making your final decision.


Interested in a live demo to witness the capabilities of Aptori with your APIs? We'd be delighted to connect and show you firsthand.

Get started with Aptori today!

AI-Driven Testing for Application & API Security

Reduce Risk With Proactive Application Security

Need more info? Contact Sales