Back-end Security Checklist

  • Client Access Restriction:
    • Implement proper error and exception handling and avoid revealing error messages that divulge server details.
    • Implement content security policies to restrict what types of resources (images, scripts, etc.) can be loaded by the browser.
    • Implement Rate-Limiting mechanisms to prevent brute-force and denial of service attacks.
    • Restrict access to the debug pages in production mode.
  • Authentication and Authorization:
    • Always pentest authentication and sessions management of the back-end software.
    • Keep user passwords hashed and salted, with strong password policies in place
    • Use comprehensive user authentication policies. E.g., password strength, token key expiration time, sessions expiration time, …
    • Always pass sensitive data such as authentication data using secure SSL/TLS encryption
  • Input Data Validation
    • Apply input filtering and validation on both front-end and back-end to ensure only valid data is being processed.
    • Always perform ‘Input Data Validation’ tests to ensure you are secure from vulnerabilities such as different kind of Injection Attacks, XSS, Open Redirection, and Arbitrary File Download Vulnerability.
    • Automate ‘Input Data Validation’ tests
  • To prevent Cross-Site Request Forgery attacks, use CSRF protection and token bypass.
  • Store all secret keys such as passwords, API keys, static credentials, etc. in environment variables or in a secrets management tool.
  • Use HTTPS protocol and secure connection for all data exchange.
  • Enable logging and monitoring to trace the behaviour of the application for suspicious activities.
  • Conduct regular security audits to identify vulnerabilities and potential attack vectors.
  • Create Security Control Methods(Preventive, Detective, Corrective) plans and follow them.

Backend Security Guide

Understanding Back-end Security

Back-end web development is a critical component of creating a resilient and secure application; and its security is a critical component of its development which refers to the protection of web applications at the server-side.
As Back-end security carries great responsibility before clients and users, who trust it with their information, It is essential to identify all potential vulnerabilities and address them systematically.
To prevent these issues, developers must perform vulnerability assessments and penetration testing to identify the risk areas. Additionally, developers should use HTTPS to encrypt all traffic between the server and the client and only use secure protocols to transfer sensitive data.

Updates and Dependencies

The integration of third-party services brings convenience, but also introduces potential security risks. Developers need to ensure that the providers they are working with have a proven record of security, and they should carefully read and understand the service-level agreements (SLAs) and contracts.
Developers should also regularly monitor any third-party service providers’ security risks, assess the impact of a data breach or service disruption, and have backup plans to mitigate those risks.
Updating back-end code too, should be done regularly, but securely. Developers should test all changes and updates vigorously in a separate environment and deploy the update in stages. Additionally, developers should back-up their current system before making any significant changes and review any security implications of updates before proceeding.

Client Access Restriction

Permission and user level management is a security feature that is used in access control and restriction based on client properties or roles. It encompasses everything from data modelling and storage, to user role management and data flow diagrams.

Authentication and Authorization

Authentication and authorization are two critical elements of back-end security. Authentication assures that the user is who they claim, while authorization decides what actions they can take on the system.
Developers should use unique and robust passwords, SSL/TLS encryption, and two-factor authentication (2FA) to secure the authentication process. Authorization management should be strict, with roles and permissions assigned based on necessity. Using role-based access control (RBAC) can also help prevent unauthorized access.

Data Encryption

Both storing and transmitting sensitive data is always a risk, and encryption is one of the best practices for securing it.
Data storage, depending on the type of data being encrypted, requires a secure encryption scheme. Developers should use industry-standard encryption algorithms, such as AES or RSA, and store keys separately from the encrypted data.
For transmitting sensitive data such as submitting authentication form and transmitting user authentication form, a secure protocol such as SSL should be used.

Input Data Validation

Input Data Validation is a technique for securing user inputs or any in-going data transfer from client machine to server, such as form submissions and API requests. Input validation reduces the risk of many types of attacks and can be carried out on client-side and server-side code. However, as back-end code directly interacts with the database, server-side validation must always be performed to reinforce security.

Penetration Testing and Security Assessment

Analyzing the security of software products is essential in detecting and mitigating common cyber threats. It should not only be performed after each deployment and upgrade, but continuously as well. Another aspect of security assessment is its automation, which can be done using stored logs and live monitoring.


Understanding cyber security vulnerabilities to effectively deal with back-end security is essential to the overall security of a web application. Understanding the different types of security problems, best practices for secure authentication and authorization, data encryption practices, managing third-party integration, and regular updates are essential requirements for developing secure back-end code. Regular security assessments and ongoing monitoring are the keys to maintaining security standards. By following these best practices, developers can ensure their web applications remain secure and perform reliably.

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