Security Headers

I saw a post on twitter about Security Headers. Basically Security Headers will scan your website and check for some common HTTP Headers that you should be including to make your site more secure. They also include helpful links as to how to fix the issues it finds. On my first scanned it warned me of the following: MISSING Content-Security-Policy, MISSING X-Frame-Options, MISSING X-Xss-Protection, MISSING X-Content-Type-Options, MISSING Public-Key-Pins, and X-Powered-By. After going through their documentation I added all of those headers except for Public Key Pins. I am not 100% on that, my concern is when your certificate expires and you replace it (which on a free certificate happens every year) do you end up with people getting an error on your website for the next week cause they have an old key pinned? Not sure enough about that to actually enable it, which is why I hadn’t previously enabled it. The other headers though I didn’t realize could be an issue so I promptly corrected them. The one thing I couldn’t easily fix was the Server header as apparently that is compiled into NGINX and I wasn’t feeling like compiling my own from source. I was able to remove the version string though. All in all they give some very easy configuration changes you can make to help prevent attacks against your website and I strongly recommend giving their tool a look.

Iron-Clad Java

I am currently reading Iron-Clad Java: Building Secure Web Applications by Jim Manico and August Detlefsen. This book basically takes you from zero to doing a decent job of locking down your webapp. It starts with security basics and then covers authentication and session management, and then access control, followed by Cross-Site Scripting Defense, then Cross-Site Request Forgery Defense, and much more. I am only a couple of chapters into the book so far. What I like about it is that they include security anti-patterns as well. These are things that you commonly see people doing in the name of security, but really aren’t the way you want to go about locking down your app. Having been through a professional security audit on a project I worked on and having fixed many of these potential attacks in my career it is nice to see this all laid out in one place for newer developers. At the same time the detail is so good that even experienced web devs should probably read this book and keep it as a reference. If you have gone through the OWASP stuff there won’t be a lot of new stuff here from what I have seen, but I feel like they have made the material very accessible. Anyway long story short I recommend this book and after reading it, one really appreciates all the stuff Spring Security does for you out of the box.