10 Golang Security Best Practices

Security should always be a top priority when coding in any language. Here are the 10 best practices for Golang security.

Golang is a powerful programming language that is becoming increasingly popular for developing web applications. It is a statically typed language that is designed to be fast, efficient, and secure. However, like any other language, Golang is not immune to security vulnerabilities.

In this article, we will discuss 10 best practices for writing secure Golang code. By following these best practices, you can ensure that your Golang applications are secure and free from common security vulnerabilities.

1. Use a dependency management tool

Golang is a compiled language, which means that the code you write will be converted into machine-readable instructions. This makes it difficult to detect any security vulnerabilities in your code until after it has been compiled and deployed.

A dependency management tool can help you identify potential security issues before they become an issue. It allows you to track all of the third-party libraries and packages used in your application, so you can quickly spot any outdated or vulnerable components. Additionally, many tools also provide automated vulnerability scanning capabilities, allowing you to scan for known security flaws in real time.

2. Keep dependencies up to date

Golang is a compiled language, which means that the code you write is converted into machine-readable instructions. This makes it difficult for attackers to reverse engineer your code and find vulnerabilities.

However, if you’re using third-party libraries or frameworks in your Golang application, those dependencies may contain known security flaws. To protect against these threats, make sure to keep all of your dependencies up to date with the latest version. Additionally, use a dependency scanner to detect any outdated packages and alert you when they need to be updated.

3. Don’t use the root user for your application

The root user has access to all system files and can make changes that could potentially compromise the security of your application.

Instead, create a separate user account for your application with limited privileges. This will ensure that any malicious code or activity is restricted to only the application’s user account and not the entire system. Additionally, you should also use secure passwords and two-factor authentication when possible.

4. Run your app as an unprivileged user

By running your app as an unprivileged user, you limit the amount of damage that can be done if a malicious actor were to gain access to your system.

By default, Golang apps run as root, which means they have full access to the system and all its resources. This is dangerous because it gives attackers unrestricted access to your system. By running your app as an unprivileged user, you limit the amount of damage that can be done in the event of a breach.

To do this, create a new user with limited permissions and then configure your application to run as that user. This will ensure that any potential attacker won’t have unrestricted access to your system.

5. Never run your app on port 80 or 443

Port 80 and 443 are the default ports for HTTP and HTTPS traffic, respectively. This means that any malicious actors scanning your network will likely try to access these ports first. If they find an open port, they can then attempt to exploit it. By running your app on a different port, you make it much harder for attackers to gain access to your system.

Additionally, if you’re using Golang in a production environment, it’s important to ensure that all of your code is secure. This includes making sure that all user input is sanitized before being used, as well as ensuring that all external libraries and dependencies are up-to-date. Finally, always use TLS/SSL encryption when transmitting data over the internet.

6. Do not expose debug information in production

Debug information can contain sensitive data such as passwords, API keys, and other confidential information. If this debug information is exposed in production, it could be used by malicious actors to gain access to your system or steal data.

To prevent this from happening, make sure that you disable debugging in production environments. This will ensure that no debug information is exposed, even if there are errors or exceptions. Additionally, use logging frameworks like Logrus or Zap to log only the necessary information for debugging purposes. This way, you can keep track of what’s going on without exposing any sensitive data.

7. Protect against CSRF attacks

Cross-site request forgery (CSRF) is a type of attack that occurs when an attacker tricks a user into performing an action on their behalf.

To protect against CSRF attacks, you should use the Golang Gorilla/csrf package to generate and validate anti-CSRF tokens. This package provides functions to generate random strings which can be used as tokens in your application. You should also ensure that all requests are sent over HTTPS and that cookies are set with the secure flag enabled. Additionally, you should always check the origin header of incoming requests to make sure they are coming from trusted sources.

8. Avoid using unsafe packages

Unsafe packages are not secure and can introduce vulnerabilities into your code. They may contain malicious code, or they may be vulnerable to attack due to their lack of security features.

It’s important to note that even if a package is marked as “unsafe,” it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s insecure. However, it does mean that the package has not been thoroughly tested for security issues, so it’s best to avoid using them unless absolutely necessary.

When possible, use Golang’s built-in security features such as type safety, memory management, and concurrency control. These features help ensure that your code is secure and free from potential vulnerabilities. Additionally, make sure to keep all third-party packages up to date with the latest security patches.

9. Be careful with third-party libraries

Third-party libraries are often not as secure as the code you write yourself, and they can introduce vulnerabilities into your application.

When using third-party libraries, make sure to check for any known security issues or vulnerabilities before including them in your project. Additionally, be sure to keep track of any updates that may be released for these libraries, as new versions could contain important security fixes. Finally, consider using a dependency management tool like Go Modules to help manage your dependencies and ensure that only trusted versions of libraries are used.

10. Implement rate limiting

Rate limiting is a technique used to control the rate of incoming requests, and it helps protect your application from malicious attacks such as denial-of-service (DoS) or brute force attacks.

Rate limiting works by setting a maximum number of requests that can be made within a certain time period. If an attacker attempts to send more requests than allowed, they will be blocked. This prevents attackers from overwhelming your system with too many requests and crashing it.

Golang provides several libraries for implementing rate limiting in your applications. These libraries allow you to set different limits for different types of requests, so you can ensure that legitimate users are not affected while still protecting your system from malicious actors.


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