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October 12, 2023

AngularJS Vulnerabilities: How to Assess AngularJS CVE Severity


Popular open source framework AngularJS reached end of life in 2021; however, many organizations continue to use it today. Without a long-term support plan, AngularJS vulnerabilities pose significant security risks. If your organization is still on AngularJS, you'll want to consider the consequences of potential CVE exploits and how to mitigate them without disruption to your business. 

In this blog, we explore AngularJS vulnerabilities, how to assess AngularJS CVE severity, and AngularJS long term support options that can protect you migrate to one of the many AngularJS alternatives.

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What Is AngularJS?

AngularJS is an open-source web application framework that was originally developed by Google. It is a client-side framework based in JavaScript that has been widely used to develop and deliver dynamic web applications.

AngularJS or AJS as it is popularly known, provides a number of features common to modern web application frameworks; however, its most groundbreaking features are arguably “directives” and “two-way data binding”:

  • Directives: These allow application developers to create custom HTML elements and attributes, which can be associated with Javascript functions that add behaviors to those elements and attributes. These result in more expressive code and promote modularity and reuse.
  • Two-way Data Binding: This introduces concepts of declarative design by allowing the developer to define the data source and the presentation of that data (the user interface) separately, then describe the relationship between the two regarding synchronization. This is very powerful, as the application can then automatically update the data source based on user interactions or update the user interface based on changes that occur in the data.

Google’s backing gave AngularJS credibility, and it gained wide adoption. Many organizations built AJS applications, invested in the AngularJS community, and trained their people with this skill-set.

Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end, and in 2021, AngularJS reached end of life. Contributions and support from Google stopped, and the AngularJS community turned their attention to a new project called Angular, a.k.a Angular2.

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AngularJS Vulnerabilities: How Big Is the Risk?

To be clear, all software presents a security risk; however, AngularJS poses a significant and high security risk, as it is no longer under active development. 

There will be no new releases! Features are not being added and defects are not being fixed. This means security vulnerabilities that currently exist in the code, known and unknown, will not be addressed by the community.

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Common AngularJS Vulnerabilities and Exposures 

Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVEs) is the industry standard system for tracking publicly-disclosed security issues. This includes identifying and categorizing them to help assess the impact. There are currently 30 or more categories and sub-categories of CVEs. New vulnerabilities emerge over time, so there is not a finite list for reference.

AngularJS vulnerabilities fall into various CVE categories. However, web frameworks are most commonly susceptible to various injection attacks and security misconfiguration issues including, but not limited to:

  • SQL Injection: Manipulate an application’s SQL query by injecting malicious SQL code 
  • Command Injection: Inject malicious commands that invoke features of an underlying system
  • Cross-Site Scripting (XSS): Inject malicious scripts that invoke features of an underlying system
  • Broken Authentication and Session Management: Bypass authentication, hijack sessions, etc.

These can all be the result of a web application framework not adequately protecting integration points by sanitizing user input, encrypting data, enforcing access controls, etc.

Related >> Understanding CVEs and CVSS Scores

Protect Yourself From AngularJS Vulnerabilities With LTS

OpenLogic provides extended long-term support to help organizations manage their EOL AngularJS deployments and patch CVEs. Click the button below to learn more. 

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How to Assess AngularJS CVE Severity

Organizations can get started by using the Common Vulnerability Scoring System (CVSS) to do a high level assessment of priority, based on a 10-point scale and categorized as Low, Medium, High, and Critical. However, it will be important to apply practical knowledge of systems and applications before taking action. For example, a critical severity defect will have no impact on a system that does not implement the feature in question. Likewise, a high severity remotely exploitable attack will present little or no risk to an internal application that is secured behind a firewall.

Having an inventory of your systems with key attributes and their dependencies is essential, and it is advisable to have a predetermined methodology for curating defects and determining an appropriate response. This should take the system inventory and various business factors into account, weighing cost of action in time and dollars against the potential cost of taking no action or the effect on reputation.

As an organization matures, this process should evolve into guiding principles and policies that drive sound and ethical business decisions. The Environmental Vulnerability Score (CVSS-E) is an extension of the base CVSS framework, and it can help an organization improve this process by associating a score unique to the context of their environment and systems.

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AngularJS Long-Term Support

Whether migrating to a new application framework, transitioning functionality to a new system, or eliminating the application altogether, it takes time and careful planning to bring legacy AngularJS applications in for a safe landing. During this time, the inherent security risks cannot be ignored.

Although the AngularJS community is no longer cutting releases of the product, there is an alternative called Long-Term Support (LTS). LTS is a common practice among software vendors as they implement new releases that contain breaking changes to previous versions of the code base. It is a service intended as a bridge that gives an organization the ability to safely and securely manage the application lifecycle on their timeline. LTS has strictly defined terms that reduce the scope of changes to critical defects that impede the secure operations of the system. 

Following this standard, OpenLogic provides AngularJS long term support, which includes security patches for medium to high severity AngularJS CVEs and fixes for web browser updates that cause breaking changes.

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Final Thoughts

Regrettably, the synergy between AngularJS and Angular/Angular2 stops at the name, as it is a complete paradigm shift. The AngularJS community suggests the adoption and transition to Angular/Angular2; however, there is no upgrade path between these frameworks. Instead, a complete application rewrite is required. Therefore, it is a good time to assess the field and find a web application framework that meets your specific requirements (i.e. React, Vue.js, Express.js, Angular, etc.).

Fortunately, organizations that need more time to make this decision or more time to conduct the application migration can rely on OpenLogic for AngularJS LTS to reduce the security risk associated with running unsupported software that has reached end-of-life.




Additional Resources

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