Ruby on Rails Security Best Practices

Ruby on Rails Security

Ruby on Rails Development is well-known in the competitive field of web development services nowadays because of its flexibility and ease of use. However, security is a major issue with any online activity. The true difficulty lies in answering the question of how to guarantee safety. 

One option is to hire RoR developers with experience in the field of security. The goal of this guide is to illuminate some best security practises for maintaining the safety of your RoR projects.

Getting to Grips with Ruby on Rails

Rails is an abbreviation for Ruby on Rails, which is a web application framework built in Ruby. Its popularity and widespread acceptance since David Heinemeier Hansson’s 2005 introduction attest to its value. 

Both “Don’t Repeat Yourself” (DRY) and “Convention over Configuration” (CoC) form the bedrock of the Rails philosophy. These principles have made it considerably easier for programmers to construct web apps by doing away with unnecessary steps and putting more emphasis on default practices.

1 : The MVC Architecture:

Central to understanding Rails is grasping its adherence to the Model-View-Controller (MVC) architectural pattern. In MVC:

  • Model: The model is a representation of the underlying business and data structures. It communicates with the backend anytime data is modified, and refreshes the view accordingly.
  • View: When talking about the presentation layer and the user interface, we talk about the View. It relays information from the user and their orders to the controller.
  • Controller: An intermediate between the user and the view and the model, the controller processes user inputs and displays the results to the view’s user.

By encouraging well-structured code and the separation of concerns, the MVC pattern in Rails facilitates effective communication and cooperation between the many components of an application.

2 : Gems and the Rich Ecosystem:

One of Ruby on Rails’ most lauded features is its rich ecosystem of ‘gems’. Developers can save time and effort by incorporating pre-packaged libraries or functionality known as “gems” into their apps. 

This helps get the app out the door faster and guarantees it gets the benefit of the Rails community’s expertise. Commonly used gems include “Devise” for authentication and “CarrierWave” for uploading files. 

Having access to such an environment drastically cuts down on development time and improves the stability of applications.

3 : Convention over Configuration:

The tenet of “Convention over Configuration” is central to the Ruby on Rails framework. Therefore, when using Rails, developers may expect to make fewer choices and define fewer parameters because of the framework’s adherence to a set of norms. 

For instance, Rails can infer the relationships between database tables if the developer uses consistent naming standards. These guidelines make it easier for programmers to begin work on new projects without having to sift through lengthy setup files.

4 : Emphasis on Testing and Scalability:

Rails places a strong emphasis on automated testing, enabling developers to ensure that every piece of their application works as expected.  This emphasis reduces the chances of bugs appearing in production.

And while Rails’ scalability was originally a point of contention, that view has shifted. Rails’ ability to scale well when optimised has been put to use by a wide variety of popular apps like Airbnb and GitHub.

Common Security Threats in Ruby on Rails (RoR)

Ruby on Rails is a formidable and highly-regarded web application framework that has powered a plethora of websites and applications throughout its existence. Despite its sturdiness, however, it’s important to remember that no technology is impregnable. 

It is crucial for the security and reliability of any RoR-based application to be aware of these risks and take preventative measures against them. Here’s an in-depth look into some prevalent security threats in RoR:

1 : SQL Injection (SQLi):

When it comes to web development in general, not just RoR, SQL injection (SQLi) continues to be one of the most dreaded and common risks. By tampering with input fields, attackers can force applications to execute malicious SQL code. In the Rails ecosystem, similar attacks are possible due to poorly designed queries. 

Attackers may be able to see, change, or remove sensitive information stored in a database if they are able to successfully exploit the vulnerability. Fortunately, Rails’ parameterized queries and the ActiveRecord methods built right in help protect applications from these flaws.

2 : Cross-Site Scripting (XSS):

XSS attacks involve embedding malicious scripts into websites. Unwary users who visit the infected site have these scripts activated in their browser. Many bad things can happen as a result of this, including data theft and session hijacking. 

Rails protects against this by default by enclosing output in quotes. Developers must use caution, though, because even calling seemingly harmless methods like ‘html_safe’ or ‘raw’ can leave an application open to XSS attacks.

3 : Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF):

Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF) is a sneaky sort of attack in which hackers trick unsuspecting users into submitting malicious requests to an otherwise secure website. 

Unintentional behaviours might include everything from tampering with data to making unauthorised purchases. 

Although RoR has certain built-in protections against CSRF, developers still need to be cautious, especially when implementing their own authentication schemes.

4 : Insecure Direct Object References (IDOR):

IDOR vulnerabilities arise when attackers gain access to objects they’re not authorised to view or modify. Let’s pretend there aren’t any safeguards in place to prevent unauthorised users from directly referencing database keys in URLs. 

In that instance, an attacker might potentially exploit a vulnerability in the URL parameters to access protected information. Developers can prevent these attacks by being careful with parameter verification and enforcing strict authorization rules.

5 : Session Hijacking:

The hijacking of a user’s session is a serious security risk for all websites. Attackers can impersonate legitimate users and take control of the system if proper precautions are not taken to secure these sessions. 

The risks of session hijacking can be greatly reduced by using secure cookie settings and making sure all session data is encrypted and stored safely.

Ruby on Rails Security Best Practices

Ruby on Rails (RoR) is a web development framework that has significantly influenced the industry due to its accessibility and effective coding practises. 

However, if it is not properly secured, it is vulnerable to the same kinds of security concerns as any other online framework. 

Fortunately, by adhering to best practices, developers can significantly enhance the security of their Rails applications. Here are essential security best practices to adopt:

1 : Secure Authentication and Authorization Methods:

The authentication process verifies the identity of the user. Passwords should be hashed using technologies such as bcrypt so that they are not stored in plain text and should adhere to strong regulations regarding length, complexity, and expiration.

What an authenticated user is allowed to do is defined by authorization. Complex permissions can be managed more effectively with the use of technologies like CanCanCan or Pundit.

Never send sensitive information over an unsecured connection; use HTTPS at all times, but especially while logging in.

2 : Input Validation and Data Sanitization:

Users shouldn’t be blindly trusted. Input data should be checked for correctness and format conformity before being used. For instance, if you’re looking for a date, be sure the input isn’t code.

The goal of data sanitization is to purge the input of potentially harmful data or code. In order to keep malicious code out of the application logic and the database, Rails is equipped with a number of in-built sanitization methods.

3 : Protection Against Common Vulnerabilities:

  • SQL Injection: Unless absolutely required, avoid using raw SQL and instead rely on ActiveRecord’s query methods, which sanitise SQL queries automatically. Never run a non parameterized query in raw SQL.
  • Cross-Site Scripting (XSS): To prevent Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) attacks, Rails automatically escapes content displayed in views. If you’re not careful, though, methods like html_safe can leave you vulnerable to XSS.
  • Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF): Protecting against CSRF attacks is a breeze using Rails. Make sure it’s active at all times, but especially when dealing with form submissions or anything that modifies the current state.

4 : Utilising Security Libraries and Gems:

Several gems and libraries have been created by the Rails community to strengthen safety. ‘Devise’ is a well-known authentication system, while ‘Brakeman’ is a static analysis tool for determining the security of Rails apps.

Gems like ‘SecureHeaders’ can be used to set up HTTPS headers, while ‘Rack::Attack’ can be used to prevent and deal with malicious requests.

However, before incorporating gems into your projects, be sure you have sourced them from reliable sources and are familiar with how they function.

5 : Regularly Updating Dependencies:

Libraries and gems used by RoR apps are a common source of security flaws. Updating these dependencies on a regular basis guarantees that you have access to the most recent bug fixes and security enhancements.


Use tools like ‘Bundler-audit’ to scan your Gemfile.lock for known vulnerabilities. It provides a layer of defence by ensuring you’re alerted to potentially insecure gem versions.

Hiring the Right Ruby on Rails (RoR) Developers

Ruby on Rails (RoR) has become a preferred choice for many when it comes to web application development. But the success of an RoR project doesn’t only hinge on the framework itself but also on the competence of the developers behind it. Here’s why hiring RoR developers is so pivotal and how to go about it:

1 : Importance of Hiring Skilled RoR Developers:

A properly developed RoR app can be fast, scalable, and safe. Skilled RoR developers ensure the application’s robustness and maintainability by bringing more than just technical know-how to the table. 

They are experts in making use of the standards and tools provided by the framework to cut down on development time and prevent problems from arising. 

Choosing the appropriate RoR developer is essential if you want your project to succeed in the long run with minimal ongoing expenditures.

2 : What to Look for in a RoR Development Team

  • Experience and Portfolio: Examine their portfolio and body of work to get a sense of the scope and complexity of projects they have managed in the past. A wide range of experience might be a sign of adaptability.
  • Up-to-date Knowledge: RoR, like any other technology, develops with time. It is important for developers to keep up with changes and new releases.
  • Communication Skills: Skills in communication are essential in the software development industry. It is important that the team be able to grasp needs and offer suggestions.
  • Problem-solving Abilities: Struggles are inherent in progress. A capable programmer will be flexible and creative in their approach.

Expert Ruby on Rails Development Services at Extended Web AppTech

Extended Web AppTech is committed to providing first-rate web development services in the dynamic field of Ruby on Rails Development. We understand how important it is to have a safe and reliable web presence, which is why we will assist you in finding and hiring skilled RoR developers

We’re not only here to solve technical problems; we want to see your digital visions realised. When it comes to navigating the huge digital landscape, we are more than just a service provider thanks to our attention to understanding your needs and our commitment to honesty.

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