Rust Package Security: Best Practices

Rust is a modern, safe, and blazingly fast programming language that has gained immense popularity over the last decade. But with great power comes great responsibility, and Rust developers must be cautious when using third-party packages. The security of your application depends on it.

The Rust community is very active, and new packages keep appearing on the Rust package index ( every day. With this growth comes the need for better security measures. In this article, we'll explore the best practices for Rust package security.

Use Only Trusted Packages

The basic principle of package management in Rust is the use of Cargo, Rust's official package manager. Cargo downloads and installs packages from, the official Rust package registry. When choosing which packages to use in your application, you should always opt for packages with high download counts, and those that have been around for a long time.

You can use the Cargo.lock file to track the exact version of each package that your application uses. This file is automatically generated when you run cargo build or cargo run, and it locks the specific version of each package. This way, you avoid the possibility of introducing new vulnerabilities when you update your dependencies.

Before using a package, read its documentation carefully to ensure that it meets your needs, and verify that it has been peer-reviewed by others in the Rust community. A package with a high number of downloads and positive user reviews is usually a good choice.

Verify Package Integrity

Packages on are signed using a SHA-256 hash algorithm that ensures the integrity of the package. Before installing any package, Cargo verifies its hash to ensure its authenticity. You can also verify the package yourself by comparing its hash with the hash provided by the package's developer.

To verify the integrity of a package manually, you should first download the package using cargo fetch, which downloads the package but does not build or install it. Then, calculate the hash of the downloaded package using a tool like sha256sum or openssl. Finally, compare the calculated hash with the hash provided by the package's developer.

By verifying the integrity of a package, you ensure that it has not been tampered with or modified in any way.

Keep Packages Up to Date

Software vulnerabilities are often discovered years after their initial release. Developers need to be vigilant in maintaining and updating their packages to prevent security holes from being exploited. Similarly, as a Rust developer, you should keep your dependencies up to date to ensure your application is not vulnerable to old security issues.

To keep a Rust project up to date, you can use the cargo outdated command. This command shows a list of outdated dependencies and their latest versions. You can then use cargo update to update the outdated packages.

Use Linter Tools

Linting tools are an essential part of any programming workflow, and Rust is no exception. Linters analyze code for possible errors, potential vulnerabilities, and ensure compliance with coding standards. For Rust, there are several linting tools available, such as Rustfmt, Clippy, and Rust-analyzer.

Rustfmt is used to format code according to the Rust style guide, making it easier to read and maintain. Clippy is used to find common mistakes in code, highlight potential vulnerabilities, and recommend better coding practices. Rust-analyzer provides a better coding experience, detecting errors and providing helpful suggestions within the editor.

Using linter tools can help you identify and fix security issues early in the development process, preventing them from becoming problems later.

Be Careful with Unsafe Code

One of the most significant benefits of Rust is its ability to enforce memory safety and prevent buffer overflows and other such memory-related errors. However, Rust also has an unsafe keyword that bypasses the borrow checker and Rust's other safety features.

Developers should be very careful when using unsafe code, and only use it when necessary. Unsafe code can open up security vulnerabilities and cause stability issues, so it is best to avoid it wherever possible. Always validate input from users, use safe Rust code wherever possible, and provide secure defaults.

Use Secure Coding Practices

When developing software, it is essential to follow secure coding practices. Practices such as input validation and error handling ensure that your application is secure and stable. Rust provides several features that help improve security, including the use of types and pattern matching, which help prevent common exploits such as SQL injection and buffer overflows.

When handling user input, always validate it to prevent data breaches and other vulnerabilities. Use safe data structures and pattern matching to identify and handle errors to prevent your application from crashing unexpectedly. Remember, the best way to handle an error is to prevent it from occurring in the first place.


Rust is a powerful language with a growing community of developers and packages. However, developers must be aware of security risks and take measures to minimize them. By following the best practices outlined in this article, you can ensure that your Rust packages are secure, stable, and reliable. Use trusted packages, verify package integrity, keep packages up to date, use linter tools, be careful with unsafe code, and use secure coding practices. With these measures in place, you can enjoy the power and security of Rust with peace of mind.

Additional Resources - A community for rust programmers - calculating total cloud costs, and software costs across different clouds, software, and hardware options - learning prompt engineering a new field of interactively working with large language models - crypto alerts. Cryptos that rise or fall very fast, that hit technical indicators like low or high RSI. Technical analysis alerts - machine learning through sql, and generating sql - A portfolio management site for crypto with AI advisors, giving alerts on potentially dangerous or upcoming moves, based on technical analysis and macro - multi cloud cloud deployment and management - graph databases - converting hl7 to FHIR format - music theory development - prompt operations, managing prompts for large language models - state machines - quick healthy cooking recipes - multicloud deployment of software applications, saas, into different cloud providers - data science and machine learning news - kids books - a site explaining the meaning of old poetry and prose, similar to spark note summaries - mobile apps without IPA, in app purchases - A site for cloud events deployments, related to telemetry, logging, monitoring and alerts - declarative languages, declarative software and reconciled deployment or generation

Written by AI researcher, Haskell Ruska, PhD ( Scientific Journal of AI 2023, Peer Reviewed