Black Clouds & Silver Linings
in Node.js Security 

Liran Tal

Developer Advocate @ Snyk

@liran_tal
github.com/lirantal

May 2019

🇺🇦

@liran_tal
github.com/lirantal

Liran Tal

Developer Advocate

🇮🇱

01

Black Clouds in Node.js Security

02 

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03 

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Common Security Vulnerabilities

Silver Linings in Node.js Security

Black Clouds & Silver Linings
in Node.js Security

Node.js is JavaScript

JavaScript is Everywhere

Frontend

Backend

IoT

Databases

Chatbots

Machine Learning

WebAssembly

Robotics

src: https://snyk.io/opensourcesecurity-2019

The Biggest Repository

Invites big risks

Lucrative attack playground

Open and free-to-publish ecosystem

Difficult to counter-measure

Malicious Modules

Black Clouds in
Node.js Security

Typosquatting Attacks

Compromised Accounts

Social Engineering

Malicious Modules

Malicious Modules

time

Jan 2015

rimrafall

rimrafall

Malicious Modules

time

Jan 2015

rimrafall

Jan 2017

crossenv

cross-env

$ npm install crossenv --save

crossenv    !=   cross-env

crossenv/package.json

crossenv/package-setup.js

coffescript      or      coffe-script 

coffeescript

src: https://snyk.io/vuln

How did we find out about this malicious crossenv package?

post-install script ✅

call-home base64 payload ✅

Malicious Modules

time

Jan 2015

rimrafall

Jan 2017

crossenv

Jul 2018

eslint-scope

eslint-scope 3.7.2

malicious package published

What's going on?

Who depends on eslint-scope?

babel-eslint

eslint

webpack

npm invalidates all tokens

<= 2018-07-12

 

estimated potential ~4,500 accounts  were compromised 

How does something like this happen?

Compromised Contributors ?

14%

compromised npm modules

Compromised Contributors ?

src: https://github.com/ChALkeR/notes

Compromised Contributors ?

20%

npm total monthly downloads

express

react

debug

moment

request

Compromised Contributors ?

Compromised Contributors ?

662

users

123456

had their password set to

Compromised Contributors ?

Compromised Contributors ?

1409

users

had their password set to

their username

Compromised Contributors ?

Compromised Contributors ?

11%

users

had their password set to

previously leaked password

Compromised Contributors ?

Malicious Modules

event-stream

Nov 2019

time

Jan 2015

rimrafall

Jan 2017

crossenv

Jul 2018

eslint-scope

src: https://snyk.io/blog/a-post-mortem-of-the-malicious-event-stream-backdoor

Dependency Management

Black Clouds in

Node.js Security

(CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

OWASP Top 10:

Using Components With
Known Vulnerabilities

who watches after all these dependencies ?

01

Black Clouds in Node.js Security

02 

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03 

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Common Security Vulnerabilities

Silver Linings in Node.js Security

Black Clouds & Silver Linings
in Node.js Security

Common Security
Vulnerabilities

Command Injection

Command Injection

Demo

Best Practice:

execFile('git', [...args])

Maintain a whitelist of allowed args

Blacklist special shell chars like ;

Pray 🙏

Command Injection

Regular Expressions

Regular Expressions

^([01]?\\d\\d?|2[0-4]\\d|25
[0-5])\\.([01]?\\d\\d?|2[0-4]
\\d|25[0-5])\\.([01]?\\d\\d?|
2[0-4]\\d|25[0-5])\\.([01]?
\\d\\d?|2[0-4]\\d|25[0-5])$

IP Address

Regular Expressions

Regular Expressions

Matching a Song Title

^([a-zA-Z0-9])$

^([a-zA-Z0-9]+\s?)$

^([a-zA-Z0-9]+\s?)+$

Regular Expressions

Catastrophic Backtracking

Exploits greedy quantifiers

Simple regexs are vulnerable too /^(a+)+$/

Regular Expressions

2017

ms

|

2016

Moment

|

2018

|

2018

ua-parser-js

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20M DL

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96M DL

|

36M DL

|

sshpk

40M DL

|

Best Practices ?

Regular Expressions

Best Practices ?

Regular Expressions

Best Practice #1

DO NOT WRITE YOUR OWN REGEX

Best Practice #2

DO NOT WRITE YOUR OWN REGEX

Regular Expressions

Best Practice #3

Validator Node.js module

Regular Expressions

Best Practice #4

Safe-Regex Node.js module

const safeRegex = require('safe-regex')

let regex = /^(([a-z])+.)+[A-Z]([a-z])+$/
let isSafe = safeRegex(regex)

01

The Scary State of Node.js Security

02 

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03 

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Selected Vulnerabilities in Node.js

Silver Linings in Node.js Security

Black Clouds & Silver Linings
in Node.js Security

The npmjs Ecosystem

Silver Linings in
Node.js Security

Fighting Typosquatting

JSONStream    !=    jsonstream

Package Moniker Rules

react-native

reactnative

rea-ct.native

react_native

   @lirantal/rea-ct.native

Fighting Typosquatting

Package Moniker Rules

Package Publishing Notifications

2FA tokens for npm >= 5.5.1

$ npm profile enable-2fa

2FA successfully enabled. 
Below are your recovery codes,
please print these out. 

Taking Ownership of

Your App Security

Source: The State of Open Source Security Report 2019, Snyk

https://snyk.io/opensourcesecurity-2019/

Find vulnerabilities in
open source dependencies

$ npm install -g snyk
$ snyk auth
$ snyk test

Find vulnerabilities in
open source dependencies

Snyk detects vulnerabilities in
Pull Requests

Snyk automates fixing vulnerabilities

Node.js Security Working Group

Silver Linings in
Node.js Security

The Security WG

The Security WG

Scope

Improving the state of the
Node.js Security Ecosystem

Incident Response for Node
and the npm ecosystem

The Security WG

Initiative: RDP for Ecosystem Modules

Discretely Investigate Security issues

Security Disclosure Policy for Bug Hunters

Public Vulnerability Database

The Security WG

Uninitialized Buffer

base64url

|

2,000,000

|

XSS Injection

react-svg

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130,000

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Path Traversal

serve

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564,000

|

ReDOS

protobufjs

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7,200,000

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Initiative: RDP for Ecosystem Modules

01

Malicious modules & Compromised accounts

02 

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03 

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Common Security Pitfalls in Node.js

Developer awareness,
Fix vulnerabilities in your open source deps,
Node.js Security WG

Black Clouds & Silver Linings
in Node.js Security

|

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@liran_tal
github.com/lirantal

Liran Tal

Developer Advocate

Use Open Source, Stay Secure.
Thank you!

Black Clouds & Silver Linings in Node.js Security - NodeUkraine

By Liran Tal

Black Clouds & Silver Linings in Node.js Security - NodeUkraine

With a great ecosystem, comes great responsibility, and application security is not one to wave off. Let’s review some black clouds of security horror stories in the Node.js ecosystem, and learn how to mitigate them to build secure JavaScript and Node.js applications. We will deep-dive into practical Node.js security measures which you can easily implement in your current projects, covering OWASP Top 10 issues such as injection attacks and secure dependencies management. Finally, we will review the work and initiatives that the Node.js Security Working Group have been taking to ensure a more secure future for Node.js.

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