Node.JS paranoidal require
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paraquire - paranoidal require

Don't trust libraries!


When you are installing a npm package, npm downloads all dependencies of that package. You couldn't be sure that none of the dependencies is malware. Now you almost CAN.


npm install --save paraquire


Instead of

var lib = require('untrusted-lib');

just write in advance

var paraquire = require('paraquire')(module);

and then

var lib = paraquire('untrusted-lib');

And that's all, untrusted-lib will be in jail without access to built-in modules such as fs and even to some globals, e.g. console.

Giving partial access

var lib = paraquire('untrusted-lib',{
    builtin: ['http', 'https'],
    sandbox: {
        console: {log: console.log}

So, untrusted-lib will have access to built-in modules http and https (i.e. untrusted-lib can do require('https'), but cannot do require('fs')) and to global console.


Getting paraquire function

var paraquire = require('paraquire')(module);

This should be written once per your file, preferably near the beginning of your file, before calling paraquire function. Don't forget about (module) after require call. It could be a bit confusing, but paraquire needs straight link to module which it is working with.

Using paraquire function

Classic require function gets one argument: library that we are using. Opposite of that, paraquire function gets two arguments: library that we are using and permissions which we give to the library. If the second argument is omitted, it is treated to be {}. So, these pieces of code do the same:

var paraquire = require('paraquire')(module);
var xtend = paraquire('xtend', {});

is equal to

var paraquire = require('paraquire')(module);
var xtend = paraquire('xtend');

(note: xtend is a very simple library which does not need any permissions)

Modifying require function

Sometimes, e.g. if you're writing a library which should work under browserify, it is useful to modify existing require function.

require = require('paraquire')(module, {require: require, inherit: true}) // eslint-disable-line no-global-assign

The mechanism described above overrides existing require function:

a) If you call require with single argument as usual, usual require will be executed, i.e. required library will inherit full permissions.

b) If you call require with two arguments, paraquire will be executed with permissions given as the second argument.

Note: if you want to require a library with default (minimal) permissions, use:

var xtend = require('xtend', {})


var xtend = require('xtend')

All examples below mention standalone paraquire function but could be applied to redefined require too.

Permissions options


list of builtin modules which the library can use. Default: no access to builtin modules. Could be written both as array:

var ForeverAgent = paraquire('forever-agent', {builtin: ['http', 'https', 'util']})

or as object:

var ForeverAgent = paraquire('forever-agent', {builtin: {
    http: true,
    https: true,
    util: true,

The latter is useful when you determine the permissions dynamically. You can write false and the library will be to able to access that builtin. These rights are the same as given above:

var ForeverAgent = paraquire('forever-agent', {builtin: {
    fs: false,
    http: true,
    https: true,
    util: true,

Tip: list builtins in alphabetical (lexical) order.


If true, an Error is thrown when the library tries to require a builtin module which it is not permitted to, otherwise string with error message is returned. Defaults to false. In most cases false is more useful. Usually a library requires all essentive modules during initialization. So that if we throw an Error, paraquired library could not initialize itself. On the other hand, actual use of required builtins is often contained in functions, i.e. if we do not call functions using forbidden builtin, we will not have an Error and the library will be working without dangerous permissions.


A third-part library - let's call it fotoshock - has four functions:

  1. Read an image from local file.

  2. Apply one of predefined filters to an image.

  3. Write an image to a local file.

  4. Post an image to instagram.

If we don't want to use the 4th piece of functionality, we simply do not give the fotoshock permissions to access https:

var fotoshock = paraquire('fotoshock', {builtin: ['fs']});

If we call fotoshock.postToInstagram(), we would certainly get an error. But while using other functions and while initializing no error will be thrown.

Tip: make sure that you have good tests for your project ;-)


Can library require *.json files? Default true, because it is quite basic NodeJS ability.


Object which will be global for the library.

Tip: do not pass your own global unless heavily needed because of global.process.binding('fs'). Do not pass process for the same reason.

var f = paraquire("lib-with-console", {sandbox: {process: fakeProcess, console: fakeConsole}});


Will modules provided by the library know their parents? Default false.

Tip: be careful with this permission because of module.parent.exports.doSmthVeryPainful()

Notice: this permission is local. It means that if A paraquires B without this permission, and B paraquires C with this permission, then C would have this permission. To be more precise, C will know it's parents up to B and will not know A.


Has the library access to console? Default false. You could use sandbox:{console:console} instead of this.


Has the library access to global Buffer object? Default false. You could use sandbox:{Buffer:Buffer} instead of this. Note that access to builtin buffer should be given separately if needed.

globals_s or globalsSafe (specially for camelCase fans)

Has the library access to Buffer, clearImmediate, clearInterval, clearTimeout, setImmediate, setInterval, setTimeout ? Default false. Useful for libraries working with asynchronous streams. Could be replaced with sandbox settings.


Array of process properties which the library has access to. Default []. Incompatible with sandbox.process, but could be replaced with it.


Array of process.env properties (i.e. environmemnt variables) which the library has access to. Default []. Incompatible with sandbox.process.env, but could be replaced with it.


paraquire run with full functionality on NodeJS:

  • 0.11.1 - 8.4.0

paraquire runs, but cannot protect from some threats on NodeJS:

  • 0.9.2 - 0.11.0

  • ~0.8.14

  • 0.8.9 - 0.8.12

Once more: paraquire runs on these versions. If your application or library uses paraquire, paraquire will not ruin your project's compatibility with old NodeJS versions.

paraquire was not tested on other NodeJS versions.

paraquire on Travis CI

Paraquire CAN'T...

  1. paraquire can't give you any warranty.

  2. paraquire can't protect you from preinstall and postinstall scripts of npm. Use npm install --ignore-scripts. Read more...

  3. paraquire не может ограничить пакету Яровой доступ к https :-(