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Security: nodejs/node

SECURITY.md

Security

Reporting a bug in Node.js

Report security bugs in Node.js via HackerOne.

Normally your report will be acknowledged within 5 days, and you'll receive a more detailed response to your report within 10 days indicating the next steps in handling your submission. These timelines may extend when our triage volunteers are away on holiday, particularly at the end of the year.

After the initial reply to your report, the security team will endeavor to keep you informed of the progress being made towards a fix and full announcement, and may ask for additional information or guidance surrounding the reported issue.

Node.js bug bounty program

The Node.js project engages in an official bug bounty program for security researchers and responsible public disclosures. The program is managed through the HackerOne platform. See https://hackerone.com/nodejs for further details.

Reporting a bug in a third party module

Security bugs in third party modules should be reported to their respective maintainers.

Disclosure policy

Here is the security disclosure policy for Node.js

  • The security report is received and is assigned a primary handler. This person will coordinate the fix and release process. The problem is validated against all supported Node.js versions. Once confirmed, a list of all affected versions is determined. Code is audited to find any potential similar problems. Fixes are prepared for all supported releases. These fixes are not committed to the public repository but rather held locally pending the announcement.

  • A suggested embargo date for this vulnerability is chosen and a CVE (Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE®)) is requested for the vulnerability.

  • On the embargo date, the Node.js security mailing list is sent a copy of the announcement. The changes are pushed to the public repository and new builds are deployed to nodejs.org. Within 6 hours of the mailing list being notified, a copy of the advisory will be published on the Node.js blog.

  • Typically the embargo date will be set 72 hours from the time the CVE is issued. However, this may vary depending on the severity of the bug or difficulty in applying a fix.

  • This process can take some time, especially when coordination is required with maintainers of other projects. Every effort will be made to handle the bug in as timely a manner as possible; however, it's important that we follow the release process above to ensure that the disclosure is handled in a consistent manner.

The Node.js threat model

In the Node.js threat model, there are trusted elements such as the underlying operating system. Vulnerabilities that require the compromise of these trusted elements are outside the scope of the Node.js threat model.

For a vulnerability to be eligible for a bug bounty, it must be a vulnerability in the context of the Node.js threat model. In other words, it cannot assume that a trusted element (such as the operating system) has been compromised.

Being able to cause the following through control of the elements that Node.js does not trust is considered a vulnerability:

  • Disclosure or loss of integrity or confidentiality of data protected through the correct use of Node.js APIs.
  • The unavailability of the runtime, including the unbounded degradation of its performance.

If Node.js loads configuration files or runs code by default (without a specific request from the user), and this is not documented, it is considered a vulnerability. Vulnerabilities related to this case may be fixed by a documentation update.

Node.js does NOT trust:

  1. Data received from the remote end of inbound network connections that are accepted through the use of Node.js APIs and which is transformed/validated by Node.js before being passed to the application. This includes:
    • HTTP APIs (all flavors) server APIs.
  2. The data received from the remote end of outbound network connections that are created through the use of Node.js APIs and which is transformed/validated by Node.js before being passed to the application EXCEPT in respect to payload length. Node.js trusts that applications make connections/requests which will avoid payload sizes that will result in a Denial of Service.
    • HTTP APIs (all flavors) client APIs.
    • DNS APIs.
  3. Consumers of data protected through the use of Node.js APIs (for example people who have access to data encrypted through the Node.js crypto APIs).
  4. The file content or other I/O that is opened for reading or writing by the use of Node.js APIs (ex: stdin, stdout, stderr).

In other words, if the data passing through Node.js to/from the application can trigger actions other than those documented for the APIs, there is likely a security vulnerability. Examples of unwanted actions are polluting globals, causing an unrecoverable crash, or any other unexpected side effects that can lead to a loss of confidentiality, integrity, or availability.

Node.js trusts everything else. As some examples this includes:

  1. The developers and infrastructure that runs it.
  2. The operating system that Node.js is running under and its configuration, along with anything under control of the operating system.
  3. The code it is asked to run including JavaScript and native code, even if said code is dynamically loaded, e.g. all dependencies installed from the npm registry. The code run inherits all the privileges of the execution user.
  4. Inputs provided to it by the code it is asked to run, as it is the responsibility of the application to perform the required input validations, e.g. the input to JSON.parse().
  5. Any connection used for inspector (debugger protocol) regardless of being opened by command line options or Node.js APIs, and regardless of the remote end being on the local machine or remote.
  6. The file system when requiring a module. See https://nodejs.org/api/modules.html#all-together.
  7. The node:wasi module does not currently provide the comprehensive file system security properties provided by some WASI runtimes.

Any unexpected behavior from the data manipulation from Node.js Internal functions may be considered a vulnerability if they are exploitable via untrusted resources.

In addition to addressing vulnerabilities based on the above, the project works to avoid APIs and internal implementations that make it "easy" for application code to use the APIs incorrectly in a way that results in vulnerabilities within the application code itself. While we don’t consider those vulnerabilities in Node.js itself and will not necessarily issue a CVE we do want them to be reported privately to Node.js first. We often choose to work to improve our APIs based on those reports and issue fixes either in regular or security releases depending on how much of a risk to the community they pose.

Examples of vulnerabilities

Improper Certificate Validation (CWE-295)

  • Node.js provides APIs to validate handling of Subject Alternative Names (SANs) in certificates used to connect to a TLS/SSL endpoint. If certificates can be crafted which result in incorrect validation by the Node.js APIs that is considered a vulnerability.

Inconsistent Interpretation of HTTP Requests (CWE-444)

  • Node.js provides APIs to accept http connections. Those APIs parse the headers received for a connection and pass them on to the application. Bugs in parsing those headers which can result in request smuggling are considered vulnerabilities.

Missing Cryptographic Step (CWE-325)

  • Node.js provides APIs to encrypt data. Bugs that would allow an attacker to get the original data without requiring the decryption key are considered vulnerabilities.

External Control of System or Configuration Setting (CWE-15)

  • If Node.js automatically loads a configuration file which is not documented and modification of that configuration can affect the confidentiality of data protected using the Node.js APIs this is considered a vulnerability.

Examples of non-vulnerabilities

Malicious Third-Party Modules (CWE-1357)

  • Code is trusted by Node.js, therefore any scenario that requires a malicious third-party module cannot result in a vulnerability in Node.js.

Prototype Pollution Attacks (CWE-1321)

  • Node.js trusts the inputs provided to it by application code. It is up to the application to sanitize appropriately, therefore any scenario that requires control over user input is not considered a vulnerability.

Uncontrolled Search Path Element (CWE-427)

  • Node.js trusts the file system in the environment accessible to it. Therefore, it is not a vulnerability if it accesses/loads files from any path that is accessible to it.

External Control of System or Configuration Setting (CWE-15)

  • If Node.js automatically loads a configuration file which is documented no scenario that requires modification of that configuration file is considered a vulnerability.

Uncontrolled Resource Consumption (CWE-400) on outbound connections

  • If Node.js is asked to connect to a remote site and return an artifact, it is not considered a vulnerability if the size of that artifact is large enough to impact performance or cause the runtime to run out of resources.

Assessing experimental features reports

Experimental features are eligible to reports as any other stable feature of Node.js. They will also be susceptible to receiving the same severity score as any other stable feature.

Receiving security updates

Security notifications will be distributed via the following methods.

Comments on this policy

If you have suggestions on how this process could be improved please submit a pull request or file an issue to discuss.