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Securing the npm registry
You probably know ^Lift Security for its work as the Node Security Project, which reviews the most popular of the half-million packages in the npm Registry to find security vulnerabilities. However, you might not know that ^Lift also reviews the npm registry itself.
Since npm was founded, we have worked with Adam Baldwin and his team to conduct periodic security reviews of the code that we use to power the world’s largest software registry. Their methods include penetration tests and code audits of the contents of all private packages and of all of npm’s operations.
We work with ^Lift’s engineers to get a much-needed second opinion about our work. They clearly explain tradeoffs and priorities in their code reviews and give us actionable suggestions for mitigating risks.
Earlier this week, ^Lift completed another penetration test of the registry and I am currently reviewing their report of what they found. As always, they’ve shown us that we have things to do to tighten up our operations, including using HSTS and changing the ways some of our APIs operate.
In npm, Inc.’s three and a half years of operations, there has never been an incident in which a stranger exploited a vulnerability to steal user credentials — but our work to improve security is never done. Every change to a system can have security implications, and we’re constantly working on a lot of things! Every npm user and package on the npm registry is safer because of ^Lift’s reviews.
“We’re dedicated to creating good processes so that a solid foundation exists for new features to help users protect their accounts and the software they publish such as two factor authentication or package signing,” Adam said.
“Security is always at odds when it comes to other business objectives. From ^Lift’s perspective, npm does a great job prioritizing security when necessary and also taking it seriously. We don’t have to go to extreme lengths to convince them when something is an issue. npm takes the time to understand and make it a part of its overall business plans.”
npm will always favor transparency — we’re happy to describe, in specific detail, our security processes and policies, including how you can help. Take a look, share your feedback, and watch this space. We’ll be sharing the security processes and features we add in order to keep the npm community in the loop.