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Half of Audited JavaScript Projects Contained a Vulnerability

NPM Inc. added a feature to JavaScript’s package manager this spring letting users type npm audit fix to replace old, insecure project modules — and the Register asked them how it’s going?

Since April, according to the company, npm users have run 50 million automatic scans and have deliberately invoked the command 3.1 million times. And they’re running 3.4 million security audits a week. Across all audits, 51 per cent found at least one vulnerability and 11 per cent identified a critical vulnerability. In a phone interview with The Register, Adam Baldwin, head of security at NPM, said he didn’t have data on how many people are choosing to fix flagged flaws. “But what we’ve seen from pull requests suggests it’s gaining traction,” he said.
Incidentally, npm’s thinking about security is finding similar expression elsewhere in the industry. Earlier this year, GitHub began alerting developers when their code contains insecure libraries. During a recent media briefing, GitHub’s head of platform Sam Lambert said he hoped that the process could be made more automated through the mechanized submission of git pull requests that developers could simply accept to replace flawed code.

Baldwin said NPM might implement something similar, an intervention rather than a simple notification. “Currently it’s not proactive policy enforcement,” he said. “But it’s something we’re considering.” That would appeal to NPM’s growing enterprise constituency. “Enterprises for sure want the compliance and control,” said Baldwin. “They want that ability to know the open source they’re bringing in is safe or meets a certain set of criteria.”
Wednesday NPM added “Report a Vulnerability” buttons to every NPM package web page, and also started checking new passwords against the “Have I Been Pwned?” database to spot already-compromised passwords. “The tools for avoiding problems and fixing them are getting better,” writes the Register. But it’d be interesting to hear from Slashdot readers.
How do you feel about code repositories automatically offering replacements for insecure libraries?

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