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A novel timing attack discovered against the npm’s registry API can be exploited to potentially disclose private packages used by organizations, putting developers at risk of supply chain threats.

“By creating a list of possible package names, threat actors can detect organizations’ scoped private packages and then masquerade public packages, tricking employees and users into downloading them,” Aqua Security researcher Yakir Kadkoda said.

The Scoped Confusion attack banks on analysing the time it takes for the npm API (registry.npmjs[.]org) to return an HTTP 404 error message when querying for a private package, and measuring it against the response time for a non-existing module.

Private NPM Packages

images from Hacker News