New tool for making sense of npm-audit output

Managing Node.js dependencies and their security has never been a fun task. My heart stops for a few moments whenever I open node_modules folder and see how much stuff my minimalistic one-page app is pulling from the depth of web.

In attempt to fix it, this year, NPM acquired a great project – NSP, Node Security Platform that consisted of a vulnerability data feed and CLI. NSP security advisory feed was merged into NPM tool, but CLI was discontinued. Instead, we’ve got a new command – npm audit. However, the original NSP was able to produce much nicer output comparing to npm-audit which seems to be hated even by NPM developers. There were a few open issues on Github about prettifying its output but they all are now abandoned.

My main problem with npm-audit is that it’s actually a bit dumb – it can’t exclude devDependencies, fail on a severity threshold, and resulting JSON is just a mess. My main need is to simply integrate security check into build system and automatically parse the results. With current state of npm-audit it was not possible.

So it was time to act – I created “npm-audit-ps-wrapper” tool – a very simple Powershell wrapper around npm-audit which fixes all the problems I just described. And most important, it is ready for automation and use with CI/CD.

Example of npm-audit output:

npm audit -j

  "actions": [
      "action": "install",
      "module": "aurelia-cli",
      "target": "0.35.1",
      "isMajor": false,
      "resolves": [
          "id": 338,
          "path": "aurelia-cli>npm>fs-vacuum>rimraf>glob>minimatch>brace-expansion",
          "dev": false,
          "optional": false,
          "bundled": true
          "id": 338,
          "path": "aurelia-cli>npm>fstream>rimraf>glob>minimatch>brace-expansion",
          "dev": false,
          "optional": false,
          "bundled": true

Example of npm-audit-ps-wrapper output:

    "VulnerabilitySource": "sshpk",
    "VulnerabilityTitle": "Regular Expression Denial of Service",
    "VulnerableVersions": "<1.13.2 || >=1.14.0 <1.14.1",
    "PatchedVersions": ">=1.13.2 < 1.14.0 || >=1.14.1",
    "VulnerabilityChains": [
    "VulnerabilitySeverity": "high",
    "AdvisoryUrl": ""

Benefits of the wrapper tool:

  • Switch to ignore devDependencies.
  • Resulting JSON contains a list of vulnerabilities with minimal viable information about them.
  • Switch to fail on a set severity threshold level.
  • Write output to a JSON file.
  • Switch for silent execution.

Hope it helps to streamline security of your JS libs and make it a bit better!

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