Security Alert: Don't `npm install https`

Security Alert: Don't `npm install https`

The Node.js https module is a built-in module that allows you to make secure HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) requests to servers. It provides a way to communicate securely over the internet by encrypting the data transmitted between the client and the server using SSL/TLS protocols.

Here's a very simple usage example of the https module in Node.js:

const https = require('https');

const options = {
  hostname: '',
  path: '/data',
  method: 'GET'

const req = https.request(options, (res) => {
  let data = '';

  res.on('data', (chunk) => {
    data += chunk;

  res.on('end', () => {

req.on('error', (error) => {


A package called https, however, also exists on npm:

The https package has last been published 8 years ago. Looking at the package contents, we can see that it contains just the manifest file, and no actual code:

  "name": "https",
  "version": "1.0.0",
  "description": "https mediation",
  "main": "index.js",
  "scripts": {
    "test": "echo \"Error: no test specified\" && exit 1"
  "keywords": [
  "author": "hardus van der berg <> (",
  "license": "ISC"

It looks like a simple, useless package until we see that over 1600 other packages depend on it directly, and many more depend on it indirectly, without even knowing. This is probably the result of maintainers not being aware that https is internal to Node, and thinking they need to install it - it's also been asked on StackOverflow multiple times.

Node's require will load built-in modules first, so even if code would be included in a new version of the npm https package, it would never run via a simple require('https'). The danger of having https in your list of dependencies rather comes from the possibility of the package being reactivated with a new version that contains install scripts. We've written before about how install scripts can be dangerous:

The https package currently gets more than 500,000 downloads per week. At any moment in the future, publishing a 1.0.1 version with malicious install scripts would enable potential attackers to access a great number of development and build machines, to steal information or install arbitrary software.

The Sandworm team has reached out to the package maintainers and authors that currently rely on https to suggest they remove it from their dependencies.

If you enjoyed this article, have a look at Sandworm to keep your JavaScript project safe! 👇

Sandworm Audit is the open-source npm audit that doesn’t suck: it checks for multiple types of issues, like vulnerabilities or license compliance, it outputs SVG charts and CSVs, it can mark issues as resolved, and you can also run it in your CI to enforce security rules. Check the docs and npx @sandworm/audit@latest in your JavaScript app’s root to try it out 🪱.