sandcastle

A simple and powerful sandbox for running untrusted JavaScript.

npm install sandcastle
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SandCastle

A simple and powerful sandbox for running untrusted JavaScript.

The Impetus

For a project I'm working on, I needed the ability to run untrusted JavaScript code.

I had a couple specific requirements:

  • I wanted the ability to whitelist an API for inclusion within the sandbox.
  • I wanted to be able to run multiple untrusted scripts in the same sandboxed subprocess.
  • I wanted good error reporting and stack-traces, when a sandboxed script failed.

I could not find a library that met all these requirements, enter SandCastle.

What Makes SandCastle Different?

  • It allows you to queue up multiple scripts for execution within a single sandbox.
    • This better suits Node's evented architecture.
  • It provides reasonable stack traces when the execution of a sandboxed script fails.
  • It allows an API to be provided to the sandboxed script being executed.
  • It provides all this in a simple, well-tested, API.

Installation

npm install sandcastle

Creating and Executing a Script

var SandCastle = require('sandcastle').SandCastle;

var sandcastle = new SandCastle();

var script = sandcastle.createScript("\
  exports.main = function() {\
    exit('Hey ' + name + ' Hello World!');\
  }\
");

script.on('exit', function(err, output) {
    console.log(output); // Hello World!
});

script.run({name: 'Ben'});// we can pass variables into run.

Outputs

Hey Ben Hello World!
  • exit(output): from within untrusted code, causes a sandboxed script to return.
    • Any JSON serializable data passed into exit() will be passed to the output parameter of an exit event.
  • on('exit'): this event is called when an untrusted script finishes execution.
  • run() starts the execution of an untrusted script.

Handling Timeouts

If a script takes too long to execute, a timeout event will be fired:

var SandCastle = require('sandcastle').SandCastle;

var sandcastle = new SandCastle();

var script = sandcastle.createScript("\
  exports.main = function() {\
    while(true) {};\
  }\
");

script.on('exit', function(err, output) {
    console.log('this will never happen.');
});

script.on('timeout', function() {
    console.log('I timed out, oh what a silly script I am!');
});

script.run();

Outputs

I timed out, oh what a silly script I am!

Handling Errors

If an exception occurs while executing a script, it will be returned as the first parameter in an on(exit) event.

var SandCastle = require('sandcastle').SandCastle;

var sandcastle = new SandCastle();

var script = sandcastle.createScript("\
  exports.main = function() {\n\
    require('fs');\n\
  }\
");

script.on('exit', function(err, output) {
    console.log(err.message);
    console.log(err.stack);
});

script.run();

Outputs

require is not defined
ReferenceError: require is not defined
    at Object.main ([object Context]:2:5)
    at [object Context]:4:9
    at Sandbox.executeScript (/Users/bcoe/hacking/open-source/sandcastle/lib/sandbox.js:58:8)
    at Socket.<anonymous> (/Users/bcoe/hacking/open-source/sandcastle/lib/sandbox.js:16:13)
    at Socket.emit (events.js:64:17)
    at Socket._onReadable (net.js:678:14)
    at IOWatcher.onReadable [as callback] (net.js:177:10)

Providing an API

When creating an instance of SandCastle, you can provide an API. Functions within this API will be available inside of the untrustred scripts being executed.

AN Example of an API:

var fs = require('fs');

exports.api = {
  getFact: function(callback) {
    fs.readFile('./examples/example.txt', function (err, data) {
      if (err) throw err;
      callback(data.toString());
    });
  },
  setTimeout: function(callback, timeout) {
    setTimeout(callback, timeout);
  }
}

A Script Using the API:

var SandCastle = require('sandcastle').SandCastle;

var sandcastle = new SandCastle({
  api: './examples/api.js'
});

var script = sandcastle.createScript("\
  exports.main = function() {\
    getFact(function(fact) {\
      exit(fact);\
    });\
  }\
");

script.on('exit', function(err, result) {
  equal(result, 'The rain in spain falls mostly on the plain.', prefix);
  sandcastle.kill();
  finished();
});

script.run();

SandCastle will be an ongoing project, please be liberal with your feedback, criticism, and contributions.

Copyright (c) 2012 Benjamin Coe. See LICENSE.txt for further details.

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