Empty npm package ‘-‘ has over 700,000 downloads– here’s why


A mystical, one-letter npm package called “-” remaining on the windows registry considering that 2020 has obtained over 700,000 downloads.

What’s much more? The package includes no operational code, thus what creates it rack up many downloads?

Inside the npm package “-“

An npm package gotten in touch with “” has racked up just about 720,000 downloads considering that its own magazine on the npm windows registry, considering that very early 2020.

There’s just one variation of the package: 0.0.1 as well as it includes 3 reports:

tar tvf 0.0.1/ -0.0.1. tgz

package/ dist/index. js
package/package json
package/ README.md

Inside these reports— primarily the show (package json) as well as index.js, there is actually nothing at all extremely intriguing, merely skeletal system code.

The materialize carries out draw in a ton of growth dependences (devDependencies) as well as summons some orders on the “ts-node” element, however that is actually regarding it. It’s basically lifeless code, in the meantime:

npm package contents
The index.js report as well as the show report (package json) of “-” ( BleepingComputer)

“-” is actually made use of through over fifty package deals

It gets back at much better.

The basically ineffective package “-” functions as a reliance for over fifty npm package deals, without a crystal clear illustration:

npm package - dependencies
npm package “-” is actually made use of through 56 package deals ( npmjs.org)

But a lot of these dependences run out than a couple of loads once a week downloads.

So, exactly how is it that “-” has racked up over 720,000 downloads?

It proves out the package receives taken in when a person is actually operating npm influences coming from incurable, as well as creates mistakes.

For instance, to mount an npm package named “somepackage,” you will need to operate:

npm i somepackage

What if you were actually defining a couple of various other banners, however miscalculated. For instance:

npm i – someFlag somepackage

The room in between the “-” as well as someOther Flag might result in npm to draw in “-” as the package keeping that title carries out exist.

It’s consequently conceivable that the package’s thousandfold download matters are actually a end result of creators producing inaccuracies.

And likewise, when adding dependencies to package.json using command-line, it isn’t as well difficult as well observe exactly how a “-” can insinuate through inaccuracy.

In an exam, BleepingComputer, worked the complying with mistyped demand, along with the motive of downloading and install “somepackage” as well as “axsharma” coming from npm.

But discover the inaccuracy, an added “-” prior to the “–save” banner:

npm mount somepackage axsharma — spare

Unsurprisingly, both the leading report package- lock.json as well as the node_modules/ file included the “-” package, detailing exactly how it can get on your dependences in the real life:

generated package-lock.json
Generated node_modules file as well as package- lock.json report include “-” package ( BleepingComputer)

BleepingComputer communicated to the package’s writer Dmitry Parzhitsky along with some concerns, like, why was this package produced. But, our team have not listened to back.

The package’s development on its own can be actually unintentional or even brought on by an exam text that completed too soon.

Both the README.md report featured within the package as well as the package’s npm webpage signify “-” was actually created through a manuscript:

npm package - readme
README report for “-” ( BleepingComputer)

Suffice to mention, while there is actually nothing at all now in “-” that signifies it is actually destructive, our team do not understand what the following variation of “-” can appear like, needs to it be actually discharged.

Other instances of single-letter package deals, or even those being similar to npm orders consist of, however may not be restricted to: i, g, install, D, as well as s

This implies, keying “npm i i somePackage” inadvertently, in contrast to “npm i somePackage,” will, subsequently, mount the i package, aside from somePackage

“The real issue here is that you can install these packages and never know it. Running npm install – g my-package will install the package you want.”

“Only later on, when you try to access that package elsewhere will there be any indication that you made a typo. In the meantime, both and g have been riding along in your project.”

“npm could (and maybe should) disallow components that share names with its commands,” software application programmer Matt Freeland at Sonatype shown to BleepingComputer.

Freeland additionally conveyed that as soon as package deals are actually put up, npm shows a recaped results notification like, “added 3 packages, and audited 8 packages,” instead of publishing the precise checklist of package deals put up.

“Naming the installed packages in the success message would give developers a chance to actually catch their errors,” he proceeded.

In latest opportunities, open-source pc registries, featuring npm, possess continuously [1, 2, 3] been actually swamped along with malware or even excess material.

Developers need to work out vigilance when keying npm influences in the incurable when specifically when utilizing banners. It’s likewise a great suggestion to examine why your package deals are actually reliant on this mystical package.