Incorrect Handling of Non-Boolean Comparisons During Minification

Module: uglify-js

Published: August 24th, 2015

Reported by: Tom MacWright


Vulnerable: <= 2.4.23
Patched: >= 2.4.24


Tom MacWright discovered that UglifyJS versions 2.4.23 and earlier are affected by a vulnerability which allows a specially crafted Javascript file to have altered functionality after minification. This bug was demonstrated by Yan to allow potentially malicious code to be hidden within secure code, activated by minification.


In Boolean algebra, DeMorgan's laws describe the relationships between conjunctions ( && ), disjunctions ( || ) and negations ( ! ). In Javascript form, they state that: !(a && b) === (!a) || (!b) !(a || b) === (!a) && (!b)

The law does not hold true when one of the values is not a boolean however.

Vulnerable versions of UglifyJS do not account for this restriction, and erroneously apply the laws to a statement if it can be reduced in length by it.

Consider this authentication function:

function isTokenValid(user) {
    var timeLeft =
        !!config && // config object exists
        !!user.token && // user object has a token
        !user.token.invalidated && // token is not explicitly invalidated
        !config.uninitialized && // config is initialized
        !config.ignoreTimestamps && // don't ignore timestamps
        getTimeLeft(user.token.expiry); // > 0 if expiration is in the future

    // The token must not be expired
    return timeLeft > 0;

function getTimeLeft(expiry) {
  return expiry - getSystemTime();

When minified with a vulnerable version of UglifyJS, it will produce the following insecure output, where a token will never expire:

( Formatted for readability )

function isTokenValid(user) {
    var timeLeft = !(                       // negation
        !config                             // config object does not exist
        || !user.token                      // user object does not have a token
        || user.token.invalidated           // token is explicitly invalidated
        || config.uninitialized             // config isn't initialized
        || config.ignoreTimestamps          // ignore timestamps
        || !getTimeLeft(user.token.expiry)  // > 0 if expiration is in the future
    return timeLeft > 0

function getTimeLeft(expiry) {
    return expiry - getSystemTime()


Upgrade UglifyJS to version >= 2.4.24.


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