Denial of Service (DoS) Affecting ws Open this link in a new tab package, versions <1.1.1

  • Attack Complexity


  • Availability


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  • snyk-id


  • published

    26 Jun 2016

  • disclosed

    24 Jun 2016

  • credit

    Fedor Indutny


ws is a WebSocket client and server implementation.

Affected versions of this package did not limit the size of an incoming payload before it was processed by default. As a result, a very large payload (over 256MB in size) could lead to a failed allocation and crash the node process - enabling a Denial of Service attack.

While 256MB may seem excessive, note that the attack is likely to be sent from another server, not an end-user computer, using data-center connection speeds. In those speeds, a payload of this size can be transmitted in seconds.


Denial of Service (DoS) describes a family of attacks, all aimed at making a system inaccessible to its intended and legitimate users.

Unlike other vulnerabilities, DoS attacks usually do not aim at breaching security. Rather, they are focused on making websites and services unavailable to genuine users resulting in downtime.

One popular Denial of Service vulnerability is DDoS (a Distributed Denial of Service), an attack that attempts to clog network pipes to the system by generating a large volume of traffic from many machines.

When it comes to open source libraries, DoS vulnerabilities allow attackers to trigger such a crash or crippling of the service by using a flaw either in the application code or from the use of open source libraries.

Two common types of DoS vulnerabilities:

  • High CPU/Memory Consumption- An attacker sending crafted requests that could cause the system to take a disproportionate amount of time to process. For example, commons-fileupload:commons-fileupload.

  • Crash - An attacker sending crafted requests that could cause the system to crash. For Example, npm ws package


Update to version 1.1.1 or greater, which sets a default maxPayload of 100MB. If you cannot upgrade, apply a Snyk patch, or provide ws with options setting the maxPayload to an appropriate size that is smaller than 256MB.