No matter how much you trust in the npmjs package registry in general and in packages you are using in particular, Bad Things™ always happen. They happen to the best of us. Even a small Node.js project may have thousands of dependencies, which makes it virtually impossible for a developer to monitor and audit them all.
An NPM package has two main ways to harm you: the first one is when you install it, and the second one is when you actually use it. The first way is possible because of the so-called “lifecycle scripts” run by npm. And even though one of the earliest attacks exploiting lifecycle scripts dates back to 2017, developers still do not take measures to protect their data.
This post explains how to protect sensitive information (such as authentication tokens) when running CI builds.