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Not only is there a solution, but it's pretty well known computer science. Use public key cryptography to create a digital signature. It's not even a novel use of this -- .NET has been using this to sign assemblies and packages from day one.

I think he means a solution to the current problem of the packages being replaced with malicious ones, not the problem with npm not supporting package signatures.

Package signing by the package's author /is/ the solution, right? This way the only entity that can publish a valid update is the the package author. This still has the problem of bootstrapping the trust relationship, and leaves the door open to the author publishing a malicious but signed package or the signing key being stolen and used to do the same. However if you don't trust the package author to be responsible or take precautions against the keys being stolen then you're essentially taking on the burden of implementing of your required functionality.

We also need some way to link packages to authors. In the Java world packages are supposed to be in a namespace that's the reverse domain name, so you could (potentially, theoretically) connect that up with something like DNSSEC and enforce that people can only publish packages for domains that they control. (Though even that is really just punting the problem up to the DNS registries).

I like your use of "Look, even .NET does this, people".

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