Security considerations


Converse comes with no warranty of any kind and the authors are not liable for any damages.

The data-structures of Converse encapsulate sensitive user data such as XMPP account details (in case of manual login) and personal conversations.

In an environment where, besides Converse, other untrusted 3rd party scripts might also be running, it’s important to guard against malicious or invasive access to user data and/or the API.

The threat model

The following threat model is considered:

Malicious 3rd party scripts served through compromised side-channels, such as ad-networks, which attempt to access Converse’s API and/or data-structures in order to personify users or to pilfer their data.

Mitigating measures

As of version 3.0.0, the following actions were taken to harden Converse against attacks:

Separate code/data into public and private parts

  1. Encapsulate Converse’s data structures into a private closured object (named _converse).

  2. Split the API into public and private parts.

Restrict access to private code/data

  1. Only plugins are allowed to access the private API and the closured _converse object.

  2. TODO: Whitelist plugins that have access to the private API and closured _converse object.

  3. Prevent the removal of registered plugins (otherwise the whitelist could be circumvented).

  4. Throw an error when multiple plugins try to register under the same name (otherwise the whitelist could be circumvented).


Care should be taken when using a custom build of Converse where some of the core plugins contained in the default build are omitted. In this case the omitted plugins should also be removed from the whitelist, otherwise malicious plugins could be registered under their names.

Addititional measures

Besides the measures mentioned above, integrators and hosts can also take further security precautions.

The most effective is to avoid serving untrusted 3rd party JavaScript (e.g. advertisements and analytics).

Another option is to forego the use of a global converse object (which exposes the public API) and instead to encapsulate it inside a private closure, in order to keep it inaccessible to other scripts.

Other considerations

Locally cached data

Besides the “hot” data stored in models and collections, which are all encapsulated in the private _converse object, there is also the cached data stored in the browser’s sessionStorage and localStorage stores.

Examples of sensitive cached data are chat messages and the contacts roster, both which are in session storage, which means that the cache is cleared as soon as the last tab or window is closed. User credentials are not cached at all.

Perhaps the ability to encrypt this cached data could be added in future versions of Converse, if there is sufficient demand for it.

However to date no significant mitigation or hardening measures have been taken to secure this cached data.

Therefore, the best defence as website host is to avoid serving Converse with untrusted 3rd party code, and the best defence as an end-user is to avoid chatting on websites that host untrusted 3rd party code. The most common examples of such being advertising and analytics scripts.