Making an Eval command

Last updated 3 months ago

What is eval exactly?

In JavaScript (and node), eval() is a function that evaluates any string as javascript code and actually executes it. Meaning, if I eval(2+2) , eval will return 4. If I eval client.guilds.size, it'll return however many guilds the bot is currently on. And if I eval client.guilds.map(g=>g.name).join('\n') then it will return a list of guild names separated by a line return. Cool, right?

But eval is dangerous

I'll say this in a way that's probably dead simple to understand: Giving someone access to eval() is literally like sitting them at your computer, with full admin access, and then stepping out of the room. eval() in browser javascript is trivial and not dangerous - you're running in your own browser, anything you fuck up is going to be on your own PC, not the web servers.

But eval() in node is really, really dangerous and powerful. Because it can run anything you run as a bot, and it can also run code you're not expecting to run, if someone else has access to it. Node.js has access to your hard drive. The whole thing. Every bit of it. To understand what this means, look at the following command: rm -rf / --no-preserve-root . Do you know what this command does? It deletes your entire server's hard drives. I mean, it only works on Linux, but most VPS systems and most hosting providers are on UNIX-based systems.

Another thing that's on your hard drive is passwords. Have a config file with your database password? I can get that. config.json with your token and other API keys in it? I can grab that easy. Hell I can just grab your token straight from the client object if I know how to.

Securing your eval

So first, we need to understand the #1 rule when using eval commands:

NEVER EVER GIVE EVAL PERMS TO ANYONE ELSE

I don't care if it's a server owner, someone you've been talking to for months, you cannot trust anyone with eval. There's only one exception to this rule: Someone you know in real life that you can punch in the face when they actually destroy half your server or mistakenly ban everyone in every server your bot is in. Eval bypasses any command-based permission you might have, it bypasses all security checks. Eval is all powerful.

So how do you secure it? Simple: only allow use from your own user ID. So for example my user ID is 139412744439988224 so I check whether the message author's ID is mine, which we added into our config at the start:

{
//the rest of the config
"ownerID": "139412744439988224"
}

In the code for the bot:

if(message.author.id !== config.ownerID) return;

It's as simple as that to protect the command directly inside of your condition or file or whatever. Of course, if you have some sort of command handler there's most likely a way to restrict to an ID too. This isn't specific to discord.js : there's always a way to do this. If there isn't (if a command handler won't let you restrict by ID), then you're using the wrong lib.

Simple Eval Command

So now you've been thoroughly briefed on the dangers of Eval, let's take a look at how to implement a simple eval command.

First though I strongly suggest using the following function (plop it outside of any event handler/functions you have, so it's accessible anywhere). This function prevents the use of actual mentions within the return line by adding a zero-width character between the @ and the first character of the mention - blocking the mention from happening.

EITHER of the following clean snippets are REQUIRED to make the eval work.

function clean(text) {
if (typeof(text) === "string")
return text.replace(/`/g, "`" + String.fromCharCode(8203)).replace(/@/g, "@" + String.fromCharCode(8203));
else
return text;
}

It's ES6 variant:

const clean = text => {
if (typeof(text) === "string")
return text.replace(/`/g, "`" + String.fromCharCode(8203)).replace(/@/g, "@" + String.fromCharCode(8203));
else
return text;
}

Alright, So let's get down to the brass tax: The actual eval command. Here it is in all its glory, assuming you've followed this guide all along:

client.on("message", message => {
const args = message.content.split(" ").slice(1);
if (message.content.startsWith(config.prefix + "eval")) {
if(message.author.id !== config.ownerID) return;
try {
const code = args.join(" ");
let evaled = eval(code);
if (typeof evaled !== "string")
evaled = require("util").inspect(evaled);
message.channel.send(clean(evaled), {code:"xl"});
} catch (err) {
message.channel.send(`\`ERROR\` \`\`\`xl\n${clean(err)}\n\`\`\``);
}
}
});

That's it. That's the command. Note a couple of things though:

  • Your IDE or editor might scream at the eval(code) for being unsafe. See the rest of this page for WHY it says that. Can't say you haven't been warned!

  • If the response isn't a string, util.inspect() is used to 'stringify' the code in a safe way that won't error out on objects with circular references (like most Collections).

  • If the response is more than 2000 characters this will return nothing.

I AM NOT RESPONSIBLE IF YOU FUCK UP, AND NEITHER ARE ANY OF THE DISCORD.JS USERS AND DEVELOPERS

Hopefully the warnings were clear enough to help you understand the dangers... but the idea of eval is still attractive enough that you'll use it for yourself anyway!