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For Integrators

The luaconf.h in Pluto provides various battle-tested mechanisms for locking down your Pluto environments. In this article, we've documented some of those. If you are an integrator who needs help configuring any of this, or who wants us to implement another mechanism, feel free to contact us on GitHub.

Content Moderation

Compiled Code

You can disable execution of compiled bytecode by defining PLUTO_DISABLE_COMPILED in luaconf.h or your build config.

Custom Module Filters

You may already have filters before passing scripts to run onto Pluto, but mechanisms such as dofile and require may be used to bypass them. To help you combat this, Pluto provides PLUTO_LOADFILE_HOOK. For example, if you set it to ContmodOnLoadfile in luaconf.h or your build config, you only need to define that function somewhere in your code, like this:

extern "C" bool ContmodOnLoadfile(const char* filename) {
return !isCodeProhibited(soup::string::fromFile(filename));

This requires you to use Pluto as a static library, as otherwise this linking relationship won't work.

Prevent Loading of Binary Modules

The PLUTO_NO_BINARIES macro can be defined to totally eliminate package.loadlib and any DLL/SO loading capability from the require function. This is helpful because package.loadlib can be used to bypass sandbox restrictions by manually loading symbols from a Lua/Pluto library, and the require function can load any Lua/Pluto C Module which may or may not provide dangerous functions. This is generally vital for any sandbox. This mechanism cannot be bypassed, since it configures Pluto to compile without support for any of the aforementioned features.

Execution Time Limit

To aid environments that have to be sandboxed, Pluto provides Execution Time Limit (ETL), which can be enabled by defining PLUTO_ETL_ENABLE in luaconf.h or your build config.

By default, ETL allows code to run for a total of 1 ms (1.000.000 nanos). This can be changed by overwriting PLUTO_ETL_NANOS.

Note that this is a hammer solution. If you only want to prevent stupid mistakes, Infinite Loop Prevention is a far better tool.

Infinite Loop Prevention

Pluto can detect infinite loops by preventing too many successive iterations. This was implemented because game threads usually force users to call some sort of yield mechanism to return control to the game thread. In Pluto, you specify a hard bottleneck on iterations, then you specify a function pointer which should prevent ILP within the loop it's called in.

This will produce an error due to ILP:
while true do

This will not, with correct configuration:
while true do

If your scheduling system calls coroutine.yield at least once per tick, configuring the ILP mechanism can be as simple as defining PLUTO_ILP_ENABLE. In any case, Pluto's configuration file (luaconf.h) is worth a look at, especially to properly configure this feature.


This is a very simple mechanic. It has no performance overhead & it's lightweight. However, the compromise for this was coverage. This will reliably prevent most user error, however malicious users can find a way to block a thread still. For example, any forward jump will prevent the mechanism from breaking a loop. This can be exploited, so don't rely on this for security.

VM Dumping

Pluto offers an optional, configurable feature to see every instruction that is executed in the Lua VM.


VM Dump can be enabled by defining PLUTO_VMDUMP in luaconf.h or your build config.

  • To reduce noise, you can modify PLUTO_VMDUMP_COND to set a custom condition for when VM Dump is active. By default, the condition is true.
  • Although not a configuration specific to VM Dump, it should be noted that you can modify the output macros lua_writestring and lua_writeline.

What it looks like

Given the following code:

local value = 3
switch value do
case 1:
case 2:
case 3:
case 4:
case 5:
print("Got 1-5.")
print("Value is greater than 5.")
-- Break jumps here.

It will output:

VARARGPREP 0        ; prepare for 0 varargs
LOADI 0 3 ; push 3
MOVE 1 0 ; move 3 into R(A)
EQI 1 1 0 ; 3 == 1
EQI 1 2 1 ; 3 == 2
EQI 1 3 1 ; 3 == 3
GETTABUP 2 0 0 ; push T['print'] for function-0x247d2882520 (T=table-0x247d29ec9c8)
LOADK 3 1 ; push "Got 1-5."
<OUTPUT> Got 1-5.
CALL 2 2 1 ; call cfunc (nresults=0 nparams=0)
JMP 13 ; offset=13 newpc=0x247d29e90d8
RETURN 1 1 1 ; return 0 value(s)

This is great at deciphering obfuscated code which may be causing problems for your environment.

Disabling Filesystem Access

Define the PLUTO_NO_FILESYSTEM macro in either your build configuration or the luaconf.h file. This prevents filesystem functions from being loaded into their libraries (io, os). Pluto will also compile any filesystem-related functions to do nothing more than "return 0;", so they're essentially nullsubs. This is done to protect from any attacks utilizing package.loadlib, which can load a Lua/Pluto library and access any symbol. Consider defining PLUTO_NO_OS_EXECUTE to disable filesystem access via process APIs.

This affects the following functions:

  1. Every single io function.
  2. os.remove
  3. os.rename