Uploading and Scanning API Calls

Nightfall's upload process is built to accommodate files of any size. Once files are uploaded, they may be scanned with Detection Rules and Policies to detect potential violations.

Many users will find it more convenient to use our our native language SDKs to complete the upload process.

Uploading files using Client SDK libraries requires fewer steps as all the required API operations are wrapped in a single function call. Furthermore these SDKs handle all the programmatic logic necessary to send files in smaller chunks to Nightfall.

For users that are looking to understand the entire upload process end-to-end, that is also outlined in this document. We will walk you through the order of operations necessary to upload the file.

Using Nightfall's SDKs to Upload Files

Rather than implementing the full sequence of API calls for the upload functionality yourself, the Nightfall’s native language SDKs provide a single method that wraps the steps required to upload your file.

Below is an example of uploading a file from our Python SDK and our Node SDK.

>>> from nightfall import Confidence, DetectionRule, Detector, Nightfall, EmailAlert, AlertConfig
>>> import os

>>> # use your API Key here
>>> nightfall = Nightfall("NF-y0uRaPiK3yG03sH3r3")

>>> # A rule contains a set of detectors to scan with
>>> cc = Detector(min_confidence=Confidence.LIKELY, nightfall_detector="CREDIT_CARD_NUMBER")
>>> ssn = Detector(min_confidence=Confidence.POSSIBLE, nightfall_detector="US_SOCIAL_SECURITY_NUMBER")
>>> detection_rule = DetectionRule([cc, ssn])
>>> # The scanning is done asynchronously, so provide a valid email address as the simplest way of getting results
>>> alertconfig = alert_config=AlertConfig(email=EmailAlert("whatever@example.com"))

>>> # Upload the file and start the scan.
>>> id, message = nightfall.scan_file( "./README.md", detection_rules=[detection_rule], alert_config=alertconfig)
>>> print("started scan", id, message)

To run the node sample script you must compile it as TypesScript. Save it as a .ts file and run

tsc <yourfilename>.ts -lib ES2015,DOM

You can then run the resulting JavaScript file:

NIGHTFALL_API_KEY=<YourApiKey> node yourscriptname.js

Note that these examples use an email address to receive the results for simplicity.

You may also want to use a webhook. See Webhooks and Asynchronous Notifications for additional information on how to set up Webhook server to receive these results.

The Upload Process

The upload process consists of 3 stages:

Once the upload is complete, you may initiate the file scan.

After we discuss each API call in the sequence, you will find a script that walks through the full sequence at the end of this guide.

Initializing Phase

POST /v3/upload

The first step in the process of scanning a binary file is to initiate an upload in order to get a fileId through the Initiate a File Upload endpoint.

As part of the initialization you must provide the total byte size of the file being uploaded.

You may also provide the mime-type, otherwise the system will attempt to determine it once the upload is complete.

curl --location --request POST 'https://api.nightfall.ai/v3/upload' \
--header 'Content-Type: application/json' \
--header 'Authorization: Bearer NF-rEpLaCeM3w1ThYoUrNiGhTfAlLKeY123' \
--data-raw '{
    "fileSizeBytes": 73891,
    "mimeType" : "image/png"

The id of the returned JSON object will be used as the fileId in subsequent requests.

The chunkSize is the maximum number of bytes to upload during the uploading phase.

    "id": "f9dbdb15-c9fa-46ff-86ec-cd5c09aa550d",
    "fileSizeBytes": 73891,
    "chunkSize": 10485760,
    "mimeType": "image/png"

Uploading Phase

PATCH /v3/upload/<uploadUUID>

Use the Upload a Chunk of a File endpoint to upload the file contents in chunks.

The size of these chunks are determined by the chunkSize value returned by POST /upload endpoint used in the previous step.

Below is a simple example where the file is less than the chunkSize so may safely be uploaded with one call to the upload endpoint.

curl --location --request PATCH 'https://api.nightfall.ai/v3/upload/f9dbdb15-c9fa-46ff-86ec-cd5c09aa550d' \
--header 'X-Upload-Offset: 0' \
--header 'Content-Type: application/octet-stream' \
--header 'Authorization: Bearer NF-rEpLaCeM3w1ThYoUrNiGhTfAlLKeY123' \
--data-binary '@/Users/myname/Documents/work/Nightfall/Nightfall Upload Sequence.png'

If your file's size exceeds the chunkSize, to upload the complete file you will need to send iterative requests as you read portions of the file's contents. This means you will send multiple requests to the upload endpoint as shown above. As you do so, you will be updating the value of the X-Upload-Offset header based on the portion of the file being sent.

Each request should send a chunk of the file exactly chunkSize bytes long except for the final uploaded chunk. The final uploaded chunk is allowed to contain fewer bytes as the remainder of the file may be less than the chunkSize returned by the initialization step.

The request body should be the contents of the chunk being uploaded.

The value of the X-UPLOAD-OFFSET header should be the byte offset specifying where to insert the data into the file as an integer. This byte offset is zero-indexed.

Successful calls to this endpoint return an empty response with an HTTP status code of 204

See the full example script below for an illustration as to how this upload process can be done programmatically.

Completion Phase

POST /v3/upload/<uploadUUID>/finish

Once all chunks are uploaded, mark the upload as completed using the Complete a File Upload endpoint.

curl --location --request POST 'https://api.nightfall.ai/v3/upload/f9dbdb15-c9fa-46ff-86ec-cd5c09aa550d/finish' \
--header 'Content-Type: application/json' \
--header 'Authorization: Bearer  NF-rEpLaCeM3w1ThYoUrNiGhTfAlLKeY123' \
--data-raw '""'

When an upload completes successfully, the returned payload will indicate the mimeType the system determined to file to be if it was not provided during upload initialization.

    "id": "152848af-2ac9-4e0a-8563-2b82343d964a",
    "fileSizeBytes": 2349,
    "chunkSize": 10485760,
    "mimeType": "application/zip"

Once a file has been marked as completed, you may initiate a scan of the uploaded file.

Scanning Uploaded Files

After an upload is finalized, it can be scanned against a Detection Policy. A Detection Policy represents a pairing of:

  • a webhook URL

  • a set of detection rules to scan data against

The scanning process is asynchronous, with results being delivered to the webhook URL configured on the detection policy. See Webhooks and Asynchronous Notifications for more information about creating a Webhook server.

Exactly one policy should be provided in the request body, which includes a webhookURL to which the callback will be made once the file scan has been completed (this must be an HTTPS URL) as well as a Detection Rule as either an a list of UUIDs or as a rule that has been defined in-line.

You may also supply a value to the requestMetadata field to help identify the input file upon receiving a response to your webhook. This field has a maximum length 10 KB.

curl --request POST \
     --url https://api.nightfall.ai/v3/upload/f9dbdb15-c9fa-46ff-86ec-cd5c09aa550d/scan \
     --header 'Accept: application/json' \
     --header 'Authorization: Bearer NF-rEpLaCeM3w1ThYoUrNiGhTfAlLKeY123' \
     --header 'Content-Type: application/json' \
     --data '
     "policy": {
          "detectionRuleUUIDs": [
          "webhookURL": "https://mycompany.org/webhookservice"
     "requestMetadata": "your file metadata"

Webhook Verification

Nightfall will verify that the webhook URL is valid before launching its asynchronous scan by issuing a challenge.

Full Upload Process Example Script

Below is a sample Python script that handles the complete sequence of API calls to upload a file using a path specified as an argument.

from os import getenv, path

import fire
import requests

BASE_UPLOAD_URL = getenv("FILE_UPLOAD_HOST", "http://api.nightfall.ai/v3")
NF_API_KEY = getenv("NF_API_KEY")

def upload(filepath, mimetype, policy_uuid):
    """Upload the given file using the provided MIMEType and PolicyUUID.

        file_path -- an absolute or relative path to the file that will be
            uploaded to the API.
        mimetype -- (optional) The mimetype of the file being uploaded.
        policy_uuid -- The UUID corresponding to an existing policy. This
            policy must be active and have a webhook URL associated with it.
    default_headers = {
        "Authorization": F"Bearer {NF_API_KEY}",

    # =*=*=*=*=* Initiate Upload =*=*=*=*=*=*
    file_size = path.getsize(filepath)
    upload_request_body = {"fileSizeBytes": file_size, "mimeType": mimetype}
    r = requests.post(F"{BASE_UPLOAD_URL}/upload",
    upload = r.json()
    if not r.ok:
        raise Exception(F"Unexpected error initializing upload - {upload}")

    # =*=*=*=*=*=* Upload Chunks =*=*=*=*=*=*
    chunk_size = upload["chunkSize"]
    i = 0
    with open(filepath, "rb") as file:
        while file.tell() < file_size:
            upload_chunk_headers = {
                "X-UPLOAD-OFFSET": str(file.tell())
            r = requests.patch(F"{BASE_UPLOAD_URL}/upload/{upload['id']}",
            if not r.ok:
                raise Exception(F"Unexpected error uploading chunk - {r.text}")
            i += 1

    # =*=*=*=*=*=* Finish Upload =*=*=*=*=*=*
    r = requests.post(F"{BASE_UPLOAD_URL}/upload/{upload['id']}/finish",
    if not r.ok:
        raise Exception(F"Unexpected error finalizing upload - {r.text}")

    # =*=*=*=*=* Scan Uploaded File =*=*=*=*=*
    r = requests.post(F"{BASE_UPLOAD_URL}/upload/{upload['id']}/scan",
                      json={"policyUUID": policy_uuid},
    if not r.ok:
        raise Exception(F"Unexpected error initiating scan - {r.text}")

    print("Scan Initiated Successfully - await response on configured webhook")
    quota_remaining = r.headers.get('X-Quota-Remaining')
    if quota_remaining is not None and int(quota_remaining) <= 0:
        print(F"Scan quota exhausted - Quota will reset on {r.headers['X-Quota-Period-End']}")

if __name__ == "__main__":

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