Sessions at PyCon US 2012 about Security and Python on Friday 9th March

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  • Advanced Security Topics

    by Paul McMillan

    If your Python application has users, you should be worried about security. This talk will cover advanced material, highlighting common mistakes. Topics will include hashing and salts, timing attacks, serialization, and much more. Expect eye opening demos, and an urge to go fix your code right away.

    If your Python application has users (even if it's used offline), you should be worried about security. This talk will cover advanced material, highlighting common mistakes.

    Hashing and encryption can be tricky to get right. We'll discuss when to use hashing to sign data, and how to choose the right encryption algorithm (spoiler: don't). We'll demonstrate length extension attacks, and discuss how to prevent them.

    Another common mistake is the incorrect use of pseudo-random number generators. We'll discuss the fix, and some of the dangers associated with it.

    Timing attacks are relatively exotic, but as applications move into shared data centers (and shared virtual machines) they have become easier to implement and more dangerous. They're a very common class of bugs, but fixing them (and proving they're fixed) can be difficult.

    Pickle is a common and easy to use serialization format for Python objects. Unfortunately, it's also insecure when attackers can send or modify the pickled data. We'll discuss strategies for signing pickled objects, and alternate serialization formats.

    The final portion of the talk will discuss a meta security problem within the Python community. I'll be demonstrating live code that can compromise even the most locked down of servers, and discussing the steps we need to take as a community to mitigate this threat moving forward.

    At 1:45pm to 2:40pm, Friday 9th March

    In E1, Santa Clara Convention Center

    Coverage video