Security fix released

Posted by James Bennett on September 2, 2008

In accordance with our security policy, today the Django project is issuing a set of releases to fix a security vulnerability reported to us. This message contains a description of the vulnerability, a description of the changes made to fix it, and pointers to the patches for each supported version of Django.

Description of vulnerability

The Django administration application, as a convenience for users whose sessions expire, will attempt to preserve HTTP POST data from an incoming submission while re-authenticating the user, and will -- on successful authentication -- allow the submission to continue without requiring data to be re-entered.

Django developer Simon Willison has presented the Django development team with a proof-of-concept cross-site request forgery (CSRF) which exploits this behavior to perform unrequested deletion/modification of data. This exploit has been tested and verified by the Django team, and succeeds regardless of whether Django's bundled CSRF-protection module is active.

Affected versions


As it represents a persistent vector for CSRF attacks, this behavior is being removed from Django; henceforth, attempted posts from users whose sessions have expired will be discarded and the data will need to be re-entered.

This is, then, backwards-incompatible with existing behavior and may be considered a feature removal; however, the Django team feel that the security risks of this feature outweigh its minor utility.

The fix for this issue was applied to the Django repository in changeset 8877, which contains the relevant changes for each affected version

Based on these changes, the Django team is issuing three new releases:

The relevant patch has been applied to Django trunk as well, and so will be included in the forthcoming Django 1.0 release candidate (to be issued later today) and the final Django 1.0 release.

All users of affected Django versions are encouraged to upgrade immediately.

A file containing the MD5 and SHA1 checksums of the new release packages has been placed on the server. This file is PGP-signed with the Django release manager's public key. This key has the ID 0x8C8B2AE1 and can be obtained from, e.g., the MIT PGP keyserver

Release manager's note

If you are currently maintaining and distributing a packaged version of Django (e.g., for a Linux or other Unix distribution), or if you are a hosting company which officially supports Django as an option for customers, and you did not receive an advance notification of this issue, please contact Django's release manager (James Bennett, james at b-list dot org) as soon as possible so that you can be added to the list of known distributors who receive such notifications.

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