January 13, 2015
Django 1.4.18 fixes several security issues in 1.4.17 as well as a regression on Python 2.5 in the 1.4.17 release.
When HTTP headers are placed into the WSGI environ, they are normalized by
converting to uppercase, converting all dashes to underscores, and prepending
HTTP_. For instance, a header
X-Auth-User would become
HTTP_X_AUTH_USER in the WSGI environ (and thus also in Django’s
Unfortunately, this means that the WSGI environ cannot distinguish between
headers containing dashes and headers containing underscores:
X-Auth_User both become
HTTP_X_AUTH_USER. This means that if a
header is used in a security-sensitive way (for instance, passing
authentication information along from a front-end proxy), even if the proxy
carefully strips any incoming value for
X-Auth-User, an attacker may be
able to provide an
X-Auth_User header (with underscore) and bypass this
In order to prevent such attacks, both Nginx and Apache 2.4+ strip all headers containing underscores from incoming requests by default. Django’s built-in development server now does the same. Django’s development server is not recommended for production use, but matching the behavior of common production servers reduces the surface area for behavior changes during deployment.
Django relies on user input in some cases (e.g.
django.contrib.auth.views.login() and i18n)
to redirect the user to an “on success” URL. The security checks for these
django.utils.http.is_safe_url()) didn’t strip leading
whitespace on the tested URL and as such considered URLs like
provide safe redirect targets and put such a URL into a link, they could suffer
from a XSS attack. This bug doesn’t affect Django currently, since we only put
this URL into the
Location response header and browsers seem to ignore
In older versions of Django, the
django.views.static.serve() view read
the files it served one line at a time. Therefore, a big file with no newlines
would result in memory usage equal to the size of that file. An attacker could
exploit this and launch a denial-of-service attack by simultaneously requesting
many large files. This view now reads the file in chunks to prevent large
Note, however, that this view has always carried a warning that it is not hardened for production use and should be used only as a development aid. Now may be a good time to audit your project and serve your files in production using a real front-end web server if you are not doing so.
To maintain compatibility with Python 2.5, Django’s vendored version of six,
django.utils.six, has been downgraded to 1.8.0 which is the last
version to support Python 2.5.