[Distutils] PEP 458: Surviving a Compromise of PyPI: Round 1

Trishank Karthik Kuppusamy tk47 at students.poly.edu
Sun Nov 17 05:22:27 CET 2013

Hello everyone,

Donald, Justin and I have co-authored a PEP that recommends a
comprehensive security solution to allow PyPI to secure its users
against a wide array of compromises.

The gist of the PEP is that the changes to PyPI are essentially
invisible to users and developers unless an attack is underway.

The key design ideas are as follows:

* The main PyPI server will continue running as it is now, exposing
HTTPS and legacy XML-RPC operations.

* The next-generation PyPI server (Warehouse) will be exposing new API
as well as TUF metadata to clients.

* Developers do not have to opt-in to secure their projects with their
own TUF metadata. In that case, PyPI will sign these "unclaimed"
projects on their behalf. However, unclaimed projects will not be secure
against a PyPI compromise.

* To protect against a PyPI compromise, developers may choose to
register their public keys with Warehouse and upload their own signed
TUF metadata about their projects.

* Therefore, developers do not have to concern themselves with key
management in case they leave their projects as "unclaimed". When they
do claim their projects, they simply have to register their keys once
with Warehouse. After that, they may delegate signing for distributions
as they wish without depending on Warehouse.

* Clients will be instructed to first search for a project in the more
secure claimed metadata (protected by offline keys) before looking for
it in the less secure unclaimed metadata (protected by online keys).

* Whether or not a project is claimed or unclaimed, all projects will be
available through continuous delivery.

* Consistent snapshots allow clients and mirrors to safely read metadata
and data despite the addition of new files to PyPI.

* It is efficient to securely install or update a project despite
hundreds of thousands of files.

The official PEP is here:


Whereas latest revisions to the PEP are here:


We welcome your feedback and suggestions.

The PEP 458 team

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