'_[1]' in .co_names using builtin compile() in Python 2.6

Chris Kaynor ckaynor at zindagigames.com
Wed Nov 27 21:44:06 CET 2013

On Wed, Nov 27, 2013 at 12:09 PM, Ned Batchelder <ned at nedbatchelder.com>wrote:

> * Is there perhaps a better way to achieve what I'm trying to do?
>> What I'm really after, is to check that python expressions embedded in
>> text files are:
>> - well behaved (no syntax errors etc)
>> - don't accidentally access anything it shouldn't
>> - I serve them with the values they need on execution
> I hope you aren't trying to prevent malice this way: you cannot examine a
> piece of Python code to prove that it's safe to execute.  For an extreme
> example, see: Eval Really Is Dangerous: http://nedbatchelder.com/blog/
> 201206/eval_really_is_dangerous.html
> In your environment it looks like you have a whitelist of identifiers, so
> you're probably ok.

I just tested the crash example from that link in Python 2.7.5 win64 and
the co_names from the compiled code is empty. Therefore, a simple whitelist
would not catch that problematic code (and likely any other global access
done correctly). Even a simple test of making sure that at least one (or
any number of) valid identifier exists would be insufficent, as you can
merely tack on a ",a" to add "a" to the co_names, and thus for any other

Basically, even with a pure whitelist, there is likely no possible way to
make eval/exec safe, unless you also eliminate the ability to make literals.

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