Snake bites: Beware malicious Python libraries
Earlier this week, two Python libraries containing malicious code were removed from the Python Package Index (PyPI), Python’s official repository for third-party packages.
It’s the latest incarnation of a problem faced by many modern software development communities, raising an important question for all developers who rely on open source software: How can you make it possible for people to contribute their own code to a common repository for re-use, without those repos becoming vectors for attacks?
By and large, the official third-party library repositories for languages run as open source projects, like Python, are safe. But malicious versions of a library can spread quickly if unchecked. And the fact that most such language repositories are overseen by volunteers means that only so many eyes are on the lookout and contributions don’t always get the scrutiny needed.