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[1.6.x] Added a warning regarding session security and subdomains.

Backport of a3372f6 from master
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1 parent fa90b85 commit 5bb975a1398edd4d6372302b222878a9616be672 @timgraham timgraham committed
Showing with 35 additions and 2 deletions.
  1. +28 −2 docs/topics/http/sessions.txt
  2. +7 −0 docs/topics/security.txt
30 docs/topics/http/sessions.txt
@@ -307,13 +307,19 @@ You can edit it multiple times.
Returns either ``True`` or ``False``, depending on whether the user's
session cookie will expire when the user's Web browser is closed.
- .. method:: SessionBase.clear_expired
+ .. method:: clear_expired
.. versionadded:: 1.5
Removes expired sessions from the session store. This class method is
called by :djadmin:`clearsessions`.
+ .. method:: cycle_key
+ Creates a new session key while retaining the current session data.
+ :func:`django.contrib.auth.login()` calls this method to mitigate against
+ session fixation.
.. _session_serialization:
Session serialization
@@ -498,7 +504,7 @@ An API is available to manipulate session data outside of a view::
>>> s['last_login']
-In order to prevent session fixation attacks, sessions keys that don't exist
+In order to mitigate session fixation attacks, sessions keys that don't exist
are regenerated::
>>> from django.contrib.sessions.backends.db import SessionStore
@@ -641,6 +647,26 @@ behavior:
* :setting:`SESSION_FILE_PATH`
+.. _topics-session-security:
+Session security
+Subdomains within a site are able to set cookies on the client for the whole
+domain. This makes session fixation possible if all subdomains are not
+controlled by trusted users (or, are at least unable to set cookies).
+For example, an attacker could log into ```` and get a valid
+session for his account. If the attacker has control over ````,
+he can use it to send his session key to you since a subdomain is permitted
+to set cookies on `*``. When you visit ````,
+you'll be logged in as the attacker and might inadvertently enter your
+sensitive personal data (e.g. credit card info) into the attackers account.
+Another possible attack would be if ```` sets its
+:setting:`SESSION_COOKIE_DOMAIN` to ``""`` which would cause
+session cookies from that site to be sent to ````.
Technical details
7 docs/topics/security.txt
@@ -195,6 +195,13 @@ Additionally, as of 1.3.1, Django requires you to explicitly enable support for
the ``X-Forwarded-Host`` header (via the :setting:`USE_X_FORWARDED_HOST`
setting) if your configuration requires it.
+Session security
+Similar to the :ref:`CSRF limitations <csrf-limitations>` requiring a site to
+be deployed such that untrusted users don't have access to any subdomains,
+:mod:`django.contrib.sessions` also has limitations. See :ref:`the session
+topic guide section on security <topics-session-security>` for details.
.. _additional-security-topics:

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