A pure Python implementation of the Transport Layer Security protocol version 1.2, using existing libraries for crypto math.
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Transport Layer Security (TLS) is a cryptographic protocol designed to provide communication security over the Internet.

This is an open source Python implementation of TLS 1.2, using the Python Cryptographic Authority's (PyCA's) Cryptography libraries for all cryptographic primitives (e.g. AES, RSA, etc.).

This project is not yet complete; see the "Current Status" section below for details.

More on how the TLS handshake works can be found here.

Why yet another TLS library?

Many major exploits in other TLS libraries in the past have been straightforward software bugs in the protocol implementation, not subtle bugs in the cryptographic math; bugs which would have been impossible if these libraries had better implementation and design decisions. This project is not directed at cipher implementation. It is, instead, focused on a careful and rigorously testable implementation of the protocol components of TLS. This could then, for instance, be used by networking libraries like Twisted as a TLS-terminating proxy.

To reiterate, this project is about providing secure implementation and designing idiomatically secure APIs, not inventing anything in the way of how to do the securing (i.e., not reimplementing tricky cryptographic algorithms yet again).


Some of the basic tenets predicating the design:

  • It will be be easy to use!
  • It will be opinionated about which ciphers and TLS versions to use, and not allow downgrading to weaker security.
  • It will only deal with in-memory buffers.
  • It will have no global state.
  • It will not allow disabling of security features such as basic security checks, chain validation and hostname validation.
  • It will support both client and server operation.
  • It may expose less safe and more flexible lower-level APIs, but they will be clearly delineated from the API that people should be using.

Current Status

This is still very incomplete, and under active development.

For a well designed network protocol you should be able to ask two questions, “Are these bytes a valid message?” and “Is this message valid for my current state?”

So, when we talk about parsing a protocol, we’re mostly talking about answering the first question. A declarative parser makes parsing much simpler by specifying what a valid message looks like (rather than the steps you need to take to parse it). By saying what the protocol looks like, instead of how to parse it, you can more easily recognize and discard invalid inputs. This project uses the construct library for parsing TLS messages.

At the time of writing this, this project can parse most TLS messages (that don't need any encryption, at least), and construct bytes out of these structured messages.

When we talk about processing, we’re talking about answering the second question. This project will use explicit state machines for the processing of TLS messages (and thus, handshake). An explicit state machine makes processing much simpler by specifying all the valid states and transitions and inputs that cause those transitions. And if you do all the message parsing before you try processing any messages it becomes easier to avoid strange state transitions in your processor, transitions that could lead to bugs.

I am currently working on the "processing" of the handshake -- this is the large major part left before I am able to make a release.

Example Use

A basic design for an example usage of this library using Twisted can be found here. Note that this is not a self-contained working sample code, its purpose is to just give you an idea of what it would potentially look like to use, once the implementation is more complete.


Python-TLS was being developed as one of the projects under Stripe's Open Source Retreat by Ashwini Oruganti. It also includes code and reviews from members of the PyCA community.


You can join #python-tls on Freenode to ask questions or get involved.