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A Django app that validates user passwords against the Pwned Passwords v2 API.

Project description

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django-pwnedpasswords-validator is a Django password validator that checks if a user-provided password exists in a data breach using the Pwned Passwords v2 API. All provided password data is k-anonymized before being sent to the API, so plaintext passwords never leave your server.


Pwned Passwords are more than half a billion passwords which have previously been exposed in data breaches. The service is detailed in the launch blog post then further expanded on with the release of version 2. The entire data set is both downloadable and searchable online via the Pwned Passwords page.


django-pwnedpasswords-validator is available for download through PyPi. You can install it right away using pip.

pip install django-pwnedpasswords-validator

Then, add django-pwnedpasswords-validator to your INSTALLED_APPS:


Finally, add django-pwnedpasswords-validator to AUTH_PASSWORD_VALIDATORS:

        'NAME': "django_pwnedpasswords_validator.validation.PwnedPasswordValidator"

If you’d like to customize the error message (the default is “This password has previously appeared in a data breach and should not be used.”), you can pass in an alternate in the OPTIONS parameter for the validator.

        'NAME': "django_pwnedpasswords_validator.validation.PwnedPasswordValidator",
        'OPTIONS': {
            'error_text': "Your password was found in a data breach.",

Security Note

No plaintext passwords ever leave your server using django-pwnedpasswords-validator.

How does that work? Well, the Pwned Passwords v2 API has a pretty cool k-anonymity implementation.


Formally, a data set can be said to hold the property of k-anonymity, if for every record in a released table, there are k − 1 other records identical to it.

This allows us to only provide the first 5 characters of the SHA-1 hash of the password in question. The API then responds with a list of SHA-1 hash suffixes with that prefix. On average, that list contains 478 results.

People smarter than I am have used math to prove that 5-character prefixes are sufficient to maintain k-anonymity for this database.

In short: your plaintext passwords are protected if you use this library. You won’t leak any enough data to identity which passwords you’re searching for.


Special thanks to Troy Hunt for collecting this data and providing this service.


Dan Loewenherz

See also

pwnedpasswords, a command-line utility and Python library for the Pwned Passwords v2 API.


Apache License, Version 2.0. See LICENSE for details.

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