Sunday, 14 Jul 2024

How to Protect Your Data Access Passwords on 3rd Party Jupyter Hub Services

notebook for passwords

When using 3rd party Jupyter Hub services, it is crucial to properly protect your data access passwords. The connection between the notebook and kernel used for execution in a notebook is not encrypted. However, saving a file in the text editor does not use that connection. It’s a standard HTTP(S) request followed by writing directly to the filesystem.

If you trust the deployment to secure the connection down to the notebook server, saving a file should be safe. Here are some steps you can take to ensure the security of your passwords:

Encrypting Your Credentials

To protect your data access passwords, it is recommended to have an encrypted-at-rest credentials file. You can use the Fernet encryption tool, as it is convenient to work with in text environments. Here’s how you can encrypt and store your credentials:

  1. Generate and save a fernet key:

    key = cryptography.fernet.Fernet.generate_key()
  2. Build your credentials and store them in a local file:

    import json
    from cryptography.fernet import Fernet

encoder = Fernet(key)
encrypted_creds = encoder.encrypt(json.dumps(creds).encode(“utf8”))

with open(“mycreds.enc”, “wb”) as f:

3. Send the encrypted file to the cluster via file upload or text editor.

4. In your notebooks, retrieve the key via `getpass()` and decrypt the credentials:
import json
from getpass import getpass
from cryptography.fernet import Fernet

key = getpass("Credentials key: ")
decoder = Fernet(key)

with open("mycreds.enc", "rb") as f:
    creds = json.loads(decoder.decrypt("utf8"))

Security Considerations

While the above steps provide a certain level of security, it’s important to be aware of their limitations:

  • Credentials are stored encrypted at rest but are transmitted over the network, usually via HTTPS. However, they are not transmitted over the notebook to kernel TCP connection.
  • The encryption key is sent unencrypted over the network, but it is using an input request, which is less vulnerable to snooping than the iopub channel.
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To compromise your credentials, an attacker would need access to both the filesystem and the ability to sniff the network. Furthermore, these credentials are long-lived, so if someone eventually obtains both of these, they will have access to your credentials.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Is there a better way to protect my credentials?

A: The current approach provides a reasonable level of security. However, end-to-end encryption of the message through the input_request could enhance the security further. Implementing this feature would require careful consideration and might be challenging across different programming languages.

Q: How secure is the notebook server to kernel connection?

A: If the notebook server is running locally, such as in a container using localhost, the connection should be relatively secure. To further enhance security, the deployment can utilize the ipc transport or customize local configuration files to avoid using potentially more vulnerable TCP connections between the notebook and kernel.


Properly protecting your data access passwords when using 3rd party Jupyter Hub services is essential to ensure the security of your information. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can encrypt your credentials and mitigate the risk of unauthorized access. Remember to analyze the specific security measures implemented by your chosen deployment and stay informed about the latest best practices in data security.

For more information and expert advice on technology trends, visit Eireview.