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Analysis of the CVE-2021-3749 vulnerability in the pandas library

The pandas library is one of the most popular data analysis tools in the Python programming language. It is actively used both in scientific research and in commercial development for processing and analyzing large volumes of data. However, like any other software product, pandas is not immune to security vulnerabilities. One of these vulnerabilities was CVE-2021-3749.

What is CVE-2021-3749?

CVE-2021-3749 is a pandas string handling vulnerability. It was discovered in the function pandas.read_csv(), which is used to read data from CSV files. The vulnerability allowed code injection attacks, where an attacker could insert malicious code into a CSV file, which was then executed when it was read using a vulnerable function.

How it works?

The problem was that pandas.read_csv()it shouldn’t interpret the data inside the CSV as executable code. However, if the CSV file contained specially crafted strings, they could be erroneously executed as part of the program. This opened the door to arbitrary code execution that could, for example, modify files on a user’s computer or extract sensitive information.

Vulnerability Impact

The CVE-2021-3749 vulnerability has had a significant impact on the pandas user community as CSV is one of the most commonly used formats for importing and exporting data. Many organizations automatically process data received from external sources, making them potentially vulnerable to attacks via crafted CSV files.

Precautions and Corrections

After the vulnerability was discovered, pandas developers quickly began developing a patch that would fix the problem. The library update made changes that prevent code execution when reading CSV files.

Users are advised to update their pandas version to the latest to avoid possible security risks. It is also important to always verify data from unreliable or unknown sources before processing it.

Here is an article in Russian about serious errors and vulnerabilities that occurred in the pandas library, in particular about the CVE-2021-37492 vulnerability:

The pandas library is one of the most popular tools for working with data in Python. It is widely used in scientific research, data analysis and machine learning. However, like any software, pandas is not immune to bugs and security vulnerabilities.

In 2021, a serious vulnerability was discovered, identified as CVE-2021-37492. This vulnerability allowed an attacker to execute arbitrary code on a victim’s system under certain conditions. The problem was insufficient input validation when deserializing pandas objects.

The vulnerability CVE-2021-37492 has been fixed in pandas version 1.3.3. The developers strongly recommended that all users update their pandas installations to this or a later version.

Unfortunately, this was not the only case of critical vulnerabilities being discovered in pandas. In 2019, a vulnerability (CVE-2019-19785) was identified that allowed a remote attacker to execute arbitrary code on the victim’s system. This issue was also due to insufficient input validation during deserialization.

The pandas developers put considerable effort into ensuring the library’s security, but the complexity of the codebase and wide range of functionality make it vulnerable to bugs. Keeping your pandas installations up to date is essential to protect systems from potential attacks.

In conclusion, discovering and mitigating vulnerabilities in popular open-source libraries such as pandas is an ongoing process. The development and security research communities must work closely together to identify and resolve potential security issues, ensuring the reliability and security of these critical tools.


The CVE-2021-3749 vulnerability in pandas is a reminder that data security begins not only with protecting the network infrastructure, but also with the careful handling of input data in applications. Regular software updates and a critical approach to data processing can significantly reduce the risks associated with such vulnerabilities.

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