Kushal Das

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Python course inside of NSA via a FOIA request

Woke on on Sunday morning, and found Chris Swenson's tweet, he did a FOIA request about the Python course inside of NSA, and then scanned the almost 400 pages of course material. It is 118MB :)

I just went though the document quickly, and a few points from there.

  • isDivisibleBy7(), sounds like wriiten by a JAVA person :)
  • too many extra parathesis in the conditional statements.
  • same goes to while statement, while (i <= 20):
  • while (True)
  • They have an internal Python package index: http://bbtux022.gp.proj.nsa.ip.gov/PYPI (seems only for education purpose)
  • Their gitlab instance is: gitlab.coi.nsa.ic.gov
  • Exception handling came too late in the course.
  • They teach profiling using cProfile
  • They also teach f-strings.
  • They have some sort of internal cloud MACHINESHOP, most probably the instances are on CentOS/RHEL as they are using yum commands two years ago.
  • They have internal safari access too, but, again on http, http://ncmd-ebooks-1.ncmd.nsa.ic.gov/9781785283758
  • They also have an internal wikipedia dump or just some sort of proxy to the main instance, https://wikipedia.nsa.ic.gov/en/Colossally_abundant_number
  • An internal jupyter gallery which runs over HTTPS.
  • Mentions pickle, but, no mention of the security implications.
  • Internal pip mirror: https://pip.proj.nsa.ic.gov/
  • git installation instructions are for CentOS/RHEL/Ubuntu/Windows, no Debian :(