The problem - current Bandit config is… not great
One of the most consistent pieces of feedback we’ve gotten is that Bandit’s config files are unwieldy and painful to use. Config files in Bandit have traditionally been used for a few unrelated things, but the most common use was for a project to specify which tests they want to run.
If a project wants to start using Bandit today they typically create a copy of the config file, define a profile within the config file that lists which tests should be included, and then run Bandit with that profile. There are a few problems with this approach though. There really haven’t been any good ways to find out what all of the plugin options are so it’s harder than it should have to be for a project that adopted Bandit several versions ago to know which new plugins are available. Listing out plugins by name in the config file is also tedious and error prone.
Config files have also traditionally contained all of the settings for each plugin. The idea was that projects may want to tune plugins in certain ways, but in practice we’ve found most don’t. They’d far rather have sane defaults with the ability to change a few values if required.
These and other frustrations with the current Bandit config have led us to rethink Bandit configs entirely and we believe we’ve come up with something that will make it far easier to use.
The solution - get rid of config for most users
We’re doing a few things to remove the need for config. All plugins will have a canonical ID (ie: B101). Projects that want to run (or exclude) specific plugins can pass these on the command line. So you can run something like:
bandit -i B101,B102,B103
If you find yourself using a specific set of tests you can also list these out in a separate profile file, which can include or exclude tests by name or ID. We believe profile files will be useful for workflows like penetration testing, where you want to run the same set of tests and don’t want to have to copy-paste commands.
What about settings? Settings are now built into the plugins themselves. We’ll have commands that expose the configurable settings, but most users will probably just want to use the default. If you do want to override a particular setting you can just put the one or two you want to change in your profile.
What about projects that already use Bandit?
For OpenStack projects that have been using config, we’ll propose the appropriate changes for you when the config changes are ready - you won’t have to do anything. For other users that want help porting their config files over, please reach out to us - we’re happy to help!
If you have any thoughts or questions about the config change please come to one of our weekly Security IRC meetings or drop by on #openstack-security.