In the digital age, safeguarding our online applications from unauthorized access becomes paramount, particularly for AI applications processing sensitive data or interacting with personal user information.

An effective method to enhance security is by preventing brute force attacks. And guess what? Django, a popular Python web framework, makes it simpler for developers to implement such security measures through middleware.

Let’s dig into an elegant solution – the BruteForceProtectionMiddleware – which is specifically designed to protect your AI application from brute force attacks.

What is a brute force attack?

Before we proceed, it’s important to understand what brute force attacks are.

In simple terms, a brute force attack is a method used by attackers to gain unauthorized access to a user’s account by systematically guessing every possible password until the correct one is found. It’s akin to trying every key on a keychain to unlock a door. This method is time-consuming and requires a lot of computational resources, but with modern computing power, it’s unfortunately relatively easy to execute.

The role of Django middleware in security

Django middleware is a framework of hooks into Django’s request/response processing. It’s a lightweight, low-level plugin system for globally altering Django’s input or output.

Each middleware component is responsible for doing something with the request or response objects. They can process a request before the view (code that returns the response) is called, process a response before it’s sent to the client, or both. Middleware plays a critical role in enabling security features like authentication, content security policy, cross-site request forgery protection, and, as we are about to see, prevention against brute force attacks.

BruteForceProtectionMiddleware: A Deep Dive

Let’s explore the provided BruteForceProtectionMiddleware snippet which showcases a practical approach to mitigating brute force attacks.


# your_app/
class BruteForceProtectionMiddleware:
    def __init__(self, get_response):
        self.get_response = get_response

    def __call__(self, request):
        response = self.get_response(request)
        print(response)  # For debugging, print the response object

        # Check if the request is for the login page and the method is POST
        if request.path == settings.LOGIN_URL and request.method == "POST":
            # Get the IP address of the client
            ip_address = request.META.get("REMOTE_ADDR")

            # Increment the failed login attempt count for this IP address
            cache_key = f"login_attempts:{ip_address}"
            login_attempts = cache.get(cache_key, 0)
            if response.status_code != 200:
                cache.set(cache_key, login_attempts + 1, timeout=settings.BRUTE_FORCE_TIMEOUT)

            # If the login attempts exceed the threshold, block further attempts
            if login_attempts >= settings.BRUTE_FORCE_THRESHOLD:
                return HttpResponseForbidden(
                    f"Too many login attempts. Please try again later after {settings.BRUTE_FORCE_TIMEOUT // 60} minutes."

        return response

    # ... other middlewares

BRUTE_FORCE_THRESHOLD = 3  # Allow only 3 failed login attempts
BRUTE_FORCE_TIMEOUT = 300  # Lock the user out for 5 minutes (300 seconds)

The code explained

The core idea is to limit the number of failed login attempts from a single IP address, thus preventing attackers from guessing passwords through brute force. Here’s a breakdown of how the code works:

  1. Middleware initialization: The middleware is initialized with a get_response function. This setup is required for all middleware in Django, as it sets up the response handling process.
  2. Request processing: The middleware checks each request to determine whether it’s a POST request made to the login page. This is critical because brute force attacks typically occur when an attacker tries to post multiple login attempts.
  3. Tracking login attempts: If the request matches a login attempt, the middleware retrieves the IP address of the client from the request metadata. It then uses Django’s cache system to track the number of failed login attempts associated with that IP address.
  4. Limiting attempts: Once the number of attempts exceeds a predefined threshold, the middleware blocks further attempts by returning a HttpResponseForbidden response, effectively locking out the attacker for a specified timeout period.

The benefits of using this middleware

  • Security enhancement: By limiting failed login attempts, the middleware provides a robust defense mechanism against brute force attacks.
  • Resource management: It helps conserve computational resources by avoiding the overhead of processing excessive failed logins, thus keeping those resources available for actual AI computations.
  • Behavior analysis: The logged attempt data can be used in conjunction with machine learning algorithms to identify potential malicious activities or to inform user experience improvements.
  • Compliance and trust: Implementing security measures like this can aid in meeting regulatory compliance and building user trust through enhanced security protocols.
  • Adaptive security integration: Over time, the collected data could feed into an AI system capable of predicting and automatically adjusting security measures based on perceived threat levels.

Implementing BruteForceProtectionMiddleware

To use this middleware in your Django project, follow these steps:

  1. Place the BruteForceProtectionMiddleware code in a file within your Django app, such as under your app.
  2. Update your to include this middleware in the MIDDLEWARE list.
  3. Configure the BRUTE_FORCE_THRESHOLD and BRUTE_FORCE_TIMEOUT settings to values that suit your application’s security needs.


Protecting your AI application from brute force attacks doesn’t have to be complicated.

With Django’s middleware capability and some Python coding, you can efficiently prevent unauthorized access attempts while preserving your application’s resources for genuine users. The BruteForceProtectionMiddleware is a testament to Django’s flexibility and power in building secure, efficient, and robust AI applications.

Remember, in cybersecurity, prevention is always better than cure. Implementing proactive security measures not only protects your application but also builds trust among your user base by demonstrating a commitment to safeguarding their data.

Categorized in:

MLOps, Models deployment, Programming,

Last Update: 09/03/2024