Using Python Requests module to log into a site.

As a monitoring engineer, its my responsibility to ensure that the services I monitor are up and working. Most of the time this is normally just graphing some snmp oids, or writing a simple script to check a service is still alive.

This time, I needed to check the following.

      Customer Site was up (Return a 200 status code)
      ldap Auth is working
      Clients can log in
      Certain pages exist

Now most of the above is fairly easy, the site being up for instance is a simple check, connect to site, read response code alert if not 200, same with checking that certain pages exist. But what about testing the ldap auth and that clients can login. I decided the easist way to test everything all in one check was to write a script that actually logs into the site using the same mechanism as a client. I.e fills out a form and posts it to the server.

For this i decided to use the trusty Requests module (, as it makes dealing with sessions nice and easy. The result is the following script.

import logging
import requests
import re
url = ""

s = requests.session()
r = s.get(url,verify = False)

matchme = ‘meta content=”(.*)” name=”csrf-token” /’

csrf =,str(r.text))
payload = {
‘user[email]’ : ‘’,
‘user[password]’ : ‘apasswordgoeshere’,
‘authenticity_token’ :,
‘_portal_session’ : r.cookies[“_portal_session”]
r =,data=payload,verify = False)

So how does this code work, well first up with have the usual imports. Logging (not actually used, naughty steve), Requests (the module that will do most of the work) and RE, which is the python regex implementation.

First we set the url we will be attempting to log in against (this is set to but wont actually work :D).
Then we declare s as a requests.session object. This allows us to keep a single session for the life of the script, otherwise every request we sent via the request module would act like a separate session.
Then we declare r as the result of a requests.session.get against the url we will be attempting to login to. We do this for a couple of reasons, 1 to grab the session cookie, which is stored in the requests.session cookie jar for later use, and two so we can pull the CSRF-token which can then be posted back to the site to show we are genuine and not attempting a CrossSite attack (Cross-site request forgery explanation )

The line that starts with “matchme” is the regex expression we will be using to get the CSRF token, and we do that by defining “CSRF” as the result of,str(r.text)).

Next we build the payload which we are going to post to the form. Here you will need to break out a copy of chome/firebug and inspect the form you wish to submit against. You will need to look for the name attribute of the fields you would normally fill in. On the form I wrote this against, the fields I need to fill out were;




We also need to send the cookie we received on the first get, and the CSRF token.
So using this code

payload = {
'user[email]' : '',
'user[password]' : 'apasswordgoeshere',
'authenticity_token' :,
'_portal_session' : r.cookies["_portal_session"]

We build the payload by specifying a key pair, the key is on the left, the value on the right separated by a colon. so as you can see above we have the user[email] and user[password] key value pairs, also we have the authenticity_token and we send back the original cookie.

So now we have the payload we need to actually post this back to the server, which we do with

r =,data=payload,verify = False)

If all goes well if you print r.text you should now see the landing page after a successful login.

Let me know how it goes, and any questions, please feel free to ask.

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