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How to List Python Packages Across All Mac, Windows, and Linux Devices

Using Kolide, you can easily view and query Python Packages across your fleet.


Python is a popular programming language that often comes pre-installed on Mac, Windows, and Linux devices. In order for some Python programs to work, they must import third party libraries which are managed by a Python package manager.

Collection is done by enumerating common locations of Python packages and cannot detect custom installations like the ones generated with pyenv

The following file/folder patterns are searched:

  • /usr/local/lib/python%/dist-packages
  • /usr/local/lib/python%/site-packages
  • /opt/homebrew/lib/python%/dist-packages
  • /opt/homebrew/lib/python%/site-packages
  • /usr/lib/python%/dist-packages
  • /usr/lib/python%/site-package
  • /Library/Python/%/site-packages
  • /System/Library/Frameworks/Python.framework/Versions
  • Paths in [HU|HKLM]\SOFTWARE\Python\PythonCore\%\InstallPath

What Python Package Data Can Kolide Collect?

Kolide's endpoint agent bundles in osquery to efficiently collect Python Packages from Mac, Windows, and Linux devices in your fleet. Once collected, Kolide will parse, clean up, and centrally store this data in Inventory for your team to view, query, or export via API.

Kolide meticulously documents every piece of data returned so you can understand the results.

Python Packages Schema

Column Type Description
id Primary Key

Unique identifier for the object

device_id Foreign Key

Device associated with the entry

device_name Text

Display name of the device associated with the entry

author Text

Python package author

directory Text

Directory where Python modules are located

license Text

The author supplied license of the Python package

name Text

Python package display name

path Text

Path at which the module in the Python package resides

summary Text

Python package-supplied summary

version Text

The text representation of the version

version_major Bigint

version's semver major version (ex: 4.2.1 would yield 4)

version_minor Bigint

version's semver minor version (ex: 4.2.1 would yield 2)

version_patch Bigint

version's semver patch version (ex: 4.2.1 would yield 1)

version_subpatch Bigint

version's numeric status fourth position number (ex: would yield 6)

version_pre Text

version's semver pre-release version (ex: 1.2.3-prerelease+build would yield pre-release)

version_build Text

version's semver build version (ex: 1.2.3-prerelease+build would yield build)

collected_at Timestamp

Time the row of data was first collected in the database

updated_at Timestamp

Time the row of data was last changed in the database

What Can You Do With This Information?

Kolide enables you to write your own queries against the data the agent collects. This allows you to build your own reports and API endpoints. For example, you can:

Find all devices with a specific python package installed (eg. numpy)
Kolide SQL
  name AS package_name,
FROM device_python_packages WHERE name = 'numpy'
Example Results
version device_name package_name
1.21.2 crys numpy
1.16.0 Michelles-MacBook-Air numpy
1.16.0 dev-mac-pro numpy
1.15.3 Lenovo-ThinkPad-X1 numpy
1.16.5 focal-fossa-test-laptop numpy
1.17.4 balthazar numpy
Check the installed version of a specific package (eg. pip)
Kolide SQL
  COUNT(*) AS installations, 
FROM device_python_packages 
WHERE name = 'pip'
GROUP BY name, version
-- Order by three pieces of semantic version
  CAST(SPLIT_PART(version,'.',1) AS int) DESC, 
  CAST(SPLIT_PART(version,'.',2) AS int) DESC, 
-- Coalesce for the 3rd segment of semantic version in cases of 2 part version (eg. '18.1')
  CAST(COALESCE(SPLIT_PART(version,'.',1),'0') AS int) DESC
Example Results
name version installations
pip 22.0.4 7
pip 21.3.1 8
pip 21.2.4 9
pip 20.2.3 17
pip 20.0.2 12
pip 18.1 2
pip 9.0.1 1
Search for installations of suspected malicious python packages
Kolide SQL
evil_python_packages(package_name) AS (
FROM device_python_packages 
JOIN evil_python_packages ON package_name = name;
Example Results
package_name version device_name
noblessev2 2.1.1 dover
pytagora Lenovo-ThinkPad-X1-Yoga
yandex-yt 1.0.0 flame
genesisbot 0.5.1 balthazar
dpp-client 1.0.1 DESKTOP-FRC2567

Why Should I Collect Python Packages?

Since python is a widely used avenue for installing software, there is the potential for malicious actors to try and use it to distribute malware. Given the wide range of possible software that can be installed via python, it is important to regularly audit the list of installed packages on a machine.

Python packages are cataloged and tracked to allow:

  • Reviewing installed packages to verify desired device configuration
  • Discovering potential malicious software
  • Identifying out-of-date or otherwise vulnerable software packages

End-User Privacy Consideration

Kolide practices Honest Security. We believe that data should be collected from end-user devices transparently and with privacy in mind.

Python package installations may reveal a partial list of the applications installed on your device. This could include software used for personal or sensitive reasons.

When you use Kolide to list Python Package data from end-user devices, Kolide gives the people using those devices insight into exactly what data is collected, the privacy implications, and who on the IT team can see the data. This all happens in our end-user privacy center which can be accessed directly by employees.

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Related Device Properties:

Mac Homebrew Packages
software, packages, developers
NPM Packages
developers, software, packages
Windows Chocolatey Packages
software, packages, developers
View full list of Kolide's Device Properties
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