Researchers discover critical flaw in Azure Cosmos DB

A main flaw in Microsoft’s Azure Cosmos DB is placing 1000’s of corporations at possibility.

In a site post Thursday, Wiz protection scientists Nir Ohfeld and Sagi Tzadik in depth how they were in a position to achieve complete unrestricted access to the accounts and databases of quite a few thousand Microsoft Azure prospects, which include Fortune 500 corporations Coca-Cola and Exxon Mobil. The vulnerability, which they dubbed ChaosDB, has an effect on Azure’s flagship databases provider, Cosmos DB.

The story was to start with reported by Reuters Friday after Microsoft warned 1000’s of cloud prospects their databases may well be exposed. Exploiting the flaw could allow an attacker to steal the key keys of Cosmos DB prospects.

Ohfeld and Tzadik to start with uncovered the flaw two months back, whilst on a program research for new assault surfaces in the cloud. What they discovered was a series of flaws in the CosmosDB aspect created a loophole, “permitting any person to download, delete or manipulate a huge collection of industrial databases.” And in accordance to the site, exploiting it was trivial.

1st, Ohfeld and Tzadik accessed customers’ CosmosDB principal keys by exploiting a new assault vector discovered in a aspect referred to as the Jupyter Notebook. The remedy, as Wiz advises, is for prospects to modify their keys. Jupyter, a device for arranging and presenting numbers in a databases, was included to Cosmos DB in 2019 by Microsoft. According to the site, the aspect was automatically turned on for all Cosmos DBs this February.

“In small, the notebook container allowed for a privilege escalation into other buyer notebooks,” Ohfeld and Tzadik wrote in the site. “As a consequence, an attacker could achieve access to customers’ Cosmos DB principal keys and other extremely sensitive secrets and techniques, these as the notebook blob storage access token.”

From there, Ohfeld and Tzadik discovered that an attacker could leverage the keys for full admin access to all the details saved in the afflicted Cosmos DB accounts. Even though they credited Microsoft’s protection group for taking speedy motion to deal with the flaw, they also explained prospects may well continue to be afflicted, considering that their principal access keys were potentially exposed.

SearchSecurity contacted Microsoft to locate out how quite a few prospects were afflicted, but the scope continues to be unclear.

“We set this challenge straight away, to keep our prospects safe and sound and safeguarded. We thank the protection scientists for functioning beneath coordinated vulnerability disclosure,” a Microsoft spokesperson explained in an e-mail to SearchSecurity.

Probable for future influence

Microsoft has notified prospects who may well have been afflicted by the vulnerability. A Wiz spokesperson explained to SearchSecurity that Microsoft emailed three,300 Azure prospects. Which is extra than thirty% of Cosmos DB prospects, who were working with the vulnerable entry position aspect for the duration of Wiz’s weeklong investigation interval.

Jake Kouns, CEO and CISO at Threat Based Protection, explained to SearchSecurity that it is strange to have not provided Azure purchasers extra time to deal with the flaw ahead of publicly disclosing. “Now that they have created this media focus, it will very likely direct to attackers making an attempt to look into and exploit this challenge speedier,” he explained.

Even though Microsoft says it has not found proof that it really is been exploited earlier, Wiz explained to SearchSecurity that this is the variety of vulnerability a hacker could exploit with out leaving a lot of a trace. Additionally, the site states the flaw has existed anywhere from quite a few months to perhaps yrs.

“It is really extremely very likely that quite a few, quite a few extra Cosmos DB prospects were afflicted,” a Wiz spokesperson explained in an e-mail to SearchSecurity. “Due to the fact the prospective publicity is so catastrophic in this situation, we’re encouraging all prospects to modify their access keys.”

Cloud vulnerabilities raise one of a kind problems

The connect with to prospects to deal with this challenge helps make this situation strange, Kouns explained to SearchSecurity. Usually, with cloud vulnerabilities, the vendor is required to apply a deal with throughout its total buyer base. Cloud vulnerabilities have further factors that make them one of a kind, in both equally good and unfavorable approaches.

The strategy of monitoring vulnerabilities in the cloud has been long debated. Kouns explained monitoring vulnerabilities can be useful in some approaches, but in other approaches it is a horrible thought since it specifics just what an attacker needs to do. “Further more, a vast majority of cloud/SaaS vulnerabilities should be patched by the provider service provider, not the buyer,” he explained.

In this situation, whilst it has been disclosed, the vulnerability has not been assigned a CVE. In a series of tweets about the Cosmos DB flaw, researcher Kevin Beaumont explained this is a huge hole in cloud protection.

A single of the scientists involved in the Chaos DB disclosure was a former Microsoft employee who now is effective at Wiz. According to Kouns, the vulnerability was handled as a bug bounty for which Microsoft paid out $forty,000. This raised a query for him regarding no matter whether any prior know-how gained whilst functioning at Microsoft was utilized. Furthermore, he questioned if there will be a modify in bounty programs that may well exclude prior workforce from taking section.

Jake Williams, CTO at BreachQuest, explained to SearchSecurity a different factor the vulnerability highlights is the double-edged sword that is cloud computing. According to Williams, when a vulnerability is found in the default aspect in the system, all deployed property are vulnerable. Consequently, threat actors don’t want to scan the internet seeking for vulnerable situations they are all in a single position. Even so, there is an upside.

“As before long as the vulnerability is found, it can commonly be quickly patched,” Williams explained in a Twitter information to SearchSecurity. “This suggests the window for exploitation is generally shorter than with on-premise deployments, but the influence can be increased. Luckily, in this situation it seems protection scientists discovered the vulnerability ahead of any threat actors did. We may well not be so fortunate the upcoming time.”

SearchSecurity information writers Alexander Culafi and Shaun Nichols contributed to this report.