Researchers discover critical flaw in Azure Cosmos DB

Nancy J. Delong

A key flaw in Microsoft’s Azure Cosmos DB is placing thousands of providers at hazard.

In a website article Thursday, Wiz protection researchers Nir Ohfeld and Sagi Tzadik comprehensive how they ended up able to acquire total unrestricted obtain to the accounts and databases of various thousand Microsoft Azure buyers, like Fortune five hundred providers Coca-Cola and Exxon Mobil. The vulnerability, which they dubbed ChaosDB, has an effect on Azure’s flagship database company, Cosmos DB.

The story was initial noted by Reuters Friday right after Microsoft warned thousands of cloud buyers their databases could be uncovered. Exploiting the flaw could make it possible for an attacker to steal the magic formula keys of Cosmos DB buyers.

Ohfeld and Tzadik initial uncovered the flaw two weeks back, while on a regime look for for new attack surfaces in the cloud. What they discovered was a collection of flaws in the CosmosDB element produced a loophole, “allowing for any consumer to down load, delete or manipulate a huge selection of industrial databases.” And in accordance to the website, exploiting it was trivial.

1st, Ohfeld and Tzadik accessed customers’ CosmosDB primary keys by exploiting a new attack vector discovered in a element identified as the Jupyter Notebook. The cure, as Wiz advises, is for buyers to modify their keys. Jupyter, a device for organizing and presenting quantities in a database, was added to Cosmos DB in 2019 by Microsoft. According to the website, the element was mechanically turned on for all Cosmos DBs this February.

“In brief, the notebook container allowed for a privilege escalation into other buyer notebooks,” Ohfeld and Tzadik wrote in the website. “As a final result, an attacker could acquire obtain to customers’ Cosmos DB primary keys and other highly delicate tricks, these kinds of as the notebook blob storage obtain token.”

From there, Ohfeld and Tzadik discovered that an attacker could leverage the keys for comprehensive admin obtain to all the facts saved in the influenced Cosmos DB accounts. Although they credited Microsoft’s protection crew for taking immediate motion to deal with the flaw, they also said buyers could nonetheless be influenced, given that their primary obtain keys ended up perhaps uncovered.

SearchSecurity contacted Microsoft to come across out how numerous buyers ended up influenced, but the scope remains unclear.

“We mounted this issue straight away, to preserve our buyers harmless and safeguarded. We thank the protection researchers for working below coordinated vulnerability disclosure,” a Microsoft spokesperson said in an email to SearchSecurity.

Potential for long run impression

Microsoft has notified buyers who could have been influenced by the vulnerability. A Wiz spokesperson told SearchSecurity that Microsoft emailed three,300 Azure buyers. Which is far more than 30% of Cosmos DB buyers, who ended up employing the susceptible entry level element all through Wiz’s weeklong research period of time.

Jake Kouns, CEO and CISO at Hazard Based mostly Stability, told SearchSecurity that it is uncommon to have not provided Azure clientele far more time to deal with the flaw ahead of publicly disclosing. “Now that they have produced this media notice, it will most likely lead to attackers striving to investigate and exploit this issue a lot quicker,” he said.

Although Microsoft says it has not noticed evidence that it’s been exploited formerly, Wiz told SearchSecurity that this is the type of vulnerability a hacker could exploit with out leaving significantly of a trace. On top of that, the website states the flaw has existed everywhere from various months to maybe years.

“It truly is highly most likely that numerous, numerous far more Cosmos DB buyers ended up influenced,” a Wiz spokesperson said in an email to SearchSecurity. “Because the likely exposure is so catastrophic in this situation, we’re encouraging all buyers to modify their obtain keys.”

Cloud vulnerabilities increase one of a kind considerations

The simply call to buyers to deal with this issue helps make this situation uncommon, Kouns told SearchSecurity. Usually, with cloud vulnerabilities, the vendor is expected to apply a deal with throughout its total buyer base. Cloud vulnerabilities have extra aspects that make them one of a kind, in the two favourable and detrimental approaches.

The notion of monitoring vulnerabilities in the cloud has been lengthy debated. Kouns said monitoring vulnerabilities can be practical in some approaches, but in other approaches it is a terrible thought due to the fact it particulars particularly what an attacker requirements to do. “Further more, a wide the greater part of cloud/SaaS vulnerabilities need to be patched by the company supplier, not the buyer,” he said.

In this situation, while it has been disclosed, the vulnerability has not been assigned a CVE. In a collection of tweets about the Cosmos DB flaw, researcher Kevin Beaumont said this is a huge gap in cloud protection.

One particular of the researchers concerned in the Chaos DB disclosure was a previous Microsoft staff who now operates at Wiz. According to Kouns, the vulnerability was managed as a bug bounty for which Microsoft paid out $40,000. This raised a question for him concerning whether or not any prior knowledge obtained while working at Microsoft was utilized. Also, he questioned if there will be a modify in bounty packages that could exclude prior staff from taking component.

Jake Williams, CTO at BreachQuest, told SearchSecurity a further facet the vulnerability highlights is the double-edged sword that is cloud computing. According to Williams, when a vulnerability is found out in the default element in the platform, all deployed assets are susceptible. Hence, threat actors really do not want to scan the online looking for susceptible cases they are all in just one spot. Nevertheless, there is an upside.

“As quickly as the vulnerability is found out, it can ordinarily be promptly patched,” Williams said in a Twitter information to SearchSecurity. “This implies the window for exploitation is generally shorter than with on-premise deployments, but the impression can be greater. Luckily, in this situation it appears protection researchers discovered the vulnerability ahead of any threat actors did. We could not be so blessed the following time.”

SearchSecurity news writers Alexander Culafi and Shaun Nichols contributed to this short article.

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