Nova compute log can get the password info from the user_data

Bug #1899229 reported by changzhi
This bug affects 1 person
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
OpenStack Compute (nova)
OpenStack Security Advisory
Won't Fix

Bug Description

Here is the log on /var/log/nova/nova-compute.log, we can see user_data='I2Nsb3VkLWNvbmZpZwpjaHBhc3N3ZDoKICBsaXN0OiB8CiAgICByb290OjEyMzQ1Njc4CiAgZXhwaXJlOiBGYWxzZQ==', if you use python to do base64 decode, it will translate to '#cloud-config\nchpasswd:\n list: |\n root:12345678\n expire: False', we can see the root password is 12345678. Here is the method:

b'#cloud-config\nchpasswd:\n list: |\n root:12345678\n expire: False'

Although the password is been encrypted but it is easy to decrypted.

So, in order to avoid this, maybe we don't need to display the password info?

Tags: api security
Revision history for this message
Balazs Gibizer (balazs-gibizer) wrote :

From nova perspective user_data is a transparent blob of information. Nova does not know if the user data contains passwords, security keys, or any other sensitive information. I'm not sure this is directly a nova security bug but it could be so I still marking it as such to get it evaluated from security perspective.

information type: Public → Private Security
tags: added: api security
Revision history for this message
Jeremy Stanley (fungi) wrote :

The cloud-init documentation/examples warn against using password auth, and especially plaintext password values:

The chpasswd module included in your example also supports one-way hashes:

Further, we issued an OSSN years ago suggesting that placing sensitive information within instance metadata is inherently unsafe:

Given the above, putting passwords, especially unhashed ones like those in your example, should be considered a grave mistake on the part of the user. I think it's safe to switch this report back to public (odds are hundreds of subscribers to nova bugs already got E-mail messages containing the bug description anyway), and treat it as a security hardening opportunity if there's interest in locking down or eliding the logged user data in some way.

Revision history for this message
Jeremy Stanley (fungi) wrote :

Also, the duplicate (bug 1899228) is still public anyway.

information type: Private Security → Public
Changed in ossa:
status: New → Won't Fix
Revision history for this message
Balazs Gibizer (balazs-gibizer) wrote :

I mark this confirmed from Nova perspective as Nova logs the user_data as described. Still as user_data is transparent to nova we cannot selectively not log it if it contains sensitive data. So either we always log it or never log it.

Changed in nova:
status: New → Confirmed
importance: Undecided → Wishlist
Revision history for this message
Nick Tait (nickthetait) wrote :

It doesn't seem right or possible that Nova would figure out which messages contain sensitive data. If there isn't a good reason (unlikely IMO) for Nova to be logging this info in the first place I would support removing this feature.

The only other option I see is like Jeremy said: user error. Challenging part is this kind of problem is difficult for a user to detect.

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