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Deleted Glance image IDs may be reassigned


It is possible for image IDs from deleted images to be reassigned to other images. This creates the possibility that:

  • Alice creates a VM that boots from image ID X which has been shared with her by a trusted party, Bob.
  • Bob (image X's owner) deletes the image. As per design, Alice receives no notification this happened.
  • Mallory creates a new image and specifies that the ID should be X.
  • Mallory shares image X with Alice. Again, per design, Alice is not notified of this change.
  • Alice boots her VM without realizing that the image has changed.

It's worth noting that in this scenario Mallory needs to know Alice's project ID to share the new image with Alice. This isn't enough to mitigate the issue as project IDs weren't designed to be confidential.

Also, if the environment allows non-administrators to publish images, Mallory doesn't have to explicitly share with Alice or know her project ID to perform this attack.

Affected Services / Software

Glance, Liberty, Mitaka, Newton


Glance's image table doesn't maintain a list of previously used image IDs. Previously assigned image IDs will be listed in the image table as deleted, but these records may be removed (for performance reasons) with the `glance-manage db purge` utility or manually by an administrator.

If these records are removed a malicious user may intentionally upload a new image using the same ID (Glance allows an image creator to optionally specify the image ID). This would cause any victim instances referencing the ID to use an attacker supplied image.

Recommended Actions

The combination of purged Glance database entries and non-admin image upload is dangerous. In environments where normal users are permitted to upload images, the `images` table should not be purged. It is however safe to delete rows from `image_properties`, `image_tags`, `image_members`, and `image_locations` tables.

Contacts / References

Author: Travis McPeak, IBM

This OSSN : https://wiki.openstack.org/wiki/OSSN/OSSN-0075

Original LaunchPad Bug : https://bugs.launchpad.net/glance/+bug/1593799/

OpenStack Security ML : openstack-security@lists.openstack.org

OpenStack Security Group : https://launchpad.net/~openstack-ossg