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Authenticated users are able to update passwords without providing their current password


An authenticated user is able to change their password without providing their current password. This allows compromised authentication tokens to be used to permanently compromise a user account.

Affected Services / Software

Horizon, Keystone, Identity, Grizzly


Horizon allows a user to change their own password, which uses the Identity API to perform the password change. A user is required to supply their current password to successfully perform a password change. This requirement prevents a malicious user from stealing a user's authentication token and changing that user's password to permanently compromise their account. With this additional password check, a compromised authentication token only compromises the user account until the token is no longer valid due to expiration or revocation.

When using the Identity v3 API, a user is able to successfully change their password without supplying the correct current password. This leaves users vulnerable to permanently compromised accounts if their authentication token is compromised. The Identity v2 API is not vulnerable to this issue, as it has a separate API call for updating user passwords that properly validates the current password.

Recommended Actions

In the OpenStack Grizzly release, a user is allowed to update the attributes in their own entry by default. It is recommended that you restrict user updates to only be allowed by admin users. This is done by setting the "update_user" policy to "admin_required" in Keystone's policy.json file. Here is an example snippet of a properly configured policy.json file:

"identity:get_user": [["rule:admin_required"]],
"identity:list_users": [["rule:admin_required"]],
"identity:create_user": [["rule:admin_required"]],
"identity:update_user": [["rule:admin_required"]],
"identity:delete_user": [["rule:admin_required"]],

This change has the side-effect of restricting a user from updating any of their own attributes, not just their password.

In the OpenStack Havana release, the default policy is to only allow admin users to update attributes in user entries. In addition, Horizon will not allow a user to change their own password if it is using the Identity v3 API, even if Keystone is configured to allow users to update their own entries. Despite this restriction in Horizon, it is recommended to leave the default "update_user" policy setting as is, as an attacker could target Keystone directly without using Horizon to initiate a password change.

Contacts / References