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Nova Networking does not enforce security group rules following a soft reboot of an instance


In deployments using Nova Networking, security group rules associated with an instance may not be enforced after a soft reboot. Nova is designed to apply the configured security group rules to an instance when certain operations are performed, such as a normal boot operation. If an operation has been performed that results in the clearing of security group rules, such as restarting the nova compute service, then performing a soft reboot of that instance will cause it to be started without security group rules being applied.

Deployments using Neutron are not impacted.

Affected Services / Software

Nova, Havana, Grizzly


In Nova deployments using Nova Networking, security groups are implemented using iptables, which is used to configure and control network traffic into Nova instances. When an instance is first booted using the normal boot method (nova boot <instance_id>), the security group rules are applied to that instance.

When an instance is rebooted using the soft reboot method (nova reboot <instance_id>), the security group rules are not reapplied since they should have been already applied when the instance was initially booted. If the security group rules have not been applied following an event that resulted in their clearing, such as restarting the compute service, the instance will be brought up without security group enforcement. This situation is most likely to arise in cases where the Nova compute service has been terminated or restarted, which removes all iptables rules. If a stopped instance is then started by using a soft reboot, it will not have any security group rules applied. A hard reboot (nova reboot --hard <instance_id>) reapplies the security group rules, so it is not susceptible to this issue.

Depending on the deployment architecture, this could breach security assumptions and leave an instance vulnerable to network based attacks.

This issue only affects the Havana and Grizzly releases. The Icehouse release does not allow a stopped instance to be started using a soft reboot, therefore this issue does not affect the Icehouse release.

Recommended Actions

Do not to use the soft reboot method to start instances from the stopped state. If instances are in the stopped state, boot using nova boot <instance_id> or reboot using nova reboot --hard <instance_id> to force the security group rules to be applied.

Contacts / References