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DoS attack on Glance service can lead to interruption or disruption


The typical Glance workflow allows authenticated users to create an image and upload the image content in a separate step. This can be abused by malicious users to flood the Glance database with entries for zero sized images.

Affected Services / Software

Glance, Icehouse, Juno, Kilo, Liberty


Glance by default allows an authenticated user to create zero size images. Those images do not consume resources on the storage backend and do not hit any limits for size, but do take up space in the database.

Malicious users can potentially cause database resource depletion with an endless flood of 'image-create' requests.

Recommended Actions

For current stable OpenStack releases, users can workaround this vulnerability by using rate-limiting proxies to cover access to the Glance API. Rate-limiting is a common mechanism to prevent DoS and Brute-Force attacks. Rate limiting on the API requests allows a delay in the consequences of the attack, but does not prevent it.

For example, if you are using a proxy such as Repose, enable the rate limiting feature by following these steps:


An alternative approach to mitigate this issue would be to restrict image creates to trusted administrators within your deployed Glance policy.json file.

 "add_image": "role:admin",

Another preventative action would be to monitor the logs to identify excessive image create requests. One example of such a log message from glance-api.log is as follows (single line, wrapped):

DEBUG glance.registry.client.v1.api [req-da1cafc0-f41f-4587-a484-672ba7f3546e
admin 8b04efc28055428c940505838314f262 - - -]
Adding image metadata... add_image_metadata

Contacts / References