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Users of Glance may be able to replace active image data


When Glance has been configured with the "show_multiple_locations" option enabled with default policy for set and delete locations, it is possible for a non-admin user having write access to the image metadata to replace active image data.

Affected Services / Software

Glance, Havana, Icehouse, Juno, Kilo, Liberty, Mitaka, Newton, Ocata


As a convenience to operators, Glance has a multiple location feature, disabled by default, that allows a single image to be stored in multiple places. This is intended to offer an extra degree of resilience by improving the availability of Glance images. This feature involves a user setting a new entry in an image's 'locations' list, not visible to users by default, via the Glance API. However, this process does not involve taking a checksum of the data in a newly created image location, and hence does not involve comparing the 'checksum' field of the image (which is always visible to users) with the checksum of any added locations. This design opens the possibility that a malicious user could create an image in Glance, set an additional location on that image pointing to an altered image, then delete the original location, so that consumers of the original image would unwittingly be using the malicious image. Note, however, that this attack vector cannot change the original image's checksum, and it is limited to images that are owned by the attacker.

Recommended Actions

The reach of this attack depends upon how broadly usage of the original image is spread among consumers who do not checksum images before they are used. Glance enables three ways for an image to be made available to other users:

  1. Making an image "public". This makes an image available to all users of a cloud. The ability to do this is governed by the 'publicize_image' policy, which is restricted to the admin role by default since the Juno release.
  2. Making an image "community". This feature is only available since Ocata. This makes an image available to all users of a cloud, but unlike a "public" image, it does not appear in the default image-list response of any user (other than the owner). It is governed by the 'communitize_image' policy, which is unrestricted by default.
  3. Making an image "shared". Glance allows project-to-project image sharing, in which a user in project A shares an image with project B by making project B a *member* of the image. The ability to do this is governed by the 'add_member' policy, which is unrestricted by default.
    • Project-to-project sharing is the default, based on the 'owner_is_tenant' configuration setting in Glance. In a cloud configured so that 'owner_is_tenant' is false, image sharing is user-to-user. This is a cloud-wide configuration, users may not determine whether sharing is project-to-project or owner-to-owner.

Note that what has been discussed so far is independent of the specific vulnerability discussed in this notice. We encourage cloud operators to review their current settings for the policies mentioned above. In particular, we recommend that the 'publicize_image' policy be restricted to admins (as it has been by default since the Juno release) so that users can rely on the trustworthiness of a "public" image.

With respect to the image location vulnerability described above, we recommend that operators review the settings of the following configuration options and policies:

  • The configuration option 'show_multiple_locations'. If this is set to False, this attack vector is not available.
  • The policy 'set_image_location'. When 'show_multiple_locations' is set to True, we recommend that this policy be restricted to administrators, and if necessary, to trusted users. It is currently unrestricted by default.
  • The policies 'get_image_location' and 'delete_image_location'. These policies are unrestricted by default (but note that if 'show_multiple_locations' is False, they do not come into play).

Additionally, image consumers should be encouraged to checksum images they consume and compare the result to the 'checksum' field in the response from the Images API.

Finally, in addition to reviewing the specific location policy targets mentioned above, we encourage operators to review the 'default' target in their Glance policy.json file. This target is used when the software references a policy target that is not specifically defined in the policy.json file, as may happen when new targets are introduced in the software but the policy file being used is from a prior release. Since Newton, Glance has shipped with "default":"role:admin", but prior to that, Glance shipped with "default":"", which would make any target not specifically mentioned in the file unrestricted.

Contacts / References

Author: Robert Clark, IBM

This OSSN : https://wiki.openstack.org/wiki/OSSN/OSSN-0065

Original LaunchPad Bug : https://bugs.launchpad.net/ossn/+bug/1549483

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

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

Multiple Image Location BP : https://blueprints.launchpad.net/glance/+spec/multiple-image-locations