There are times, when keeping your system up-to date does not help you against vulnerabilities. During these times, you want to have your servers and applications hardened as good as possible - including good Apparmor profiles. But even then, something bad can easily happen - and it's very good to see that others take care. Especially if these others are professionals, that take care for you, even if you did not ask them directly.
Tuesday, 2021-08-31, was such a day for our openSUSE infrastructure status page: SonarSource reported to us a pre-auth remote code execution at the https://status.opensuse.org/api/v1/incidents endpoint.
SonarSource, equally driven by studying and understanding real-world vulnerabilities, is trying to help the open-source community to secure their projects. They disclosed vulnerabilities in the open-source status page software Cachet - and informed us directly - that our running version is vulnerable to CVE-2021-39165. Turned out that the Cachet upstream project is meanwhile seen as dead - at least it went out of support by their original maintainers since a while. It went into this unsupported state unnoticed by us - and potentially also unnoticed by many others. A problem, that many other, dead open source projects sadly share.
- SonarSource informed our Security team 2021-08-31, 15:39
- Our Security team opened a ticket for us just two hours later, at 2021-08-31, 17:08
- Already one hour later, at 2021-08-31 18:29, Christian deployed a first hot-fix on our instances (Note: the original admin of the systems was on vacation)
- 2021-08-31 at 23:35, Christian already provided a collection of suspicious requests to the affected URL
- Meanwhile, there was a fix provided in a forked Github repository, which was applied to our installations one day later, 2021-09-01. This made our installations secure again (cross-checked by our Security Team and SonarSource). A response time of one day, even if the original upstream of a project is not available any longer - and the original admin of a system is on vacation! :-)
- ...and we started a long analysis of the "what" and "when"...
- In the end, we identified 6 requests from one suspicious IP, which we couldn't assign to someone we know. So we decided to distrust our installations. There might be a successful attack, even if we could not find any further evidence on the installed system (maybe thanks to the Apparmor profile?) or in the database. BUT: an attacker could have extracted user account data.
- The user accounts of the Cachet application are only used to inform our users about any infrastructure incident. An attacker might be able to log in and report fake incidents - or send out Emails to those, who subscribed to incident reports or updates. Something we don't like to see. Luckily, these accounts are in no way connected to the normal user accounts. They just existed on these systems, for exactly one purpose: informing our users.
- As result, we informed all users of the status.opensuse.org instances that they should change their password on a new system, setup from scratch. This new system is now deployed and in production, while the image of the old system is still available for further investigation.
Big kudos to Thomas Chauchefoin (SonarSource), Gianluca Gabrielli and Marcus Meissner (openSUSE Security Team) and Christian Boltz (openSUSE Heroes) for all their work, their good cooperation and quick reactions!