Thousands of etcd installs leak 750MB worth of passwords and keys

Pierluigi Paganini March 25, 2018

Thousands of etcd installations are currently leaking 750MB worth of passwords, keys, and sensitive data.

Thousands of servers belonging to private businesses and organizations are leaking credentials and potentially sensitive data.

It is quite easy for hackers to use the credentials to access the servers and steal sensitive data or use the machines to power cyber attacks.

According to the researcher Giovanni Collazo, querying the popular Shodan search engine he found almost 2,300 servers exposed online that were running etcd, which is a distributed key value store that provides a reliable way to store data across a cluster of machines.

This kind of database is usually used to store and distribute passwords and configuration settings among various servers and applications.

etcd implements a programming interface that could be queried and that by default return administrative login credentials without authentication.

Collazo wrote a simple script that ran through the 2,284 etcd servers he found open online by querying Shodan search engine and obtained all credentials stored on the servers.

“I did a simple search on shodan and came up with 2,284 etcd servers on the open internet. So I clicked a few and on the third try I saw what I was hoping not to see. CREDENTIALS, a lot of CREDENTIALS. Credentials for things like cms_admin, mysql_root, postgres, etc.” reads the post published by Collazo.

“In order to try to get a sense of the issue I downloaded the full shodan report and wrote a very simple script that basically called the etcd API and requested all keys. That’s basically equivalent to doing a database dump but over their very nice REST API.

GET http://<ip address>:2379/v2/keys/?recursive=true

This will return all the keys stored on the servers in JSON format.”

The expert stopped the script after it collected about 750 megabytes of data from 1,485 IPs. In the following table are reported the data retrieved by the researchers:

password 8781
aws_secret_access_key 650
secret_key 23
private_key 8

Collazo did not test the credentials but it is likely that many of them work and could be used to hack into the systems.

“Anyone with just a few minutes to spare could end up with a list of hundreds of database credentials which can be used to steal data, or perform ransomware attacks.”  Collazo wrote. 

In order to keep etcd installs secure it is necessary to enable authentication and get them offline if not required. Another mitigation consists of setting a firewall rule to avoid unauthorized people querying etcd server.

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Pierluigi Paganini

(Security Affairs – etcd, hacking)

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