Dockerrun AWS configuration exposure

By
Manieendar Mohan
Published on
29 May 2024
5 min read
Vulnerability

Dockerrun AWS configuration exposure refers to a security vulnerability that can occur when sensitive configuration details, such as credentials and API keys, are inadvertently exposed in the Dockerrun.aws.json file.

This file is used by AWS Elastic Beanstalk to define how to run Docker containers and contains configurations for the Docker environment.

How does Dockerrun AWS configuration exposure work?

Dockerrun AWS configuration exposure occurs when sensitive configuration details within the Dockerrun.aws.json file are improperly handled, leading to potential security vulnerabilities.

Exposure typically happens when sensitive information such as API keys, database credentials, and passwords are hardcoded directly into the Dockerrun.aws.json file.

This data can be easily accessed by anyone with access to the file, posing a significant security risk. Another common cause of exposure is improper access controls.

If file permissions are misconfigured, unauthorized users might gain access to sensitive information. Additionally, if the Dockerrun.aws.json file is inadvertently included in public code repositories, the sensitive data becomes accessible to the public.

The risk is exacerbated when sensitive data is stored in plain text without encryption, making it easier for malicious actors to exploit.

What are the impacts of Dockerrun AWS configuration exposure vulnerability?

The impact of Dockerrun AWS configuration exposure can be significant, leading to various security and operational risks.

1. Unauthorized access

Compromised credentials: If sensitive credentials such as API keys, passwords, and tokens are exposed, malicious actors can gain unauthorized access to your AWS resources, applications, and databases.

Resource misuse: Attackers can use exposed credentials to consume AWS resources, leading to increased costs and potential denial of service for legitimate users.

2. Data breach

Sensitive data exposure: Exposed configuration details can include database connection strings and other sensitive information, leading to data breaches and leakage of confidential information.

Regulatory non-compliance: A data breach resulting from exposed configuration details can lead to non-compliance with data protection regulations like GDPR, HIPAA, and others, potentially resulting in legal penalties and fines.

3. Service disruption

Application downtime: Unauthorized modifications or disruptions caused by attackers can lead to significant downtime, affecting business operations and user experience.

Operational delays: Recovery from an incident caused by configuration exposure can be time-consuming, leading to delays in project timelines and operational inefficiencies.

4. Financial loss

Increased costs: Misuse of AWS resources by unauthorized users can lead to unexpected and high operational costs.

Reputation damage: Data breaches and service disruptions can damage the organization’s reputation, leading to loss of customer trust and potential revenue loss.

5. Security threats

Malware and ransomware: Exposed credentials can be exploited to deploy malware or ransomware, further compromising the security and integrity of your systems.

Escalation of privileges: Attackers can use exposed information to escalate their privileges within the AWS environment, gaining deeper access to critical systems and data.

How can you prevent Dockerrun AWS configuration exposure vulnerability?

Preventing Dockerrun AWS configuration exposure involves implementing a series of best practices to securely manage and protect sensitive configuration data.

1. Avoid hardcoding sensitive information

  • Use AWS secrets manager: Store sensitive information like API keys, database credentials, and tokens in AWS Secrets Manager. Reference these secrets in your Dockerrun.aws.json file without exposing them directly.

  • AWS systems manager parameter store: Like Secrets Manager, use Parameter Store to manage configuration data and secrets securely.

2. Environment variables

  • Securely managed environment variables: Use environment variables to inject sensitive information at runtime. Ensure these environment variables are managed securely using AWS Elastic Beanstalk environment properties or other secure methods.

3. Proper access controls

  • Restrict file access: Set appropriate file permissions to ensure that only authorized users and services can access the Dockerrun.aws.json file.

  • IAM roles and policies: Use AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) roles and policies to control access to sensitive data and ensure the principle of least privilege is followed.

4. Encryption

  • Encrypt sensitive data: Ensure that sensitive data is encrypted both at rest and in transit. Use AWS Key Management Service (KMS) to manage encryption keys.

  • Transport Layer Security (TLS): Use TLS to encrypt data in transit between your application and AWS services.

5. Code reviews and automated scanning

  • Manual code reviews: Conduct regular code reviews to ensure that sensitive information is not hardcoded in the Dockerrun.aws.json file or other configuration files.

  • Automated scanning tools: There are many automated scanning tools such as Beagle Security which can be used to scan for exposed secrets and sensitive information in your codebase.

6. Regular audits and monitoring

  • Security audits: Perform regular security audits to check for potential exposures and compliance with security best practices.

  • Monitoring and alerts: Set up monitoring and alerts for unusual access patterns or modifications to sensitive configuration files.

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Written by
Manieendar Mohan
Manieendar Mohan
Cyber Security Lead Engineer
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