Microsoft’s Anzure cloud-container technology allows hackers to directly update your files

Cybersecurity specialists from Intezer report the finding of a privilege escalation vulnerability in Microsoft Azure Functions whose exploitation would allow threat actors to escape from a container.

Experts mention that these containers run under the privileged Docker flag, so device files in the /dev directory can be shared between the Docker host and the container guest: “The failure exists because these device files have read and write permissions for other users,” the report notes.

The report adds that lax permissions on device files are not standard behavior. This condition becomes problematic because the Azure Functions environment contains 52 different partitions with file systems, which can be visible to all users.

“These partitions appeared to belong to other Azure Functions clients, although additional reports suggest that these partitions were only ordinary file systems used by the same operating system, including the Docker pmem0 host file system. Risk occurs when threat actors access the victims’ environment, a user with reduced privileges, for example.”

Experts found that by using the Debugfs utility, un privileged users can easily traverse the Azure Functions file system, as well as be able to edit any file on this resource.

Researchers found a way to avoid this limitation by making direct changes to the files: “We created a physical link through Debugfs in our container’s diff directory so that the changes would be irraded to our container,” the report notes. “This physical link still requires root permissions to edit, so this method also requires the use of zap_block to edit its content. The following is posix_fadvise to tell the kernel which read cache pages should be discarded to propagate through the Docker host file.”

Debugfs also supports a write mode for users to make changes to the underlying disk: “It’s important to note that writing to a mounted disk is usually a bad idea, as it can cause disk corruption.” With the ability to edit arbitrary files belonging to the Docker host, an attacker can make changes to the /etc/ file, which would allow an attack to propagate malicious objects shared through the container’s differences directory in addition to the ability to run remote code in the container.

So far Microsoft has not spoken about it. To learn more about information security risks, malware variants, vulnerabilities and information technologies, feel free to access the International Institute of Cyber Security (IICS) website.