Oxeye today disclosed that it has discovered a critical vulnerability in the open source Backstage software used to build developer portals. Backstage was originally created by Spotify.
A 1.5.1 update to the Backstage platform remediated a sandbox escape vulnerability that can occur via a third-party Scaffolder plug-in that could be used to conduct unauthenticated remote code execution (RCE).
Oxeye CTO Ron Vider said Oxeye worked with Spotify to responsibly disclose the issue and enabled a patch to be created prior to the disclosure of the vulnerability, which Spotify gave a 9.8 out of 10 severity rating.
Backstage is now being advanced under the auspices of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF), but is already widely used by organizations such as American Airlines, Netflix, Splunk, Fidelity Investments, Epic Games and Palo Alto Networks, as well as by Spotify.
The vulnerability is another example of a potential template-based attack through which run shell commands can be manipulated to inject malware into an application development environment.
In general, separating the logic from the presentation layer as much as possible can greatly reduce exposure to the most dangerous template-based attacks.
Vider said Oxyeye is focusing its vulnerability research on cloud-native platforms such as Backstage that are generally being used to build modern applications based on a microservices architecture. It’s not clear to what degree organizations have transitioned away from more monolithic approaches to building applications, but it’s clear that a much larger percentage of applications are now being constructed using microservices.
Cybercriminals, of course, are targeting these platforms as part of a sustained effort to compromise software supply chains in the hope that the malware they inject will find its way into multiple downstream applications. Those attacks, in turn, are convincing more organizations to embrace DevSecOps best practices to better ensure the integrity of their software supply chains. The challenge is many of those attacks are being aimed at open source software projects that don’t always have enough resources to quickly develop a patch in the event a zero-day vulnerability is disclosed.
While it’s impossible to know the extent to which cybercriminals are already exploiting vulnerabilities in DevOps platforms, the level of cybersecurity scrutiny being applied has dramatically increased in the wake of a series of high-profile breaches. The Biden administration has even gone so far as to issue an executive order requiring federal agencies to better secure their software supply chains. As a result, DevOps teams should expect there to be a lot more DevOps platform vulnerability disclosures in the months ahead, and that those vulnerabilities will require immediate patching.
Like it or not, software supply chains are going to become more secure. The only thing left to be determined is the level of pain that will be experienced as more vulnerabilities are discovered in the DevOps platforms that were used to construct them.