Thursday, July 18, 2024

First-Ever Cyber Attack Via Kubernetes RBAC to Create Backdoor on Clusters

Recently, a new attack campaign has been discovered by the cybersecurity researchers at Aqua Security that exploits Kubernetes RBAC to assemble backdoors and mine cryptocurrency like Monero.

Kubernetes API access control system known as RBAC enables administrators to specify which service accounts or users have access to API operations and resources. 

This system provides precise access control and enhances security measures by limiting access to critical resources.

Cyber Attack Via Kubernetes RBAC

Threat actors can establish persistence on compromised clusters even after addressing the initial access misconfiguration by exploiting RBAC to enforce malicious access control policies.

An Aqua Security team named ‘Nautilus’ made a discovery of this new type of attack, which they called ‘RBAC Buster.’ It has been reported that 60 misconfigured Kubernetes clusters were compromised as a result of this campaign.

The threat actor established a powerful and covert persistence by crafting a new ClusterRole with almost full admin privileges, producing a ‘kube-controller’ ServiceAccount within the ‘kube-system’ namespace, and then linking the ClusterRole with the ServiceAccount via a ‘ClusterRoleBinding’.

Here the attacker sought to exploit the AWS access keys exposed in its K8s honeypots to:-

  • Establish an ongoing foothold in the system.
  • Extract sensitive information
  • Evade the cluster’s restrictions

Several existing deployments were also deleted by the attacker in different namespaces, which include:-

  • kube-secure-fhgxtsjh
  • kube-secure-fhgxt
  • api-proxy
  • worker-deployment

The perpetrator’s last move involved generating a DaemonSet to spread a Docker-hosted container image (“kubernetesio/kube-controller:1.0.1”) on every node as part of the attack.

The cryptocurrency miner is hidden within the container, which has been downloaded over 14,000 times in the last five months. By typosquatting the legitimate ‘kubernetesio’ account, the ‘kuberntesio/kube-controller’ container image deceives users. 

The image further imitates the essential ‘kube-controller-manager’ container image, responsible for detecting and addressing node failures, and runs within a Pod on every master node.

Upon examining the configuration file, it became apparent that the perpetrator had already mined 5 XMR and could earn up to $200 annually per worker.

Moreover, RBAC Buster attacks on Kubernetes clusters can result in severe outcomes such as:- 


Here below we have mentioned the security measures that are recommended by the experts to mitigate the threat:-

  • Prohibit unauthenticated requests from anonymous users.
  • Make sure to secure the API server.
  • Ensure to employ Role-Based Access Control (RBAC) effectively.
  • Enforce strict API access policies.
  • Regularly monitor audit logs.
  • Make sure to encrypt any secrets with proper encryption.
  • Always secure the account credentials hosted in the cluster.

Struggling to Apply The Security Patch in Your System? – 
Try All-in-One Patch Manager Plus


Latest articles

Octo Tempest Know for Attacking VMWare ESXi Servers Added RansomHub & Qilin to Its Arsenal

Threat actors often attack VMware ESXi servers since they accommodate many virtual machines, which...

TAG-100 Actors Using Open-Source Tools To Attack Gov & Private Orgs

Hackers exploit open-source tools to execute attacks because they are readily available, well-documented, and...

macOS Users Beware Of Weaponized Meeting App From North Korean Hackers

Meeting apps are often targeted and turned into weapons by hackers as they are...

Hackers Exploiting Legitimate RMM Tools With BugSleep Malware

Since October 2023, MuddyWater, which is an Iranian threat group linked to MOIS, has...

Cybercriminals Exploit Attack on Donald Trump for Crypto Scams

Researchers at Bitdefender Labs remain ever-vigilant, informing users about the latest scams and internet...

New TE.0 HTTP Request Smuggling Flaw Impacts Google Cloud Websites

HTTP Request Smuggling is a flaw in web security that is derived from variations...

Volcano Demon Group Attacking Organizations With LukaLocker Ransomware

The Volcano Demon group has been discovered spreading a new ransomware called LukaLocker, which...
Guru baran
Guru baran
Gurubaran is a co-founder of Cyber Security News and GBHackers On Security. He has 10+ years of experience as a Security Consultant, Editor, and Analyst in cybersecurity, technology, and communications.

Free Webinar

Low Rate DDoS Attack

9 of 10 sites on the AppTrana network have faced a DDoS attack in the last 30 days.
Some DDoS attacks could readily be blocked by rate-limiting, IP reputation checks and other basic mitigation methods.
More than 50% of the DDoS attacks are employing botnets to send slow DDoS attacks where millions of IPs are being employed to send one or two requests per minute..
Key takeaways include:

  • The mechanics of a low-DDoS attack
  • Fundamentals of behavioural AI and rate-limiting
  • Surgical mitigation actions to minimize false positives
  • Role of managed services in DDoS monitoring

Related Articles