HCSEC-2020-07 - Vault Enterprise Prefixed Mount Policies May Result In Unauthorized Namespace Access

Bulletin ID: HCSEC-2020-07
Affected Products / Versions: Vault Enterprise 0.11.0 and newer; fixed in 1.3.4.
Publication Date: 19 March, 2020

A vulnerability was identified in Vault Enterprise such that, under certain circumstances, existing nested-path policies may give access to Namespaces created after-the-fact. This vulnerability, CVE-2020-10661, affects Vault Enterprise versions 0.11 and newer and is fixed in 1.3.4.

Vault allows nested-paths when configuring a Secrets Engine. In addition, associated Policies can also be configured referring to the nested-path’s prefix.

An example of this is shown here:

# create mounts
vault secrets enable -path=foo/kv1 kv
vault secrets enable -path=foo/kv2 kv

# create a policy with foo/* permissions
vault policy write foo-kvs - <<EOF
path "foo/*" {
capabilities = ["create", "read", "update", "delete", "list"]

it was possible to configure a Namespace with the same name as an already existing, nested-path’s prefix.

For example:

# create a namespace
vault namespace create foo

Any entities with the previously created policy applied to them will be able to access resources inside this new Namespace.

Conditions required were:

  • Run Vault Enterprise version 0.11.0 or above.
  • Have configured Namespaces with the same name as existing, mounted prefixes.
  • Have configured Policies for these Secrets Engines.

As described above, this is a vulnerability with conditions existing only in a subset of Vault deployments and use-cases.

To address for existing namespaces/mounts:

  • Remount any mounts that collide with an existing namespace to a different path. (Note: This will revoke any leases that exist for that mount.)
  • Check on the policies on the current namespace that might be affected by a path overlap. Note that each affected policy should be checked since the intent could indeed be to grant access to a child namespace.
  • Update affected policies to be on the newly remounted prefix path.

To prevent this behavior from occurring operators should upgrade to Vault 1.3.4 or newer.

Please refer to Upgrading Vault for general guidance and version-specific upgrade notes.

This issue was identified by the Vault engineering team.

We deeply appreciate any effort to discover and disclose security vulnerabilities responsibly. For information about security at HashiCorp and the reporting of security vulnerabilities, please see https://hashicorp.com/security.