Azure users running Linux VMs should update their systems right away

Cloud Security
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Four zero-day vulnerabilities in an open source (opens in new tab) piece of software that’s embedded in many popular Azure (opens in new tab) services can be exploited for privilege escalation and remote code execution attacks, report cybersecurity (opens in new tab) researchers. 

The vulnerabilities in the software agent named Open Management Infrastructure (OMI) were discovered by researchers at Wiz (opens in new tab), who estimate that they affect thousands of Azure customers, across millions of endpoints. 

The OMI agent is automatically deployed inside Linux (opens in new tab) virtual machines (VM (opens in new tab)) when users enable certain Azure services, the researchers point out.

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“One of the biggest challenges in preventing [cyberattacks] is that our digital supply chain is not transparent. If you don’t know what’s hidden in the services and products you use every day, how can you manage the risk?” argue the researchers.

Software supply chain blind spot

The vulnerabilities affect Azure customers on Linux machines, which, according to some estimates (opens in new tab), make up a sizable number of all Azure instances. 

These users put their VMs at risk when they use certain Azure services such as Azure Automation, Azure Automatic Update, Azure Log Analytics, Azure Configuration Management, and others.

In fact, Wiz researchers note that analyzing a small sample of Azure tenants revealed that over 65% were at risk of the vulnerabilities, colourfully named “OMIGOD” which was the researchers first reaction when they discovered them. 

“In addition to Azure cloud customers, other Microsoft customers are affected since OMI can be independently installed on any Linux machine and is frequently used on-premise,” the researchers add.

The good news is that Microsoft has shipped fixes for the issues as part of the September Patch Tuesday (opens in new tab) bundle, and Wiz urges all Azure users to ensure they are running patched versions of the OMI.

Mayank Sharma

With almost two decades of writing and reporting on Linux, Mayank Sharma would like everyone to think he’s TechRadar Pro’s expert on the topic. Of course, he’s just as interested in other computing topics, particularly cybersecurity, cloud, containers, and coding.