Old Apache Airflow installs leaking thousands of user credentials

Data Breach
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Older versions of Apache Airflow were found to have exposed credentials of popular services including cloud hosting providers (opens in new tab), social media platforms, and payment processing services (opens in new tab), according to researchers.

Apache Airflow is the most-starred open source (opens in new tab) workflow application on GitHub (opens in new tab) that’s used for automating business and IT tasks (opens in new tab).

Cybersecurity (opens in new tab) researchers at Intezer discovered (opens in new tab) that misconfigurations in older versions not just leaked data, but could also perhaps enabled malicious code execution on the exposed production environments.

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“This leak is extremely significant. Unlike more traditional credential leaks that impact individual user accounts, these credential leaks impact entire application framework instances,” Jake Williams, co-founder and chief technology officer at incident response company BreachQuest Inc., told SiliconANGLE

Insecure coding practices

Explaining the exposure, the researchers note that Airflow uses standard Python (opens in new tab) to create and schedule workflows. The project has had two major releases since 2015, though there have been several interim releases that have subsequently improved the security of the platform.  

To illustrate the fallacy in the older versions, the researchers note that Airflow versions prior to v1.10 allowed users to run ad-hoc queries against the database (opens in new tab) without any authentication, which is a dangerous ability to have on a production database exposed to the internet.

By focusing on the older, unsecure releases, the researchers discovered that misconfigured instances also exposed credentials, giving threat actors access to legitimate accounts and databases on platforms such as AWS (opens in new tab), Google Cloud (opens in new tab), WhatsApp (opens in new tab), Slack (opens in new tab), MySQL, Binance, PayPal (opens in new tab), Stripe (opens in new tab), and a lot more.

In a bizarre discovery, the researchers reveal that besides misconfiguration many of the credentials were exposed through insecure coding practices, such as hardcoded passwords in production code.

Intezer has notified all affected entities, urging them to fix their misconfigured Airflow instances, even as it asks Apache Airflow users to ensure they update their older instances to the latest one immediately.

Via SiliconANGLE (opens in new tab)

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.