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Unprotected Alternate Channel


Severity High
Score 8.7/10


Moby is an open-source container framework developed by Docker Inc. that is distributed as Docker, Mirantis Container Runtime, and various other downstream projects/products. The Moby daemon component (`dockerd`), which is developed as moby/moby, is commonly referred to as *Docker*. Swarm Mode, which is compiled in and delivered by default in dockerd and is thus present in most major Moby downstreams, is a simple, built-in container orchestrator that is implemented through a combination of SwarmKit and supporting network code. The overlay network driver is a core feature of Swarm Mode, providing isolated virtual LANs that allow communication between containers and services across the cluster. This driver is an implementation/user of VXLAN, which encapsulates link-layer (Ethernet) frames in UDP datagrams that tag the frame with a VXLAN Network ID (VNI) that identifies the originating overlay network. In addition, the overlay network driver supports an optional, off-by-default encrypted mode, which is especially useful when VXLAN packets traverses an untrusted network between nodes. Encrypted overlay networks function by encapsulating the VXLAN datagrams through the use of the IPsec Encapsulating Security Payload protocol in Transport mode. By deploying IPSec encapsulation, encrypted overlay networks gain the additional properties of source authentication through cryptographic proof, data integrity through check-summing, and confidentiality through encryption. When setting an endpoint up on an encrypted overlay network, Moby installs three iptables (Linux kernel firewall) rules that enforce both incoming and outgoing IPSec. These rules rely on the u32 iptables extension provided by the "xt_u32" kernel module to directly filter on a VXLAN packet's VNI field, so that IPSec guarantees can be enforced on encrypted overlay networks without interfering with other overlay networks or other users of VXLAN. Two iptables rules serve to filter incoming VXLAN datagrams with a VNI that corresponds to an encrypted network and discards unencrypted datagrams. The rules are appended to the end of the INPUT filter chain, following any rules that have been previously set by the system administrator. Administrator-set rules take precedence over the rules Moby sets to discard unencrypted VXLAN datagrams, which can potentially admit unencrypted datagrams that should have been discarded. The injection of arbitrary Ethernet frames can enable a Denial of Service attack. A sophisticated attacker may be able to establish a UDP or TCP connection by way of the container's outbound gateway that would otherwise be blocked by a stateful firewall, or carry out other escalations beyond simple injection by smuggling packets into the overlay network. As Mirantis Container Runtime's 20.10 releases are numbered differently, users of that platform should update to the pached version. Some workarounds are available. Close the VXLAN port (by default, UDP port 4789) to incoming traffic at the Internet boundary to prevent all VXLAN packet injection, and/or ensure that the `xt_u32` kernel module is available on all nodes of the Swarm cluster. This vulnerability affects versions 1.12.0-rc1 through 20.10.23, and 23.0.0-beta.1 through 23.0.2.

  • HIGH
  • HIGH
  • NONE
  • NONE
  • NONE
  • HIGH

CWE-420 - Unprotected Alternate Channel

The software protects a primary channel, but it does not use the same level of protection for an alternate channel.


Advisory Timeline

  • Published