#ChaosDB / Vulnerability in the Azure Cosmos DB Jupyter Notebook

On August 21, 2021, an Azure CosmosDB vulnerability was reported for all Azure CosmosDB instances that are using Jupyter Notebooks. Using an active Jupyter Notebook an attacker was able to put his hands on the Azure CosmosDB keys that could be used to get access to the Azure CosmosDB.

Wizz.io describes in detail how somebody can use the vulnerability to steal the primary keys of the Azure CosmosDB instance. The vulnerability is serious because provides full access to Azure CosmosDB instance, including the data itself.
Microsoft Security Response Center provided a response to this vulnerability, including what were the actions that were taken by the Azure team to mitigate the problem.

You can find below key facts that we need to be aware of when you talk about #ChaosDB

  • If you did not receive a notification over email or from Azure Portal you were not affected
  • Until now Microsoft was not able to identify CosmosDB customers data that were accessed using this vulnerability by 3rd parties or security researches
  • Using Azure Diagnostic Logs you can identify all IPs that access the Azure CosmosDB, including the unusual ones.
  • There is no way for a customer to know if their Jupyter Notebook integration with Azure CosmosDB was enabled. You can open a ticket to the Microsoft team to find out if the feature was enabled for your account.
  • Microsoft notified over email and Azure Portal all customers that were affected by the vulnerability
  • The feature was disabled for all customers once the vulnerability was confirmed.
  • If you activate the functionality, but you don’t use it, it will be disabled automatically, as for other features of Azure
  • The vulnerability existing only for Azure CosmosDB customers that were using Jupyter Notebook or created an Azure CosmosDB instance between 7–13 August 2021
  • A part of Azure Cosmos DB Jupyter notebooks features is in public preview. In general, customers are not using cloud services that are in public preview for production systems.

What your team should do in the future:

  1. Establish a key/token rotation policy for all cloud and non-cloud resources where access is based on a key or token.
  2. Activate and use Azure Diagnostic Logs and Azure Defender to identify and spot unusual IPs that access your systems.
  3. Azure Security Center — Alerts for Azure Cosmos DB
  4. Advanced Threat Protection for Azure Cosmos DB
  5. Don’t use in production private and public preview services and features of cloud vendors.
  6. Review and invest in security best practices recommended by Azure CAF and AWS CAF (Cloud Adoption Framework), Azure WAF and AWS WAF (Well-Architecture Framework).
  7. Cloud governance is important, don’t ignore it and invest in it.