ChannelLife New Zealand logo
Industry insider news for New Zealand's technology resellers
Story image

Mitiga discovers potential hidden dangers in Google Cloud Platform’s (GCP) cloud control plane

By Mitchell Hageman
Fri 6 May 2022

Mitiga has uncovered potential hidden dangers in the Cloud Control Plane, with the company saying that there may be significant risk in cloud development caused by not recognising the differences between cloud and traditional definitions of common architecture terms.

In a recently published blog, the company says there is a potentially dangerous vulnerability in Google Cloud Platform’s (GCP) cloud control plane, with new techniques being used by attackers to create sophisticated cloud compromises.

Research was conducted on the state of Google Cloud Platform’s Compute virtual machine (VM) service. When examining the application programming interface (API) exposed by GCP for the Compute VM service, the research found discrepancies with the getSerialPortOutput() configuration.

Findings also revealed that the cloud control plane would allow researchers to read data from serial ports, but from the VM’s perspective, writing to a serial port was a local action in that it did not require connectivity to a foreign system.

After a further set of tests involving internal traffic and enablement, it was discovered that GCP Compute VMs enabled users with appropriate permissions to modify machine metadata at runtime using the setMetadata API method. The data reflected that many scenarios could lead to a series of possible entry points for attackers, with low permission availability of certain points sparking serious cause for concern.

After discovering the concerns around API methods, Mitiga reached out to Google’s Vulnerability Research Program (VRP) to inform them of the findings, suggesting the following actions be taken:

  • Validate that getSerialPortOutput couldn’t be used to bypass Google’s metering for external network communication.
  • Restrict getSerialPortOutput to only higher-tiered roles and/or enable users to disable the API for a specific instance or project-wide.
  • Enable users to disable the addition or alteration of Compute VM metadata at runtime, either for a specific instance or project-wide.
  • Alter documentation to make it more clear that firewalls and other network controls do not entirely restrict access to VMs, and make it clear that GCP credentials with appropriate permissions enable command and control of systems without access to the subnet in which the VM resides.

Google Cloud acknowledged that certain portions of their documentation could be made clearer, and agreed to make changes to documentation indicating that the control plane can access VMs regardless of firewall settings.

They also worked closely with the security researchers on improving the documentation in case other customers, like them, had understood that firewalls would prevent access from Google.

It was also confirmed by the company that access described in the report is allowed. They say an attack from this vector requires privileged access, and if someone already had privileged access then it's unlikely that they would pick the metadata server as their attack method.

Mitiga recommended users gain a clear understanding of the risks involved in these types of systems, and suggests a number of tips to help carefully analyse and prepare a GCP environment. This includes not using built-in roles, considering adding an IAM deny policy for Compute users, and evaluating whether dangerous functionality is necessary.

They also recommend all customers enable VPC-SC where possible to prevent unauthorised access, and to run applications or services using low-privileged users.

Additionally, Google Cloud says customers can use VPC-SC to protect against ingress access via cloud console to GCP resources it protects (e.g. the GCE VM and its serial output).

Related stories
Top stories
Story image
Gaming
Hands-on review: 16GB PNY XLR8 Gaming EPIC-X 3600MHz DDR4
PNY sent over its 16GB XLR8 Gaming EPIC-X 3600MHz CL16 DDR4 module kit for testing. The kit contains two 8GB dual-channel modules with RGB lighting.
Story image
Cryptocurrency
NOWPayments launches new service to analyse cryptocurrency fees
NOWPayments has launched a new network fee optimisation solution that analyses current network fees and picks the most profitable option out of the client's payout wallets.
Story image
BitTitan
How to achieve your monthly recurring revenue goals
Monthly recurring revenue (MRR) is the ultimate goal, the most important issue on which anyone in the IT channel should focus.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Unknown connections: How safe is public WiFi in Aotearoa?
If it's not your own household WiFi, then who has control of your data and is your connection actually safe?
Story image
Data
MYOB improves data visibility and user access with Snowflake
"Solutions such as Snowflake allow us to better understand our customers and make evidence-based decisions on what features work best for them."
Story image
Cloud
Cloudflare outage in 19 data centers worldwide due to own error
Cloudflare says its outage for 19 of its data centers yesterday was because of a change in a long-running project to increase resilience in its busiest locations.
Story image
Infrastructure
Global investment in data centers more than doubled in 2021
DLA Piper's latest global survey finds the total investment in data center infrastructure worldwide rose from USD $24.4 billion in 2020 to USD $53.8 billion in 2021.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
Abnormal Security finds financial supply chain under threat
New research by Abnormal Security has found a rising trend in financial supply chain compromise as threat actors increasingly impersonate vendors.
Story image
10 Minute IT Jams
Video: 10 Minute IT Jams - An update from Rimini Street
Today we welcome back Daniel Benad, who is the GVP & regional GM for Oceania at Rimini Street.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Ingram Micro launches vendor-backed security program
Ingram Micro has unveiled a new program intended to give resellers the effective offerings their customers need to stay safe in the evolving threat landscape.
Story image
CRM
Microsoft launches app for modern selling experience
The new release is designed to enhance CRM systems with customer engagement data from Microsoft 365 and Microsoft Teams.
Story image
Market growth
Salesforce unveils new offerings for consumer goods companies
Salesforce has announced new products for consumer goods companies to help brands navigate increasing market complexity more easily.
Story image
Hybrid workforce
Why hybrid working is here to stay and how to ace it
Citrix's new report reveals hybrid workers are more productive and engaged at work than their office and completely remote counterparts.
Story image
Phishing
Online identity theft is rising in NZ - here’s what to do about it
It may start with a few stolen details online, but it could end with thousands of dollars missing or worse, a reputation down the drain.
Story image
Dark web
Cybercrime in Aotearoa: How does New Zealand law define it?
‘Cybercrime’ is a term we hear all the time, but what exactly is it, and how does New Zealand define it in legal terms?
Story image
Identity and Access Management
Ping Identity launches corporate venture capital fund
Ping Identity has launched a corporate venture capital fund to foster innovative offerings for the identity security market.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Threat actors ramp up their social engineering attacks
As people get better at identifying potential threats in their inbox, threat actors must evolve their methods. Their new M.O? Social engineering.
Story image
Government
Cyclone selected as NZ MOE software licensing partner
Following a recent Request for Proposal (RFP), Christchurch-based company Cyclone Computer Company Ltd (Cyclone) has been selected as The Ministry of Education’s software licensing partner.
Story image
Tech job moves
Tech job moves - ActiveCampaign, Arcserve, LogRhythm & Qlik
We round up all job appointments from June 17-22, 2022, in one place to keep you updated with the latest from across the tech industries.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Aqua Security, CIS create software supply chain security guide
Aqua Securityand the Center for Internet Security have together released the industry’s first formal guidelines for software supply chain security.
Story image
Cybersecurity
The link between cybersecurity, extremist threat and misinformation online in Aotearoa
Long story short, it's often the case that misinformation, threat and extremism link closely to cybersecurity issues and cyber harm.
Story image
Infrastructure
Lenovo announces launch of Retail Solutions portfolio in A/NZ
Lenovo has announced the launch of its Lenovo Retail Solutions portfolio across the A/NZ region, which they say will help retailers transform their business and face future retail demands.
Story image
SaaS
Varonis strengthens security capabilities for AWS and S3
Varonis has strengthened and expanded its cloud and security capabilities, with a critical aim of improving safety and boosting data visibility in Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3).
Story image
Review
Hands-on review: Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance Starter Kit A60
Philips’ range of Hue smart lighting promises to make any home a smart home. Techday’s Darren Price checks out the Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance Starter Kit A60.
Story image
INTERPOL
Hundreds arrested, millions seized in global INTERPOL investigation
A two-month-long investigation by INTERPOL this year involved 76 countries and clamped down on organised crime groups behind telecommunications and social engineering scams.
Story image
Cloud
Cloudera harnesses the power of cloud and data management for digital transformation
The data management landscape has changed significantly in recent years, with customer demands shifting and evolving in light of new technology and work processes.
Story image
Amazon Web Services / AWS
Zscaler, AWS accelerate onramp to the cloud with zero trust
Zscaler has announced an extension to its relationship with Amazon Web Services, as well as innovations built on Zscaler's Zero Trust architecture.
Story image
Entelar
How TruSens air purifiers can create healthier workspaces
The pandemic has heightened our awareness of our own and others’ health, and made us all much more conscious of the environments we work in.
Story image
Microsoft
Volpara, Microsoft project to detect cardiovascular issues
Volpara Health Technologies is working with Microsoft on a research and development project to speed up creating a product that detects and quantifies breast arterial calcifications (BACs).
Story image
Internet of Things
Domino's Pizza: A blueprint for secure enterprise IoT deployment
Increasingly, organisations are embracing smart technologies to underpin innovations that can enhance safety and productivity in every part of our lives, from industrial systems, utilities, and building management to various forms of business enablement.
Story image
Talend
Forrester names Talend Leader in enterprise data fabric
Forrester has named Talend a leader among enterprise data fabric providers in the Forrester Wave: Enterprise Data Fabric, Q2 2022 report.
Story image
Microsoft
TO THE NEW unveils A/NZ Managed Services for Microsoft Azure
TO THE NEW has released Managed Services for Microsoft Azure to meet the growing demand in the A/NZ market and globally.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Vulnerable APIs costing businesses billions every year
Large companies are particularly vulnerable to the security risks associated with exposed or unprotected APIs as they accelerate digital transformation.  
Story image
Sustainability
Honeywell launches new carbon energy management software for buildings
The new Carbon & Energy Management service allows building owners to track and optimise energy performance against carbon reduction goals, down to a device or asset level.
Story image
B2B
Corpay partners with supply chain platform PracBiz Exchange
Corpay's new partnership with PracBiz’s allows more than 4000 B2B suppliers on the latter's platform to use Corpay's global payments services.
Story image
FAQ
Techday's new Quickfire interview process explained
Techday is introducing a fantastic new streamlined editorial interview process. We explain the process and thoughts behind it.
Story image
CyberPower
CyberPower, Soft Solutions partner for NZ distribution
CyberPower Systems has signed Soft Solutions to distribute its UPS and power management products throughout New Zealand.
Story image
Mitel
Martello and Mitel renew and extend their partnership
Martello has entered into an Amended Agreement with key partner Mitel, laying out the commercial terms under which it provides the Mitel Performance Analytics (MPA) software for sale to Mitel customers and partners.
Story image
Network Security
Netskope announces zero trust network access updates
Customers can now apply zero trust principles across a range of hybrid work security needs, including SaaS, IaaS, private applications, and endpoint devices.
Story image
Citrix
The best ways to attract young talent during labour shortages
New research from Citrix reveals hybrid working and ventures into the metaverse are top of mind for Gen Z workers.
Story image
Microsoft
SMX partnership with Microsoft leads to NTT recognition
SMX has captured the attention of NTT after receiving positive reviews from businesses across Australasia and beyond for its email security.
Story image
Partnerships
Microsoft expands APAC Enabler Mentorship Program
"Mentors are the key to success for every professional. A good mentor is a coach, a guide, as well as a vocal advocate."
Story image
Cybersecurity
Why is NZ lagging behind the world in cybersecurity?
A recent report by TUANZ has revealed that we are ranked 56th in the world when it comes to cybersecurity - a look into why we're so behind and what needs to be done.
Story image
Cloud
NetApp announces winners of APAC Partner Excellence Awards
These awards recognise partners that have demonstrated success in delivering new cloud experiences, unlocking greater business value for their customers.