OpenStack Arbitrary File Access Flaw

A critical security vulnerability has been identified in OpenStack, a widely used open-source cloud computing platform.

The flaw tracked as CVE-2024-32498, allows authenticated attackers to gain unauthorized access to arbitrary files on the host system, potentially exposing sensitive data.


The vulnerability stems from improper input validation in OpenStack’s QCOW2 and VMDK image file handling.

The flaw affects OpenStack’s Nova and Glance components, which are responsible for managing and delivering virtual disk images.

An attacker can exploit this vulnerability by uploading a malicious image file, which then allows them to read arbitrary files on the host system.

The primary risk associated with this vulnerability is unauthorized access to sensitive data. By exploiting the flaw, an attacker can read arbitrary files on the host system, potentially exposing confidential information such as user data, system configurations, and security credentials.

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Attackers may use the access gained through this vulnerability to tamper with critical files. This could lead to data corruption, unauthorized modifications, or the introduction of malicious code into the system, compromising the integrity of the cloud environment.

Exposure of sensitive data due to this vulnerability could lead to violations of data protection regulations such as GDPR or HIPAA. This could result in legal consequences, financial penalties, and damage to the organization’s reputation.

Impact and Severity

Red Hat has classified this vulnerability as critical, given its potential to compromise sensitive data stored on cloud infrastructure.

The Common Vulnerability Scoring System (CVSS) has assigned a high severity score to this flaw, reflecting the significant risk it poses to cloud environments.

The vulnerability affects multiple versions of OpenStack, including:

  • Red Hat OpenStack Platform 16.2
  • OpenStack Nova and Glance components

Mitigation and Patches

Red Hat and the OpenStack community have released patches to address this vulnerability. Users and administrators are strongly advised to apply these updates immediately to mitigate the risk of exploitation.

To protect against this vulnerability, it is recommended that OpenStack users:

  • Apply the latest security patches provided by Red Hat and OpenStack.
  • Regularly review and update security configurations.
  • Monitor systems for any unusual activity that may indicate an attempted exploitation of this flaw.

As cloud environments continue to grow in complexity, maintaining robust security practices and promptly addressing vulnerabilities is crucial to protecting sensitive data and ensuring the integrity of cloud services.

The recently discovered vulnerability in OpenStack, identified as CVE-2024-32498, poses several significant risks to cloud data security. Here are the potential consequences:

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Gurubaran is a co-founder of Cyber Security News and GBHackers On Security. He has 10+ years of experience as a Security Consultant, Editor, and Analyst in cybersecurity, technology, and communications.