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Article

Leadership Hijacking in Docker Swarm and Its Consequences

by 1,* and 1,2,*
1
Software and Information Systems Engineering, Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Beer Sheva 8410501, Israel
2
Telekom Innovation Labs, Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Beer Sheva 8410501, Israel
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Sotiris Kotsiantis and Alberto Guillén
Entropy 2021, 23(7), 914; https://doi.org/10.3390/e23070914
Received: 24 May 2021 / Revised: 22 June 2021 / Accepted: 5 July 2021 / Published: 19 July 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Swarms and Network Intelligence)
With the advent of microservice-based software architectures, an increasing number of modern cloud environments and enterprises use operating system level virtualization, which is often referred to as container infrastructures. Docker Swarm is one of the most popular container orchestration infrastructures, providing high availability and fault tolerance. Occasionally, discovered container escape vulnerabilities allow adversaries to execute code on the host operating system and operate within the cloud infrastructure. We show that Docker Swarm is currently not secured against misbehaving manager nodes. This allows a high impact, high probability privilege escalation attack, which we refer to as leadership hijacking, the possibility of which is neglected by the current cloud security literature. Cloud lateral movement and defense evasion payloads allow an adversary to leverage the Docker Swarm functionality to control each and every host in the underlying cluster. We demonstrate an end-to-end attack, in which an adversary with access to an application running on the cluster achieves full control of the cluster. To reduce the probability of a successful high impact attack, container orchestration infrastructures must reduce the trust level of participating nodes and, in particular, incorporate adversary immune leader election algorithms. View Full-Text
Keywords: Docker Swarm; leader election; privilege escalation; defense evasion; cloud Docker Swarm; leader election; privilege escalation; defense evasion; cloud
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MDPI and ACS Style

Farshteindiker, A.; Puzis, R. Leadership Hijacking in Docker Swarm and Its Consequences. Entropy 2021, 23, 914. https://doi.org/10.3390/e23070914

AMA Style

Farshteindiker A, Puzis R. Leadership Hijacking in Docker Swarm and Its Consequences. Entropy. 2021; 23(7):914. https://doi.org/10.3390/e23070914

Chicago/Turabian Style

Farshteindiker, Adi, and Rami Puzis. 2021. "Leadership Hijacking in Docker Swarm and Its Consequences" Entropy 23, no. 7: 914. https://doi.org/10.3390/e23070914

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