Select * from OpenStack – A Steampipe Plugin for OpenStack

Although, more and more companies start to move their IT-Infrastructure from on-premise to public cloud solutions like Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure, public cloud providers are not an option for every organization. This is where private cloud platforms come into play as they give organizations direct control over their information, can be more energy efficient than other on-premise hosting solutions, and offer companies the possibility to manage their data centers efficiently. OpenStack is a widely deployed, open-source private cloud platform many companies and universities use.

With companies and organizations moving their resources to the cloud, the security of the cloud deployment moves into focus. To ensure security in private and public cloud deployments, cloud security benchmarks are developed. The Center for Internet Security (CIS) maintains several benchmarks for public cloud providers like the AWS Foundations Benchmark or the Azure Foundations Benchmark.

As the number of deployed resources in cloud deployments can be extensive, tools for automated checking of these benchmarks are needed. Steampipe is such a tool. It offers automated checks for various cloud providers with good coverage of security standards and compliance benchmarks.

Since for OpenStack no Steampipe plugin existed, we implemented it. This blog post aims to provide a deeper understanding of how OpenStack and Steampipe work and how the Steampipe plugin for OpenStack can be used to query deployed cloud resources for insecure configuration via SQL.

TL;DR; In this blog post we present our Steampipe plugin for Openstack we’ve just released as open source. It can help you to automate checking your OpenStack resource configuration for common security flaws.

Continue reading “Select * from OpenStack – A Steampipe Plugin for OpenStack”

Continue reading

Auditing AWS Environments


Related to our new TROOPERS workshop “Jump-Starting Public Cloud Security”, this post is going to describe some relevant components which need to be taken care of when constructing and auditing an Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud environment. Those include amongst others the general AWS account structure, Identity and Access Management (IAM), Auditing and Logging (CloudTrail and CloudWatch), Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) networks, as well as S3 buckets.

Continue reading “Auditing AWS Environments”

Continue reading

CSA Summit CEE and BSides Ljubljana 2017

At the end of last week I had the pleasure to visit the CSA Summit CEE and the Bsides Event in Ljubljana.

At CSA, I was talking about hypervisors, breakouts and an overview of security measures to protect the host. (Slides)
This ranged from the basic features some hypervisors provide out of the box to advanced features like SELinux, device domain models and XSM-FLASK. Continue reading “CSA Summit CEE and BSides Ljubljana 2017”

Continue reading


Today I had to give the pleasure to give a keynote at the SIGS DC Day on the need to evaluate Cloud Service Providers in a way that looks behind (or at least tries to) security whitepapers and certification reports. The slides can be found here.

I also particularly enjoyed the following two talks:

Sean O’Tool from Swisscom AG covered challenges of an infrastructure to cloud migration. Even though he only briefly touched the topic, I enjoyed his description of their firewalling model: Seeing that centralized firewall operation (or more precisely, rule design and approval) is limited/challenged by the understanding of the application, they transferred control over firewall rule sets (beyond a basic set of infrastructure/ground rules) to the application teams (using of features like OpenStack’s security groups, where he also talked about limitations of those). They compensated the loss of “centralized enforcement by a security group” with rule reviews — an approach that will become way more relevant (and necessary) in the future.

Marc Holitscher from Microsoft covered their “second line of defense”, which is a strong audit framework for controls they implement for their Azure/Office cloud environment. The relevant information (which was new for me too) was that they published a lot of audit information just recently. Details are described here.


Continue reading

A Trip to Hannover Messe

Once every few years I decide to head to Hannover and attend Hannover Messe, probably the largest industrial trade fair in Germany and apparently on of the most important in the world. As this year’s main topic was “Industrie 4.0” I simply could not resist to go out on a hunt for new and interesting (secure) smart connected magic! And trust me, I was not disappointed – here’s a few of my impressions.

Continue reading “A Trip to Hannover Messe”

Continue reading

Cloud Security & Trust


I gave a presentation on Cloud Security, Compliance & Trust the other day. The basic message was to look beyond the Cloud buzzword and see the actual technologies which are used, understand which security principles still apply and which need to be re-thought, giving a rough direction about regulatory compliance in Cloud environments (which of course is non-binding, as I’m not a lawyer), and the importance of trust evaluations (especially) when it comes to Cloud services.

Continue reading “Cloud Security & Trust”

Continue reading

Cisco Cloud Services Router 1000V and the Virtual Matryoshka

Recently we started playing around with Cisco’s virtual router, the CSR 1000V, while doing some protocol analysis. We found Cisco offering an BIN file for download (alternatively there is an ISO file which contains a GRUB boot loader and the BIN file, or an OVA file which contains a virtual machine description and the ISO file) and file(1) identifies it as DOS executable:

$ file csr1000v-universalk9.03.12.00.S.154-2.S-std.SPA.bin 
csr1000v-universalk9.03.12.00.S.154-2.S-std.SPA.bin: DOS executable (COM)

We didn’t manage to get the file running, neither in a (Free-)DOS environment, nor in a wine virtual DOS environment, except using the boot loader from the ISO file. So we became curious as for the structure and ingredients of the file.

Continue reading “Cisco Cloud Services Router 1000V and the Virtual Matryoshka”

Continue reading

IPv6 Requirements for Cloud Service Providers

Some weeks ago, at RIPE 68 in Warsaw, Sander Steffann gave a presentation about revising RIPE 554 which, in his own words, “is a template guideline for procurement of stuff that should do IPv6” (here’s the steganography transcript of the IPv6 working group session). Some of you will probably know RIPE 554 as a quite helpful document for identifying reasonable real-world requirements for IPv6 capable network devices (in particular at times when vendors quite willingly put an “IPv6 ready” sticker on all their gear…).

Continue reading “IPv6 Requirements for Cloud Service Providers”

Continue reading

Exploiting Hyper-V: How We Discovered MS13-092

During a recent research project we performed an in-depth security assessment of Microsoft’s virtualization technologies, including Hyper-V and Azure. While we already had experience in discovering security vulnerabilities in other virtual environments (e.g. here and here), this was our first research project on the Microsoft virtualization stack and we took care to use a structured evaluation strategy to cover all potential attack vectors.
Part of our research concentrated on the Hyper-V hypervisor itself and we discovered a critical vulnerability which can be exploited by an unprivileged virtual machine to crash the hypervisor and potentially compromise other virtual machines on the same physical host. This bug was recently patched, see MS13-092 and our corresponding post.
Continue reading “Exploiting Hyper-V: How We Discovered MS13-092”

Continue reading