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Date: Wed, 14 Jul 2021 14:27:43 -0700
From: CJ Cullen <>
Subject: [kubernetes] CVE-2021-25740: Endpoint & EndpointSlice permissions
 allow cross-Namespace forwarding

Hello Kubernetes Community,

A security issue was discovered with Kubernetes that could enable users to
send network traffic to locations they would otherwise not have access to
via a confused deputy attack.

This issue has been rated Low severity (
and assigned CVE-2021-25740.
Am I vulnerable?

If a potential attacker can create or edit Endpoints or EndpointSlices in
the Kubernetes API, they can potentially direct a LoadBalancer or Ingress
implementation to expose backend IPs the attacker should not have access to.

Importantly, if the target’s NetworkPolicy already trusts the Load Balancer
or Ingress implementation, NetworkPolicy can not be used to prevent
exposure from other namespaces, potentially bypassing any security controls
such as LoadBalancerSourceRanges.

This issue is a design flaw that cannot be fully mitigated without
user-facing changes. With this public announcement, we can begin
conversations about a long-term fix.
Affected Versions

All Kubernetes versions are affected.
How do I mitigate this vulnerability?

There is no patch for this issue, and it can currently only be mitigated by
restricting access to the vulnerable features. To mitigate the exposure, we
recommend restricting write access to Endpoints and EndpointSlices by
updating the system:aggregate-to-edit role using the attached file. This
will remove write access to Endpoints from the admin and edit roles:

# Allow kubectl auth reconcile to work

kubectl annotate --overwrite clusterrole/system:aggregate-to-edit

# Test reconcile, then run for real if happy

kubectl auth reconcile --remove-extra-permissions -f aggregate_to_edit.yaml

kubectl auth reconcile --remove-extra-permissions -f aggregate_to_edit.yaml

# Prevent autoreconciliation back to old state

kubectl annotate --overwrite clusterrole/system:aggregate-to-edit

Note: This will prevent new versions of Kubernetes from reconciling new
default permissions to this role. No new default permissions have been
added to this role since v1.14.0, but we recommend you remove the
annotation as soon as a fix or other mitigation is possible.

For use-cases that need to edit these resources, we recommend creating a
new purpose-built Role with the desired permissions, and using it only for
those cases.

Services with an empty selector rely on custom endpoints and are vulnerable
to the attack described above. We recommend manually auditing any such
usage. The following kubectl command will list all Services in a cluster
with their selector:

kubectl get svc --all-namespaces -o=custom-columns='

Note: Some Services without selectors specified may have their Endpoints
managed by other controllers or tools. For example, endpoints for the
default/kubernetes Service are managed by the Kubernetes API Server.

If you find evidence that this vulnerability has been exploited, please
Additional Advisory

A similar attack is possible using Ingress implementations that support
forwarding to ExternalName Services. This can be used to forward to
Services in other namespaces or, in some cases, sensitive endpoints within
the Ingress implementation. If you are using the Ingress API, we recommend
confirming that the implementation you’re using either does not support
forwarding to ExternalName Services or supports disabling the functionality.
Additional Details

See the GitHub issue for more updates:

Thank You,

Rob Scott on behalf of Kubernetes SIG Network and CJ Cullen on behalf of
the Kubernetes Product Security Committee

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