Secret leaks often occur when a sensitive piece of authentication data is stored with the source code of an application. Considering the source
code is intended to be deployed across multiple assets, including source code repositories or application hosting servers, the secrets might get
exposed to an unintended audience.
Why is this an issue?
In most cases, trust boundaries are violated when a secret is exposed in a source code repository or an uncontrolled deployment environment.
Unintended people who don’t need to know the secret might get access to it. They might then be able to use it to gain unwanted access to associated
services or resources.
The trust issue can be more or less severe depending on the people’s role and entitlement.
What is the potential impact?
AMQP URLs containing credentials allow publishing and consuming messages from the queue.
Below are some real-world scenarios that illustrate some impacts of an attacker exploiting the credentials.
Compromise of sensitive data
If the affected service is used to store or process personally identifiable information or other sensitive data, attackers knowing an
authentication secret could be able to access it. Depending on the type of data that is compromised, it could lead to privacy violations, identity
theft, financial loss, or other negative outcomes.
In most cases, a company suffering a sensitive data compromise will face a reputational loss when the security issue is publicly disclosed.
Due to this vulnerability, malware can be stored and spread, both to users of the service and to other potential targets.
A malware depends on
the attacker’s intentions, as the following examples show:
- Cryptojacking malware, whose goal is to "mine" cryptocurrencies on the affected computers or servers.
- Spyware that spies out sensitive information from victims.
In the worst case, malware can cause the target systems to be completely compromised and allow attackers to infiltrate the systems.
How to fix it
Revoke the secret
Revoke any leaked secrets and remove them from the application source code.
Before revoking the secret, ensure that no other applications or processes are using it. Other usages of the secret will also be impacted when the
secret is revoked.
Use a secret vault
A secret vault should be used to generate and store the new secret. This will ensure the secret’s security and prevent any further unexpected
Depending on the development platform and the leaked secret type, multiple solutions are currently available.
Noncompliant code example