Teleport Cloud in 2021: Security Audit Results

Audit Results

This year we launched Teleport Cloud, a new service for providing a hosted version of Teleport Access Plane. One of the first problems the team had to tackle was how to secure the new infrastructure properly, and the team wanted to ensure the best possible results by engaging in an independent audit.

As with the Teleport core product, we engaged with Doyensec to provide an independent security audit of our production environment. At Teleport, we believe independent auditors offer the best insight into where we are weak. In addition, Doyensec has demonstrated that their teams’ skill and attention to detail in attacking our infrastructure are unmatched.

The audit occurred between January 11th and January 29th before we officially launched to customers in March. Therefore, some of the findings do reflect temporary solutions and unimplemented functionality that was in use before the production launch.

Get the Report

To get the report: https://goteleport.com/resources/audits/teleport-cloud-security-audit-2021/

Also, see our post about what we found in the Teleport product: https://goteleport.com/blog/security-audit-2021/

Why Audit?

Many companies use independent audits as a sales and compliance tool; the report is simply a blocker to selling to certain types of customers. Solutions to reported issues are direct workarounds to the findings of the audit.

But this sort of misses the point — the most important thing the independent auditors tell us is what we don’t know and where we need to invest. Taking an independent and fresh look at the software and production environment helps illuminate our blind spots.

It’s also not just about fixing the vulnerabilities found as presented but also taking a holistic view on what led to those vulnerabilities occurring, ensuring any workaround also receives a permanent solution and leads to an overall increase in security posture.

The rest of this article outlines what we learned from the first audit performed against Teleport Cloud and how we’re addressing the findings.

Important Lessons

Network Policy

When we started designing the security posture for Teleport Cloud, our philosophy was based on securing all internal interfaces the same way we secure public-facing interfaces. In our experience, it’s better to assume adversaries have infiltrated the security boundaries, and the most robust security we can deploy is an internet-facing strategy, such as using mTLS for internal connectivity.

This strategy takes a lot of time and effort to deploy, and as such, we still have gaps in implementing this setup.

While we assume an adversary can connect to internal services, our security roadmap still included a strategy to deploy Kubernetes network policies to configure firewalls to block arbitrary connections. This strategy is to create a defense-in-depth architecture.

What we missed was that we were not in a position to secure all internal interfaces before launch. Doyensec was also able to prove the ability to create arbitrary connections within our infrastructure by leveraging SSRF vulnerabilities within Teleport.

Deploying the network policy configuration allowed us to address the highest severity findings reported by Doyensec as workarounds. We’re continuing to work on our strategy of ensuring the ability to create arbitrary connections within our production network does not breach our security posture, as we continue to use network policies to make exploiting any single vulnerability harder.

Another fascinating find by Doyensec was the ability for a customer to corrupt the HTTP cookies used by our internal sales application. The cookies used by the internal sales application did not have sufficient isolation from subdomains that are customer-controlled, which potentially allowed an adversary to corrupt a user’s session.

We were missing the __Host prefix on cookies on the root domain to prevent subdomains from overriding the cookies on the root domain.

We further mitigated this by moving our internal sales application to Teleport Application Access. Teleport AAP fully isolates the domain of our internal applications from our customer-facing website, and we can avoid this class of problems. Teleport Application Access is under active development as a fully featured gateway to securing internal applications.

What the Auditors Will Find: the Testing Shortcuts and Unimplemented Code!

An audit can only reflect the current state of the software; an auditor has no insight into the future state of a system and reflects unimplemented functionality.

A great example is the re-usability of customer invite links. When testing how invite links work, it’s convenient to reuse a link more than once and shorten the test cycle by not continually generating new invites. So naturally, the audit uncovered the insecure design that inviting a new customer would allow them to create an unlimited number of accounts.

Another example is that on logout, we didn’t cancel the session. Again, this was lacking an implementation at the time of the audit.

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Roadmap and Recommendations

Above all else, hiring a top-tier audit firm helps provide the confidence that we’ve set the correct roadmap, prioritized the reasonable short-term goals, and made suitable strategic investments into our cloud security posture.

There is more to do.

We’re updating our security roadmap and building our resources to focus directly on the security of our products and cloud services. We’re solving the complicated technical problems with software supply chains, release engineering, how to recover accounts and password resets, hardening all internal interfaces, detecting anomalies, audit, and so much more.

We’re Hiring!

If you are interested in the technical aspects of security and want to be a key member in solving the types of problems described in this post, please reach out. You can check out our careers page or if you would like to discuss the team and culture, feel free to reach out to me directly at [email protected]

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