Why is running a Kubernetes employee challenge a good idea?

Bring a little competition to the table and the excitement of learning the Kubernetes basics is a bit more fun.

Kubernetes is an open source orchestration platform which automates the process of deploying and scaling container applications. Over the last years our customer base and the maturity of our services aligned with Kubernetes has grown hand in hand. Kubernetes has been the buzzword of the last years and is about to become the standard for running modern applications. For the good and the bad. The good for its scalability and robustness, for the bad that this platform is not always the best fit for all needs when it comes to cost effectiveness and ease of management due to high degree of complexity.

Anyways, training the different roles in our company to understand the scenarios and to be able to coach and advise our customers, is an important responsibility. Understanding how our customers are building and deploying their application in these environments are key to also explain what value a Managed Service Partner like Basefarm can bring to this service. And to fulfill the cycle, collect important feedback from our customers to improve and mature the service further.


In May and June, we arranged a Zero to Hero AKS Skill Challenge together with Microsoft with the main focus on Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS). All participants went through several hands-on modules where they created clusters, explored deployments options for pods, monitored health of a cluster and scaled applications. The challenge got a lot of good feedback and was a great success with almost 40 participants from different departments attending the challenge.

With even more people upgrading their skills in a fun way, we have increased our ability to continuously deliver value to our customers which is key to how we develop and improve our services for the future.

By Geir Morten Allum, Product Manager, Azure services in Basefarm



Local privilege escalation vulnerability in Linux

Published: 2021-06-11

“A flaw was found in polkit. When a requesting process disconnects from dbus-daemon just before the call to polkit_system_bus_name_get_creds_sync starts, the process cannot get a unique uid and pid of the process and it cannot verify the privileges of the requesting process.” The error is not handled correctly and the request is granted access.

As this vulnerability is very easy to exploit patching should be done as soon as possible.

Internally this is being tracked in BF-VLN-2292713 with the highest priority.

Who is reeling in the phish?

…or what happens if a link in a phishing e-mail is clicked?

It is a hard question to answer because attackers usually implement filtering methods. For example:

  • If you have an apple device you get directed to one place
  • If two hours go by before you click the link, its sent to a different place
  • Or if the same link is clicked again, from a different source the request is sent to a legitimate site.

An example…

A few years back the payment of my Spotify account failed a few times due to switching credit cards. In a stressed situation I checked my e-mail on the phone whilst waiting for a takeaway coffee. Another (third one!) failed payment notification from Spotify had arrived. Stressed and frustrated I never thought twice about clicking the link and providing my new credit card number.

Not until a database error page was returned rather than a payment success dito, I understood what (might) have happened.

I blocked my new credit card three days after it was activated, annoying – yes, but the alternative was not really an option.

A few scenarios…

The example above is perhaps the most likely one, where you are redirected to a location somewhere (for ex. a forged site) where an adversary would try to get hold of credit card details.

If its bad, they would mimic Office 365 for example (company branding and all), to try and get hold of valid account credentials. Most often this is to access your e-mail opening up the possibility to reset passwords in other places.

The worst-case scenario is if the attacker get the recipient to download and click on files, for example because C++ libraries supposedly need updating to get site functionality to run properly or a similar plausibel-sounding reason to bait clicks.

Microsoft has recently published warnings about the latest scenario and is providing more technical details on how that happens:

So, what can be done?

The most important thing to remember is that you should never be afraid to let someone know that you might have clicked on something phishy.

Like calling the credit card company or… contacting your CyberSOC or SIRT staff!

That is the only way anyone can help.

The phish should have been stopped in the mail filters. Installation of malware should have been stopped by anti-malware systems. However, a complete IT environment is sometimes like a Swiss cheese model with different holes in different places and different owners and responsibilities and given the right situation and the right parameters sometimes something will get through.

Eventually someone is going to click something!

Even IT security professionals…

Showing a laptop being updated

Supply chain attacks and Zero-days

The year 2021 has seen several high profiled vulnerabilities being actively exploited in big
and popular software, including Microsoft Exchange and Solar Winds Orion.
Experience shows that in some cases it is too late to patch even after a few days.
Many organizations work with the guideline of patching within 30 days, if the vendor states the
update is of important nature. This is an attempt to verify that the patch does not cause any
adverse effects. The need for a vigilant Vulnerability Management process that continuously triage
published vulnerabilities is becoming clear.

Some of the issues published lately is Supply chain attacks, where an attacker manipulates
products or product delivery mechanisms prior to receipt by a final consumer or exploiting
previously unknown vulnerabilities (so called Zero Days). Defending against these attacks is in
some cases not possible, or at least demands such a high level of security that it often is difficult
to stay productive and profitable. Seemingly in some cases it seems like the best an organization
can do is to not be the weakest link and the easiest target.

It is important to prepare for an attack and have a plan for incident response. Perform exercises.
Deploy a security framework in order to engage in continuous improvement of the security

0-days in Microsoft exchange servers

Published: 2021-03-02

“Microsoft has detected multiple 0-day exploits being used to attack on-premises versions of Microsoft Exchange Server in limited and targeted attacks. In the attacks observed, the threat actor used these vulnerabilities to access on-premises Exchange servers which enabled access to email accounts, and allowed installation of additional malware to facilitate long-term access to victim environments.”

As these vulnerabilities are currently being exploited and used in targeted attacks, patching should be done as soon as possible.
Along with attack details and information about these vulnerabilities, Microsoft also published how to scan exchange log files for indicators of compromise, which is also recommended to do.

Update 2020-03-07: There are currently many published exploits for this vulnerability. Patching this vulnerability is not enough, one must also investigate for potential breaches.

Internally this is being tracked in BF-VLN-2229454.

Centreon IT monitoring software and Russian Sandworm hackers

Basefarm has become aware of published news telling of Russian-accredited advanced persistent threat actors, given the name of Sandworm, having exploited Centreon IT monitoring software. Basefarm is aware that some news report mention Orange as on the customer-list of Centreon and while Basefarm is owned by Orange Business Services we would like to make it very clear that Basefarm does not use Centreon software.

From an article: “The French national cyber-security agency has linked a series of attacks that resulted in the breach of multiple French IT providers over a span of four years to the Russian-backed Sandworm hacking group.” and “… it is not yet clear if the attackers exploited a vulnerability in the exposed Centreon software or the victims were compromised through a supply chain attack.”.

If Basefarm is made aware of any Centreon installations hosted within its manged hosting then Basefarm will work together with such a customer.

Microsoft Windows Multiple Security Updates Affecting TCP/IP | CVE-2021-24074, CVE-2021-24094, and CVE-2021-24086

Published: 2021-02-09
MITRE CVE-2021-24074
MITRE CVE-2021-24094
MITRE CVE-2021-24086

“Microsoft released a set of fixes affecting Windows TCP/IP implementation that include two Critical Remote Code Execution (RCE) vulnerabilities (CVE-2021-24074, CVE-2021-24094) and an Important Denial of Service (DoS) vulnerability (CVE-2021-24086). The two RCE vulnerabilities are complex which make it difficult to create functional exploits, so they are not likely in the short term. We believe attackers will be able to create DoS exploits much more quickly and expect all three issues might be exploited with a DoS attack shortly after release. Thus, we recommend customers move quickly to apply Windows security updates this month.”

CVSS Base Score is 9.8, 9.8 and 7.5.

All have potential workarounds that should have a minimal operational impact.

Currently there is no exploit in the wild. If an exploit is published this vulnerability will become critical to mitigate as fast as possible.

We are tracking this internally as BF-VLN-2216447 with the highest priority and is currently evaluating this vulnerability and how to best handle it and ensure operational stability for all our customers.

For further general details we point to the Microsoft Security Response Center blog post about the topic.

Don’t get caught in the cold with ransomware

Before prevention is enabled.

Ransoms is sadly the trend these days. We want to share a cheap and effective way to enable prevention that most probably fail to consider.

Using the ransomware simulator from KnowBe4, RanSim, we could see that our endpoints did no prevention previously.

An easy way to minimize the attack surface for ransomware is to use the built-in feature in Windows 10 and Server 2019 called “Controlled Folder Access”. This can be managed with the following:

  • Windows Security app
  • Microsoft Intune
  • Mobile Device Management (MDM)
  • Microsoft Endpoint Configuration Manager
  • Group Policy
  • PowerShell

More information can be found here:

Our results after we enabled this prevention (and enabled it for RanSims test-folder) look a lot better.

It notes some things that got denied that should not be denied, but testing did not show any impact to the users experience. This only affected this particular untrusted application.

After prevention is enabled

CVE-2021-3156 | Heap-Based Buffer Overflow in Sudo

Published: 2021-01-26
MITRE CVE-2021-3156

“The Qualys Research Team has discovered a heap overflow vulnerability in sudo, a near-ubiquitous utility available on major Unix-like operating systems. Successful exploitation of this vulnerability allows any unprivileged user to gain root privileges on the vulnerable host.”

This is especially bad for multi-user environments where some users have login access, but should not have root access.

Through a responsible and coordinated vulnerability disclosure from Qualys’ part there should be updated version available for most affected systems. This vulnerability will probably affect most systems that make use of the sudo command.

CVSS Base Score is 7, but during our evaluation we did not agree that there are no privileges required. With the vector set to “Privileges Required” as “Low”, instead of “None” the CVSS score is 6.7. We consider this our environmental CVSS score for this vulnerability.

Currently there is no exploit in the wild. If an exploit is published this vulnerability will become critical to mitigate as fast as possible.

We are tracking this internally as BF-VLN-2208165 with an increased priority and have a goal of having all systems patched within 30 days.