Multiple critical security vulnerabilities in the runC command line tool, collectively named Leaky Vessels, have been disclosed, posing a significant threat to containerized environments. Tracked as CVE-2024-21626, CVE-2024-23651, CVE-2024-23652, and CVE-2024-23653, these flaws could allow threat actors to escape container boundaries and launch subsequent attacks, potentially gaining unauthorized access to the underlying host operating system and compromising sensitive data. The most severe vulnerability, CVE-2024-21626, could result in a container escape through the WORKDIR command. Despite no evidence of exploitation in the wild, these vulnerabilities have been responsibly addressed in runC version 1.1.12 released in response to disclosure in November 2023.
Snyk, the cybersecurity vendor, highlighted the potential impacts of these flaws, emphasizing the need for users to check for updates from container runtime environment vendors, including Docker, Kubernetes, cloud container services, and open-source communities. Docker, in an independent advisory, clarified that the vulnerabilities can be exploited if users actively engage with malicious content during the build process or by running a container from a rogue image. Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Google Cloud have also issued alerts, urging customers to take appropriate actions. The vulnerabilities underscore the ongoing challenges in securing cloud and container environments, with organizations cautioned against granting excessive permissions and administrative privileges, which can lead to misconfigurations and privilege escalation opportunities.
While runC maintainers have addressed these critical flaws, it’s essential for users to remain vigilant and update their container runtime environments to mitigate potential risks. The continuous discovery of vulnerabilities in widely used container engine components highlights the importance of proactive security measures in cloud-native ecosystems. As cloud and container security weaknesses persist as potential attack vectors, organizations are reminded to manage identities, access, and privileges diligently, as these factors often serve as the initial entry points for cyber threats, leading to broader system compromise or data exfiltration.