Cloudflare bug leaks personal info from 120,000 sites

Hackers are not exploiting 'Cloudbleed' flaw, says CTO

Cloudflare has been leaking personal information, passwords and software keys from over 120,000 sites and services onto the internet, the company has revealed.

The leak was due to a bug in the systems of the company, which offers anti-DDoS and CDN services for around six million websites, and affected companies such as Uber, OKCupid, Fitbit and more.

Advertisement - Article continues below

Discovered by Google security researcher Tavis Ormandy, the bug - which has already been dubbed 'Cloudbleed' after the Heartbleed openSSL vulnerability discovered in 2014 - is apparently a buffer overflow issue and has been blamed on malformed HTML code.

"In some unusual circumstances," Cloudflare CTO John Graham-Cumming wrote in a blog post detailing the issue, "our edge servers were running past the end of a buffer and returning memory that contained private information such as HTTP cookies, authentication tokens, HTTP POST bodies, and other sensitive data. And some of that data had been cached by search engines."

In layman's terms, this meant that users visiting Cloudflare-hosted sites could wind up with data from other sites embedded in their browser. So, someone visiting the Fitbit site could end up accidentally gathering data from another person's OKCupid activity.

The leak was most active from 13 February to 18 February, Graham-Cumming said, affecting around 120,000 sites per day. It may also have been active since 22 September 2016.

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below
Advertisement - Article continues below

Graham-Cumming has said that the issue is now fixed and cached data largely removed from search engines such as Google, adding that he does not believe that the leaked information has been exploited by hackers.

Ormandy kept a running log of the incident, from initial discovery all the way to resolution and public disclosure, including examples of some of the data that was being exposed by the issue.

"We fetched a few live samples, and we observed encryption keys, cookies, passwords, chunks of POST data and even HTTPS requests for other major cloudflare-hosted sites from other users," he wrote. "We've discovered (and purged) cached pages that contain private messages from well-known services, PII from major sites that use Cloudflare, and even plaintext API requests from a popular password manager that were sent over https (!!)."

"The examples we're finding are so bad, I cancelled some weekend plans to go into the office on Sunday to help build some tools to cleanup. I've informed Cloudflare what I'm working on. I'm finding private messages from major dating sites, full messages from a well-known chat service, online password manager data, frames from adult video sites, hotel bookings. We're talking full https requests, client IP addresses, full responses, cookies, passwords, keys, data, everything."

While Cloudflare says it's confident that the information is not being exploited, some security experts are warning that accounts hosted on any site that uses Cloudflare could be compromised, and that users may want to change their account details and passwords.

Image credit: Tavis Ormandy

Featured Resources

Staying ahead of the game in the world of data

Create successful marketing campaigns by understanding your customers better

Download now

Remote working 2020: Advantages and challenges

Discover how to overcome remote working challenges

Download now

Keep your data available with snapshot technology

Synology’s solution to your data protection problem

Download now

After the lockdown - reinventing the way your business works

Your guide to ensuring business continuity, no matter the crisis

Download now
Advertisement

Recommended

Andrew Daniels joins Druva as CIO and CISO
Cloud

Andrew Daniels joins Druva as CIO and CISO

22 Jul 2020
Microsoft Azure Digital Twins previews new features
Cloud

Microsoft Azure Digital Twins previews new features

30 Jun 2020
University of California gets fleeced by hackers for $1.14 million
ransomware

University of California gets fleeced by hackers for $1.14 million

30 Jun 2020
Australia announces $1.35 billion investment in cyber security
cyber security

Australia announces $1.35 billion investment in cyber security

30 Jun 2020

Most Popular

How to find RAM speed, size and type
Laptops

How to find RAM speed, size and type

3 Aug 2020
How to use Chromecast without Wi-Fi
Mobile

How to use Chromecast without Wi-Fi

4 Aug 2020
How to move Windows 10 from your old hard drive to SSD
operating systems

How to move Windows 10 from your old hard drive to SSD

3 Aug 2020