Microsoft AI Researchers Unintentionally Expose 38 Terabytes of Confidential Information

Sep 19, 2023THNInformation Security / Cybersecurity

Microsoft AI

Microsoft on Monday stated it took steps to appropriate a obtrusive safety gaffe that led to the publicity of 38 terabytes of personal information.

The leak was found on the corporate’s AI GitHub repository and is claimed to have been inadvertently made public when publishing a bucket of open-source coaching information, Wiz stated. It additionally included a disk backup of two former workers’ workstations containing secrets and techniques, keys, passwords, and over 30,000 inner Groups messages.

The repository, named “robust-models-transfer,” is not accessible. Previous to its takedown, it featured supply code and machine studying fashions pertaining to a 2020 research paper titled “Do Adversarially Strong ImageNet Fashions Switch Higher?”

“The publicity got here as the results of a very permissive SAS token – an Azure function that permits customers to share information in a way that’s each onerous to trace and onerous to revoke,” Wiz said in a report. The difficulty was reported to Microsoft on June 22, 2023.


Particularly, the repository’s file instructed builders to obtain the fashions from an Azure Storage URL that by accident additionally granted entry to all the storage account, thereby exposing further non-public information.

“Along with the overly permissive entry scope, the token was additionally misconfigured to permit “full management” permissions as a substitute of read-only,” Wiz researchers Hillai Ben-Sasson and Ronny Greenberg stated. “Which means, not solely may an attacker view all of the recordsdata within the storage account, however they might delete and overwrite current recordsdata as properly.”

Microsoft AI

In response to the findings, Microsoft said its investigation discovered no proof of unauthorized publicity of buyer information and that “no different inner companies have been put in danger due to this challenge.” It additionally emphasised that prospects needn’t take any motion on their half.

The Home windows makers additional famous that it revoked the SAS token and blocked all exterior entry to the storage account. The issue was resolved two after accountable disclosure.

Microsoft AI

To mitigate such dangers going ahead, the corporate has expanded its secret scanning service to incorporate any SAS token that will have overly permissive expirations or privileges. It stated it additionally recognized a bug in its scanning system that flagged the precise SAS URL within the repository as a false constructive.

“Because of the lack of safety and governance over Account SAS tokens, they need to be thought-about as delicate because the account key itself,” the researchers stated. “Due to this fact, it’s extremely beneficial to keep away from utilizing Account SAS for exterior sharing. Token creation errors can simply go unnoticed and expose delicate information.”


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This isn’t the primary time misconfigured Azure storage accounts have come to mild. In July 2022, JUMPSEC Labs highlighted a state of affairs by which a risk actor may make the most of such accounts to achieve entry to an enterprise on-premise surroundings.

The event is the most recent safety blunder at Microsoft and comes practically two weeks after the corporate revealed that hackers based mostly in China have been in a position to infiltrate the corporate’s methods and steal a extremely delicate signing key by compromising an engineer’s company account and sure accessing an crash dump of the buyer signing system.

“AI unlocks big potential for tech corporations. Nonetheless, as information scientists and engineers race to deliver new AI options to manufacturing, the large quantities of information they deal with require further safety checks and safeguards,” Wiz CTO and co-founder Ami Luttwak stated in an announcement.

“This rising know-how requires massive units of information to coach on. With many improvement groups needing to control large quantities of information, share it with their friends or collaborate on public open-source initiatives, circumstances like Microsoft’s are more and more onerous to observe and keep away from.”

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