Azure OMI Vulnerability

Microsoft has released multiple security updates in last Patch Tuesday. One off them fixes a high risk vulnerability (CVE-2021-38647) Also know as OMIGOD. This vulnerability can be used remotely, so exploitation is expected soon.

This flaw doesn’t directly affect Windows at all, because it’s a bug in Microsoft’s open source Open Management Infrastruture (OMI) tool that is designed for Linux in general, and for Azure-hosted Linux servers in particular. However, a lot of resources in Azure do use it

A brief overview

Simplified, OMI is Microsoft’s Linux based answer to WMI, that sysadmins use to keep managing their Windows Networks.

Like WMI, the OMI code runs as a priviliged process on your servers so that sysadmins, and system administration software, can query and control what’s going on, such as enumerating processes, kicking off utility programs, and checking up on system configuration settings.

Unfortunately, cyber criminals love WMI/OMI like we sysadmins do.

Sadly, OMIGOD is an OMI bug that, in theory, offers criminals the same sort of distributed power over your Linux servers…

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Azure Dedicated Host (now in preview)

If you still have doubts about moving to Azure because of compliance and regulatory requirements, they will now be gone with Azure Dedicated hosts. Still in preview but ready for testing. Azure dedicated hosts are physical machines that are single-tenant configured where you can run your Linux and Windows virtual machines. This includes your own infrastructure, as well as your own maintenance policies for that host.

Visibility and control

Azure Dedicated Hosts provide visibility over the server infrastructure running your Azure Virtual Machines. You get more control over the following:

  • The underlying hardware infrastructure
  • Processor brand, capabilities, and more 
  • Number of cores
  • Type and size of the Azure Virtual Machines you want to deploy

You can mix and match different Azure Virtual Machine sizes within the same virtual machine series on a given host.

If you have any second thoughts, it is now open in preview for testing.