CrowdStrike’s Cloud Threat Research team discovered a new vulnerability (CVE-2022-0811) in CRI-O (a container runtime engine underpinning Kubernetes). Dubbed “cr8escape,” when invoked, an attacker could escape from a Kubernetes container and gain root access to the host and be able to move anywhere in the cluster. Invocation of CVE-2022-0811 can allow an attacker to perform a variety of actions on objectives, including execution of malware, exfiltration of data and lateral movement across pods.

Attempted exploits of this vulnerability can be detected by the Falcon sensor for Linux or the Falcon Cloud Workload Protection module. CrowdStrike disclosed the vulnerability to Kubernetes, which worked with CRI-O to issue a patch that was released today. The CVE score is 8.8 (High) and the potential impact is widespread, as many software and platforms use CRI-O by default. It is recommended that CRI-O users patch immediately. CrowdStrike customers can use Falcon Spotlight vulnerability management to see which hosts are affected and patch where recommended to aid against exploitation.

Kubernetes uses a container runtime like CRI-O or Docker to safely share each node’s kernel and resources with the various containerized applications running on it. The Linux kernel accepts runtime parameters that control its behavior. Some parameters are namespaced and can therefore be set in a single container without impacting the system at large. Kubernetes and the container runtimes it drives allow pods to update these “safe” kernel settings while blocking access to others.

CrowdStrike’s Cloud Threat Research team discovered a flaw introduced in CRI-O version 1.19 that allows an attacker to bypass these safeguards and set arbitrary kernel parameters on the host. As a result of CVE-2022-0811, anyone with rights to deploy a pod on a Kubernetes cluster that uses the CRI-O runtime can abuse the “kernel.core_pattern” parameter to achieve container escape and arbitrary code execution as root on any node in the cluster.


Directly Affected Software

To determine if a host is affected: run crio —version

Indirectly Affected Software and Platforms

While the vulnerability is in CRI-O, software and platforms that depend on it are also likely to be vulnerable, including:


The CrowdStrike Falcon sensor included in the CrowdStrike Falcon Cloud Workload Protection module, which protects Kubernetes and containers, will detect attempts to exploit CVE-2022-0811 as privilege escalation. The Falcon sensor for Linux is able to see the pinns utility command execution and detect and prevent this behavior during runtime.

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