OpenStack Security

Security is a fundamental goal of the OpenStack architecture and needs to be addressed at all layers of the stack. Like any complex, evolving system security has to be vigilantly pursued, and exposures eliminated. We need your help.

OpenStack has two mechanisms for communicating security information with downstream stakeholders, “Advisories” and “Notes”. OpenStack Security Advisories (OSSA) are created to deal with severe security issues in OpenStack for which a fix is available - OSSA’s are issued by the OpenStack Vulnerability Management Team (VMT). OpenStack Security Notes (OSSN) are used for security issues which do not qualify for an advisory, typically design issues, deployment and configuration vulnerabilities.

How to report security issues to OpenStack

If you think you’ve identified a vulnerability, please work with us to rectify and disclose the issue responsibly. We provide two ways to report issues to the OpenStack Vulnerability Management Team depending on how sensitive the issue is:


All private reports of suspected vulnerabilities are embargoed for a maximum of 90 days. Unless unusual circumstances arise, any defect reported in private will be made public within 90 calendar days from when it is received, even if a solution has not been identified.

Security information for OpenStack deployers

There are four main sources of security guidance for OpenStack deployers:

  • OpenStack Security Advisories (OSSA)

  • OpenStack Security Notes (OSSN)

  • OpenStack Security Guide

  • OpenStack Security Project blog

OpenStack Security Notes

Security Notes advise users of security related issues. Security notes are similar to advisories; they often address vulnerabilities in third party tools typically used within OpenStack deployments and provide guidance on common configuration mistakes that can result in an insecure operating environment.

The complete set of security notes is available online, but they are also published on the OpenStack mailing list when they are released.

OpenStack Security Guide

The OpenStack Security Guide provides best practice information for OpenStack deployers. This guide was written by a community of security experts from the OpenStack Security Project, based on experience gained while hardening OpenStack deployments. The guide covers topics including compute and storage hardening, rate limiting, compliance, and cryptography; it is the starting point for anyone looking to securely deploy OpenStack.

Read the guide online today.

OpenStack Security Project blog

The Security Project also maintain a blog, with posts about current and future projects, presentations and other information that doesnt fit in anywhere else:

Security information for OpenStack developers

How to propose and review a security patch


The patch development and review process for security patches is different from normal patches in OpenStack. Because the gerrit review process is public, all security bugs must have patches proposed to and reviewed in the StoryBoard or Launchpad report comments.

After a patch for the reported bug has been developed locally, you the patch author need to share that with the community. This is a simple process, but it is different than the normal OpenStack workflow.

  • Export it using the format-patch command:

    git format-patch --stdout HEAD~1 >path/to/local/file.patch

    Now you have the patch saved locally and you can attach it in a comment on the bug page.

  • For reviewers, to review that attached patch, run the following command:

    git am <~path/to/local/file.patch

    This applies the patch locally as a commit, including the commit message, author, date, and all other metadata. However, if the patch author did not use format-patch to export the patch (perhaps they only used git show >local.patch), then the patch can be applied locally with:

    git apply path/to/local/file.patch

OpenStack Security Project

The OpenStack Security Project runs an number of initiatives aimed at improving the overall security of OpenStack projects and ensuring that security incidents are handled in a coordinated fashion. Key initiatives that fall within the security project’s areas of responsibility are outlined below.

Vulnerability Management

An autonomous subgroup of vulnerability management specialists with in the security team make up the OpenStack vulnerability management team (VMT). Their job is facilitating the reporting of vulnerabilities, coordinating security fixes and handling progressive disclosure of the vulnerability information. Specifically, they are responsible for the following functions:

  • Vulnerability Management: All vulnerabilities discovered by community members (or users) can be reported to the Team.

  • Vulnerability Tracking: The Team will curate a set of vulnerability related issues in the issue tracker. Some of these issues will be private to the Team and the affected product leads, but once remediated, all vulnerabilities will be public.

  • Responsible Disclosure: As part of our commitment to work with the security community, the Team will ensure that proper credit is given to security researchers who responsibly report issues in OpenStack.

See Vulnerability Management Process for details on our open process.

Security tool development

The Security project are constantly looking at ways to introduce tooling and automation to improve the overall security of OpenStack projects. Some of these projects are outlined below.

Bandit - static analysis for Python

Bandit is a security static analysis tool for Python source code, utilizing the ast module from the Python standard library. The ast module is used to convert source code into a parsed tree of Python syntax nodes. Bandit allows users to define custom tests that are performed against those nodes. At the completion of testing, a report is generated that lists security issues identified within the target source code.

Bandit is currently a stand-alone tool which can be downloaded by end-users and run against arbitrary source code. Although early in development it is already adding value to the OpenStack code base with several projects leveraging it in their CI gate tests. As the project matures the desire is to see widespread adoption of Bandit in the OpenStack community.

Bandit can be obtained by cloning the repository. The README.rst file contains documentation regarding installation, usage, and configuration.

Syntribos - Python API security testing tool

Syntribos is an open source automated API security testing tool that is maintained by members of the OpenStack Security Project.

Given a simple configuration file and an example HTTP request, syntribos can replace any API URL, URL parameter, HTTP header and request body field with a given set of strings. Syntribos iterates through each position in the request automatically. The tool aims to automatically detect common security defects such as SQL injection, LDAP injection, buffer overflow, etc. In addition, it can be used to help identify new security defects by automated fuzzing.

Syntribos can be installed directly from pypi with pip.