December 5, 2020

SaltStack Multiple High-Risk Vulnerability Alert

2 min read
On November 3, 2020, SaltStack has issued risk notices for multiple high-risk vulnerabilities. The vulnerabilities number are CVE-2020-16846, CVE-2020-17490, CVE-2020-25592. These vulnerabilities level is critical. Unauthorized remote attackers can cause arbitrary command execution by sending special request packets.

Vulnerability Detail


  • Impact: This CVE affects any users running the Salt API. An unauthenticated user with network access to the Salt API can use shell injections to run code on the Salt-API using the SSH client.
  • Description: A user could use shell injections with the Salt API using the SSH Client.
  • Solution: Prevent shell injections in netapi SSH client
  • How to Mitigate: Install the CVE fix and ensure your Salt-API has been restarted
  • Severity Rating: TBD: Assessed as likely going to be a High or Critical


  • Impact: This CVE affects any Minions or Masters that previously used the create_ca, create_csr, and create_self_signed_cert functions in the TLS module.
  • Description: When using the functions create_ca, create_csr, and create_self_signed_cert in the tls execution module, it would not ensure the key was created with the correct permissions. With the CVE fix, the keys are no longer created with world-readable permissions and use 600.
  • Solution: Prevent creating world-readable private keys with the tls execution module.
  • How to mitigate: Users will need to check to ensure 600 permissions are applied to any keys that were previously created by the TLS execution module. Going forward, if the CVE fix is applied while using the tls module, the created keys will have the correct permissions.
  • Severity Rating: TBD: Assessed as likely going to be a Low


  • Impact: Affects users running the Salt API. Salt-netapi improperly validates eauth credentials and tokens.
  • Description: Properly validate eauth credentials and tokens along with their Access Control Lists – ACLs. Prior to this change, eauth was not properly validated when calling Salt SSH via the salt-api. Any value for “eauth” or “token” would allow a user to bypass authentication and make calls to Salt SSH.
  • Solution: When using the SSH client, an unauthenticated user can gain access to run commands against targets set in an Salt-SSH roster.
  • How to Mitigate: Install the patch provided below and restart your Salt-API
  • Severity Rating: TBD. Expected to be a High or Critical

Affected version


  • 3002
  • 3001.1, 3001.2
  • 3000.3, 3000.4
  • 2019.2.5, 2019.2.6
  • 2018.3.5
  • 2017.7.4, 2017.7.8
  • 2016.11.3, 2016.11.6, 2016.11.10
  • 2016.3.4, 2016.3.6, 2016.3.8
  • 2015.8.10, 2015.8.13


In this regard, we recommend that users upgrade SaltStack to the latest version in time.