The Docker Hub store has at least 5,493 container images that contain secrets and could be considered as exposing sensitive information. That makes up 54% of the 10,178 Docker Hub images the Cybernews Research team analyzed.
The analyzed leaky containers were downloaded over 132 billion times by other users on the widely used platform.
“That means that exposed secrets could be running on multiple servers around the globe, posing risks and draining cloud resources from inconspicuous Docker Hub contributors. Leaving any secrets exposed while uploading your images online poses a high risk of threat actors finding them,” Cybernews researcher Vincentas Baubonis warns.
Web developers love to use Docker Hub for developing, shipping, and running applications known as containers. Containers are pieces of software that keep websites and services running reliably, forming a larger structure like Lego sets.
One container could be responsible for hosting a website you visit, another container might manage the database, and others could run the backend for other apps. They perform process-wise isolated functions, and if one part of the system fails, Docker helps admins fix the isolated part only while others keep working. But it’s easy to lose track of many containers and data flows, sometimes leading to mistakes and exposing secrets.