September 25, 2023

Researchers have uncovered more than 900,000 exposed Kubernetes clusters that are vulnerable and could inducted for malicious scans or data theft.

The exposed clusters were found by the researchers as part of a threat-hunting exercise. Though not all are vulnerable to attacks or the loss of sensitive data, possibility of misconfiguration and exposure, that’s a significant risk.

Most of the misconfigured Kubernetes clusters, 65%, were found in the U.S., followed by China, Germany, Ireland and the Netherlands. The three top exposed ports discovered during the investigation were 443, followed by 10250 and 6443.


Researchers found that most exposures have the status code of 403 when the clusters queried. The response is said to signify that the Kubelet application programming interface accepts the unauthenticated request but determined a lack of necessary authorization to visit that endpoint.

Some of the exposures returned a 401 status, implying that the Kubernetes cluster is functioning in the environment. That may lead to an attack attempting various exploits and vulnerabilities to gain access.

Attackers can also use online scanners to investigate the Kubernetes exposure of an organization and might be able to find Kubernetes Dashboard, which is not password-protected.


Misconfigurations such as using default container names, not protecting the Kubernetes Dashboard with a secure password and leaving service ports open can place a business at risk of data leakage.

This research was unearthed by researchers from Cyble.

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