[Openstack-operators] Console security question when using nova-novncproxy to access console

Joe Topjian joe at topjian.net
Wed Oct 22 14:27:54 UTC 2014

Hi Niall,

It looks like vnc password support was removed from the vmware driver last


For libvirt, there is an option in qemu.conf for "vnc_password", but I'm
not sure how it would work with OpenStack.


On Tue, Oct 21, 2014 at 9:30 PM, Niall Power <niall.power at oracle.com> wrote:

> Hi all,
> I have a question about a security consideration on a compute node when
> using nova-novncproxy for console access.
> Is there any existing mechanism within Nova to automatically authenticate
> against the VNC console an instance
> (I'm talking about plain old VNC authentication) or to generally prevent
> unauthorized local user accounts on the compute-node from accessing the VNC
> console of an instance?
> I understand that nova-novnc proxy and websockify bridge between the
> public network and the private internal/infrastructure network of the
> compute-node using wss:// to secure and encrypt the connection over the
> public network. I also understand that VNC authentication is comparatively
> very weak....
> This is perhaps only an issue when the compute-node is also permitting
> traditional Unix type user logins.
> Let's say we have an instance running on the compute-node and the
> hypervisor or container manager serves out the console over VNC on a known
> port and the tenant has authenticated and logged in on the console using
> Horizon, perhaps as the administrator. A local user on the compute node, if
> they specified the correct port, could in theory then access the console
> and the administrative account of that instance without needing to
> authenticate.
> VNC authentication using password (and optionally username) would seem
> like the traditional way to prevent such unauthorized access. I can't find
> anything within the Nova code base that seems to cater for password
> authentication with the VNC server. For example the vmware nova driver
> returns the following dictionary
> of parameters for an instance console in vmops.py:get_vnc_console():
>                {'host': CONF.vmware.host_ip,
>                 'port': self._get_vnc_port(vm_ref),
>                 'internal_access_path': None}
> No suggestion of a password to authenticate with the VNC server. Is this
> intentionally not supported, lacking, or is there perhaps simply a better
> way to address this problem?
> Thanks in advance!
> Niall Power
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> OpenStack-operators at lists.openstack.org
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