The open-source data visualization and business intelligence tool, Apache Superset, is affected by a vulnerability identified as CVE-2023-27524. This vulnerability allows attackers to authenticate and access unauthorized resources, provided the Superset installations have not altered the default SECRET_KEY configuration. In this long read, we will explore this vulnerability in detail, understand what session validation attacks are, how they can be exploited, and how you can potentially protect your data from this vulnerability.


Apache Superset is a popular open-source data visualization tool that has gained traction in the world of business intelligence. It is widely used by organizations to visualize their data and communicate with different databases through the use of SQL Lab, Charts, Dashboards, and Alerts. The goal of Superset is to provide an easy-to-use interface for users to explore their data while maintaining the security of their data sources.

The Vulnerability: CVE-2023-27524

The vulnerability, CVE-2023-27524, affects installations of Apache Superset that have not altered the default SECRET_KEY value. The SECRET_KEY value is typically used to generate session tokens and sign cookies, ensuring secure communication between a Superset client and the server. If the default SECRET_KEY has not been changed during installation, attackers can potentially exploit this vulnerability to gain unauthorized access to sensitive data.

Session Validation Attacks

Session validation attacks occur when an attacker is able to compromise a user's session and gain access to their authenticated session with the application. This can allow attackers to access sensitive information, typically restricted for authorized users only, and conduct unauthorized actions on the application without the victim's knowledge.

Exploit Details

To exploit this vulnerability, attackers would need to generate session tokens using the default SECRET_KEY value present in Apache Superset. By doing so, the attacker could potentially get authenticated access to an existing session, which would grant them unauthorized access to sensitive resources within the application.

For example, attackers could use the following code snippet to generate a session token, assuming they have the default SECRET_KEY value:

from itsdangerous import TimedJSONWebSignatureSerializer as Serializer

SECRET_KEY = 'the default SECRET_KEY'
session_data = {'user_id': 'unauthorized_user'}
s = Serializer(SECRET_KEY)
session_token = s.dumps(session_data).decode()

With the generated session token, the attacker could manipulate cookies and gain unauthorized access to the Superset application.

Patch and Recommendations

Apache Superset has released a patch for this vulnerability in the form of version 2..2. It is advised that users upgrade their installations to this version to mitigate the risk of this vulnerability. The patch can be downloaded from their GitHub repository here: Apache Superset 2..2.

Additionally, users are highly advised to change the default value of the SECRET_KEY configuration during installation according to the installation instructions.

Here is a sample way of altering the SECRET_KEY configuration in

import os
import random
import string

SECRET_KEY = os.environ.get('SUPERSET_SECRET_KEY') or ''.join(
    random.choice(string.ascii_letters + string.digits) for _ in range(32)


CVE-2023-27524 is a critical vulnerability that affects installations of Apache Superset that have not altered the default SECRET_KEY value. It is essential for users to upgrade their installations to version 2..2 and follow the installation instructions to change the SECRET_KEY value. Failing to do so can lead to a compromise of sensitive data within your Superset application. Always ensure that your software is up-to-date and properly configured, as this can help prevent security vulnerabilities and protect your valuable data from unauthorized access.


Published on: 04/24/2023 16:15:00 UTC
Last modified on: 05/24/2023 18:15:00 UTC