SpiceDB is an open-source, Google Zanzibar-inspired, database system for creating and managing security-critical application permissions. It is widely used and has recently come under scrutiny due to an information exposure vulnerability via the /debug/pprof/cmdline endpoint, which is served by the metrics service.

Vulnerability Details

The spicedb serve command contains a flag named --grpc-preshared-key, which is used to protect the gRPC API from being accessed by unauthorized requests. The values of this flag are to be considered sensitive, secret data.

However, the /debug/pprof/cmdline endpoint served by the metrics service (defaulting running on port 909) reveals the command-line flags provided for debugging purposes. If a password is set via the --grpc-preshared-key, then the key is revealed by this endpoint along with any other flags provided to the SpiceDB binary.

This issue has been fixed in version 1.19.1 of SpiceDB.

SpiceDB Operator

Users configuring SpiceDB via environment variables are NOT affected.

Users MAY be affected if they expose their metrics port to an untrusted network and are configuring --grpc-preshared-key via command-line flag.


To update and secure your SpiceDB deployment, upgrade to version 1.19.1 or later.

To workaround this issue you can do one of the following

- Configure the pre-shared key via an environment variable (e.g. SPICEDB_GRPC_PRESHARED_KEY=yoursecret spicedb serve)
- Reconfigure the --metrics-addr flag to bind to a trusted network (e.g. --metrics-addr=localhost:909)

Disable the metrics service via the flag (e.g. --metrics-enabled=false)

- Adopt one of the recommended deployment models: Authzed's managed services or the SpiceDB Operator


- GitHub Security Advisory issued for SpiceDB
- Go issue #22085 for documenting the risks of exposing pprof to the internet
- Go issue #42834 discusses preventing pprof registration to the default serve mux
- Semgrep rule go.lang.security.audit.net.pprof.pprof-debug-exposure checks for a variation of this issue


We'd like to thank Amit Laish, a security researcher at GE Vernova, for responsibly disclosing this vulnerability. By making the community aware of this issue, they've played a crucial role in ensuring the security of many SpiceDB deployments.


Published on: 04/14/2023 20:15:00 UTC
Last modified on: 04/24/2023 16:22:00 UTC