Upon searching for Django web applications with enabled Debug Mode on Criminal IP (https://www.criminalip.io/), Database (hereinafter referred to as DB) accounts information and API Keys of more than 3,100 applications were found to be exposed on the internet. This implies that hackers are able to pocket corporate’s personal information and confidential documents without hassles. To evaluate the extent of credential leakage, the CIP team searched for web applications, including Django and Laravel, and relevant keywords associated with these platforms.

What is a Credential?

In the dictionary, credentials are defined as ‘qualification’ and generally refer to evidence attesting to one’s right and authority, such as your identification card and certificates. The term ‘credential’ is also used in cloud environments and OAuth systems, such as Facebook, where users may authenticate themselves by providing their Access Key ID and Secret Key. In recent days, the term Credential doesn’t necessarily mean authentication-related keys, but in a more comprehensive matter, to IP information of internal cloud VPC networks.

How to Search for Credentials on Criminal IP Asset Search

Searching for authentication-related keywords, such as Access Key ID and Secret Access Key, on Criminal IP Asset Search can often yield results of exposed credentials, including those used in OAuth or RESTful API authentication.

  • Access Key ID: Corresponds to the ID for a regular website (a.k.a Access Key)
  • Secret Access Key: Corresponds to the password for a regular website (a.k.a Secret Key)

For example, Access Key types used in Amazon Cloud consist of the following:

아마존 클라우드에서 사용하는 Access Key 타입

Types of Access Key used in Amazon Cloud

Additionally, you can look for authentication-related information through a Bucket, a storage often used in cloud services. If accessible, this Bucket could cause serious problems as anybody can steal undisclosed files from the server. We searched for the keyword Bucket to find buckets in read mode.


Upon searching for “READ_BUCKET_NAME” on Criminal IP, you can find a total of 635 websites. Among them, you can also find websites named “NAVERCloud VOD Service TBD,” which are assumed to be demo pages of uploading buckets for NAVER Cloud users. However, these websites have exposed demo Endpoint domain addresses, Access Key IDs, and Access Secret Keys for file upload testing when they were supposed to be hidden. What exacerbates the problem is that there are way more websites like this.

Exposed Access Credential under HTML Body tag

Exposed Access Credential under HTML Body tag

How to Search for Debug Mode Sites of Django Web Application on Criminal IP Asset Search

Debug Modes are often used by PHP-based Laravel Framework and python-based Django web applications for convenience in development. Despite Debug Mode’s convenience, it also poses a problem for both Laravel Framework and Django web applications, as it exposes sensitive information in error messages when activated.

You can use the following filter to search for websites with enabled Django Debug Mode on Criminal IP Asset Search.

“DisallowedHost at“


Django website with enabled Debug Mode, exposing sensitive information to error messages

The HTTP request header exposed on a Django web application contains not only the API Key mentioned previously, but also other authentication-related information such as admin and password credentials and DB account information.

Admin 계정 및 패스워드 등 민감한 정보가 노출된 장고 웹사이트

Django website with exposed sensitive information such as Admin and passwords

You can also look for Laravel websites with enabled Debug mode with the filter below.

title: “Whoops! There was an error”

Result when searched title: "Whoops! There was an error" on Criminal IP Asset Search

Result when searched title: “Whoops! There was an error” on Criminal IP Asset Search

Laravel Debug Mode is activated in all of these searched IP addresses, and when accessed, you will be able to see information on APP Key, DB account, and password in the error message.

DB 계정 및 패스워드 등 민감한 정보가 노출된 라라벨 웹사이트

Laravel website with exposed sensitive information such as DB accounts and passwords

Exposed API Keys in the Form of Text Files

If you search for ‘APIKEY.txt’ on Asset Search, you can find something intriguing.


Result when searched "APIKey.txt" on Criminal IP Asset Search

Result when searching “APIKey.txt” on Criminal IP Asset Search

If you visit the above site that appeared when you searched for “APIKey.txt” in Asset Search, the screen below is displayed, so you cannot know what the site is for. The page source, however, gives you a clear sense of what this page is all about.

APIKey.txt 검색을 통해 발견된 웹 사이트 접속 화면

Website access screen found through APIKey.txt search

The page source reveals that this website uses Firebase as its database, and under Firebase Configuration, you can see the API Key, AuthDomain, and AppID issued while using the Firebase SDK.

중요 정보가 그대로 노출된 해당 페이지의 소스 화면

Page source of the website above. Credentials are exposed.

We have also found a website that appears to be China’s RESTful API with exposed Admin’s Access Token hash.

A Chinese website with exposed Admin Access Token hash

Criminal IP Asset Search often displays HTML files containing credentials that may have been left unattended due to testing or by mistake. The images below, for example, are HTML files with Amazon Cloud Service (AWS) IAM Metadata or DynamoDB AWS Key.

1) HTML file with IAM Metadata. User Accounts are found.

HTML file displaying User Accounts in the AWS IAM Metadata

HTML file displaying User Accounts in the AWS IAM Metadata

2) HTML file with DynamoDB, one of the major AWS NoSQL servers. Credentials, including Access Key ID and Secret Key, are exposed.

DynamoDB Admin

Result when searched AWS DynamoDB Admin on Criminal IP Asset Search

Result when searched AWS DynamoDB Admin on Criminal IP Asset Search

Credential leakage

Exposed Access Key in the AWS DynamoDB Work Script


Thanks to cloud-native technology, developers’ productivity has been increasing remarkably. However, as the focus is greatly on productivity, there have been voices of concern that security is considered a low priority.

In the past, security was mainly concerned with managing account credentials, such as usernames and passwords stored in a database. However, with the rise of cloud computing, API keys have become an important aspect of security, granting permissions to perform actions like modifying data or resources. Unfortunately, a single leaked API key can lead to credential leakage or manipulation.

As cloud technologies advance rapidly, so does the need for robust security measures. Regular check-ins with developers are essential to ensure that they are up-to-date with cybersecurity technologies. It is important to remember that in the cloud era, even a small mistake, such as a setup error, can have disastrous consequences, potentially leading to credential leakage and significant security breaches for individuals and businesses. Therefore, it is crucial to prioritize security and take proactive steps to prevent such incidents.

Source : Criminal IP (https://www.criminalip.io)