Last month, I'd been reviewing some of the shared accounts for online services we have at work. Often, users have an individual login for online services. Some services don't offer that feature and there's a single account that's shared by everyone. While digging around, I found details for a shared Bitbucket account. If everyone has their own Bitbucket account, then what's this one?

Logging in worked, and allowed me access to an account for the team itself; there was no user, as such. Not only could this team account access the team, but with full permissions. Furthermore, this account had no settings of its own. If you accessed the settings page, you got the team's settings, not that of this team account, so it wasn't possible to change any security settings for the account.

With one of these "legacy" accounts lying around, it's possible that it is sat there with only password authentication — Bitbucket introduced two-factor authentication late, in 2015 — an unchangeable (and maybe weak, depending on your policies) password, and with full team access.1

What makes this particularly insidious is that if you're not aware of this account, you'll be blissfully unaware if you look at the list of users on your team. Even if you manage the team as an administrator, this team account didn't appear as an admin user. I don't even think it counts as a billed user. Someone who gains access presumably could maintain that silently without you being able to do anything about it, at least if they just sat there cloning your code. Mitigating that is the audit log which would be a giveaway if anything noisy happened. By that point though, someone malicious could still cause a lot of problems for you by, let's say, booting out all other team members, or deleting all your repositories.

In the end, I had to contact support and request them to remove this account, since there was no way I could fix this as a team administrator. Therefore, this is definitely something worth auditing if you think you might have such dormant accounts, even though, according to Atlassian, this shouldn't be the case at all. They earlier stated:

Starting February 18, 2014, Bitbucket will remove the ability for individuals to log into a team with a username/email and password.

Insert your own Unicode shrug character here.

  1. Creating new repositories failed, but, for instance, creating a repo using my account (as a team administrator), then logging in as the "team account" and using the team account to delete the test repo was successful. I didn't test removing team members, but don't see why this would have failed.