Check out what these industry leaders and executives had to say about container security and best practices for keeping container safe.
Join the DZone community and get the full member experience.Join For Free
Learn how to migrate and modernize stateless applications and run them in a Kubernetes cluster.
To gather insights on the current and future state of containers, we talked to executives from 26 companies. We asked, "What kind of security techniques and tools do you find most effective for securing containers?" Here's what they told us:
- Definitely securing the Docker Daemon. Most people just expose the daemon and assume TLS is secure enough; what they forget is that TLS certs are portable, and anyone with the key has 100% access to Docker. In enterprise deployments, it is imperative to break the link between a user and the daemon, ensuring that only authorized users can complete authorized tasks against Docker. In addition, knowing what is happening in your environment is paramount, knowing what containers are running vs what containers you expect to be running is key to ensure that you are not exposed to any “crypto-jacking” exploits where hackers gain access to an insecure Docker daemon and start bitcoin miners on your Docker Hosts. A real-time visualizer of running containers is key to ensuring operations team spot differences.
- Secret management. Hashicorp vault. No keys are stored in configuration. They go away when containers go down. Use 12-factor applications. All container traffic through a secure proxy micro gateway. We put a trust management layer on top for the last mile between containers.
- Multi-faceted private container registry on top of a bare-metal platform. Use a standard CI/CD platform across all of the teams. Conform to security standards. Access to what’s going on. Ability to own a private server. More DevSecOps with security testing upfront.We use enterprise grade K8 clusters which are secure by default. Every worker node has default characteristics for security. Turn on app armory policies. Do Nexus scans. Use Calico as a networking provider and to lock down nodes against public access, except for K8, for truly private worker nodes. All communications via PMS. Encrypt all images and data and give customers the encryption key.
- We have our own orchestration framework, but it needs more isolation and hardening on the host which is VMware on Amazon. As we move to Apache Mesos we will take security into account with the pass-through model. Make sure the host is hardened. Develop best practices around security.
- We rely upon multiple factors to keep our containers secure, from ensuring we’re following best-practices in running our services (e.g. ensuring services run as non-privileged users, ensuring our libraries are up-to-date) to security systems that keep attackers from accessing the system (e.g. firewalls, restricted access lists, intrusion detection systems).
- Microservices architecture ensures each service is secure. We employ the weakest link philosophy. Multiple services will need to be secure by themselves. Have a security mindset because we’re dealing with people’s money. Workload identity (credentials) versus authorization. Use certificates to authenticate services.
- Know if there are CVEs within the images. 1) Let the customer know if there are issues with running containers rogue or running with vulnerabilities. If running as roots, is the image writable? 92% of images are running as roots. People think containers are easy but there are a lot of “gotchas.” Protect the host with the platform.
- CI/CD process runs in open source and in-house scan containers for licenses and check in/check out. Make the base image (Alpine) start before deploying to ensure the copy is secure. The final stage is monitoring with Elk and Sysdig.
- Containers provide a new virtualization layer, which naturally requires a new way to secure it. A security solution must be able to integrate seamlessly, be lightweight, run distributed, be accurate, respond in real-time, and operate at cloud scale. It must be automated because the orchestration model for application containers is highly automated. The explosion of micro-services brings a huge increase in east-west (internal) network communication, which increases the overall attack surface. The most effective security solution should cover multiple attack vectors for this new environment. These vectors include container network security, monitoring of activity within a container, and host security. For networking, because containers focus on application virtualization, the best network security technology for containers will use application layer (layer 7) inspection to get the best intelligence.
- Security is orthogonal to containers because securing containers is different than securing VMs and you will need to do both since you’ll be living in a hybrid environment for a while. You need to work with a common denominator and treat containerization independent of security.
- Containers have a good security model and are isolated. You have an operating system layer with access and standards controls and encryption.
- There are multiple layers: 1) repository of container images; 2) cluster of nodes; 3) container layer; 4) deployment layer; and container hosts. You need to ensure the entire landscape is secure as well as all interactions.
- Docker image scanning tools; RBAC in Kubernetes and Credentials in Jenkins.
- 1) New platforms like Twistlock inspect container images for vulnerabilities. 2) Ability to know and track the provenance of container images. When there’s a vulnerability or an upgrade is needed it’s easier to change dependency settings and reroll the image build system. The speed, agility, and nimbleness of containers help with their security.
Here’s who we spoke to:
- Matt Chotin, Sr. Director of Technical Evangelism, AppDynamics
- Jeff Jensen, CTO, Arundo Analytics
- Jaime Ryan, Senior Director, Project Management and Strategy, CA Technologies
- B.G. Goyal, V.P. of Engineering, Cavirin Systems
- Tasha Drew, Product Manager, Chef
- James Strachan, Senior Architect, CloudBees
- Jenks Gibbons, Enterprise Sales Engineer, CloudPassage
- Oj Ngo, CTO and Co-founder, DH2i
- Anders Wallgren, CTO, Electric Cloud
- Navin Ganeshan, Chief Product Officer, Gemini Data
- Carsten Jacobsen, Developer Evangelist, Hyperwallet
- Daniel Berg, Distinguished Engineer Cloud Foundation Services, IBM
- Jack Norris, S.V.P. Data and Applications, MapR
- Fei Huang, CEO, NeuVector
- Ariff Kassam, V.P. Product, NuoDB
- Bob Quillan, V.P. Container Group, Oracle
- Sirish Raghuram, CEO and Co-founder, Platform9
- Neil Cresswell, CEO/CTO, Portainer.io
- Sheng Liang, Co-founder and CEO and Shannon Williams, Co-founder and VP of Sales, Rancher Labs
- Bill Mulligan, Container Success Orchestrator, RiseML
- Martin Loewinger, Director of SaaS Operations and Jonathan Parrilla, DevOps Engineer, SmartBear
- Antony Edwards, CTO, Eggplant
- Ady Degany, CTO, Velostrata
- Paul Dul, V.P. Product Marketing Cloud Native Applications, VMware
- Mattius McLaughlin, Engineering Manager & Containers SME, xMatters
- Roman Shoposhnik, Co-founder, Product & Strategy, Zededa
Opinions expressed by DZone contributors are their own.