Since launching in 2015, it’s no secret that Kubernetes has exploded in popularity. In fact, it has become the most widely used container orchestrator in the market, and Kubernetes adoption is still going strong, especially in production environments.
However, every new technology comes with its own set of challenges. In the case of Kubernetes, security vulnerabilities were discovered, ranging from medium-level severity to host-level exploits. With the mass amounts of hacks and hacking attempts made every single day, it seems pretty obvious that security is one of the top concerns for any small business that operates online in some capacity. Whether you’re building software or web applications, or are collecting user data like names, addresses, logins, and credit card information, you want to protect your environment from breaches.
Adopting Kubernetes for your own project’s infrastructure significantly improves its agility and efficiency, as well as makes it easy to scale, but the security concerns are valid. It isn’t a reason to shy away from Kubernetes, though, and as long as you understand where vulnerabilities may be, you can proactively fix the issues and actively work at securing Kubernetes and containers against breaches.
The Problem: Containers are Everywhere
Because containers are numerous and everywhere, security blind spots are created and your attack surface is increased. The more containers that are deployed, the more difficult it is to maintain adequate visibility into all your components. Plus, because of the nature of the distribution of containers, it can be tough to quickly find out which container may have a newly discovered zero-day vulnerability.
The Solution: Penetration Testing
Penetration testing, or pen testing, is a great way to hack your own system to find vulnerabilities before they can be exploited by attackers. Conducting pen-testing regularly or whenever a new container is deployed is ideal so you and your team can find out if there are weak spots that need to be tightened up. You can automate pen testing with software or have it done manually.
The Problem: Images can Cause Security Issues
When is the last time you did a vulnerability scan on your images? Are they from trusted sources? Making sure all your images and assets come from trusted, whitelisted image registries may be challenging, but this step is vital to ensuring your container and Kubernetes security strategy works.
The Solution: Conduct Vulnerability Scans Often
In order to make sure there are no weak points that hackers can exploit, you need to be conducting vulnerability scans fairly frequently and fixing any weaknesses you come across. It’s better that you and your team find them than a hacker, who could gain entry to your whole system and wreak havoc.
The Problem: Containers Talk to Each Other
Containers and pods will need to talk to each other, plus other endpoints, in order to function properly. Because of this, you will need to monitor more traffic to make sure there are no vulnerabilities. In a sprawling container environment, this can be quite difficult to do.
The Solution: Remove Unused Pathways
Identifying and removing any pathways that are live but going unused in production can help limit the attack surface area, reducing the number of places where a hacker can strike. This will help secure your environment.