Docker containers are extremely useful because they allow you to streamline the development lifecycle. This enables your development teams to work in a standardized environment. However, by using dockers, you migrate from a private cloud to the public cloud and scale from one server to multiple servers usually. Sharing your development environment with another contributor exposes you to a wide variety of security risks. We will have a detailed look at those risk factors in the later sections of the blog.
is the Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) at which the global container security market is growing.
billion US dollars is the forecasted value that the container security market would reach by 2026.
of container images have vulnerabilities that can be exploited by hackers.
of all malicious container images are made by coin miners.
Although there are quite a lot of security threats that might compromise your docker and container infrastructure. But the following are the top five among them that you need to know about:
Coding is the foundational stage of the development life cycle. If there are any structural flaws in the code, it might lead to security issues in the long run. Even if your code is sound, there are still chances of vulnerabilities present in the third-party dependencies that it relies on. This might expose your application to thousands of published vulnerabilities that hackers can exploit if they are present in the application. Therefore, it is important to check your code and all the external dependencies as development progresses. Furthermore, you need to keep all your applications and containers with the latest security patches. This would help you eliminate structural vulnerabilities from the applications and help you keep them and the containers safe.
After completing the writing part of the application’s code, the next step is to build it into a container image. In the process of configuring how a container image is going to be built, there is a wide scope of making mistakes. These mistakes can create opportunities for security weaknesses to settle in. Later, these security weaknesses might be exploited by hackers to attack the running container. Try not to run the container as the root user. This gives the user more privileges on the host than they need. It might backfire as a vicious attack on your container.
These attacks allow attackers to insert malicious code that will subsequently get run in the production environment. They do it by modifying or influencing the way a container image is built. If malicious threat actors find a foothold within the built environment, it can effectively help them in breaching the production environment.
Even if the container image is built and stored in a registry through all due processes, it cannot be deemed 100% safe. There are still chances of supply chain attacks. You need to retrieve or pull the container image from where you want to run the application. There is no guarantee that the image you are reaping is the same one you pushed in. An attacker might have tempered with the image. The one who can replace or modify an image between build and deployment also has the capacity to run arbitrary code on your deployment.
Containers need host machines to run upon. You need to make sure that these hosts are free from any kind of security weaknesses including old versions of orchestration components with known vulnerabilities. Otherwise, you might risk exposing secrets such as credentials, tokens, or passwords to attackers. Try to minimize the amount of software installed on each host to reduce the attack surface.