What are the top container security issues?

icon Posted by: Praveen Joshi
icon December 9, 2022

In Brief:

Importance of Container Security

Ignoring the importance of container security can be a serious mistake because the container image contains all the components that are basically responsible for running your application. Security issues or vulnerabilities within the containers might increase the troubles during production as well. Therefore, you need to deploy strong security measures such as strong, two-factor authentication and at-rest encryption of data to secure the administrative interface.

94%

of respondents in a survey were found to believe that containers have security implications.

34%

of vulnerabilities among containers arise from container images.

44%

of organizations admitted that they are delaying container deployments due to security concerns.

41%

of respondents in a survey were found to lack compliance certifications for containers.

Top Container Security Issues

Although there might be various potential security issues among containers. But we have categorized a few key ones that you will encounter on a common basis.

1. Container Malware

Malware or malicious code, when deployed to a container can sneak into the container to disrupt or compromise multiple stages of the container lifecycle. Taking control of your CI/CD environment enables an attacker to insert malware into the source code repositories that you are going to use for building container images later. Another way malware can cause damage is by breaching your container registry and replacing your images with tainted ones that contain malware. Furthermore, there is a third type of container malware attack. This type of attack involves tricking users into downloading malicious container images from external sources. Not having an adequate response plan to deal with malware can leave your sensitive data exposed.

2. Insecure Container Privileges

Running containers on with more than required privileges is just an open invitation to security threats. Most often insecure privileges are a result of problematic configurations with the container orchestrator. You should always try to run containers in an unprivileged mode where no one has access to the resources that do not need. Plus, you must restrict the communication between the containers.

3. Managing Ephemeral Containers

Ephemeral containers come in handy as useful administrative and debugging tools in Kubernetes (K8s) clusters. They allow you to troubleshoot in environments that use doctorless images. Eventually, ephemeral containers create an additional attack surface that doesn’t exist otherwise. Therefore, you need to manage ephemeral containers in order to ensure security.

4. Isolation Flaws

Isolation between the containers is vital from a security viewpoint. Just like isolation between instances in traditional virtualization, it makes a better and more attractive security mechanism. But the thing to keep in mind is that isolation capabilities won’t make your containers safe by default. There is always a level of risk out there. Attackers are continuously finding a container escape flaw in the platform to get access to sensitive data in other containers. However, modern containerization platforms have network segmentation on offer. But that is an ideal situation. Implementing containers in real-world platforms does not give the advantage of the network segmentation feature. You must consider isolation in terms of the network.

5. Untrusted Containers

Portable and easy to set up are the best features that are making containers attractive and popular. Attackers leverage these features to get into environments. What hackers do is that they create their own version of malware-laden containers and upload them to public repositories. By the time your security team will locate the source and assess its trustworthiness, it will make its way through to your vital resources.

6. Insecure Configurations

Along with maintaining the isolation of containers, there are a lot of other components and configurations to take care of. It is important to update and securely configure the host operating system. If your containerization layer is insecurely configured, it will make your containers vulnerable to OS-level attacks.

Before You Go!

  • Along with the security teams, developers are also responsible for ensuring container security.
  • There are lots of cybersecurity service providers that might help you make your security posture for containers more secure.

 

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