Container Security Best Practices for 2023

by | Feb 19, 2023

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Container Security best practices

We are innovators who invent new technology daily to bring breakthroughs to address problems with existing concepts and technologies. Containers are a key innovation in overcoming virtualisation’s challenges. But, some innovators are brilliantly wicked to challenge the loopholes in even the best of technologies. The preferred architecture for major corporations like Netflix, Amazon, Uber, Spotify, etc. is micro-service architecture. Because most micro-services rely heavily on containers, it has become a primary target for attacks. As a result, most enterprises are increasingly focusing on enhancing container security. What exactly is container security, why is it crucial, and what best practices can guarantee container security in 2022? This blog seeks to answer all of the questions raised above.

Top 5 Container Security Best Practices

Now that the containers have matured in their service, it also expands opportunities for the system’s surface for more attacks. Therefore it is important to follow and implement best container security practices to keep the applications and infrastructure free from vulnerabilities. Following listed are the Top 5 best container security practices that you can follow

Include Code Scanning in the CI/CD process

Inspecting your code before executing the container image is essential to prevent flaws and malicious content from sneaking into the system.

Sonarqube is one of many SAST (Static Application Security Testing) tools that scan all code languages for vulnerabilities by identifying problems based on rules, linters, etc.

Code scanning may significantly improve code quality when included in the CI/CD process.

Dependency Scanning

Numerous applications incorporate dependencies and libraries from other sources. Reusing external code can leave containers vulnerable to risks planted by malicious penetration through these dependencies and libraries. Every application-building process needs to give priority to dependency scanning. Many package management systems, like Go, npm, Maven, etc., can help by revealing vulnerabilities in an application’s dependencies. Analysis of the results of dependency scanning helps to identify the scope of threats it presents. 

Securing Registries

Since registries are mostly where container images are stored, they can become the main target for attacks and malicious penetrations. There are both public and private registries; if you use private registries, implementing strong access controls can strengthen container security.  Strengthening the controls by signing the image can further lift the container safety

Ensuring the Security of Container Runtime

Some of the best practices for Container Security involve securing Container Runtime. Ensuring separate VPNs for Containers can give better container isolation. It is better to limit the connectivity between containers and allow it only if necessary.

For container security, it is also important to expose only the SSH port and no other ports that do not serve the application. Moreover, using TLS ensures that all communications are encrypted between two containers. There are many practices you can employ to secure container runtime and are very helpful in keeping away threats.

Image Scanning

Developers must be careful in properly vetting a container image, especially ones  developed by third parties. Container Image scanning involves monitoring and analyzing packaging and other dependencies in the container image file. It can help developers to update container images and make them free from any vulnerabilities and threats before publishing them. You can integrate it with the CI/CD pipeline and make it a necessary part of the Devsecops workflow.

 

What is Container Security?

Container Security involves identifying all possible points of vulnerabilities in Containers and wisely implementing efficient security practices, tools, strategies, and development frameworks in the deployment and runtime of Containers. This helps in securing containers against malicious attacks that can enter the applications that it supports and the infrastructure it relies on.

 

Why is Container Security Important?

Containers are one of the best technologies that help build, ship, deploy, and scale applications seamlessly. This has increased the popularity of containers, making them an appealing target. Though containers have inherent security advantages, you must follow many to ensure their security.

 A container affected by vulnerabilities can open doors to threats that can spread to organizations’ broader environment. Recently, security researchers have warned to adhere to good container security practices after finding 1652 malicious images on the docker hub. Similarly, Docker identified five malicious container images in 2021 that used 120,000 users to mine cryptocurrency. 

The attacks on Containers are increasing, and it is crucial to implement effective security practices to keep containers and dependent applications and infrastructure safe from attack.

Conclusion

Selecting a Containerised platform can bring more security to your application development. However, there are steps you can take to secure your containers from being vulnerable, thereby securing everything relied on it. Implementing container security best practices throughout the container lifecycle can help remove threats before they exploit its broader environment. Containers are frequently exposed to threats from data, libraries, dependencies, and applications that it accommodates. Therefore implementing container security practices is a continuous process. It requires skilled container security professionals who are well-versed in the concepts of container security, orchestration tools, and cloud infrastructure as most containers are cloud-native.

 

 

 

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Meet The Author

Misbah Thevarmannil

Misbah Thevarmannil

Misbah Thevarmannil is a content engineer who thrives at the intersection of creativity and technical writing expertise. She scripts articles on DevSecOps and Cybersecurity that are technically sound, clear, and concise to readers. With a knack for translating complex DevSecOps concepts into engaging narratives, she empowers developers and security professionals alike.

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