Container cybersecurity
Container cybersecurity | Image by Davie Bicker from Pixabay

What is Container cybersecurity?

The process of securing containers is ongoing. It should be integrated into your growth process, automated to reduce human intervention, and extended to the maintenance and working of the underlying infrastructure. This protects the build pipeline’s container images and the runtime’s host, platform, and application layers. Executing security as part of the continuous delivery lifecycle means your business will reduce risks and vulnerabilities across an ever-increasing attack surface.

When securing containers, key focuses should be:

  • Container host security
  • Container network traffic
  • Application security inside the container
  • Malicious behavior within your application
  • Secure your container management stack
  • The fundamental layers of your application
  • The health of your development pipeline
  • Cybersecurity aims to ensure that everything you create continually works only as intended.

Some of the names companies are using for the needs of their container:

  • Securing Docker

Before you start securing your containers, you must know the key players in the industry. Docker, a leader in the container market, provides a platform to build, manage and secure applications. Docker allows customers to deploy traditional applications and the latest micro services anywhere. As with any other container platform, you need to ensure adequate protection. Learn more about Docker container security.

  • Securing Kubernetes

Kubernetes is the next big name to know. Kubernetes provides a portable, extensible, open-source platform for handling containerized tasks and services. While Kubernetes gives security features, you need a reliable security solution that keeps you safe; there has been a growth in attacks on Kubernetes clusters. Learn more about securing Kubernetes.

  • Amazon Web Services and Container Security

Next, we have Amazon Web Services (AWS). AWS realizes the need for containers to empower developers to deliver applications quicker and more consistently. That’s why they offer Amazon Elastic Container Service (Amazon ECS), a scalable, high-performance container orchestration service that supports Docker containers. It removes dependencies on managing your virtual machines and container environment and lets you efficiently run and scale AWS applications in containers. However, like the rest of the leading players above, you need security to get the full benefits of this service. Learn more about Container Security on AWS.

  • Securing Microsoft Azure Container Instances

Lastly, we have Microsoft Azure Container Instances (ACI). This solution allows developers to deploy containers on the Microsoft® Azure™ public cloud without running or managing the underlying infrastructure. Instead, you can create a new container using the Microsoft Azure portal, where Microsoft no doubt supplies and scales the essential computer resources. Azure Container Instances allow for great rate and agility but need to be secured to reap the full benefits properly.

Now that you know the leading players let’s talk about how to protect them or visit the links above for more details on every solution. Learn more about Securing Microsoft Azure Container Instances.

  • Host Protection

Host protection starts with selecting the OS it runs on. It would be better to use a distributed operating system optimized for running containers whenever feasible. If you are using standard Linux or Microsoft Windows distributions, disable or remove unnecessary services and protect the operating system comprehensively. Then add a layer of security and watch tools to ensure your host performs as expected. Tools such as application control or an intrusion prevention system (IPS) are handy in this situation.

Once the container runs in production, it will need to interrelate with other containers and resources. This internal traffic must be monitored and safe, ensuring that all network traffic from your containers goes through an IPS – this changes how you deploy security control.

Securing the application in the container

Once the container runs in production, it constantly processes data for your application, generating log files, cache, etc. Security controls can help make sure that these are common and not malicious activities. Real-time anti-malware controls running on container content are critical to success.

An IPS also plays a role here – in a type of usage called a virtual patch. When vulnerability is discovered remotely, the IPS engine detects attempts to exploit it and sends packets to protect your application. This saves the time needed to troubleshoot the root cause in the following container version rather than performing an emergency fix.

Monitoring your application

A runtime application self-protection (RASP) security control can help when implementing your application in a container. These security controls run in application code and often intercept or connect essential calls in your code. In addition to security features like Structured Query Language (SQL) monitoring, dependency checking and correction, URL checking, and other controls, RASP can also solve one of the biggest security challenges: root cause identification.

When placed in Application code, it uses these security controls to help bridge the spot between a security matter and the line of code that caused it. It’s hard to compete with that level of awareness, which gives your security posture a big boost.

  • Securing your container management stack

The management stack that helps coordinate your containers is often overlooked from a security perspective. Any organization serious about deploying containers will inevitably have two severe framework pieces to help manage the action: a privacy container registry such as Amazon ECS and Kubernetes (to help orchestrate your deployment).

A combination of container registries and Kubernetes can do this automatically—set quality and security standards for your containers before and during redeployment to your environment.

Logs make sharing containers easy and let teams build on each other’s work. However, automated scanners are required to ensure that each container meets development and security standards. In addition, scanning each container for known vulnerabilities, malware, and exposed secrets before it’s made available in the registry helps reduce problems down the road.

Also, you will want to ensure that the record is well protected. It should run on a robust system or a popular cloud service. Even in servicing scenarios, you should understand the shared responsibility model and implement a highly hierarchical approach to registry access.

On the orchestration side, running Kubernetes and deploying it in your environment offers many benefits that help your team get the best out of your environment. Kubernetes too provides the ability to implement various operational and security controls, such as network and pod security policies (cluster-level capabilities), allowing you to enforce multiple options to suit your risk profile.

  • Building your application on a safe foundation: Container Scanning

It would help if you had a container likeness verification workflow to ensure that containers used as building blocks are reliable and safe from common threats. This class of tools will check the contents of a container, searching Check for issues before using them as building blocks for your application, and do a final check before creating a container. Then, it was shipped to production.

When implemented correctly, scanning becomes a natural part of your encoding process. It is a fully automated process that can quickly and easily identify any issues caused when developing your application and its containers.

  • Ensuring the integrity of your production pipeline

Attackers have started moving their attacks to earlier stages of their A continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD) pipeline. They may be in your environment if an attacker successfully compromises a build server, code repository, or developer workstation much longer. You need a solid set of up-to-date security controls.

Implement a robust access control strategy across the pipeline, starting at the code repository and branching strategy, extending to the container depository. You must ensure you implement the principle of least privilege (providing only the access you need to perform necessary tasks) and regularly audit that access.

Tying everything

Securing your containers requires a comprehensive security approach. First, you must ensure that you are meeting the needs of all teams in your organization. Then, automate your system to align with your DevOps processes so you can meet deadlines and rapidly deploy applications to protect groups. Security is no longer left behind or showing up at the last minute because workflows need to change. Developing trusted security controls and automated processes from the ground up fix security issues and effortlessly bridges gaps between teams

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