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Getting Started with Kubernetes Security - Tools and Best Practices

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Introduction to Kubernetes Security 

The Kubernetes Security secure the cloud-native systems, which develop with the help of containers. Implement services in cloud-native systems using small clouds of boxes. Google open-sourced Kubernetes in 2014 to control and manage the containers. One of the best choices for kubernetes deployment can be Go language. Go has many features that make it a good fit for kubernetes deployments. Some of the features include static typing, powerful library, utilities, minimalism, fast compilation, and fantastic performance. The below survey results stress how vital is Kubernetes Security and how organizations are concerned.
Security is the number one challenge for users adopting Kubernetes, cited by 46% of users (which rises to 55% in larger enterprises). Source, The State of the Kubernetes Ecosystem

About Kubernetes

Kubernetes is a portable open-source platform that helps in managing container services and workloads. It is overgrowing, and its tools and services are widely available. It was open-sourced by Google in 2014 and has become very popular over the years. Before kubernetes, organizations ran their applications on physical servers. But due to a lack of resource boundaries, they had to face resource allocation issues. Even if they used different physical servers, not all problems were solved as they had to face a new challenge, which was 'underutilization' of resources. To solve these problems with physical servers, virtualization was introduced. Now, we could run multiple Virtual Machines on one physical system. It helped with resource utilization and security problems. A Virtual Machine is itself an entire machine with components of this own. Then after successfully working and deployment using  Virtual Machines , Containers came to light. Containers are similar to Virtual Machines, but the are comparatively lightweight. A box like VM also has its filesystem, memory, and CPU, etc.

Best Practices for Kubernetes Security Deployment

Let us explore the best security practices for Kubernetes Deployment Strategy. While working on the kubernetes cluster, there are some security practices that we should keep in mind to ensure the security of the deployment process. Some of these security best practices are below:
Protect your entire clusters with runtime protection of kubernetes workloads by automating kubernetes security configuration and compliance. Click to explore about, End-to-End Kubernetes Security Platform

Configure the security context for your pods and containers

While designing pods and containers, we need to keep in mind applying security context to your pods and containers. It is a property defined in the deployment yaml. The security context controls the security parameters for the pod or container. For example, we can security context as: SecurityContext->runAsNonRoot. Also, 'DenyEscalatingExec' admission control can be used to deny exec and attach commands to pods if you run pods with escalated privileges.

Make sure only authorized images are used in the environment

A process to check and ensure that only the images that adhere to the organization's area's policy are used and are allowed to run in your environment. Without this process, there is a significant risk of running malicious or vulnerable containers. It can be dangerous for the organization. The approved images should be stored in private registries. Make sure that these private registries only store approved models and not untrusted images. Before pushing the image to the individual record, a built image must be scanned for vulnerabilities. Only pictures, which have no issues or weaknesses, sell only to the registry. Made CI pipeline to integrate security assessment. With this CI pipeline being part of the build process, we can approve code use for production. Suppose an error occurs in the security assessment. In that case, it should fail the pipeline process so that the images that are vulnerable and not approved after the evaluation are not pushed to the image registry.
Container software supports simplified images from the same container to create, check and deploy safely. Read the Article, Understanding the Role of Containers in DevOps 

Moving Deployments to Production

Organizations must check for vulnerabilities before moving the deployments to production. Otherwise, the migration of deployments to production increases the vulnerable workloads. Also, a healthy  DevOps/DevSecOps  culture must be maintained in the organization to prevent these issues.

Make sure to secure CI/CD pipelines on Kubernetes

Make sure to have a CI/CD pipeline running on the built environment, which develops, tests, and deploys the workloads before using them to the kubernetes cluster. Also, configure CI/CD must to report potential vulnerabilities to the developers quickly. Otherwise, if these potentially vulnerable images are pushed to the kubernetes production cluster, attackers can exploit these vulnerabilities and gain access to the groups. Check code regularly, to avoid this problem, for code deployment configurations.

Using Authorization Policies

The complexity arises when multiple devices and interconnected microservices are multiple users; this is a nightmare. Kubernetes offer several authorization methods. We should use Role-Based Access Control(commonly referred to as RBAC) or Attribute-Based Access control(ABAC), ensuring that no user has more permission than they need to accomplish their task.

Create network segmentation between containers

If we run different applications on one kubernetes cluster, there is a considerable risk that if one of the forms is compromised, the other becomes an easy target. Network segmentation can be the solution to this problem, as it ensures secure communication between containers. But the task of creating network segmentation between containers is not an easy task because of the 'dynamic' nature of the container IPs. Use Network firewalls to prevent cross-cluster communication if necessary.
Kubernetes Native Serverless Framework is a serverless computing to build and run applications and services without thinking about the servers.

What are the Tools for Kubernetes Security  ?

Kubernetes automates various tasks required to deploy containerized apps. But one crucial thing that it doesn't take care of is SecuritySecurity. It does have a few features that can surely help to secure the containerized apps. But that is not much.   When properly configured, it can enforce role-based access control policies, for example, and it can restrict the ability of a container to access resources on the host server. Beyond these security measures, however, Kubernetes offer nothing in the securing of applications. It doesn't review the contents of a container for security flaws or detect anomalous behavior within a containerized app that could signal a breach. It doesn't secure nodes or hardens networks against attack. In short, Kubernetes is a container orchestration tool. It's not a security tool. But Thankfully, we have third-party tools that can help us with SecuritySecurity. 

Project Calico

Project Calico  is an open-source tool that connects and secures containers the services it runs. Integrate all the major cloud platforms with Calico, be it Kubernetes or OpenStack. 


The Center for Internet Security (CIS) offers guidance and evaluation checks to insure the application is safe.  Kube-Bench  is an open-source Kubernetes testing application that verifies that the Kubernetes implementation follows CIS standards. It supports benchmark testing of several Kubernetes versions. Kube-Bench is an application from Go. 


Twistlock is a provider of full-lifecycle container and cloud-native security solutions. It helps you to perform over 200 built-in checks for the Kubernetes CIS Benchmarks. Twistlock defends software through the product life cycle with actionable risk detection mechanisms and dynamically configured firewalls.


Falco  is a targeted Kubernetes tool for SecuritySecurity that detects unusual activity in your containers. Derive it from the Sysdig Project and has become a commercial product. Falco monitors containers with a greater focus on kernel system calls. 

Aqua Security 

Until deployment Aqua Security scans the container images, this feature lets you make images read-only. Immutable images are less vulnerable to threat. Additionally, it allows quickly detection of anomalies.
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Next-gen cyber security encircles a holistic approach—right from detection to protection, prevention, and remediation. Cyber Security Services and Solutions

Kubernetes Security and future 

The emergence of Kubernetes and containers hasn't modified the security goals. The aim is still to make it impossible, for cyberattackers to hack into the software and the networks and find and avoid them as soon as possible should they succeed. However, tailor the methods and methodologies to fit the requirements of DevOps operations and cloud-native concepts.

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