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Container Security

What Exactly Is Container Security?

Containers aid in the development and deployment of cloud-native applications. "A container is a standard unit of software that wraps up code and all its dependencies, so the application runs fast and reliably from one computing environment to another," according to Docker.

Containers utilise resources more effectively than virtualisation, increasing the value of server usage.

They are lightweight, portable, quick, and simple to deploy. You can deploy an image that contains a functioning, running instance of the application.

The Docker Daemon, which runs directly on the operating system, supports and handles the running of containers on the design and the images you generate. The apps that run within these images run on the host system directly.

What Are the Container Security Challenges?

Containers are part of an ecosystem; they are not placed in a silo within a business.

Container workloads are deployed as part of an architecture that may include public clouds (AWS, GCP, Azure), private clouds (VMware), and hybrid clouds integrated with traditional workloads composed of servers and VMs while working with serverless components on the compute side.

These businesses may also use IaaS and PaaS services like S3 buckets or RDS. As a result, container workloads must be protected as part of a corporate ecosystem.

Container lifecycles are generally measured in seconds, but considerable heterogeneity makes generalisation difficult. Security teams must account for the security and integrity of containers that may be online for only a few seconds, as well as those that may be online for weeks.

Containers are produced and deployed as part of CI/CD DevOps Pipelines. Developers often drive container workloads. The issue for security is to enable developers to create BornSecure apps.

The following are the primary issues when it comes to container security:

  • The container host's security
  • Traffic on the container network
  • Your application's protection within the container
  • Malicious activity in your application
  • Keeping your container management stack safe
  • Your application's fundamental layers
  • The pipeline's integrity in the construction process

What Is the Significance of Container Security?

While containers provide some inherent security benefits, such as increased application isolation, they also broaden an organisation’s threat landscape. Failure to detect and design specialised container security procedures may raise security concerns for enterprises.

Container utilisation in production environments has increased significantly, making containers more enticing for hostile actors. Furthermore, a single susceptible or hacked container might represent a point of entry into an organisation’s larger environment.

With the increase in east-west traffic transiting the data centre and cloud, few security measures monitor this primary network traffic source. This emphasises the need for container security, as standard network security solutions provide little protection against lateral assaults.

What Is the Best Way To Secure a Container?

While container security is best seen as a whole, it concentrates on the container. The National Institute of Standards and Technology issued its Application Container Security Guide, highlighting numerous key techniques.

Here are three significant takeaways from the NIST report:

  1. Use host operating systems that are optimised for containers. NIST suggests utilising container-specific host OSes created with few functionalities to decrease attack surfaces.
  2. Use vulnerability management and runtime security technologies that are container-specific. Traditional vulnerability testing and management technologies frequently have blind spots for containers, leading to erroneous reporting that everything is fine in container images, configuration settings, and the like.
  3. Similarly, maintaining runtime security is an important aspect of container deployments and operations. Traditional perimeter-oriented solutions, like intrusion-prevention systems, were not designed with containers in mind and hence cannot adequately defend them.

What Are Some of the Most Common Container Security Blunders To Avoid?

When it comes to protecting containers and environments, there are numerous typical pitfalls to avoid, including:

  1. Forgetting simple security precautions
    Containers are a relatively new technology that necessitates some novel security measures. However, this does not imply that basic security foundations should be abandoned. For example, it is vital to keep your systems patched and updated, whether operating systems, container runtimes, or other technologies.
  2. Inadequately configuring and hardening your tools and environments.
    Good container and orchestration tools, like many cloud platforms, include robust security features. However, you must configure them for your specific context rather than running them with default settings to reap their benefits. Giving a container only the capabilities or privileges it needs is one example.