4 Classes of Container Safety Vulnerabilities (& Finest Practices to Scale back Threat) | Cult Tech

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Containerization is turning into extra frequent attributable to portability, the power to isolate software dependencies, scalability, price effectiveness, and ease of use. The flexibility to simply package deal and deploy code has modified the best way organizations work with purposes. However similar to with Home windows servers years in the past, or AWS at this time, at any time when a selected know-how beneficial properties vital market share, it turns into a goal for attackers. Here is what it is advisable to know concerning the safety dangers of susceptible containers.

Some background on container vulnerabilities

When containers had been first launched, an attacker would first have to find that a corporation was utilizing containers, after which attempt to discover a method to exploit these containers. In the present day, it is a protected guess that containers are in use, and if a corporation’s containers aren’t secured, they will current a fast manner into an organization’s infrastructure.

To attenuate the danger of your online business being breached, you’ll be able to (and will) comply with some frequent finest practices on the market:

  • Run your containers as a non-root consumer and ensure your photos are patched.

  • Section your community, use solely signed photos, management uncommon conduct, and do not hold credentials in your photos.

Doing these practices already places you forward of a lot of the trade. Nonetheless, if container safety had been that easy, we might cease this text right here. Enterprises wouldn’t introduce instruments to handle the safety of their containers, and assaults towards containers wouldn’t improve quickly. Since this isn’t the case, we now have compiled the 4 classes of container vulnerabilities under together with finest practices to scale back threat.

4 classes of container vulnerabilities

Let’s talk about the 4 classes of container vulnerabilities (software, configuration, community, and picture vulnerabilities), what they actually imply, what risk they may pose to your group, and learn how to apply these container finest practices.

Software vulnerabilities:

In any software deployment, the primary set of vulnerabilities to contemplate is your personal software. Vulnerabilities inside your software, the framework used to jot down your software, or the libraries your software depends upon can go away your group open to assault.

For example your organization has an software written in javascript. Simply including react to that service provides 3622 dependencies to your undertaking, so we may be fairly certain we’ll have a good quantity of dependencies inside that docker container. Any variety of these packages might have vulnerabilities listed within the Nationwide Vulnerability Database right here: https://nvd.nist.gov/, or in numerous different locations on-line.

For instance, by including only a dependency checker and reacting, as seen within the following package deal.json file, our package-lock.json file (the place the listing of our dependencies is saved) is 1873 traces lengthy.

Greater than that, by working npm-audit we will see that we have already got 2 severe vulnerabilities.

Screenshot of the application vulnerability

On this case, you can use the npm audit repair to generate safety outcomes which can be already recognized for every of these packages, fixing something related that comes up. Nonetheless, typically options should not accessible or npm auditing doesn’t discover the vulnerability. This instance may be utilized to any language, not simply Javascript, and will go away you open to injection assaults, cross-site scripting assaults, or any variety of OWASP High Ten

To stop this model of software exploitation, your group ought to seek for new vulnerabilities and susceptible packages, then test that listing towards dependencies inside your software, in addition to search for vulnerabilities inside your software code.

Nonetheless, that isn’t the tip of the vulnerabilities of our purposes. Essentially the most safe app can fall sufferer to incorrect default settings, weak credential necessities, or misconfigured entry controls. You possibly can be storing delicate data with out correctly configured encryption, so your group also needs to search for weak encryption algorithms, as detailed right here at OWASP.

Configuration vulnerabilities:

As soon as your software is safe, you will need to take a look at the following class of docker container vulnerabilities: Configuration vulnerabilities. These come from incorrect configurations within the container, and even within the host itself.

Whereas a few of these configuration vulnerabilities are addressed via normal container finest practices, similar to not working containers as root to stop privilege escalation, securing container networks, and utilizing HTTPS as a substitute of HTTP, different configuration vulnerabilities similar to unsafe surroundings variables and correctly configured permissionless volumes can pose a risk to your group as effectively.

For example your group has configured a quantity, however permits information to run on the amount. An attacker might reap the benefits of such misconfiguration to execute malicious code on the host itself, probably escape the container and assault all servers inside the community, entry delicate knowledge saved on that or different nodes, create a community backdoor, or interrupt the supply of the service.

a docker compose file for this quantity, we’d see one thing like this:



    picture: node:lts 


      - myapp:/residence/node/app 



    exterior: true 

Whereas this does not look like an enormous vulnerability for the enterprise at first look, except we now have a robust use case for writing to that myapp quantity, we might prefer to see one thing extra like the next:



    picture: node:lts 


      - myapp:/residence/node/app:ro 



    exterior: true 

The presence of the ro flag after the amount title tells Docker that it can not write something to that quantity.

Community vulnerabilities:

Community exploits are a subset of configuration vulnerabilities, however they’re prevalent and harmful sufficient to warrant their very own class. A lot of these vulnerabilities end result from misconfigurations which will enable extra entry to the container or container community than the group initially supposed.

These misconfigurations might look like Web-exposed container ports (similar to ssh, telnet, or a default database port) that enable an attacker to connect with the container with out the group’s data.

It’d appear like a container configured to transmit knowledge over HTTPS, permitting an attacker to take heed to the visitors utilizing a community scanner. Your group may need container networks that aren’t secured and may enable visitors from one container to entry all different containers. In any of those instances, all it takes is one compromised container to additional compromise your complete group.

To search out container misconfigurations or vulnerabilities, examine the container and host community configurations. Take a look at your group’s DNS settings.

A standard drawback is working containers with too many ports uncovered. You’ll be able to take a look at the docker containers and test the uncovered ports by working docker ps -a on the docker host machine and checking within the ports part of the output.

Screenshot of network vulnerability

Within the instance above, we will see two containers working at 8080, which is a crimson flag. Each of those containers don’t use HTTPS, and if there is no such thing as a good motive for them to run this manner, it could possibly be misconfigured.

The final container above, localstack, also needs to be checked out as a result of massive variety of ports it has open. On this case, localstack is a device used to simulate an AWS account and has motive for having every of those ports open, however seeing one thing like this in your personal surroundings ought to warrant additional investigation.

Along with simply open ports in your host machine, you’ll be able to take Nmap or Nessus and search for open ports in your community. This might assist you to discover susceptible containers that you simply did not know had been working. With cautious planning of your container networks, you’ll be able to reduce the risk posed by such a misconfiguration.

Picture vulnerabilities:

Lastly, one thing to remember is that each container in your community runs some kind of working system, be it ubuntu, alpine linux, or one thing else. These working techniques might have their very own vulnerabilities that might enable entry to your container, denial of service, privilege escalation, or any variety of different vulnerabilities. This brings us again to patching and administration.

Sadly, the one method to handle the danger related to this class of vulnerabilities is to watch CVE databases like those discovered right here or the Nationwide Vulnerability Database right here, for patches and up to date Docker photos for the bottom picture. of every of your containers (for instance, by profiting from the Ubuntu Safety Advisories web page right here) and updating as these fixes and patches seem.


Whereas normal containerization finest practices might help you an awesome cope with the safety of your container, there are a selection of different software, configuration, community, and picture vulnerabilities that might pose a threat to your group. These dangers shouldn’t have a fast repair, however as a substitute require fixed scanning, monitoring, and reassessment of your infrastructure to reduce the danger of a foul actor breaking into your networks.

The dangers that we now have mentioned on this article may be tough and time consuming to seek out and handle. That is why Veracode is launching a brand new container safety product, Veracode Container Safety, that may assist you scan your photos, repositories, directories, and information all through the event cycle for vulnerabilities, misconfigurations, embedded secrets and techniques, and additional. This easy-to-use device means that you can shortly scan with easy CLI instructions and safe coding processes constructed into your current CI/CD pipeline to uncover potential dangers.

Our purpose is to provide you peace of thoughts figuring out that your containerized purposes are safe and compliant with trade requirements. In case you are considering working with us, please contact our gross sales workforce and see the distinction Veracode could make to your group’s safety posture.

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4 Categories of Container Security Vulnerabilities (& Best Practices to Reduce Risk)