Howdy, folks. In this series, we will analyze Kubernetes security, an important aspect while working with containerization, and how DFIR can help us secure and monitor our Kubernetes cloud environments. Happy Reading!!
Kubernetes has rapidly evolved to become the most popular open-source container orchestration tool in this fast-moving IT industry. It brings significant benefits to organizations. Undoubtedly, one cannot deny that Kubernetes requires a lot of expertise with extensive configuration and management to handle its overly complex system. Although, the organizations get highly benefited from this association by deploying production word loads for high availability, scalability, and elasticity. But just like any other tool, there are also challenges and tradeoffs. & we all know that Kubernetes is ephemeral and hence brings space for vulnerability.
2. Why is Kubernetes Security Important?
Due to the distributed and dynamic nature of Kubernetes clusters, Kubernetes security is essential throughout the container lifecycle. Different security approaches are followed at each phase of an application lifecycle: build, deploy, and runtime, and hence Kubernetes offers other security options for each phase.
Since the traditional tools & techniques cannot keep up with the ever-changing container landscape and fail to bring visibility into the dynamic environment. Kubernetes demands a novel and efficient approach toward security. & Here comes a modern-day approach called (DFIR) to identify and respond to potential cyber-attacks in the Kubernetes environment.
3. Introducing Digital Forensic Incident Response – DFIR
In the cyber security domain, DFIR (Digital Forensic Incident Response) is an approach that adopts the best security practices and techniques to handle the event of a security breach. In addition, DFIR brings a methodological set of steps that one can easily follow to carefully monitor, analyze, and collect digital evidence of the desired environment to recover and mitigate potential cyber occurrences.
· Incident Response Plan
An incident response plan (IRP) lays out what can be done in the event of a security breach. It is a documented process consisting of steps that define what will be followed when a security infraction occurs. Although, every organization has its approach toward any event of security infringement. Still, it can be summarized in these four main steps:
As a first step, an in-depth examination of the event and the associated risks can be fundamental to the entire process. All security events, logs, and reports associated with the affected environment are typically generated and reviewed at this step. So, yes, a comprehensive and rapid investigation of the attack and its risks can emphasize and fast forward the entire process.
Upon the identification of the possible incident in the first stage, the response team must determine if the incident represents a security incident or if it is something else to be not bothered about, and then it will be determined whether to respond or not.
This step involves investigating the cause of the incident, limiting its impact, and isolating the affected component from the network. In addition, the team needs to identify, analyze, and monitor security risks and implement remediation measures as part of this step. As a result, affected systems, data, and services can eventually be restored and even patches can be applied.
This is the ultimate step, which gives organizations an opportunity of learning and reinforces their security standards, and trains their team to stay updated with the newest threats and viable solutions.
All these measures are meant to mitigate the impact of an incident, reduce the attack surface, and prevent security breaches in the future.
4. Steps to DFIR Kubernetes Cluster:
Here, we are going to simulate how to assess DFIR when a cybersecurity incident occurs in a Kubernetes cluster
I. Identification of Strange behaviors
Kubernetes clusters are self-managed, with our apps, sites, and web servers deployed and exposed to the network via Kubernetes load balancer services.
To cover the identification step, we detect incidents at runtime and tools like Falco which is a Kubernetes threat detection engine being utilized in this scenario. It is deployed as a daemonset on each node and gets configured with Falcosidekick to send alerts to the SIEM.
II. Coordination to Reduce Impact
To isolate the attack and make the investigation more sophisticated, we can label the worker node on which the pod was deployed. By doing so, you can simplify the distinction of that node and isolate it to take protective measures and bring the case in hand.
III. Resolution to Mitigate Risks
Resolution is done during the process and after fixing the breach as well. With tools like Elasticsearch and Prometheus, we can detect high CPU usage and memory usage, unusual traffic, and more that can indicate malicious executions and be monitored quickly. We will cover these tools in detail in the upcoming blogs in this series.
5. DFIR Live & Offline Approach:
· Live Approach
The live approach is considered the fastest. It is done while the container runs isolated in your Kubernetes cluster, and you can continue your inspection directly from its worker node.
· Offline Approach
The live approach was relatively fast and allowed us to dive deeper into the details in case of a container breach. But sometimes, we cannot immediately analyze our running resources.
For this reason, it is always better to store and secure the evidence remotely to conduct post-mortem analysis, for example, snapshotting an entire volume. For this purpose, many open-source projects like Docker-explorer come into play. It can be utilized to do forensic analysis offline on a snapshotted volume.
Containerization with Kubernetes is quickly gaining popularity in deploying scalable applications. However, as the popularity grows, so do the security threats.
Kubernetes is neither secure nor insecure. It is just how well we create an architecture with proper implementation of the policy and investigation of security occurrences we can eventually learn, rectify, and harden our security and network policies. It is also necessary to adhere to all the security requirements to create a secure and reliable Kubernetes cluster environment.
7. About CloudThat:
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Drop a query if you have any questions regarding Kubernetes Security, Digital Forensic Incident Response (DFIR), or cybersecurity and I will get back to you quickly. To get started, go through ourExpert Advisorypage and Managed Services Package that isCloudThat’s offerings.
1. What is Kubernetes?
A: Kubernetes is an open-source container orchestration tool.
2. Why do most industry experts choose Kubernetes as an orchestration tool?
A: Kubernetes is a top choice in the industry because it is completely open-source, it can deploy, scale, and manage resources on its own, and it’s highly available and flexible with multiple and hybrid cloud environments.
3. What is Kubernetes Security?
A: Kubernetes security is built on the principle that security can be better implemented when it is coordinated with the containerized application management system. It is a declarative approach to discovering vulnerabilities in Kubernetes as well as containers.
Shivani Gandhi is a Research Associate (Kubernetes) at CloudThat technologies. She holds a master's degree in Computer Application. She is passionate about cloud computing and has a strong urge to learn new cloud-native technologies. She has experience in GCP & AWS and enjoys leveraging clients with efficient cloud-based solutions. She is adaptive, a good team player, and enjoys reading.