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Kubernetes is among the most preferred container orchestration tools in the industry. Indeed, it has made it easier for the developers’ community to deploy containerized applications quickly. However, cluster security has always been a significant concern regarding containerized applications, the potential reason being open sources and ephemeral.
Understanding Kubernetes Security is easy. It is a systematic pattern of establishing and implementing security best practices to protect our containerized application from potential threats and attacks. Here is the continuation of our Kubernetes Security blog series. We will see some industry-recommended open-source Kubernetes security tools and how we can use them based on different security scenarios.
Learn more about the Best Practices of Kubernetes Security & Risk Management in this blog.
II Open-Source Kubernetes Security Tools
Falco is an open-source tool designed explicitly for runtime security; it is used by almost 25% of respondents to protect Kubernetes containerized applications. It governs Kubernetes clusters and detects strange behaviors of pods, intrusion, data theft, and configuration changes. Falco also offers security policies that combine contextual data from Kubernetes and kernel events to detect flaws in running containers.
To know more: Falco
Kube Linter is a static analysis tool that reads YAML files and Helm charts for security compliance and misconfigurations & Helm charts against a variety of best practices to ensure the production readiness of your Kubernetes cluster. It also comes with a set default checklist to provide you with frequent and early checks like running containers as a non-root user, following the principle of least privileges, keeping sensitive information in a vault, etc.,
To know more: kube-linter
Kube-bench is simply a static auditing tool that audits Kubernetes cluster security against the security checks recommended in the CIS guidelines for Kubernetes. A quarter of engineers use Kube-bench. It is configured using YAML files, and the tool is written in Go. It is a highly effective tool in cases of an unmanaged cluster.
To know more: kube-bench
Calico is an open-source solution that is not Kubernetes-specific yet Kubernetes-friendly. It is a networking technology aimed at enhancing security. In addition to Kubernetes, Docker enterprise, OpenStack, and bare-metal services, it runs on various platforms. Calico helps construct a micro-firewall that applies and renders preset connection policies into results. It also provides granular access control with its rich security model that facilitates us to establish secure communication with the wire guard encryption.
To know more: Project Calico
Implementing Infrastructure as Code (IaC) applications like Terraform, Kubernetes, Argo CD, Atlantis, and AWS CloudFormation is critical to comply with security best practices and compliance requirements. Tarascan provides 500+ out-of-the-box policies for scanning IaC against common policy standards, such as the CIS Benchmark. It helps detect compliance risks and security violations. The Rego query language enables the creation of custom policies using the Open Policy Agent (OPA) engine & can be integrated with your CI/CD pipeline.
To know more: Terrascan
Istio service mesh is an open-source tool that allows you to observe, connect, and protect Kubernetes services, & deployments. It includes load balancing, fine-grained traffic management, automatic metrics collection, log collection, observance & governance, and secure cluster-to-cluster communication.
To know more: Istio
Krane can be understood as an RBAC analysis tool that identifies potential security risks in the design and suggests solutions to mitigate them. It provides a dashboard showing the current K8s RBAC security posture, allowing you to navigate its definitions. It also enables you to set up alerts in case of detecting a medium or high level of security risks via Slack integration.
To know more: krane
Kube-hunter is an excellent penetration testing tool that allows you to write custom modules that can be executed from local machines, inside the cluster, and remotely in both active and passive modes. It also provides a detailed report about compliance misconfiguration and security threats and vulnerabilities.
To know more: kube-hunter
The Kubesec tool aids in verifying and aligning Kubernetes resource configurations with Kubernetes security best practices.
To know more: kubesec.io
Open Policy Agent (OPA)
OPA is an all-purpose open-source policy engine framework. OPA helps developers to impose contextually aware security protocols across the cloud-native stack. This capacity of OPA sets it apart from other policy engines. OPA facilitates security teams with policy review and analysis without compromising the performance or availability of your cluster.
To know more: openpolicyagent
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III. Final Thoughts
These open-source tools help govern records, monitor, and adhere to Kubernetes security practices. Apart from the top 10 listed open-source tools mentioned above, we can use numerous other security tools. Many other security analysis tools are also available, such as Dagda, Clair, kubeaudit, illuminatio, and many others. In addition to securing the supply chain, cloud infrastructure, and running workloads wherever they are implemented, these tools facilitate automated prevention, detection, and response across the entire application lifecycle.
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1. Why is Kubernetes Security Important?
ANS: – Kubernetes is open source and ephemeral in nature, giving a lot of room to attackers to exploit the cluster and malfunction the application. To enhance Kubernetes security and protect it from threats and data theft, we follow security best practices and facilitate our cluster with security and monitoring tools that enable the team to govern and protect the cluster environment properly.
2. Why do we need Security Tools?
ANS: – Kubernetes, like any other complex platform, always has vulnerabilities and bugs that may compromise its security. Hence, we utilize security tools to manage security-related concerns and keep a record of security vulnerabilities and fixes.
WRITTEN BY Shivani Gandhi
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.
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