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Are You Making These Common Container Security Mistakes?

Are You Making These Common Container Security Mistakes

Are You Making These Common Container Security Mistakes?

Containerization is an increasingly popular choice for building applications that can be shifted easily from one computing environment to another – say, from the cloud to a laptop or server and back again.

But security is just as important on a containerized network as on a traditional one. You need to do it right to keep your network safe from attacks, hackers, malware, and viruses. Avoid these common container security mistakes to keep your containerized network that much safer. 

Not Checking Code Libraries for Vulnerabilities

A code library is a bundle of pre-written code that programmers can use to make their code do specific things. Code libraries can cut down on the amount of code a programmer needs to write, which can help them create containers faster and more easily. But these libraries could contain vulnerabilities that could put your container at risk.

Don’t assume any given code library is safe. That’s especially true of third-party code libraries. You can do a couple of things to make your code libraries safer. There are a number of tools available to help you check code libraries for vulnerabilities. It’s also a good idea to limit your use of libraries to what is needed for the container to function. Implement a security review procedure for code libraries, especially third-party ones. 

Placing Container Security Above Host Security

It doesn’t pay to focus too much on container security at the expense of host security. The container can only be as secure as the host – great internal container security is not going to make up for fatal flaws in host security. 

Of course, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be focusing on container security. Just make sure you’re focusing on host security to an equal extent. Keep your hosting environment secure, whether it’s a laptop, desktop, server, mobile, or cloud environment. Make sure both your host and your container are configured correctly to make the most of their security features.

Giving Containers Too Many Privileges

Giving containers a lot of privileges is a lot like giving an app too many permissions on your phone. Does that recipe app really need access to your contacts list? It could help hackers steal that information and misuse it. You need to be just as wary when giving containers privileges as you are with app permissions on your phone.

A container with too many privileges is a container that has a lot of vulnerabilities attackers can take advantage of. Assign only the privileges that the container needs to function. Perform behavioral monitoring while the container is operating so you can make sure that privileges aren’t being abused. Allowing too many privileges can be the gateway to an escalating malware or hacking situation that could compromise not just the container, but the entire host, so it’s very important to abide by the rule of least privilege when setting up containers. Give privileges very sparingly.

Giving Containers Too Much Exposure

Containers exposed on public networks are also more vulnerable to attacks. You should be minimizing the amount of time that your containers are exposed to public networks. Do not adopt any policies that allow the container to be exposed for long periods of time. Only use the channels of exposure that you absolutely need to achieve your purpose for creating the container. 

For good container security, do not leave root permissions intact when you are building a container. Any commands run inside a container should be run with non-root permissions. This keeps users from escalating their control of the container, and limits them to doing what they’re allowed to do. Proper network and host security can also help protect containers from too much exposure on public networks.

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Not Using Immutable Images

Immutable images cannot be changed, and they should always be used as the foundation for any secure container. If you need to change the image, container security demands that you start from scratch with a new image rather than using a non-immutable image. Using immutable images provides code integrity and can prevent bad actors from inserting malicious code into your containers. Changes to images should only be made in test environments where they can be controlled and subject to an approval process. 

Container computing can make it easier than ever to move applications around from one computing environment to another. It’s making the global workplace easier to realize. But don’t assume containers are inherently secure. Learn how to avoid container security mistakes to protect your data from criminals. 

Are You Making These Common Container Security Mistakes?