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Kubernetes security: Best Practices for enterprise deployment

D1Net18 @ 2019/08/09

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It is impressive that Kubernetes and other container implementation and management tools enable enterprises to automate the various aspects of application deployment, resulting in amazing business gains. On the other hand, as the IT team is more and more interested in deploying Kubernetes, malicious attackers are paying more and more attention to destroying Kubernetes clusters.

All stakeholders participate in a well planned plan in advance, which is the first step in building a safer container environment.

Today, containers are still the mainstream technology for application deployment and migration. Paul Rubens, an industry expert, breaks it down into understandable parts -- traps, container management systems, security, and so on. So now people have found a more reliable and effective way to deploy and expand software across platforms, but it also provides a way for malicious attackers to use these containers.

In the past few years, although some significant improvements have been made in the security of containers and their layout systems, such as Kubernetes, several major vulnerabilities have also been identified.

It is impressive that Kubernetes and other container implementation and management tools enable enterprises to automate the various aspects of application deployment, resulting in amazing business gains. On the other hand, as the IT team is more and more interested in deploying Kubernetes, malicious attackers are paying more and more attention to destroying Kubernetes clusters.

With the adoption and deployment of Kubernetes, the security risk will increase. This is widely recognized by security experts. Recently, there have been several attacks in cloud computing and mobile development space, including everything from interruption, encryption mining, ransom software to data theft.

Of course, these types of deployments are as vulnerable to attacks by external attackers and malicious insiders as traditional environments. Therefore, it is more important to ensure that the large-scale Kubernetes environment has the correct deployment architecture and to use security best practices for all these deployments.

As Kubernetes is widely adopted, it has become the main target of threat actors. Amir Jerbi, chief technology officer of Aqua Security, said: "with the rapid increase in the adoption rate of Kubernetes, people may find gaps that have not been noticed before. On the other hand, they are more concerned by cyber attackers due to their higher visibility. "

Since 2015, a number of key and significant vulnerabilities have been identified, making security and developers cautious about their planning and deployment architecture. Some of the more serious defects allow for full administrator access to any node running in the Kubernetes cluster, which will allow hackers to injecting malicious code, destroy the entire cluster environment or steal sensitive data.

Cluster security

There are several points to consider in terms of cluster security. The dynamic combination of containers brings security challenges in the Kubernetes environment. The key issues to consider when considering cluster security are:

Because there are various vulnerabilities in each container, especially when using container layout (such as Docker and Kubernetes), vulnerabilities on the attack surface are utilized.

• the need to monitor things to increase traffic, especially in the host and cloud computing environment.

The security team ensures that security automation keeps pace with the changing container environment.

• the deployment process and the visibility of Kubernetes Pod itself, including how they cross communicate.

• means used to detect malicious behavior in east-west communications between containers, including detecting vulnerabilities in individual containers or containers.

Use the best access security practices to review / plan and record Kubernetes clusters to better understand internal threats.

Simplification of the security process is also very important, so that it will not slow down or hinder the application / development team's work. For the whole organization and container deployment in a wider range, the business need to consider is to ensure the safety process of reducing approval time. In addition, the security alert process must be simplified and the most important attack can be easily identified. Finally, the enterprise's Kubernetes environment needs to segment correctly for network connections and specific containers.

Security risks of enterprises adopting Kubernetes

As mentioned earlier, with the popularity of these tools, attackers have increased the risk of using these tools. The risk tolerance of some vulnerabilities varies with scale, complexity and environment.

However, the main safety risks to be noted include:

The attacks in the Kubernetes environment may be initiated by external personnel or internal staff, whether intentional or unintentional (usually phishing attacks).

When the application vulnerabilities or misconfigurations are ignored, the container may be harmed, thereby allowing threat participants to enter, and begin to seek further access and greater interruption.

• unauthorized Pod connections attempt to access other Pod on the same host due to damaged containers. The type of network monitoring and filtering needs seventh levels to detect and prevent attacks against trusted IP addresses.

Data theft in the enterprise environment is also known as "leakage". There are many ways to deploy and hide this type of attack, and to hide the leak through the network tunnel.

Take advantage of the Kubernetes infrastructure itself, such as Kubelet and API servers.

Business process tools Compromise Allows an attacker to disrupt the application and access other resources needed for the running environment.

Best practices for Kubernetes security

As the saying goes, "do something or not do it or try to do it well". This may not be obvious at times, but it is particularly important for enterprises to deploy Kubernetes with correct concepts and architectures when they need better overall security.

Because of the enhanced functionality of this choreography tool, Kubernetes functions and deployment become more popular -- from a simple Pod architecture for small deployments or a larger Kubernetes integration across platforms. Of course, the complexity and security risks of these deployments are also true.

Here are some important tips for Kubernetes deployment best practices:

The minimum permissions must be enforced. Using this type of model to prevent extensive access can control attacks better when an attack occurs. It is best to use the built-in Pod security policy to identify and limit the functions of Pod.

• strong identity authentication best practices should always be deployed, and all Kubernetes modules must be authenticated.

Cluster partition configuration and deployment runs in a way similar to previous minimum permissions. It is the best practice to use mutually separated virtual clusters in the same infrastructure environment.

Using the firewall of the container itself helps to prevent cross network activities when using segments.

Environmental monitoring of possible events, despite the implementation of the best safety practices. There are specific third party security tools to prevent the spread of attacks and identify policy violations in the corporate environment.

Define the roles of operations, development and security teams. Separation of duties is a best practice and should be recorded on clear roles and responsibilities.

Matters to be considered

No matter how large the project and environment of an enterprise is, whether it is a single internal Pod migrating to a specific platform or a large cloud deployment with multiple clusters, it is important for an enterprise's development team and security team to work together in the planning process. This includes identifying appropriate roles and responsibilities and communicating regularly among all teams. In short, all stakeholders are involved in the perfect plan, which is the first step in building a safer container environment.

(source: Enterprise network D1Net)

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