Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Cloud

Container Security Is Falling Behind Container Deployments

Organizations are increasingly turning to containers even though they are not as confident in the security of those containers, according to a new survey.

Containers — virtualized applications that are key to DevOps — are maturing as critical parts of enterprise application infrastructures. And even though security strategies are maturing, organizations are still struggling to have security keep up with the other facets of container deployment.

A new report, sponsored by StackRox and based on research by AimPoint Group, shows that more than a third of companies haven't begun to implement a container security policy yet. While 15% say their company is in the planning stage with its container security strategy, 19% say that they haven't even gotten that far.

Part of the problem, says StackRox CEO Kamal Shah, is the complexity of the environment into which containers are being deployed. While many people look at containers as a technology for the cloud, Shah says, "We found that 70% are running containers on-prem and 53% are running in hybrid mode, which means running it on-premises as well as on one of the public cloud platforms."

Companies are turning to containers because the speed of deployment in containers is critical for organizations that are implementing agile or DevOps disciplines. And studies by other researchers show that some container practices, such as downloading and reusing popular pre-existing application images, don't insulate a company from security issues.

Jerry Gamblin, principal security engineer at Kenna Security, scanned the 1,000 most popular application images and found that over 60% of the top Docker files held a vulnerability with at least a moderate risk score, and over 20% of the files contained at least one vulnerability that would be considered high risk. [Note: A container is a virtualized application running on a system. An image is the file containing that application and its configuration files before it is launched.]

When looking at the source of vulnerabilities, the StackRox report says that poor deployment is the principal problem. According to the report, 60% of executives say that misconfigurations create the greatest security risks.

"The challenge in this new world is that there are a lot of options, a lot of controls that you have to configure, and there are a lot of configuration options," Shah says. "On top of that, what makes matters worse is that a lot of the controls that exist are not enabled by default."

Those controls are important because 43% of respondents say that runtime is the phase of the container life cycle that worries them the most. Though the report indicates that fixing issues is most cost-effective in building or deployment phases, the lack of a container security strategy hinders many companies in making those fixes.

Procedures and tools are available for better container security, if companies will employ them. Researchers at Alcide conducted surveys of best container practices and found that a handful of processes can make a huge difference in container security. Those best practices include familiar items like regular software updates and secure access, as well as container-specific practices, including namespace isolation (keeping containers completely separate from one another) and automated tools for scanning and setting container configurations.

Related Content:

 

Black Hat USA returns to Las Vegas with hands-on technical Trainings, cutting-edge Briefings, Arsenal open-source tool demonstrations, top-tier security solutions, and service providers in the Business Hall. Click for information on the conference and to register.

Curtis Franklin Jr. is Senior Editor at Dark Reading. In this role he focuses on product and technology coverage for the publication. In addition he works on audio and video programming for Dark Reading and contributes to activities at Interop ITX, Black Hat, INsecurity, and ... View Full Bio
 

Recommended Reading:

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
News
Inside the Ransomware Campaigns Targeting Exchange Servers
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  4/2/2021
Commentary
Beyond MITRE ATT&CK: The Case for a New Cyber Kill Chain
Rik Turner, Principal Analyst, Infrastructure Solutions, Omdia,  3/30/2021
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
2021 Top Enterprise IT Trends
We've identified the key trends that are poised to impact the IT landscape in 2021. Find out why they're important and how they will affect you today!
Flash Poll
How Enterprises are Developing Secure Applications
How Enterprises are Developing Secure Applications
Recent breaches of third-party apps are driving many organizations to think harder about the security of their off-the-shelf software as they continue to move left in secure software development practices.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2021-3493
PUBLISHED: 2021-04-17
The overlayfs implementation in the linux kernel did not properly validate with respect to user namespaces the setting of file capabilities on files in an underlying file system. Due to the combination of unprivileged user namespaces along with a patch carried in the Ubuntu kernel to allow unprivile...
CVE-2021-3492
PUBLISHED: 2021-04-17
Shiftfs, an out-of-tree stacking file system included in Ubuntu Linux kernels, did not properly handle faults occurring during copy_from_user() correctly. These could lead to either a double-free situation or memory not being freed at all. An attacker could use this to cause a denial of service (ker...
CVE-2020-2509
PUBLISHED: 2021-04-17
A command injection vulnerability has been reported to affect QTS and QuTS hero. If exploited, this vulnerability allows attackers to execute arbitrary commands in a compromised application. We have already fixed this vulnerability in the following versions: QTS 4.5.2.1566 Build 20210202 and later Q...
CVE-2020-36195
PUBLISHED: 2021-04-17
An SQL injection vulnerability has been reported to affect QNAP NAS running Multimedia Console or the Media Streaming add-on. If exploited, the vulnerability allows remote attackers to obtain application information. QNAP has already fixed this vulnerability in the following versions of Multimedia C...
CVE-2021-29445
PUBLISHED: 2021-04-16
jose-node-esm-runtime is an npm package which provides a number of cryptographic functions. In versions prior to 3.11.4 the AES_CBC_HMAC_SHA2 Algorithm (A128CBC-HS256, A192CBC-HS384, A256CBC-HS512) decryption would always execute both HMAC tag verification and CBC decryption, if either failed `JWEDe...