What are the top runtime vulnerabilities of Kubernetes security?

  • Framework assaults: During runtime, Kubernetes foundation components including the etcd, API server, and regulators all present their own assault surfaces.
  • Intricacy: The progressing well-being of a Kubernetes cluster has many moving parts. Containers that are compromised should be immediately disconnected, halted, and supplanted with solid ones while the wellspring of the assault is found and remediated.

Kubernetes security is based on the 4C’s of cloud native security

  • Code: Code poses a significant assault surface for any Kubernetes environment. Basic strategies, for example, TCP encrypting utilizing TLS handshakes,scanning, not uncovering unused ports, and testing consistently can help forestall security issues from emerging in an environment of creation.
  • Container: Container configurations' ultimate practices comprises: beginning with the littlest code base conceivable (barring superfluous libraries or capacities), trying not to allow pointless advantages to clients in the container, and guaranteeing that the containers are checked for vulnerabilities at fabricate time.
  • Cloud: The fundamental actual foundation is the premise of Kubernetes security. Regardless of whether the cluster is based on an all alone datacenter or a cloud supplier, essential cloud supplier (or actual security) best practices should be maintained.
  • Cluster: Ensuring the security of a Kubernetes cluster includes both the configurable segments, for example, the Kubernetes API and security of the multitude of utilizations that are important for the cluster. Since most cloud-local applications are planned around microservices and APIs, applications are just as secure as the most vulnerable link in the chain of administrations that involve the whole application.

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Kubernetes Penetration Testing Phases

SecureLayer7 will provide the clusters with audit both from an internal and external point of view

External Testing

The external review will zero in on the cluster's Internet-confronting administrations or services to evaluate whether they are secured true to form and whether any ingress focuses are uncovered out of the blue. This may incorporate services like the Kubernetes Dashboard, misconfigured API services, Kubernetes forms that are vulnerable or, as is quite normal, management of the inward cluster and checking tools, for example, Prometheus, Grafana or Elasticsearch presented to the Internet without sufficient assurance or protection.

Internal Testing

Internal Kubernetes security testing takes things to a more profound level and views at your cluster from inside, reproducing the danger from an aggressor who has either undermined a unit or pod or discovered a certain vulnerability which empowers them to make requests from insides of a pod in a cluster.There are a wide assortment or variety of security problems that can influence a particular configuration of a cluster and even in the latest variants or versions of Kubernetes. A portion of these can in any case bring about an absolute trade off of the cluster except if the particular configuration is set up to forestall this.


Commonly encountered issues

  • Unsecured Kubelet API
  • Unprotected Helm Tiller service
  • Sensitive cloud metadata unrestricted
  • Secrets not protected adequately
  • Lack of Network Policy
  • Internal services unprotected without Ingress authentication
  • Unauthenticated etcd access
  • Privileged/root containers
  • Excessive service account privileges

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SecureLayer7 regularly uncovers Zero Day vulnerabilities within a wide range of applications amidst research. We cooperatively work alongside vendors to catch up with the issues and disclose the needed prudently.

Take a look at SecureLayer7's Security Vulnerability publications and know more about the vulnerability disclosures, advisories, and reports. It details the security gaps identified in the web application, thick client software and also firmware’s of large enterprises. The documentation also contains the mitigation fixes for the vulnerabilities, their description, moreover the proof of concepts and security exposure information from SecureLayer7.

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Kubernetes Vulnerability Assessment Testing Methodology

The Kubernetes vulnerability assessment was carried out based on the steps depicted below.
Pod Enumeration

To begin with, externally uncovered services on target are recognized. These include network services, web application services and more. After this, open ports and vulnerable services will be identified using Port Scanning. This could be exploited to gain greater traction in the cluster.

API Misconfigurations

Complete access to all nodes of the cluster including kubelet, Etcd can be gained by abusing API as API has full access to the complete Kubernetes network. On the off chance of misconfiguring the API, all the secrets of the cluster could be revealed.

Cryptography Issues

For better security, only strong encryption algorithms should be relied on to securely store delicate information & communication data. It is important to assess encryption at two levels in a cluster, viz. for data at rest & for data in transit.

Secrets Management

Sensitive data can be securely stored and managed using Kubernetes Secrets. This includes OAuth tokens, passwords and ssh keys. Secrets help you store confidential information safely.

Authentication & Authorization Issues

The legitimacy of any user is proven via Authentication, while Authorization restricts the admittance to resources as per to the Kubernetes organization necessities. It is possible to gain access to nodes in the network in an unauthorized manner due to the Anonymous access, no authentication can allow an attacker to gain unauthorized access to the network or nodes.

RBAC Misconfiguration

Access to users & applications on the system/ network can be restricted using the Role-Based Access Control (RBAC) methodology. It is used for authorization by Kubernetes. In case of improper implementation of authorization, a malevolent node might be able to perform regulatory activities and steal some network secrets.

Multi-tenancy Isolation

For organizations that wish to run multiple applications at the same tie in the same environment or where multiple teams are required to collaborate, multi-tenancy is the ideal architecture to share a common Kubernetes environment. Security issues essentially emerge when due to misconfigurations, it becomes possible to access an application from another environment. This might lead to unauthorized actions on the cluster.


At the end of assessment, we provide you with a detailed report of the extensive list of vulnerabilities and attack surfaces within your Kubernetes environment along with a comprehensive list of remediation steps.

Fix verification

Post the mitigation of the vulnerabilities, SecureLayer7 provides with performing the retesting of vulnerabilities that makes sure of the verification of the mitigations delivered are appropriate.

What are the top Development and Deployment vulnerabilities in Kubernetes security?

Allowing pointless advantages

At every possible opportunity, downplay advantages and mount just the necessary secrets for the assignment to contract the assault surface.

Inability to segregate applications in the cluster

Namespaces ought to be utilized to keep clusters and assets separate from one another.

Sidelong movement inside the cluster

Use approaches that section the organization to forestall horizontal development of an assault inside the cluster.

Unapproved access

Guarantee Role-Based Access Controls (RBAC) are appropriately designed to restrict the access.

Code from untrusted registries

Untrusted code can incorporate malware or secondary passages (backdoors) that could accidentally allow admittance to agitators.

Enlarged base pictures

Toning it down would be ideal for containerized applications, so engineers ought to wipe out superfluous packages, shells and libraries that could be undermined.

SecureLayer7 deliverables

SecureLayer7 Kubernetes Penetration Testing Service focus on the overall structure of your information and data management system. Client reports follow the same phillosophy and approch to prioritize useful deliverables in all client reports, including:

  • Executive Summary
  • Scope of the Work
  • Approach and Methodology
  • OWASP Top 10 Summary
  • Summary of Key Findings/ Identification of Vulnerability
  • Graphical Representation of Vulnerabilities
  • Summary of Recommendations
  • Application Detailed Findings
  • General Comments and Security Advice Conclusion
  • Conclusion

What is a high-level checklist for level Kubernetes security?

  • Downplay advantages, and never run application measures as root. Utilizing a read-just root filesystem forestalls any assault that relies upon introducing programming or adjusting the document framework.
  • Output pictures for vulnerabilities start to finish, including OS pictures and outside pictures of any sort. There is nothing of the sort as an external confided in source.
  • Secure the cluster itself. Design RBAC to restrict admittance to the API server and guarantee all etcd interchanges are made sure about with TLS encryption. In like manner, lockdown kubelet authorizations by arranging RBAC for kubelets.
  • Kubernetes organizing defaults permit any-to-any correspondences, so network division ought to be executed before creation. Cautiously characterize entrance and departure strategies to guarantee associations are steered appropriately.
  • Proactive security ought to incorporate checking of cycle movement, correspondences among administrations, and interchanges outside to the cluster.
  • Use namespaces and RBAC to fragment the group and clients in a legitimate way. In the event that it's not required it shouldn't be noticeable.
  • Utilize a negligible host OS, end read-just mounts, and use SELinux alternatives for much more control.
  • Start with negligible, distro-less pictures and add just what is totally essential. More modest is more secure.
  • Exploit worked in controls in Kubernetes, for example, designing security setting to restrict case access.
  • Incorporate security, for example, picture checking into the CI/CD pipeline. Far and away superior, run CIS Benchmark security tests.

About Securelayer7

SecureLayer7 is accredited with CERT-in and ISO 27001 certifications. CERT-in enables us to certify and perform security audits for Government agencies and BFSI customers. SecureLayer7 provides testing and reporting to support application security compliance against PCI, HIPAA, SOC type 1 and type 2, and other regulatory requirements. Customized scanning reporting templates that support internal standards and other regulatory requirements are covered by SecureLayer7.

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Meet Our Security Experts

Mr. Hardik Maru
Sr. Security Consultant
Mr. Shubham Ingle
Sr. Security Consultant
Mr. Shantanu Ghumade
Security Consultant
Mr. Pratyaksh Singh
Associate Security Consultant