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Friday, June 14, 2024

Everything You Need to Know About Kubernetes Security

Kubernetes is a popular container orchestration system that allows you to automate application deployment, scaling, and management. The fact that it’s open-source adds to this software’s demand, which, unfortunately, also attracts bad actors.

You’ve worked hard to create your apps, so don’t let a hacker ruin things in one fell swoop. Thankfully, there are some steps you can take to ensure you have good Kubernetes security.

Kubernetes Security

Network Security

Network security is something you should always take care of when you’re dealing with anything online. And Kubernetes is no exception.

As the most basic defense against cyberattacks, enable firewalls at the gateway level. That way, if there’s any suspicious traffic, it’ll be blocked right away.

You should also use a service mesh to constantly monitor your traffic for security breaches. Hacks and RCE attacks can be particularly devastating, so it pays to be vigilant. Not only can successful cyberattacks give hackers access to your apps, but they can allow malware installation too.

Make sure all devices have antivirus software too. This can catch anything the firewalls miss.

In addition to running firewalls and antivirus software, you should also have robust network policies. Isolate pods and filter incoming traffic so if any malicious attacks make it through, you can mitigate the damage, as they won’t spread as quickly.

Node Security

Within Kubernetes are clusters, and within those clusters are nodes (or servers). These are either virtual machines (VMs) or bare-metal servers.

The best way to protect your nodes is to run them at a bare minimum. This means deleting unused user accounts, applications, and other files in your operating system. This gives hackers fewer opportunities to get in and spread their attacks.

You should also secure communication within a cluster by using Transport Layer Security (TLS) between nodes, the control plane, and worker nodes.

Make sure you don’t neglect your worker nodes, even though they’re of less importance than your master nodes. The good news is, you can duplicate your security procedures across these nodes, so there’s no extra work.

Performing regular audits is a good idea too. You’ll spot suspicious or unauthorized activity immediately.

Pod Security

A pod is a container or a set of them; they’re used to run your application. Luckily, within Kubernetes, there are already some native tools that allow you to beef up security.

Take advantage of the role-based access control (RBAC) policies, network policies, security contexts, and admission controllers (more on these later). These let you control access to pods, as you can set the privilege levels and isolate them as needed.

The best course of action is to isolate your pods from one another, as any successful attacks won’t get past them. You can also use Kubernetes resource quotas and limits so the pods can’t access certain parts of the cluster.

But if your pods need to communicate, you can use external tools to further protect them. These can analyze your pod logs and find possible breaches before they can infect the rest of your software. Just make sure to keep them updated with the latest patches, so potential vulnerabilities can’t be exploited.

In addition, always scan container images before running them. You should never download and run images from unknown sources, as you never know what’s hitching a ride on these files.

Data Security

Kubernetes Security

While Kubernetes itself doesn’t store data, you still need to practice data security. This is because there’s a small amount of non-persistent data in your pods and nodes. Plus, your clusters will generate data too, which is stored in an external place.

To secure this data, encrypt as much of it as possible. And like with other types of security, you need to limit the people who have access to the data, and properly lock down servers for your storage pools.

But even the best measures won’t be foolproof, so you want to be prepared. Back up your data regularly. That way, if you’re a victim of ransomware or data theft, you won’t be devastated by a total loss.

Do note that Kubernetes doesn’t offer tools dedicated to data security. However, you’ll have peace of mind if you take the above steps we’ve given you.

API Security

The application programming interface (API) is what pulls together a cluster. If there’s one place you want to concentrate your security efforts on, it’s here.

The good news is, the Kubernetes API already has a secure design. It doesn’t indiscriminately respond to requests; it’ll only do so with ones it can authenticate and authorize.

You can take API security one step further though, as you’re in charge of authentication and authorization. With RBAC policies, you’ll ensure that permission’s only given to those who truly need it.

You should utilize admission controllers too, which add another layer of security after authentication and authorization. These controllers may catch things that might’ve made it through your RBAC policies.

In addition, make sure your API server only serves requests on a secure port. Configuring secure certificates also raises your API security.

Disaster Recovery Plan

Try as we might, we can’t stop every cyberattack. In the event that one’s successful, you want to be prepared. That way, the damage isn’t too great.

Your business should have a process in place for incident response. All workers should know how to report something suspicious, and who to report to. In turn, these employees should be trained in how to properly handle these reports.

Time is of the essence when cyberattacks are successful, so having mock disaster runs is beneficial. Your workforce will know exactly how to respond in a real-life event.

Practice Good Kubernetes Security to Keep Your Apps Safe

Every business should have good cybersecurity strategies, considering how digital our world is today. But if you’re creating applications, then Kubernetes security is a must.

Fortunately, many of the recommendations overlap with general cybersecurity measures. This means they won’t be tough to implement. Combine them with Kubernetes’s inherent security measures, and your apps will be well protected.

To learn more about protecting your tech, take a look at our other blog articles now.

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