Container Security for Kubernetes

This guide covers best practices for securing containers in Kubernetes, including securing configurations, isolating runtimes, managing privileges, container scanning, and using trusted images.


Containers are widely used in the development and deployment of applications, and Kubernetes has become a popular choice for managing containerized workloads. Securing these containers is essential to protect the integrity and confidentiality of your applications and data. This guide covers best practices for securing containers running on Kubernetes, including securing container configurations, isolating container runtimes, and managing container privileges. We'll also discuss container scanning and the use of trusted container images.

  1. Securing Container Configurations

1.1. Use minimal base images: Choose a minimal base image with only the necessary components for your application. This reduces the attack surface and minimizes the possibility of vulnerabilities.

1.2. Keep images up-to-date: Regularly update your container images with the latest security patches to protect against known vulnerabilities.

1.3. Use a read-only file system: Configure containers to use a read-only file system, preventing any unwanted changes to the container's file system at runtime.

1.4. Limit resource usage: Set resource limits on CPU, memory, and disk usage to prevent resource exhaustion attacks.

1.5. Use non-root users: Run your containers with non-root users to minimize the impact of a container compromise.

  1. Isolating Container Runtimes

2.1. Use namespaces: Use Kubernetes namespaces to isolate your container workloads, restricting access and limiting the blast radius of a compromised container.

2.2. Implement network segmentation: Use network policies to control the flow of traffic between pods, limiting communication between different parts of your application.

2.3. Enable pod security policies: Use pod security policies (PSPs) to enforce security best practices and prevent the creation of pods with overly permissive settings.

2.4. Use Kubernetes service accounts: Assign service accounts to your pods to manage their access to Kubernetes API resources.

  1. Managing Container Privileges

3.1. Use the principle of least privilege: Grant your containers the minimum permissions they need to perform their tasks.

3.2. Limit host access: Avoid using the host's file system or network interfaces in your containers, as this can increase the risk of compromising the host system.

3.3. Disable privilege escalation: Configure containers to not allow privilege escalation by setting the allowPrivilegeEscalation field to false.

3.4. Limit capabilities: Remove unnecessary Linux capabilities from your containers to minimize the risk of exploiting kernel-level vulnerabilities.

  1. Container Scanning

4.1. Use image scanning tools: Regularly scan your container images for known vulnerabilities using tools like Clair, Anchore, or Trivy.

4.2. Integrate scanning in your CI/CD pipeline: Incorporate container scanning into your CI/CD pipeline to catch vulnerabilities before they are deployed to production.

4.3. Monitor for vulnerabilities: Continuously monitor for new vulnerabilities in your container images and apply security updates as needed.

  1. Trusted Container Images

5.1. Use trusted registries: Store your container images in trusted container registries, such as Docker Hub, Google Container Registry, or Amazon Elastic Container Registry.

5.2. Verify image signatures: Verify the digital signatures of your container images to ensure their integrity and authenticity.

5.3. Implement image provenance: Track the origin and lineage of your container images to ensure they come from trusted sources.


Securing containers running on Kubernetes requires a combination of best practices and vigilance. By following these recommendations, you can minimize the risk of a security breach and protect your applications and data. Regularly review and update your security practices to stay ahead of emerging threats and maintain the integrity of your container environment.

Connect, Protect, Defend

Streamline your approach to security posture management throughout your entire company.
Get a Free Security Assessment
By installing or using the software, you acknowledge and agree to be bound by the Terms of Service.