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Container Security- The Key to Safer Containerized Environments

HomeBlog Container Security- The Key to Safer Containerized Environments
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Container Security-The Key to Safer Containerised Environments

Containers have played a crucial part in the development of IT Department due to its notable characteristics like scalability, compatibility and unparalleled effectiveness. With increased use of containers, container security is pivotal especially in organisations adopting containerised applications. In this blog we will dive to understand what container security is, by looking at its key stats and insights about its major vulnerabilities, and how to mitigate and protect from our system.

What is Container Security?

Container Security means the practice of securing the entire container ecosystem. It includes protecting applications, infrastructure and data within the container. It includes applying security practices at various stages of container lifecycle, from development to deployment to runtime.

Shift Left and Shift Right in Container Security

Shift left refers to the approach in which security measures are applied from the initial development stage. It narrows the gap between writing code and finding bugs. It finds and fixes bugs quickly and the cost of fixing them is also less. In terms of container security, it means integrating security measures during the image building process.

Shift right refers to the approach in which security measures are applied at the later stages of the lifecycle, in container terms, i.e. deployment and runtime. It verifies functionality and usability and solves customers reported issues. It involves continuous monitoring and protection of containers in deployment and runtime.

Container Security can be assessed using the following equation:

Container Security Risk = Threat Probability x Vulnerability Severity x Potential Impact

Vulnerabilities in Containers:

According to a research, 87% of container images contain high or critical vulnerabilities. A report found that 90% of containers run as root, this significantly increasing the potential impact of a breach.

One of the vulnerabilities that affected millions of deployed containers worldwide is “run Container Escape”. It overwrites the host’s runc binary, allowing attackers to escape the container and gain root access on the host.

In April 2024, around 600 container vulnerabilities were found and added to security databases. According to general container vulnerability statistics, approximately 30-40 vulnerabilities are typically found within popular container images themselves. This underscores the importance of shift left and implementing secure practices during image creation and builds processes. The average time to remediate Critical Severity vulnerabilities in container environments is 35 days.

Mitigate Risks and Protect Containers

To mitigate and protect the containers, the organisations have to implement a strategy that addresses multilayer protection of entire container ecosystem. Organisations should go through to rigorous image scans to secure the container images.Implement runtime security measures such as limiting container capabilities and network segmentation.

Apply proper access controls and policies and harden the host systems. Additionally, organisation should adopt continuous monitoring and vulnerability management practices to recognise the risks and minimise the impact. By adopting a “shift left” approach and incorporating security practices throughout the container lifecycle, from development to deployment and runtime, organizations can significantly reduce their exposure to container-related security threats and maintain a robust security posture in their containerized environments.

Conclusion

By including robust security practices throughout the container lifecycle, from development to deployment and runtime, organizations can significantly enhance their security posture. Implementing both shift left and shift right strategies ensures comprehensive protection, reducing the risk of vulnerabilities and maintaining the integrity of containerized environments.