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The Most Common Container Security Mistakes That You Must Avoid This 2023

Written by Miguelito Balba
January 7, 2023

New attacks might be lurking in the new year, but security professionals and IT leaders can be proactive in protecting their companies. As the threat landscape continues to evolve, it's important to stay ahead of potential threats by implementing best practices and staying up-to-date on the latest trends. In the age of containerization, using containers to deploy applications is quickly becoming popular. Containers can isolate application components, making them an attractive choice for organizations looking to increase their security posture. However, this technology comes with its own set of challenges, such as potential vulnerabilities or configuration errors that could lead to a breach.

To protect against these risks, there are container security mistakes that you should avoid. Here are some of the most common threats that organizations should be aware of:

1. Not properly scanning images and containers during development.

Image scanning tools can help identify security issues before the container is deployed, making it easier to address any problems before harm can be done. When creating a container, organizations should scan it to identify any potential vulnerabilities or misconfigurations before they are deployed. Scanning images properly is the basic hygiene of container security. Failure of this approach might lead to a misconfigured container, leaving it open to attack. You must take advantage of this step. Otherwise, your data will be at risk.

2. Failing to limit access rights for users or applications within the container environment.

Imagine a user with root access to a container. Without the proper security measures in place, that person would have full access to the entire environment, including all of its data and applications. Limiting user access or giving users only the right privileges is essential for securing containers and preventing attackers from gaining control of them. A user with root access can gain control of the environment and easily steal data or modify applications. Limiting user access rights helps protect against such attacks by ensuring users have only the necessary access.

3. Not considering the security of associated dependencies or third-party components.

One mistake organizations often make is assuming that their containers are secure without considering the security of any third-party components or dependencies. It's vital to ensure that all components associated with a container meet industry standards and are regularly scanned and updated to prevent potential threats. Without this, attackers may be able to exploit weaknesses in these components and gain access to a container's environment. This could result in the exfiltration of sensitive data or the modification of applications, leading to severe consequences for your organization.

4. Ignoring patching in the continuous development process.

The continuous development process is integral to deploying and managing containers, but it needs to be addressed in security considerations. It's crucial to ensure that any patches are applied quickly and regularly, as a vulnerability can be easily exploited once it's discovered. Don't let your organization fall victim to attackers who take advantage of known vulnerabilities. Regularly patching and updating your system can ensure that your containers are secure against potential threats.

5. Leaving vulnerable docker sockets exposed to external threats.

Emerging threats such as container hijacking rely on the docker socket to gain access to the underlying operating system. If left exposed, attackers can use this backdoor entry to launch attacks, steal data, or modify applications in your environment. Organizations should ensure that their docker sockets are properly secured, firewalled from external threats, and regularly monitored for suspicious activity. By doing so, they can reduce the risk of a successful attack against their container environment.

By following best practices and avoiding the most common container security mistakes, organizations can effectively secure their container environments and protect against potential threats in the ever-changing threat landscape. With the right security measures in place and working with a reliable security partner, organizations can ensure their customers' data and assets are kept secure.

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