According to a report just published, 22,082 compromised TLS certificates relying on exposed private keys were found in the very popular Docker Hub registry. This should be a huge concern for any organization that relies on Docker images as part of its software supply chain operation. These are machine identities are used for enabling communication between workloads, services, physical servers, etc. The cost of revoking the certificate authority and reissuing these identities is huge considering the nature of the applications that use these machine identities span from IOT, databases, SIP, email and SSH to Kubernetes clusters.
Container security has become a crucial concern in recent years due to the discovery of hard-coded secrets and keys in Docker images. There have several instances in the past where researchers have found hard coded secrets, keys in Docker images. Scanning containers to find secrets is not new and is something that is done regularly.
This specific finding has a huge impact for not just independent developers who typically use Docker Hub but also many commercial organizations who typically use private registries. Access to secrets and private keys that are unauthorized has huge consequences. This could lead to exposure of customer data, potentially tampering, denial of service attacks, and more. Many of these compromised images could potentially provide direct access to critical services that hold valuable business data.
Protecting machine identities in your containers
One of the key aspects of container security is safeguarding machine identities, such as TLS certificates, that enable secure communication between various workloads, services, and physical servers. Now more than ever, it’s critical that organizations maintain strong security controls while automating the management of machine identities at scale. Instead of baking certificate authority (CA) or end entity certificates into container images, it’s much safer to inject machine identities into workloads dynamically. This approach ensures that key material is destroyed along with the workload when it is terminated, mitigating the risk of unauthorized access to sensitive information.
Just-in-time machine identity provisioning
One successful container security strategy is to implement just-in-time machine identity provisioning, where each workload is granted access to a machine identity only for the duration it is running. By dynamically allocating machine identities on demand, organizations reduce the exposure of sensitive cryptographic material and enhance the overall security posture. This approach ensures that a specific workload receives the necessary machine identity for authentication and encryption purposes while maintaining a streamlined and auditable process.
Digital signature for image authenticity and integrity
To address the concern of compromised container images, Venafi recommends incorporating digital signatures into every container image. By signing container images, organizations can establish their authenticity and integrity, ensuring that the images have not been tampered with or modified. The digital signature serves as a trust anchor, allowing administrators and systems to verify the integrity of container images before deploying them. Venafi CodeSign Protect provides a secure process for implementing and managing digital signatures across containerized environments in a way that protects machine identities and ensures the authenticity and integrity of container images.
Venafi can help protect your container images
The Venafi Control Plane for Machine Identities is designed to assist organizations in discovering and managing machine identities across various platforms, including databases, application servers, virtual machines, and containers. This comprehensive solution empowers security administrators to automate the provisioning, rotation, and revocation of machine identities at scale. By centralizing machine identity management, the Venafi Control Plane reduces the likelihood of misconfigurations and enhances security practices throughout the organization. Effective machine identity management ensures the security and integrity of cloud-native development, preventing application outages and security breaches.
Container security is a critical aspect of modern software development, and addressing the challenges associated with machine identities and container image integrity is paramount. As Part of the Venafi Control Plane, CodeSign Protect provides organizations with the necessary tools and best practices to protect machine identities, ensure the authenticity and integrity of container images, and automate the management of machine identities at scale. By implementing the Venafi Control Plane, organizations can enhance their security posture, accelerate cloud-native development, and prevent application outages and security breaches. With Venafi's expertise and comprehensive solutions, organizations can confidently navigate the evolving landscape of container security and protect their valuable business data.
Meanwhile, checkout a couple of open source projects https://github.com/jetstack/paranoia (to discover CA certs in container images) and https://github.com/venafi/sigscan (to discover whether a container image is signed or not).