As the world evolves, so does cyber security. With emerging technologies like Kubernetes, there is a need to be aware of the risks involved with using these tools. If not managed properly, they can cause serious damage to your organization’s cyber security posture.
With recent incidents of data breaches and cyberattacks, companies have put more investments in cyber security solutions. In fact, the global cyber security market will reach $478.68 billion by 2030, experiencing a growth rate of 9.5% from 2021 to 2030.
The basic idea behind Kubernetes is to create an environment where you can easily deploy your applications without any hassle. You just need to write some code and then let Kubernetes do its job for you. But there are many loopholes in Kubernetes that can compromise your cyber security posture if not handled properly.
Therefore, if you are running Kubernetes as part of your operations, your company’s security posture will depend on how well you manage your own implementation of Kubernetes.
Kubernetes Exploitable Loopholes
Kubernetes is a container management platform that is used by many companies as a way to manage their applications. However, Kubernetes also has several exploitable loopholes that can hamper the cyber security of an organization.
A recent survey shows that 46% of participants use Kubernetes to manage, scale, and automate computer application deployment. Given the vast adoption of Kubernetes by companies around the world, the vulnerabilities of Kubernetes can increase the attack surface, thus putting organizations at risk.
The first of these loopholes is the lack of authentication and authorization services in Kubernetes. This means that anyone with access to the Kubernetes master server can access any user account, which could result in data breaches.
The second loophole is the lack of encryption for sensitive information such as passwords and keys. This means that if someone gets access to these passwords or keys, they can decrypt sensitive information like credit card numbers and passwords, which would lead to another type of data breach.
The third loophole is that there are no restrictions on what containers can communicate with each other, which means that even if you are running Kubernetes in your own private data center, it doesn’t mean that it’s secure because any container can communicate with another container without any restrictions.
The Cloud-Level Security of Kubernetes
Kubernetes is a powerful tool for managing containers and their dependencies. Kubernetes has been designed to be a highly available, self-healing system that can be run on any cloud infrastructure or even on physical servers. Kubernetes is the core of any enterprise or startup’s cloud-native application development strategy, but it’s also important to understand how vulnerabilities in cloud-level security of Kubernetes can hamper Cyber Security.
The first step towards understanding this is to identify some common vulnerabilities in the cloud-level security of Kubernetes. The most common ones include:
- Weak default configuration settings (kubelet)
- Security misconfiguration (API server)
- Insecure access control (authentication/authorization for accessing Kubernetes components)
- Insecure data transfer (encryption of sensitive information during transfer between components)
The Container Level Security of Kubernetes
The container-level security of Kubernetes is one of the most important aspects to consider when deploying a Kubernetes cluster. This is because it helps ensure that only authorized users have access to the network and data. The container-level security can be compromised if there are any vulnerabilities in the container’s lifecycle management system.
A container is defined as a lightweight virtual environment used for running applications, services, or processes. It can contain an operating system, applications, and libraries required for running an application. Containers isolate their content from other containers, which means that they provide an additional layer of protection against malware infections.
The vulnerability in the Kubernetes container security can lead to theft of sensitive data or even attacks on other servers connected to your network.
The Application-Level Security of Kubernetes
Kubernetes has been designed to provide security at the application level and at the infrastructure level. The application-level security is provided by Kubernetes Service Account, which ensures that each pod gets its own user identity and access control rules. The infrastructure level security is provided by Pod Security Policies (PSP) which provides role-based access controls for pods running on Kubernetes clusters.
However, there are some loopholes in Kubernetes that can compromise the cyber security posture of organizations using it as their container management platform:
- Insecure Access Control Mechanism – Kubernetes Service Account provides an insecure access control mechanism because it uses a flat structure where each service account has read/write access to all objects on the cluster, which can be exploited by hackers to gain unauthorized access to sensitive information stored in these objects.
- Lack of User Accountability – There is no way to track who created or modified an object.
In this article, we discussed how loopholes in Kubernetes can threaten the cyber security posture of a company. We also analyzed some of the major vulnerabilities that can hamper and even nullify the efforts to protect a company’s data.
To conclude, it is important to understand that vulnerabilities are not always malicious. In fact, most of them are caused by human error or negligence. Most companies do not have enough time and resources to ensure their systems are secure from common threats or attacks.