Kubernetes Security Challenges; Top Tools Available

Kubernetes automates most of all the tasks required to run a containerized application at a scale which includes the deployment of the container, intercommunication between containers, load balancing across the nodes or the clusters of host servers, etc. Handling the containers manually using the command line is a messy job since it requires maximum concentration and time to be performed on a greater scale. Without a container orchestration tool like Kubernetes, it is not possible to run a containerized application for production purposes. 

Although Kubernetes automates tiresome tasks lacked to deploy containerized apps, it doesn’t offer security beyond basic limits. Kubernetes offers a few features that can help to help the containerized application. When configured properly, it can reinforce role-based access controls. Beyond these basic features, Kubernetes doesn’t provide anything else to provide security to the application. However, there are a plethora of third-party applications available in the industry to help secure your Kubernetes stack. 

Kubernetes security challenges

Effective Kubernetes security involves tools and extra efforts. Understanding the potential security risks that Kubernetes can’t handle is the primary step to consider while securing your application stack. Given below are some of the crucial potential security challenges that Kubernetes can’t handle. 

Least-privilege access control: Kubernetes consists of a framework for access control but not all access-control features are turned on by default. Because of this developers should always conduct audits and compliance checks to implement proper security configurations within Kubernetes.

Pod-to-pod communications: Kubernetes configurations should always be moderated to lessen the risk that an attack within one workload (or pod) will develop to other pods.  Clasping down network connections and demanding authentication in Kubernetes are essential steps for this purpose.

Container runtime: Kubernetes does nothing to strengthen the runtime against attack or identify interventions after they occur.

Container images: Malicious code inside the container image is a serious threat and Kubernetes doesn’t have an inbuilt container image scanner. 

Host security: Kubernetes practices on the servers assigned to it and run containers on them. It doesn’t do any sort of security check on the servers and hence third-party tools are required to monitor and process them for security problems. 

Kubernetes security tools to harden your container stack

  1. Project Calico

Project Calico is an open-source tool which secures containers and services they run. Calico is integrated with all the major cloud platforms which include Kubernetes. The core principle behind Calico is to provide a micro firewall for every workload. These rules are applied by default between every workload. This helps to avoid incapabilities that come with moving between overlay L2 segments, and hence contributing to maximum network security. 

  1. Kube-Bench

Kube-Bench is an open-source Kubernetes security tool that checks if your Kubernetes deployment matches the security benchmarks implemented by The Center for Internet Security (CIS).  

  1. Kube-hunter

Kube-hunter traces security risks in Kubernetes. It allows administrators to approach the issues before attackers use them. By supplementing discovery and penetration testing capabilities Kube-hunter improves the CIS validation implemented by Kube-Bench. It works like an automated penetration testing tool.

  1. Twistlock

Twistlock is the provider of full-lifecycle container and cloud-native cybersecurity solutions. It performs more than 200 built-in checks for the Kubernetes CIS Benchmarks.

  1. Aqua Security

Aqua spans the gap between IT security and DevOps by equipping enterprises to defend their cloud-native and container-based applications. It gives companies full end-to-end clarity into the container activity and also stimulates container-adoption. 


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