Cloud Security

AWS Container Security: A Comprehensive Guide 101

AWS Container Security secures the AWS architecture from data centers to networks and protects cloud workloads from various cyber security attacks. AWS container security follows a shared responsibility model. It is responsible for preserving the integrity of data on the cloud and ensuring continuous compliance. Amazon Web Services (AWS) is known for providing cloud storage, […]

Mansi B.

Written by Mansi B.

August 21, 2023 | 6 min read

AWS Container Security secures the AWS architecture from data centers to networks and protects cloud workloads from various cyber security attacks. AWS container security follows a shared responsibility model. It is responsible for preserving the integrity of data on the cloud and ensuring continuous compliance.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is known for providing cloud storage, computing power, content delivery, and other exclusive features to organizations. Companies prefer AWS containers for their fast application design, deployment, and ease of use. Integrating analytics and Blockchain technology with containers and protecting host operating systems in multi-cloud and hybrid environments is also convenient. 

AWS security can be simple; results depend on organizations’ solutions to defend assets. Below we will provide an overview of container security in AWS and cover the latest AWS Container Security best practices in the industry.

Table of Contents:

  1. What is AWS Container Security?
  2. How Are Containers Secure on AWS?
  3. Things Need To Be Considered During AWS Container Security
  4. What Are The AWS Container Security Best Practices?
  5. How PingSafe Helps In AWS Container Security?
  6. Conclusion

What is AWS Container Security?

Containerization is a popular software development trend that simplifies the deployment and scaling of applications. AWS containers are famous for hosting cloud-based workloads and helping organizations better understand their security responsibilities.

AWS Container Security features container threat modeling and enables observing containerized workloads to help detect abnormal behavior in environments.

Identity and Access Management (IAM) and Infrastructure Security are two critical elements of AWS container security. They are vital in defining and managing security policies implemented across ECS resources and can minimize attack surfaces by avoiding privilege escalations. Users can integrate third-party solutions with AWS, and Amazon ECR applies encryption at rest, enabling users to store images in special Amazon S3 buckets.

How Are Containers Secure on AWS?

AWS offers more than 210 security, compliance, and governance features that make containers secure on AWS. The most significant benefit of securing workloads using AWS is that it follows a blend of shared and customer responsibility. AWS container services like EKS, ECS, and FarGate, ensure continuous reliability and high availability and feature natively-built integrations across Amazon’s high-availability infrastructure. 

ECS container services let organizations configure AWS services, and all AWS services and tasks are supported on a serverless infrastructure that FarGate provides.

Things Need To Be Considered During AWS Container Security

Users need to test account credentials for AWS containers when running security checks. AWS penetration testing differs from traditional on-premise penetration testing, and there are differences in ownership of assets in these tests. If a penetration test goes against the policies of the AWS provider or violates the AWS Terms of Service (ToS), it may trigger legal action from the AWS Incident Response Team. 

Before deploying containers in cloud environments, there are a few aspects that need to be considered by security teams which are as follows: 

  • Static analysis – Static analysis testing identifies security vulnerabilities in the source code and scans it for structural deformities. Static analysis tests can detect problematic patterns and make it easier to correct them. 
  • Code audits – Some container security tools have built-in code audits included with them. Code auditing is a standard software development practice and scans for dependencies. 
  • Integration testing – Integration tests expose the weakest areas of containerized applications and hidden issues. They can reveal what sensitive information gets disclosed in networks and whether applications function correctly in the event of attacks or data breaches. 
  • Code reviews – Code reviews analyze source code for vulnerabilities, insecure coding practices, and other significant errors. A senior developer can track changes, review commits, and pull requests to ensure edits conform to project requirements. It also prevents new security issues from being introduced by addressing the foundation. 

Before performing any AWS migrations, security testers should also consider compliance and policy violations. It’s essential to ensure that security measures adhere to the latest industry standards, and the ideal way of discovering security vulnerabilities is by conducting penetration tests. Many AWS resources do not implement adequate multifactor authentication nor use network segmentation, and it’s essential to restrict permissions to the right users during large cloud deployments. Amazon allows customers to perform security assessments on AWS assets, and the following tests are allowed for users: injections, fuzzing, vulnerability scanning, exploitation and forgery checks, and port scans. Tools or services with DoS capabilities cannot be permitted during testing. 

What Are The AWS Container Security Best Practices?

AWS containers are incredibly lightweight, scalable, portable, and famous for packaging and deploying applications across AWS and cloud environments. The AWS Elastic Container Service (ECS) and Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (EKS) help achieve maximum security, and there are many ways to secure containerized environments.

The best AWS container security practices are:

  • Follow the principle of least privileged access – Users should configure cloud accounts and implement the code of least privileged access for all. It’s ideal to go for resource-level permissions and set administrative boundaries for clusters. Security teams can create pipelines to automatically package and deploy applications across Amazon ECS clusters and isolate users from the Amazon ECS API. 
  • Secure container images – Performing regular scanning and updating container images to mitigate various vulnerabilities is recommended. It’s efficient for organizations to scan Docker container images and optimize container security in AWS. Verifying container image sources and ensuring images are sourced from trusted publishers is essential. Signed container images help track containers and reduce the chances of malicious code entering or tampering with them. 
  • Implement two-factor authentication – Implementing multifactor or two-factor authentication adds an extra layer of security over AWS assets. It enforces security policies and prevents attackers from hijacking accounts by making physical access to devices mandatory for receiving verification OTPs.
  • Improve network/runtime security – Users can create separate virtual networks and improve runtime safety by not exposing ports except for SSH. Whitelisting IPs/security groups are another effective measure, and using TLS 1.3 for encryption can secure communications regarding securing network traffic and endpoints. It’s also a good practice to use VPCs, firewalling, and network rules, to monitor and restrict communications across VPCs, VMs, and the internet.
  • Secrets management – Good AWS container security secures unsafe API keys, removes unused keys, and rotates encrypted keys regularly. Users can use tools to prevent cloud credentials leakages. Static analysis detects and protects hardcoded secrets like tokens, passwords, and API keys in public and private repositories.
  • Continuous Compliance – Continuous compliance monitoring and management form another good AWS container security scanning practice. Security teams must ensure that containerized applications adhere to the latest industry standards, such as PCI-DSS, NIST, HIPAA, and others. Users should encrypt data at rest with complete logging enabled and can deploy an overlay network to encrypt PHI data transfers as an additional security measure.
  • Logging and Monitoring – Users should vet all audit logs to detect unauthorized actions and behaviors. Using Cloudwatch alarms in combination with SNS can help organizations receive real-time alerts on critical metrics. Real-time code scanning should be a part of the logging and monitoring process.
  • Other tips – ECR built-in image scanning can help detect vulnerabilities in container images. It is recommended to use IaC scanning tools to help detect misconfigurations and validate the infrastructure before it is created or updated. 

How PingSafe Helps In AWS Container Security?

PingSafe is revolutionizing cloud security by providing cutting-edge AWS container security solutions. The platform offers next-gen threat intelligence and collective analysis and features AWS Partnerships with the AWS Partner Network, delivering exceptional value to clients worldwide. PingSafe’s value proposition is added through its state-of-the-art offensive security engine, which prepares organizations to combat the issue of alert fatigue. Its flagship engine unifies views for multi-vendor cloud security, offers seamless controls for fortifying defenses, and enables organizations to stay ahead of adversaries. 

Attackers are finding new ways to launch sophisticated attacks and compromise security policies. PingSafe enhances AWS container security by generating graph-based visualizations of ECS/Kubernetes clusters, detecting misconfigurations in cloud environments, and generating SBOM for each container image across all connected clusters. PingSafe performs real-time scanning of secrets for over 800+ types of secrets across GitHub, GitLab, BitBucket, and many more.

As a leading container security tool, PingSafe offers 360-degree security for cloud VMs, serverless functions, and containers. It empowers real-time threat investigations and remediation with its Cloud Detection and Response feature. The platform can monitor AWS, Azure, and GCP IaC scripts for misconfigurations and supports various IaC templates like CloudFormation, Terraform, Helm, and Kubernetes. It has a threat watch dashboard that keeps users up-to-date, sends alerts, and identifies AWS resources and assets with known CVEs. In addition, PingSafe can also perform agentless scanning of VMs and conduct zero-day vulnerability assessments.

Conclusion

Managing AWS container security is challenging, but we’ve outlined the best practices for modern organizations in this article. Choosing a solution like PingSafe can help mitigate critical security vulnerabilities and apply appropriate threat remediation measures to protect enterprises. If you are new to the cloud, you can migrate from legacy infrastructures, scale up, and build your cloud infrastructure securely with PingSafe. It provides all the tools and features to keep your AWS assets safe.