4 Common Container Security Mistakes to Avoid

Blocksurvey blog author
Jan 17, 2024 · 4 mins read

Containers provide a logical way to separate applications from the environment they operate in. This separation enables straightforward and uniform deployment of applications based on containers, irrespective of whether they are deployed in a private data center, a public cloud, or even a developer's personal computer.

The use of containerization allows development teams to operate efficiently, deploy software swiftly, and function at an unmatched scale. As a strategy, the popularity and usage of containers are soaring. However, like many emerging technologies, containers have not been specifically designed or structured with safety considerations. Here are some common container security mistakes to avoid.

Neglecting API Security

In a scenario where businesses utilize applications made up of microservices, APIs become essential. Application security within containers necessitates the management of both the application and API authentication and authorization.

An application built with an emphasis on API security can eliminate security risks and provide sophisticated control features that surpass basic ones. This includes managing activities such as defining access policies for various user groups, restricting access to specific endpoints or ports, and establishing API call limits to protect the infrastructure and control traffic flow.

However, when an application houses numerous autonomous API services, there is a proportional rise in the number of service endpoints. In these cases, container security best practices become essential to implement supplementary precautions to ensure all-encompassing container security.

Not Adequately Scrutinizing an Image

Another element that frequently gets disregarded by organizations during the deployment of containers is the foundational image. Teams often fail to adequately scrutinize an image developed by a third party before assimilating it into their own solution.

Before deploying a container from a public registry or using it as a base image, it's imperative to scan it for any malware and vulnerabilities. Organizations should also have a seasoned developer conduct a comprehensive review of the image to identify and eliminate any unnecessary vulnerabilities. Taking for granted that images uploaded to a public registry are secure can lead to significant risks, particularly when these images are used to build additional ones.

Executing Harmful and Unauthorized Processes in Containers

Keeping track of running container processes in a vast environment, where a container's average lifespan is mere hours or even minutes, can be notably tough. In essence, the swift turnover of containers makes it nearly unfeasible for human beings to monitor which container processes are active at any given moment, much less pinpoint unnecessary or harmful processes.

Don't wait for a successful security breach to alert you of a malicious process compromising your container's security. Instead, restrict the quantity and variety of operations that can be executed. This risk can be lessened in two ways.

Utilize Docker's CAP ADD feature to include only those Linux capabilities that a container requires to function correctly and accomplish its purpose, while using CAP DROP to discard all unneeded capabilities.

Setting PID limits can also serve as an additional precautionary measure, constraining your container to run only a specified number of processes that align with the container's objectives. This will fend off fork bombs and inhibit the execution of malicious processes such as reverse shells and remote code injections.

Handling Human Mistakes

Human mistake is a prevalent cause of numerous security breaches currently. Manual procedures can result in typographical errors, misconfigurations, and overlooks which can lead to security compromises. While Intrusion Prevention Systems (IPS), firewalls and Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS) can help mitigate risks following these misconfigurations, they are not entirely sufficient.

Companies should strive to minimize manual configurations and automate a significant portion of their security settings as much as feasible. They should also employ policy-based scans to identify and rectify misconfigurations before they become vulnerable to exploitation.


Creating an all-encompassing container strategy that meshes with the organization's security blueprint starts with establishing a robust base for container security. Container security is not a one-time event but a continuous process. It needs to be integrated into the maintenance and management of the organization's security framework and incorporated into your software development lifecycle (SDLC).

4 Common Container Security Mistakes to Avoid FAQ

What are some common container security mistakes to avoid?

Neglecting regular updates, using insecure container images, weak access controls, and inadequate logging and monitoring.

How important is it to regularly update containers?

Regular updates are crucial as they patch vulnerabilities and ensure security against emerging threats.

Why is strong access control important in container security?

Strong access controls ensure that only authorized users have access to containers, reducing the risk of unauthorized modifications or data breaches.

Why is it necessary to have adequate logging and monitoring in container security?

Adequate logging and monitoring help detect suspicious activities, track potential security breaches, and enable timely response and remediation.

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blog author description

Sarath Shyamson

Sarath Shyamson is the customer success person at BlockSurvey and also heads the outreach. He enjoys volunteering for the church choir.


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