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Introduction to KubeArmor

KubeArmor is a cloud-native runtime security enforcement system that restricts the behavior (such as process execution, file access, and networking operation) of containers and nodes (VMs) at the system level.
KubeArmor operates with Linux security modules (LSMs), meaning that it can work on top of any Linux platforms (such as Alpine, Ubuntu, and Container-optimized OS from Google) if Linux security modules (e.g., AppArmor, SELinux, or BPF-LSM) are enabled in the Linux Kernel. KubeArmor will use the appropriate LSMs to enforce the required policies.
KubeArmor allows operators to define security policies and apply them to Kubernetes. Then, KubeArmor will automatically detect the changes in security policies from Kubernetes and enforce them to the corresponding containers and nodes. Also, KubeArmor provides KVMService that allows orchestrating security policies to VMs for non-k8s environments.
If there are any violations against security policies, KubeArmor immediately generates alerts with container identities. If operators have any logging systems, it automatically sends the alerts to their systems as well.
KubeArmor High Level Design

Functionality Overview

  • Restrict the behavior of containers and nodes (VMs) at the system level
    Traditional container security solutions (e.g., Cilium) protect containers by determining their inter-container relations (i.e., service flows) at the network level. In contrast, KubeArmor prevents malicious or unknown behaviors in containers by specifying their desired actions (e.g., a specific process should only be allowed to access a sensitive file). KubeArmor also allows operators to restrict the behaviors of nodes (VMs) based on node identities.
  • Enforce security policies to containers and nodes (VMs) in runtime
    In general, security policies (e.g., Seccomp and AppArmor profiles) are statically defined within pod definitions for Kubernetes, and they are applied to containers at creation time. Then, the security policies are not allowed to be updated in runtime. In addition, there is no way to define security policies for nodes in Kubernetes.
    To address those problems, KubeArmor maintains security policies separately; security policies are no longer tightly coupled with containers. Then, KubeArmor directly applies the security policies into Linux security modules (LSMs) for each container according to the labels of given containers and security policies. Similiarly, KubeArmor directly enforces security policies to nodes (VMs) as well.
  • Produce container-aware alerts and system logs
    LSMs do not have any container-related information; thus, they generate alerts and system logs only based on system metadata (e.g., User ID, Group ID, and process ID). Therefore, it is hard to figure out what containers cause policy violations.
    For this reason, KubeArmor uses an eBPF-based system monitor, which keeps track of process life cycles in containers and even nodes, and converts system metadata to container/node identities when LSMs generate alerts and system logs for any policy violations from containers and nodes (VMs).
  • Provide easy-to-use semantics for policy definitions
    KubeArmor provides the ability to monitor the life cycles of containers' processes and take policy decisions based on them. In general, it is much easier to deny a specific action, but it is more difficult to allow only specific actions while denying all. KubeArmor manages internal complexities associated with handling such policy decisions and provides easy semantics towards policy language.
  • Support network security enforcement among containers
    KubeArmor aims to protect containers and nodes (VMs) themselves rather than inter-container/inter-node communications. However, using KubeArmor a user can add policies that could apply policy settings at the level of network system calls (e.g., bind(), listen(), accept(), and connect()), thus somewhat controlling interactions among containers and nodes (VMs).

Getting Started

Please take a look at the following documents.
If you want to make a contribution, please refer to the following documents too.


Biweekly Meetup


Please join the KubeArmor Slack channel to communicate with KubeArmor community. We always welcome having a discussion about the problems that you face during the use of KubeArmor.


KubeArmor is licensed under the Apache License, Version 2.0. The eBPF-based container monitor is licensed under the General Public License, Version 2.0.



KubeArmor is Sandbox Project of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation