Tasks

Step-by-step instructions for performing operations with Kubernetes.

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Configure a Security Context for a Pod or Container

A security context defines privilege and access control settings for a Pod or Container. Security context settings include:

For more information about security mechanisms in Linux, see Overview of Linux Kernel Security Features

Before you begin

You need to have a Kubernetes cluster, and the kubectl command-line tool must be configured to communicate with your cluster. If you do not already have a cluster, you can create one by using Minikube, or you can use one of these Kubernetes playgrounds:

Set the security context for a Pod

To specify security settings for a Pod, include the securityContext field in the Pod specification. The securityContext field is a PodSecurityContext object. The security settings that you specify for a Pod apply to all Containers in the Pod. Here is a configuration file for a Pod that has a securityContext and an emptyDir volume:

security-context.yaml
apiVersion: v1
kind: Pod
metadata:
  name: security-context-demo  
spec:
  securityContext:
    runAsUser: 1000
    fsGroup: 2000
  volumes:
  - name: sec-ctx-vol
    emptyDir: {}
  containers:
  - name: sec-ctx-demo
    image: gcr.io/google-samples/node-hello:1.0
    volumeMounts:
    - name: sec-ctx-vol
      mountPath: /data/demo

In the configuration file, the runAsUser field specifies that for any Containers in the Pod, the first process runs with user ID 1000. The fsGroup field specifies that group ID 2000 is associated with all Containers in the Pod. Group ID 2000 is also associated with the volume mounted at /data/demo and with any files created in that volume.

Create the Pod:

kubectl create -f https://k8s.io/docs/tasks/configure-pod-container/security-context.yaml

Verify that the Pod’s Container is running:

kubectl get pod security-context-demo

Get a shell to the running Container:

kubectl exec -it security-context-demo -- sh

In your shell, list the running processes:

ps aux

The output shows that the processes are running as user 1000, which is the value of runAsUser:

USER   PID %CPU %MEM    VSZ   RSS TTY   STAT START   TIME COMMAND
1000     1  0.0  0.0   4336   724 ?     Ss   18:16   0:00 /bin/sh -c node server.js
1000     5  0.2  0.6 772124 22768 ?     Sl   18:16   0:00 node server.js
...

In your shell, navigate to /data, and list the one directory:

cd /data
ls -l

The output shows that the /data/demo directory has group ID 2000, which is the value of fsGroup.

drwxrwsrwx 2 root 2000 4096 Jun  6 20:08 demo

In your shell, navigate to /data/demo, and create a file:

cd demo
echo hello > testfile

List the file in the /data/demo directory:

ls -l

The output shows that testfile has group ID 2000, which is the value of fsGroup.

-rw-r--r-- 1 1000 2000 6 Jun  6 20:08 testfile

Exit your shell:

exit

Set the security context for a Container

To specify security settings for a Container, include the securityContext field in the Container manifest. The securityContext field is a SecurityContext object. Security settings that you specify for a Container apply only to the individual Container, and they override settings made at the Pod level when there is overlap. Container settings do not affect the Pod’s Volumes.

Here is the configuration file for a Pod that has one Container. Both the Pod and the Container have a securityContext field:

security-context-2.yaml
apiVersion: v1
kind: Pod
metadata:
  name: security-context-demo-2 
spec:
  securityContext:
    runAsUser: 1000
  containers:
  - name: sec-ctx-demo-2
    image: gcr.io/google-samples/node-hello:1.0
    securityContext:
      runAsUser: 2000

Create the Pod:

kubectl create -f https://k8s.io/docs/tasks/configure-pod-container/security-context-2.yaml

Verify that the Pod’s Container is running:

kubectl get pod security-context-demo-2

Get a shell into the running Container:

kubectl exec -it security-context-demo-2 -- sh

In your shell, list the running processes:

ps aux

The output shows that the processes are running as user 2000. This is the value of runAsUser specified for the Container. It overrides the value 1000 that is specified for the Pod.

USER       PID %CPU %MEM    VSZ   RSS TTY      STAT START   TIME COMMAND
2000         1  0.0  0.0   4336   764 ?        Ss   20:36   0:00 /bin/sh -c node server.js
2000         8  0.1  0.5 772124 22604 ?        Sl   20:36   0:00 node server.js
...

Exit your shell:

exit

Set capabilities for a Container

With Linux capabilities, you can grant certain privileges to a process without granting all the privileges of the root user. To add or remove Linux capabilities for a Container, include the capabilities field in the securityContext section of the Container manifest.

First, see what happens when you don’t include a capabilities field. Here is configuration file that does not add or remove any Container capabilities:

security-context-3.yaml
apiVersion: v1
kind: Pod
metadata:
  name: security-context-demo-3
spec:
  containers:
  - name: sec-ctx-3
    image: gcr.io/google-samples/node-hello:1.0

Create the Pod:

kubectl create -f https://k8s.io/docs/tasks/configure-pod-container/security-context-3.yaml

Verify that the Pod’s Container is running:

kubectl get pod security-context-demo-3

Get a shell into the running Container:

kubectl exec -it security-context-demo-3 -- sh

In your shell, list the running processes:

ps aux

The output shows the process IDs (PIDs) for the Container:

USER  PID %CPU %MEM    VSZ   RSS TTY   STAT START   TIME COMMAND
root    1  0.0  0.0   4336   796 ?     Ss   18:17   0:00 /bin/sh -c node server.js
root    5  0.1  0.5 772124 22700 ?     Sl   18:17   0:00 node server.js

In your shell, view the status for process 1:

cd /proc/1
cat status

The output shows the capabilities bitmap for the process:

...
CapPrm:	00000000a80425fb
CapEff:	00000000a80425fb
...

Make a note of the capabilities bitmap, and then exit your shell:

exit

Next, run a Container that is the same as the preceding container, except that it has additional capabilities set.

Here is the configuration file for a Pod that runs one Container. The configuration adds the CAP_NET_ADMIN and CAP_SYS_TIME capabilities:

security-context-4.yaml
apiVersion: v1
kind: Pod
metadata:
  name: security-context-demo-4
spec:
  containers:
  - name: sec-ctx-4
    image: gcr.io/google-samples/node-hello:1.0
    securityContext:
      capabilities:
        add: ["NET_ADMIN", "SYS_TIME"]

Create the Pod:

kubectl create -f https://k8s.io/docs/tasks/configure-pod-container/security-context-4.yaml

Get a shell into the running Container:

kubectl exec -it security-context-demo-4 -- sh

In your shell, view the capabilities for process 1:

cd /proc/1
cat status

The output shows capabilities bitmap for the process:

...
CapPrm:	00000000aa0435fb
CapEff:	00000000aa0435fb
...

Compare the capabilities of the two Containers:

00000000a80425fb
00000000aa0435fb

In the capability bitmap of the first container, bits 12 and 25 are clear. In the second container, bits 12 and 25 are set. Bit 12 is CAP_NET_ADMIN, and bit 25 is CAP_SYS_TIME. See capability.h for definitions of the capability constants.

Note: Linux capability constants have the form CAP_XXX. But when you list capabilities in your Container manifest, you must omit the CAP_ portion of the constant. For example, to add CAP_SYS_TIME, include SYS_TIME in your list of capabilities.

Assign SELinux labels to a Container

To assign SELinux labels to a Container, include the seLinuxOptions field in the securityContext section of your Pod or Container manifest. The seLinuxOptions field is an SELinuxOptions object. Here’s an example that applies an SELinux level:

...
securityContext:
  seLinuxOptions:
    level: "s0:c123,c456"

Note: To assign SELinux labels, the SELinux security module must be loaded on the host operating system.

Discussion

The security context for a Pod applies to the Pod’s Containers and also to the Pod’s Volumes when applicable. Specifically fsGroup and seLinuxOptions are applied to Volumes as follows:

Warning: After you specify an MCS label for a Pod, all Pods with the same label can access the Volume. If you need inter-Pod protection, you must assign a unique MCS label to each Pod.

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