Docker and Container Security White Paper

This paper presents IBM's comprehensive point of view of security and privacy for Cloud Computing services based on container technologies, in particular Docker containers. The objective is to highlight benefits as well as security challenges for Docker containers, highlight ongoing efforts that address these challenges and to motivate additional work that the Docker community and IBM are undertaking to further strengthen the security of the Docker container ecosystem. Potential users of Docker container based cloud services can use this paper to evaluate the benefits and risks associated with deploying various workloads on Docker containers, understand the evolution of Docker containers and decide what additional security mechanisms and tools to employ to further reduce security risks. The paper starts with an overview of the applicable threat model and then compares the security properties of base technologies such as Linux containers, Docker, as well hypervisors, which are the basis of Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) offerings. Next we describe some of the gaps in security for Docker containers and how IBM has helped and continues to help the community to address them. Finally we describe some new and innovative security technologies in Docker and the Linux Kernel to further strengthen container security.

By: Salman Baset, Stefan Berger, James Bottomley, Canturk Isci, Nataraj Nagaratnam, Dimitrios Pendarakis, J. R. Rao, Gosia Steinder, Jayashree Ramanatham

Published in: RC25625 in 2016


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