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Black Hat Sneak Preview: New Vulnerabilities Exposed in Docker Hub

Community ecosystems with vibrant member support have been the catalyst for faster innovation and shorter software development lifecycles in DevOps. Whether it is downloading code or contributing back to the community, organizations today rely heavily on open source software to drive their business. In fact, modern application development is more about assembling existing packages than writing new code. Developing new code takes time, and in the high-velocity world of DevOps it’s much easier and faster to download open source software and frameworks to get up and running quickly. As the adage goes, it’s better to “stand on the shoulders of giants” than to “reinvent the wheel.”

But this adds tremendous security blind spots if security pros are not working closely with their DevOps counterparts. According to a study conducted by Sonatype, 20 percent of organizations reported suspected or confirmed breaches related to open source components, which was a 50 percent increase since 2014. In addition, a staggering 50 percent of organizations are not satisfied with their ability to understand known security vulnerabilities in open-source components. Security needs to be embedded early in the software development lifecycle (SDLC) in a non-intrusive way that avoids slowing down developers. Organizations should start thinking of security as another critical test in the build phase.

So how does this relate to application containers?

Containers are the hottest topic in the world of DevOps infrastructure. A container is a self-contained package that has everything required to run an application: libraries, binaries, configuration files and just enough operating system to make it lightweight. Containers allow developers to rapidly progress from build to test to production without any changes to the application across the SDLC. If you haven’t heard of containers before, you probably have heard of Docker, the most popular container image format. 451 Research estimates that 25 percent of enterprises are already using containers today, and Docker adoption is up 40 percent since last year.

Not only have containers become an essential enabling technology for modern application development, but the technology itself relies on open source software for distribution among DevOps teams to build solutions. The most common container distribution today is through Docker Hub, a cloud-based container registry for pre-built, third-party container images. Docker Hub has tremendous community support with over 500,000 Docker container images that have been downloaded over 8 billion times. This community is so pervasive that customers often believe they are building all of their container images in-house when, in reality, the base layers are coming from Docker Hub. With so many developers relying on open source to build containers, how has that affected their organization’s security posture? What is the security exposure caused by downloading Docker Community images and Docker Official images? What can you do to mitigate this risk and secure containers before deployment?

Join me at Black Hat to find out!

On Wednesday, July 26 at 10:20 a.m. PT, I’ll be unveiling new, groundbreaking research analyzing the top 5,000 Docker Community images and all Docker Official images in Docker Hub for vulnerabilities and malware. The research team used Tenable.io Container Security to conduct the analysis, and the results are extremely surprising. The bottom-line is that known vulnerabilities are widespread on Docker Hub. All container registries, images and hosts need to be tested continuously and automatically to eliminate blind spots and reduce exposure risk.

If you’re attending Black Hat, I hope you will join me in the Business Hall Theater B on Level 1 on Wednesday. If you’re looking to seamlessly and securely enable DevOps processes by providing visibility into the security of container images, we invite you to try Tenable.io Container Security for a 60-day free trial.

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