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Opswat says Docker images can be rising threat vector

Cybercriminals may increasingly target the increased popularity of Docker images and containerisation to attack businesses and organisations, according to cybersecurity vendor Opswat.

Vinh Lam, senior software architect at the critical-infrastructure focused company, said that container infrastructures represent an expanding surface for supply chain attacks and similar malware threats.

“Micro-services and containers have seen tremendous growth. Thanks to its lightweight and fast-to-deploy nature, container technology will only continue to expand in the future. However, containers also house outdated and vulnerable software more often than not,” Lam said in a blog post.

Malicious actors and cyber criminals have used auto-build platforms to create campaigns that attack critical infrastructures. Malware can exist in source code and build artifacts, which means that IT teams must look to secure their software build pipelines in line with emerging threat patterns.

“An analysis of four million public images on Docker Hub revealed the out-of-sight risks in containers,” wrote Lam.

“Half of these images (51%) contained at least one critical vulnerability and 13% had high-severity vulnerabilities. Some 6,400 images were considered malicious as they contain cryptocurrency miners, malicious Node Package Manager (NPM) packages, hacking tools, and malware.”

Attackers have also used Docker images for crypto-mining, pointing to five malicious images that were pulled more than 120,000 times in 2021. According to Lam, the campaign involved typo-squatting, for example by using misspelled or misleading Docker Hub titles to trick victims.

The Docker containerisation platform is used by around seven million people.

Lam said teams can secure their software build pipelines using products such as Opswat’s MetaDefender for Jenkins to detect malware and vulnerabilities in Docker images.

“The best approach to avoiding accidental pulls of illegitimate images is to adopt the zero-trust security model. All files must be assumed as potential risks and thoroughly scanned,” Lam said.

Read the full blog on the Opswat website.

( Image by Alexander Fox | PlaNet Fox from Pixabay )

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