Journal of Information Processing

Application Integrity Protection on Kubernetes cluster based on Manifest Signature Verification

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The integrity of the cloud is the most important requirement for mission-critical enterprise workloads. NIST SP 800-53 states that information systems must prevent the installation of any components that have not been verified digitally. On a Kubernetes cluster, the admission controller can control requests for application installations, and it would be a powerful protection tool if it could control requests for Kubernetes resources on the basis of signature verification. However, there are various technical challenges when it comes to verifying the signature for a Kubernetes resource at the admission controller because a signed resource is rewritten automatically by internal cluster work and many requests that include an internal mutation without a signature are generated. In this work, we propose an approach to protect the integrity of a Kubernetes resource with signature verification at the admission controller. Our approach addresses the issue that the differences between the signed resource in the admission request and the signature message occur automatically in Kubernetes and conducts signature verification properly by using DryRun. We also propose a profile framework to address the internal mutation request that cannot be attached to the signature. Our experimental results demonstrate that standard applications can be protected by our approach.


31 Dec 2021


Journal of Information Processing