Docker Image Security in 5 Minutes or Less

by | Feb 10, 2019


As the move to containers continues to take the industry by storm, container security has taken center stage as one of the hottest topics in 2019 and many organizations are scrambling to ensure they are equipped with the appropriate tools to enforce container security and compliance. One important means of strengthening your security stance is to incorporate tools that enable you to perform deep static analysis of your Docker images, providing you with insight into potentially vulnerable OS and non-OS packages and ensure that non-secure and non-compliant images are not promoted in trust production registries.

The Anchore Engine is an open source project that provides a centralized service for deep inspection, analysis and certification of container images. It is provided as a Docker container image that can be run standalone or on an orchestration platform such as Kubernetes, Docker Swarm, or Amazon ECS. One great feature of the Open Source Anchore Engine is ease of installation. This allows anyone to get up and running with a world class Docker image analyzer in only about 5 minutes.

In this blog I will run through the 8 easy steps you can follow to install the Anchore Engine and start performing checks around security, compliance and operational best practices.

Below is a video where we will run through the installation, you can following along using the written steps below:

Anchore Installation

Step 1: Set up a working directory for your configuration and data volumes

# mkdir ~/aevolume
# mkdir ~/aevolume/config
# mkdir ~/aevolume/db
# cd ~/aevolume

Step 2: Download the docker-compose.yaml and config.yaml files from the scripts/docker-compose directory of the github project.

# curl -o ~/aevolume/docker-compose.yaml
# curl -o ~/aevolume/config/config.yaml

Step 3: Your ~/aevolume directory should now look like this:

# cd ~/aevolume
# find .

Step 4: (Optional) Review the default docker-compose.yaml and config.yaml files to modify any particular settings for your environment (not necessary for quickstart).

Step 5: Run ‘docker-compose pull’ to instruct Docker to download the required container images from DockerHub.

docker-compose pull

Step 6: Start the Anchore Engine

Note: This command should be run from the directory container docker-compose.yaml

docker-compose up -d

Step 7: Verify that your DB and service containers are up and then run an anchore-cli command to verify system status:

# docker-compose ps
          Name                         Command               State                       Ports                     
aevolume_anchore-db_1 postgres    Up      5432/tcp                                      
aevolume_anchore-engine_1   /bin/sh -c /usr/bin/anchor ...   Up>8228/tcp,>8338/tcp

# docker-compose exec anchore-engine anchore-cli --u admin --p foobar system status
Service simplequeue (dockerhostid-anchore-engine, http://anchore-engine:8083): up
Service apiext (dockerhostid-anchore-engine, http://anchore-engine:8228): up
Service kubernetes_webhook (dockerhostid-anchore-engine, http://anchore-engine:8338): up
Service analyzer (dockerhostid-anchore-engine, http://anchore-engine:8084): up
Service policy_engine (dockerhostid-anchore-engine, http://anchore-engine:8087): up
Service catalog (dockerhostid-anchore-engine, http://anchore-engine:8082): up

Engine DB Version: 0.0.8
Engine Code Version: 0.3.0

Step 8: Sync Anchore Vulnerability Feeds

The first time you run anchore-engine, it will take some time to perform its initial data feed sync (vulnerability data download). Subsequently, anchore-engine will only sync data changes and thus you will only have to wait the very first time you start the engine. You can watch the status of your feed sync with anchore-cli command to verify system status:

# docker-compose exec anchore-engine anchore-cli --u admin --p foobar system feeds list
Feed                   Group                  LastSync                           RecordCount        
vulnerabilities        alpine:3.3             2018-11-06T22:41:32.151772Z        457                
vulnerabilities        alpine:3.4             2018-11-06T22:41:38.110987Z        594                
vulnerabilities        alpine:3.5             2018-11-06T22:41:46.316811Z        857                
vulnerabilities        alpine:3.6             2018-11-06T22:41:55.170845Z        871                
vulnerabilities        alpine:3.7             2018-11-06T22:42:04.039058Z        889                
vulnerabilities        alpine:3.8             2018-11-06T22:42:13.644172Z        972                
vulnerabilities        centos:5               2018-11-06T22:42:43.967110Z        1322               
vulnerabilities        centos:6               2018-11-06T22:43:15.459474Z        1307               
vulnerabilities        centos:7               2018-11-06T22:43:43.976151Z        726                
vulnerabilities        debian:10              None                               0                  
vulnerabilities        debian:7               None                               0                  
vulnerabilities        debian:8               None                               0                  
vulnerabilities        debian:9               None                               0                  
vulnerabilities        debian:unstable        None                               0                  
vulnerabilities        ol:5                   None                               0                  
vulnerabilities        ol:6                   None                               0                  
vulnerabilities        ol:7                   None                               0                  
vulnerabilities        ubuntu:12.04           None                               0                  
vulnerabilities        ubuntu:12.10           None                               0                  
vulnerabilities        ubuntu:13.04           None                               0                  
vulnerabilities        ubuntu:14.04           None                               0                  
vulnerabilities        ubuntu:14.10           None                               0                  
vulnerabilities        ubuntu:15.04           None                               0                  
vulnerabilities        ubuntu:15.10           None                               0                  
vulnerabilities        ubuntu:16.04           None                               0                  
vulnerabilities        ubuntu:16.10           None                               0                  
vulnerabilities        ubuntu:17.04           None                               0                  
vulnerabilities        ubuntu:17.10           None                               0                  
vulnerabilities        ubuntu:18.04           None                               0    

As soon as all the feeds show a non-zero RecordCount , then the feeds are all synced and the system is ready to generate vulnerability reports. You can add images right away, but you will not see any vulnerability scan results until the vulnerability data feeds are synced.

Step 9: Start using the anchore-engine service to analyze images – a short example follows.

# docker-compose exec anchore-engine anchore-cli --u admin --p foobar image add
# docker-compose exec anchore-engine anchore-cli --u admin --p foobar image get | grep 'Analysis Status'
Analysis Status: analyzing

# docker-compose exec anchore-engine anchore-cli --u admin --p foobar image get | grep 'Analysis Status'
Analysis Status: analyzing

# docker-compose exec anchore-engine anchore-cli --u admin --p foobar image get | grep 'Analysis Status'
Analysis Status: analyzed

# docker-compose exec anchore-engine anchore-cli --u admin --p foobar image vuln all
Vulnerability ID        Package                                  Severity          Fix         Vulnerability URL                                                 
CVE-2005-2541           tar-1.26+dfsg-0.1+deb7u1                 Negligible        None         
CVE-2007-5686           login-1:                 Negligible        None         
CVE-2007-5686           passwd-1:                Negligible        None         
CVE-2007-6755           libssl1.0.0-1.0.1t-1+deb7u4              Negligible        None         

# docker-compose exec anchore-engine anchore-cli --u admin --p foobar evaluate check
Image Digest: sha256:92d507d81bd3b0459b121215f6f9d8249bb154c8b65e041942745dcc6309a7b5
Full Tag:
Status: pass
Last Eval: 2018-11-06T22:51:47Z
Policy ID: 2c53a13c-1765-11e8-82ef-23527761d060


Although container image scanning exists as only one part of the security stack which should be employed by organizations looking to adopt a secure and compliant container environment, it is absolutely one of the most important and should never be ignored.

By using the Open Source Anchore Engine you can ensure this need is met and prevent vulnerable images from making their way into production environments.

Get Up an Running and Install the Anchore Engine Today