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New! Free self-paced workshops for containers and Kubernetes 

There’s no better way to learn something than to get hands-on. Tigera is excited to present its brand new (and completely free!) self-paced workshops for containers and Kubernetes. Each workshop comes with your own provisioned sample application (Hipstershop) and Calico Cloud lab environment for a limited time.

The first self-paced workshop we’ve launched is on compliance for containers and Kubernetes. Let’s take a closer look at why you should enroll in our compliance workshop and what you’ll gain.

Why get hands-on with achieving compliance?

From the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), most industries must meet certain compliance requirements when it comes to handling personal data. This could mean implementing resource access control, isolating workloads with sensitive data, or enforcing more advanced security controls such as logging all customer confidential data transactions. No matter what sort of controls you need to implement, the compliance auditor will require proof of compliance, such as what security controls are currently in place, whether control changes can be detected, and if compliance can be verified on demand. The ephemeral nature of Kubernetes can make it Continue reading

Live next week: The CalicoCon + Cloud-Native Security Summit!

Tigera is delighted to present the annual CalicoCon + Cloud-Native Security Summit on December 7th, 2022, 9:45 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. PT. This is your chance to network with top cloud-native platform, security, DevOps, and site reliability engineer (SRE) teams, and explore real-world use cases with major players in the cloud-native industry.

Live, free, and fully virtual, the Summit gathers industry experts to explore the best practices for securing, observing, and troubleshooting cloud-native applications through real-world stories.

Who should attend?

The Summit is curated for security, DevOps, SRE, and platform architect teams in the cloud-native world.

  • Security teams – Learn how to holistically secure your cloud-native applications using today’s best practices.
  • DevOps and SRE teams – Find out how you can incorporate security and observability in your CI/CD pipeline to enable security, observability, and troubleshooting,
  • Platform Architects – Learn architecture patterns and best practices to secure and troubleshoot cloud-native applications,

Speakers and sessions

From panels to workshops to fireside chats, the Summit offers a variety of interactive sessions. Here’s a quick peek at some of our speakers and sessions:

Using Calico to create a Kubernetes cluster mesh for multi-cluster environments

Kubernetes has come of age with more organizations adopting a microservices architecture at scale. But scale brings a whole slew of new challenges, especially with Kubernetes, which is designed to operate as a single cluster. However, the usage of Kubernetes, especially at leading-edge organizations operating at scale, has crossed the single-cluster threshold. Organizations are building and deploying services across multiple clusters for high availability, disaster recovery, application isolation, compliance, latency concerns, staged migration, and multi-tenancy reasons.

Regardless of the reasons to deploy multiple clusters, platform and application teams must address networking, security, and observability issues related to microservices deployed across multi-clusters, sometimes spanning hybrid and multi-cloud environments.

Calico, the most widely adopted container networking and security solution (according to a recently published container adoption report by Datadog), provides an operationally simple solution to solve the networking, security, and observability challenges of running multi-cluster Kubernetes environments.

Security, observability, and networking requirements for multiple Kubernetes clusters

In simple terms, creating a multi-cluster Kubernetes environment requires stitching multiple Kubernetes clusters together to provide a common set of services. To create a single logical environment spanning multiple clusters, the key requirements are:

  • Enabling inter-cluster communication – Communication across pods located in different clusters is Continue reading

Using the MITRE ATT&CK framework to understand container security

As innovations in the world of application development and data computation grow every year, the “attack surface” of these technologies grows as well. The attack surface has to be understood from two sides—from the attacker’s side and from the organization being attacked. For the attacker, they benefit from the entry point into a system, either through the ever-growing perimeter of public-facing applications or the people managing these applications, because the probability of finding a weakness to enter from these entry points is higher. For the organization, managing the attack surface requires investing in more security tools and personnel. This can cascade into bigger security issues, which is why addressing the attack surface is essential.

The MITRE adversarial tactics, techniques, and common knowledge (ATT&CK) framework can help us understand how this large attack surface can be exploited by an adversary and how they strategize an attack. In this two-part blog, I will cover the new ATT&CK matrix for containers and how Calico provides mitigation solutions for each tactic in the matrix. In this blog, we will explore the first four tactics, which mostly deal with reconnaissance. In the second part, we will discuss the techniques and mitigation strategies once an attacker Continue reading

3 container security best practices to strengthen your overall security posture

Container environments are highly dynamic and require continuous monitoring, observability, and security. Since container security is a continuous practice, it should be fully integrated into the entire development and deployment cycle. Implementing security as an integral part of this cycle allows you to mitigate risk and reduce the number of vulnerabilities across the dynamic and complex attack surface containers present.

Let’s take a look at three best practices for ensuring containers remain secure during build, deployment, and runtime.

Securing container deployments

Securing containers during the build and deployment stages is all about vulnerability management. It’s important to continuously scan for vulnerabilities and misconfigurations in software before deployment, and block deployments that fail to meet security requirements. Assess container and registry image vulnerabilities by scanning first- and third-party images for vulnerabilities and misconfigurations, and using a tool that scans multiple registries to identify vulnerabilities from databases such as NVD. You also need to continuously monitor images, workloads, and infrastructure against common configuration security standards (e.g. CIS Benchmarks). This enables you to meet internal and external compliance standards, and also quickly detect and remediate misconfigurations in your environment, thereby eliminating potential attack vectors.

Securing containers at runtime

Containerized workloads require a Continue reading

Getting started with EKS and Calico

Cloud-native applications offer a lot of flexibility and scalability, but to leverage these advantages, we must create and deploy a suitable environment that will enable cloud-native applications to work their magic.

Managed services, self-managed services, and bare metal are three primary categories of Kubernetes deployment in a cloud environment. Our focus in this article will be on Amazon Web Service’s (AWS) managed Kubernetes service, Elastic Kubernetes Service (EKS), and capabilities that Calico Open Source adds to the EKS platform.

Managed services

A managed cluster is a quick and easy way to deploy an enterprise-grade Kubernetes cluster. In a managed cluster, mundane operations such as provisioning new nodes, upgrading the OS/Kubernetes, and scaling resources are transferred to the cloud provider, which allows you to expand your application with ease.

EKS is a managed service by AWS that offers a fault-tolerant Kubernetes control plane endpoint and automates worker node maintenance and deployment process.

Comparing popular CNI options in EKS

Most popular managed services, such as EKS, come with an official CNI that offers networking and other features for your cluster. While these CNIs are highly integrated with the underlying system, they can introduce some limitations. To remedy these limitations and unlock the Continue reading

Zero trust in the cloud: Best practices and potential pitfalls

Architecturally speaking, cloud-native applications are broken down into smaller components that are highly dynamic, distributed, and ephemeral. Because each of these components is communicating with other components inside or outside the cluster, this architecture introduces new attack vectors that are difficult to protect against using a traditional perimeter-based approach. A prudent way to secure cloud-native applications is to find a way to reduce the number of attack vectors, and this is where the principles of zero trust come into play.

With today’s multi-cloud and hybrid-cloud environments, networks are no longer restricted to a clear perimeter with clearly defined borders to defend—and cyber criminals are taking advantage of this fact by tricking users and systems into providing unauthorized access. While a lot of zero trust is focused on limiting access from users and devices, organizations are now also recognizing that in the world of distributed cloud-native applications, workloads themselves are communicating with each other and the same principles of zero trust need to be extended to cloud-native applications.

Because traditional security methods such as network firewalls rely on fixed network addresses, they are insufficient to protect dynamic, distributed, and ephemeral cloud-native workloads, which do not have fixed network addresses. They simply Continue reading

How Calico CNI solves IP address exhaustion on Microsoft AKS

Companies are increasingly adopting managed Kubernetes services, such as Microsoft Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS), to build container-based applications. Leveraging a managed Kubernetes service is a quick and easy way to deploy an enterprise-grade Kubernetes cluster, offload mundane operations such as provisioning new nodes, upgrading the OS/Kubernetes, and scaling resources according to business needs.

AKS also provides a fault-tolerant Kubernetes control plane endpoint and automates the worker node maintenance and deployment process. With regards to networking within the cluster, AKS provides an integrated CNI to address basic Kubernetes networking requirements, such as configuring network interfaces and providing connectivity between pods. However, the basic container networking in Microsoft AKS comes with a limited set of IP addresses. As businesses grow, so does application usage. Having a limited set of IPs can cause scale, availability, and manageability challenges for Microsoft AKS users.

In this blog post, I will discuss IP address exhaustion on Microsoft AKS and how Calico can solve this issue. I will also explore how Calico can address scalability challenges and provide resources that can quickstart your journey in using Calico to solve IP address exhaustion on AKS.

Microsoft AKS BYOCNI

Earlier this year, Microsoft AKS introduced the ability to bring Continue reading

Calico at KubeCon + CloudNativeCon NA 2022

Tigera is back at KubeCon + CloudNativeCon NA 2022! We’re excited to be back in person and meet new and familiar faces—and we have a lot of exciting Calico updates to share with you.

KubeCon + CloudNativeCon is action-packed as usual, kicking off the week with co-located events. We will be onsite at two co-located events: eBPF Day and Cloud Native SecurityCon. At the main event, KubeCon + CloudNativeCon, we will have a booth that you can visit for cool swag and deep dives with our experts. We will also be teaming up with AWS to bring you a fun party that you won’t want to miss!

Interested in attending? Curious about the party? Want to win some prizes? Read this blog post to find out what we have in store for KubeCon + CloudNativeCon NA 2022.

eBPF Day – October 24

eBPF Day is a vendor-neutral conference that explores the transformational technology that is eBPF, and its impact on the future of cloud native. This event is co-located with KubeCon + CloudNativeCon.

As a speaker at the event, our resident eBPF expert, Tomas Hruby, will demonstrate how to inspect and troubleshoot the eBPF mode of Calico Open Source during Continue reading

Automate Calico Cloud and EKS cluster integration using AWS Control Tower

Productive, scalable, and cost-effective, cloud infrastructure empowers innovation and faster deliverables. It’s a no-brainer why organizations are migrating to the cloud and containerizing their applications. As businesses scale their cloud infrastructure, they cannot be bottlenecked by security concerns. One way to release these bottlenecks and free up resources is by using automation.

What if you could automate the deployment and integration of your container security services with your cluster’s environment?

In a joint blog post with AWS Marketplace, AWS Sr. Cloud Application Architect, Deepak Sihag, joins Tigera’s Technical Marketing Engineer, Joseph Yostos, to walk you through the process of activating, deploying, and configuring Calico Cloud in your AWS Control Tower environment. And of course, how to automate the process of connecting Calico Cloud to your EKS cluster.

Blog highlights

Aside from showing you how you can fully leverage the preconfigured resources of AWS Control Tower, the solution walkthrough also highlights:

  • Event-driven automation to connect an EKS cluster with Calico Cloud
  • AWS CloudFormation deployment
  • Detailed runthrough of prerequisite configurations
  • Step-by-step guide on how to automate Calico Cloud and EKS cluster integration using AWS Control Tower
  • How to clean up your account to avoid incurring costs

Why read the blog?

As the Continue reading

What is new in Calico v3.24

A couple of weeks ago, TIgera engineers released the new version of Calico, as part of a community effort to drive cloud security and networking even further. But before I begin diving into the details of this new release, I want to first spotlight a few of our community members who have merged their contributions to Calico Open Source for the first time.

Shout out to @agaffney for adding configurable labels and annotations to the tigera-operator deployment in Helm charts.

Shout out to @backjo for improving the Calico Windows installation script and adding support for IMDSv2 in AWS EC2 data retrieval.

Shout out to @EugenMayer for pointing out an improvement for the calicoctl binary in a Helm chart installation and @lou-lan for making it happen.

Shout out to @joskuijpers for informing the community about the outdated ipset package in the calico-node ARM64 image and @ScOut3R for updating it.

Shout out to @juanfresia for contributing changes to enable Calico to run without programming the route table, useful when integrating with other routing mechanisms.

Shout out to @muff1nman, who added Wireguard traffic to the Calico failsafe ports, allowing us to confidently apply network security policies without worrying about accidentally cutting off Continue reading

Vulnerability management: 3 best practices and tips for image building and scanning

As enterprises adopt containers, microservices, and Kubernetes for cloud-native applications, vulnerability management is crucial to improve the security posture of containerized workloads throughout build, deploy, and runtime. Securing your build artifacts and deployment pipeline, especially when it comes to images, is extremely important. By following best practices for image building and scanning throughout the application development and deployment process, you can help ensure the security of the containers and workloads in your environment.

Let’s look at some of the nuances of choosing a base image, hardening your container image, and container image scanning, including tips on choosing an appropriate scanning solution and tackling privacy concerns.

Choose an appropriate base image

It’s important to choose a base image that reduces the attack surface of your container. I recommend using a distroless or scratch image because they contain only the application and its runtime dependencies. Both types of images improve your security posture by reducing the attack surface and exposure to vulnerabilities.

If for some reason you can’t use a distroless or scratch image, choose a minimal distro. Modern immutable Linux distributions, such as Bottlerocket and Flatcar Container Linux, can be used as base images for containers, as can minimal versions Continue reading

What’s new in Calico Cloud: General availability of new container security features

Summer is almost over but we are bringing the heat back with the official release of Tigera’s new container security features. With this official launch, Calico leads the industry by offering a complete line of solutions across every stage of a cloud-native application CI/CD pipeline. From a new and improved approach to scanning container images for vulnerabilities to strengthening runtime security with improved performance, we’ve significantly improved and enhanced our Image Assurance and Runtime Threat Defense features for this exciting new phase of our Calico Cloud offering. Let’s take a look at the new container security features of this release.

Vulnerability management through Image Assurance

Scanning container images for vulnerabilities is a critical first step in stopping malicious software from being deployed. As business demands grow, development teams are pushed to churn out updates and new features faster. As a result, DevOps teams require assistance to help them quickly identify vulnerabilities in the registries where the container images are pulled from. Calico Cloud is now offering a CLI-based scanner for on-demand scanning, where customers can locally scan for vulnerabilities in their build stage. A lightweight downloadable binary is all it takes to perform these scans and integrate the process into Continue reading

Implementing zero-trust workload security on Amazon EKS with Calico

Whether you’re migrating to the cloud via lift-and-shift deployments, or re-architecting to a cloud-native architecture, the migration itself and adopting a microservices architecture is no easy feat. To accelerate their cloud-native journey, many organizations opt for a managed Kubernetes service, as the skill and resources required to run a container orchestration system at scale are demanding.

Fully integrated with core Amazon Web Services (AWS) technologies, easy-to-use, and most importantly, scalable, Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (EKS) is one of the most popular managed Kubernetes services for organizations running containerized applications in cloud.

The next immediate challenge after migrating to the cloud is security and compliance. As an AWS Competency Partner, Tigera’s suite of solutions, including Calico Cloud, Calico Enterprise, and Calico Open Source, are built to solve these challenges. These solutions are created with EKS security in mind, enabling users to implement zero-trust workload access controls along with microsegmentation to apply workload isolation during runtime.

In a new joint blog post with the AWS Partner Network, AWS Solutions Architect, Andrew Park, and Tigera’s Director of Solution and Partner Marketing, Dhiraj Sehgal, guides users through the journey of implementing zero-trust workload access controls and identity-aware microsegmentation for multi-tenant workloads in Continue reading

Rethinking security roles and organizational structure for the cloud

As more and more applications and application development move to the cloud, traditional security roles and organizational structures are being shaken up. Why is that and what are the benefits of a cloud-first approach for business?

Traditional vs. cloud model

Application development in the traditional model, especially in larger companies, can be thought of as a linear process—similar to a baton being passed between teammates (e.g. the application team hands off the baton to the security team). In this model, each team has their own area of expertise, such as networking, infrastructure, or security, and the application development process is self-contained within each team.

The downside to this model is that responsibilities are siloed, and interactions and hand-offs between teams create friction. For example, if one team needs something from another, they need to submit a ticket and deal with wait time. In the traditional model, it’s not unusual for the application development and deployment process to last weeks or months, and then there are bug fixes and new release rollouts to contend with.

A cloud model, on the other hand, offers several benefits, including automation, abstraction, and simplicity. The high degree of automation in cloud-native infrastructure in general Continue reading

Community Spotlight series: Calico Open Source user insights from Sr. Software Developer, Burak Tahtacıoğlu

In this issue of the Calico Community Spotlight series, I’ve asked Burak Tahtacioglu from ParkLab Technology to share his experience with Kubernetes and Calico Open Source.  Let’s take a look at how Burak started his Kubernetes journey, and the insights he gained from Calico Open Source.

Q: Please tell us a little bit about yourself, including where you currently work and what you do there. 

I am a Sr. Software Developer in our Developer Experience team. I’m in charge of a team that maintains the core infrastructure, which includes the Kubernetes clusters we run. We also have the base CNI of the clusters. I am mainly responsible for Kubernetes processes, Istio service mesh, and Apache APISIX API Gateway processes of scaled applications.

Q: What orchestrator(s) have you been using?

Kubernetes.

Q: What cloud infrastructure(s) has been a part of your projects?

Amazon EKS and RKE.

Q: There are many people who are just getting started with Kubernetes and might have a lot of questions. Could you please talk a little bit about your own journey?

I first used container (LXC) processes in my development environment and applied them to the applications I was consulting. Then I started my Continue reading

Troubleshooting microservices: Challenges and best practices

When people hear ‘microservices’ they often think about Kubernetes, which is a declarative container orchestrator. Because of its declarative nature, Kubernetes treats microservices as entities, which presents some challenges when it comes to troubleshooting. Let’s take a look at why troubleshooting microservices in a Kubernetes environment can be challenging, and some best practices for getting it right.

Why is troubleshooting microservices challenging?

To understand why troubleshooting microservices can be challenging, let’s look at an example. If you have an application in Kubernetes, you can deploy it as a pod and leverage Kubernetes to scale it. The entity is a pod that you can monitor. With microservices, you shouldn’t monitor pods; instead, you should monitor services. So you can have a monolithic workload (a single container deployed as a pod) and monitor it, but if you have a service made up of several different pods, you need to understand the interactions between those pods to understand how the service is behaving. If you don’t do that, what you think is an event might not really be an event (i.e. might not be material to the functioning of the service).

When it comes to monitoring microservices, you need to monitor at Continue reading

Quick and easy vulnerability management with Calico Cloud

As more enterprises adopt containers, microservices, and Kubernetes for their cloud-native applications, they need to be aware of the vulnerabilities in container images during build and runtime that can be exploited. In this blog, I will demonstrate how you can implement vulnerability management in CI/CD pipelines, perform image assurance during build time, and enforce runtime threat defense to protect your workloads from security threats.

Image scanning and automatic blocking of high-risk images

The majority of images in CI/CD pipelines have vulnerabilities, misconfigurations, or both. An active cloud-native application protection platform (CNAPP) should scan, identify, and list vulnerabilities in container images based on databases such as NIST and NVD. The active CNAPP should then help teams build security policies to determine which images should be deployed or blocked based on several factors such as severity, last scan timestamp, and organizational exceptions. Given the sheer amount of vulnerabilities that appear daily, users will be easily overwhelmed if they have to address all existing vulnerabilities. Security teams will have to build a deploy/block criteria to prioritize vulnerabilities that they will address first—a workflow that is easy to start but difficult to manage and operate long-term. Hence, security teams should look for a security Continue reading

What is eBPF and what are its use cases

With the recent advancements in service delivery through containers, Linux has gained a lot of popularity in cloud computing by enabling digital businesses to expand easily regardless of their size or budget. These advancements have also brought a new wave of attack, which is challenging to address with the same tools we have been using for non cloud-native environments. eBPF offers a new way to interact with the Linux kernel, allowing us to reexamine the possibilities that once were difficult to achieve.

In this post, I will go through a brief history of the steps that eBPF had to take to become the Swiss army knife inside the Linux kernel and point out how it can be used to achieve security in a cloud-native environment. I will also share my understanding of what happens inside the kernel that prevents BPF programs from wreaking havoc on your operating system.

BPF history

In the early days of computing, Unix was a popular solution for capturing network traffic, and using CMU/Stanford packet filter (CSPF) to capture packets using 64KB PDP-11 was gaining popularity by the second. Without a doubt, this was a pioneering work and a leap forward for its time but like Continue reading

Getting started with container security

A couple of days ago, I was checking my Twitter feed and saw a tweet from someone saying how frustrated he was that DockerHub (a renowned container registry) was down. Someone else replied to the tweet, recommending the tweet’s author to check out Google’s repository, where they have DockerHub mirrors in Google Cloud.

My first reaction was “Nice! How clever of this person (or Google) to have thought of this idea.” My next thought was, wait. This could lead to potential security risks for some developers who are not familiar with how these registries are updated and what images go into these mirrored sites. Imagine when application developers are busy scrambling to check-in their latest update to the CI/CD pipeline of the software they are building, and in that time crunch, their go-to container registry is down. Do developers really have the time to check if there are vulnerable images in every registry they use? Will there be an easy, streamlined way to automatically scan the images no matter which registry developers use to pull their images? The short answer is yes, and we will look into that in this blog.

Scan all your container assets with Calico Cloud

Continue reading

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