Advanced Container Security: Auto-Benchmarking, Pentesting, XDR and More

Container security refers to the set of practices, tools and technologies used to secure containerized applications and the underlying infrastructure they run on. This includes securing the container images and runtime environment, ensuring that the host system and network are configured securely and monitoring containers to detect and respond to any security incidents.

Container security differs from traditional security in a few key ways:

  • Dynamic nature: Containers are designed to be lightweight, portable and easily deployable, which means that they can be created and destroyed frequently. This dynamic nature of containers requires security measures that can adapt and scale to meet the changing needs of the environment.
  • Isolation: Containers are isolated from each other and the host system, which means that a compromise in one container does not necessarily mean that other containers or the host system are affected. This isolation allows for a more granular and targeted approach to security.
  • Microservices architecture: Containers are commonly used to run microservices-based applications, which are composed of small, loosely-coupled services that communicate over a network. This requires a different approach to security than traditional monolithic applications.
  • DevOps: Containers are often used as part of a DevOps workflow, which emphasizes automation and fast development cycles. This requires security measures that can integrate seamlessly with the DevOps pipeline and not slow down development.

Container security requires a different mindset and approach than traditional security, focusing more on automation, scalability and integration with development processes.

The Need for Container Security

Here are a few reasons why organizations must adopt advanced container security techniques:

  • Increased attack surface: Containers are designed to be lightweight and portable, which means that they can be deployed quickly and easily. This also means that containers can be deployed in large numbers, increasing the attack surface for malicious actors.
  • Shared infrastructure: Containers often share the same host system and network infrastructure, which means that a compromise in one container can potentially affect other containers or the host system.
  • Misconfigurations: Containers are often deployed quickly and with minimal configuration, which can lead to misconfigurations that can be exploited by malicious actors.
  • Cloud deployments: Containers are often deployed in cloud environments, which can introduce additional security challenges such as multi-tenancy and shared responsibility models.

Advanced Container Security Techniques

Here are a few techniques that can help your organization go beyond the obvious and significantly improve the security posture of containerized environments.


Auto-benchmarking is the process of automatically running a set of benchmark tests on a system or application to measure its performance and identify potential bottlenecks or areas for optimization. This process can be done on a regular basis to track changes in performance over time and to ensure that the system or application continues to meet performance requirements.

Auto-benchmarking can strengthen container security by helping to identify and address performance issues that could potentially be exploited by attackers. For example, if a container is experiencing high CPU or memory usage, an attacker may be able to exploit this to launch a denial-of-service attack or gain unauthorized access to the container. 

By regularly running benchmark tests and monitoring the performance of containers, organizations can quickly identify and address any performance issues that could be used as an attack vector. One example of a free automated container benchmarking tool is kube-bench.

Penetration Testing

Penetration testing, also known as pentesting, is a method of evaluating the security of a system, network or application by simulating an attack from a malicious actor. This can be useful for identifying vulnerabilities and weaknesses in containerized environments that could be exploited by real attackers.

When performing penetration testing for container environments, the tester will typically focus on the following areas:

  • Container images: The tester will analyze the container images to identify any known vulnerabilities, misconfigurations or other issues that could be exploited.
  • Runtime environment: The tester will evaluate the security of the runtime environment, including the host system, network and other infrastructure components, to identify any potential weaknesses.
  • Communication between containers: The tester will analyze the communication between containers to identify any potential vulnerabilities in the network communication, such as misconfigured firewalls or insecure protocols.
  • Cloud deployments: If the containers are deployed in a cloud environment, the tester will also evaluate the security of the cloud infrastructure, including the configuration of security groups, network access controls and other cloud-specific security features.
  • Access control: The tester will evaluate the access control mechanisms in place to ensure that only authorized users and processes can access the containers and their data.


Extended detection and response (XDR) is a security approach that combines threat detection, investigation and response capabilities across multiple security domains. In the context of container security, XDR can help organizations detect and respond to security incidents that involve containerized environments.

XDR typically includes the following capabilities:

  • Visibility: XDR solutions provide visibility into the containerized environment, including the container images, runtime environment and network communication between containers. This can help organizations detect and investigate security incidents in a timely manner.
  • Threat detection: XDR solutions use a variety of techniques to detect threats, including signature-based detection, behavioral analysis and machine learning. This can help organizations identify and respond to known and unknown threats that may target containerized environments.
  • Automation: XDR solutions automate many of the steps involved in incident response, including incident triage, investigation and remediation. This can help organizations respond to security incidents more quickly and effectively.
  • Integration: XDR solutions integrate with other security tools and platforms, such as security information and event management (SIEM) systems, vulnerability management tools and incident response platforms. This can help organizations gain a more complete view of security incidents and respond more effectively.

XDR can provide a more comprehensive and automated approach to container security, helping organizations to detect and respond to security incidents more quickly and effectively.


Secure access service edge (SASE) is an architectural framework that combines the capabilities of a traditional secure web gateway (SWG) with those of a software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) to provide secure access to cloud-based applications and services.

SASE is designed to provide secure and seamless access to applications and services from anywhere, on any device and over any network.

SASE can help secure containers in a number of ways:

  • Zero-trust security: SASE provides granular access controls and zero-trust security, which means that all traffic is treated as untrusted and must be verified and authenticated before it is allowed to access the network. This can help to prevent unauthorized access to containers and the applications they are running.
  • Advanced threat protection: SASE includes advanced threat protection features, such as firewall, intrusion prevention and malware protection, to help protect against cybersecurity threats that could potentially target containers.
  • Visibility and control: SASE can provide visibility and control over the traffic going in and out of the containers, which can help to detect and respond to any suspicious or malicious activity.
  • Enforcing security policies: SASE can enforce security policies that dictate how traffic should be handled and can be used to segment the network to limit the impact of an attack on the containers.


In conclusion, as the use of containerization continues to grow in modern application development and deployment, the need for advanced container security techniques becomes more pressing. Auto-benchmarking, penetration testing and XDR are some of the techniques that can help organizations to protect their containerized environments from various security threats and misconfigurations. Organizations can use these techniques together to gain a more complete view of their containerized environments and respond more effectively to security incidents.

Gilad David Mayaan

Gilad David Maayan is a technology writer who has worked with over 150 technology companies including SAP, Samsung NEXT, NetApp and Imperva, producing technical and thought leadership content that elucidates technical solutions for developers and IT leadership.

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