Abstract—Linux containers is a very important and useful system because of the need for few resources consumption, fast startup times, and high I/O performance especially when it’s compared to virtual machines (VMs) on hypervisors, in multi-tenant environments. This paper is focused on how Linux containers can be secured from attackers who enforced through software kernel mechanisms, by using Intel SGX technology from outside attacks on Docker. This mechanism is called SCONE. SCONE is useful because Linux containers (which are managed by Docker or Kubernetes) do not provide guarantees concerning the security of application data within containers. SCONE offers a secure C standard library interface that encrypts/decrypts I/O data in order to diminish the execution repercussion of thread synchronization and system calls within SGX enclaves. SCONE also supports user-level threading and asynchronous system calls. This paper through the analysis and studying shows an evaluating that it protects unmodified applications with SGX.
Keywords—SCONE SGX, Linux containers, security of Linux containers
Many multi-tenant environments use Linux containers in order to confer performance isolation of applications. The Docker Swarm is used for development (or Kubernetes) and Docker for packaging of containers. Currently, virtualization container-based is widely used and has become trend. However, containers seem to have better performance compared to improved hardware virtualization (VM) in hypervisor. Containers provide faster start up time, better I/O throughput and better delay. They undoubtedly provide uncertain security benefits than virtual machines (VMs). This is due because of the fact that there is the need for the host operating system (OS) kernel to protect a larger interface and usually uses only software mechanisms for isolation.
Mainly, container isolation mechanism what they actually do, is to protect the environment from unreliable containers. Tenants from the other side, are protecting not only unreliable mechanisms but also are providing covertness and probity for their application data from unauthorized access from higher-privileged system software as well as the core of the operating system (OS) and the supervisor. Malicious users are primarily looking for unprotected spots in virtualized system software for attacking or maybe they are staking at the authorized administration accreditations.
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Lately, was achieved the hardware mechanism to protect in user-level software from the widely preferential system software. Specifically, in 2015 Intel promoted to the market the Software Guard eXtensions (SGX) for their own CPUs. The Software Guard eXtensions (SGX) provide support for secure enclaves. The function of an enclave is to protect application codes and data from entry by other software and to provide higher-privileged software. Into the enclave page cache memory (EPC), there are memory pages which correspond to an enclave, in which there is no possibility for access using code outside of the enclave. So, SGX is recommended as an ideal choice for the security of containers, covertness and probity of the data are assured because the application process of a container can be executed inside an enclave.
The SGX mechanism which is providing security in containers is required to cope up two basic problems. The first problem which this mechanism is facing up is the improving the size of the trusted computing base (TCB) inside an enclave and the protection of existing applications into secure containers. The second problem that might need to face up is the challenge of conservation of low burden overhead in for security of containers by exploiting the possibilities of SGX mechanism.