Guide to the Secure Configuration of Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform 3

This guide presents a catalog of security-relevant configuration settings for Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform 3. It is a rendering of content structured in the eXtensible Configuration Checklist Description Format (XCCDF) in order to support security automation. The SCAP content is is available in the scap-security-guide package which is developed at

Providing system administrators with such guidance informs them how to securely configure systems under their control in a variety of network roles. Policy makers and baseline creators can use this catalog of settings, with its associated references to higher-level security control catalogs, in order to assist them in security baseline creation. This guide is a catalog, not a checklist, and satisfaction of every item is not likely to be possible or sensible in many operational scenarios. However, the XCCDF format enables granular selection and adjustment of settings, and their association with OVAL and OCIL content provides an automated checking capability. Transformations of this document, and its associated automated checking content, are capable of providing baselines that meet a diverse set of policy objectives. Some example XCCDF Profiles, which are selections of items that form checklists and can be used as baselines, are available with this guide. They can be processed, in an automated fashion, with tools that support the Security Content Automation Protocol (SCAP). The NIST National Checklist Program (NCP), which provides required settings for the United States Government, is one example of a baseline created from this guidance.
Do not attempt to implement any of the settings in this guide without first testing them in a non-operational environment. The creators of this guidance assume no responsibility whatsoever for its use by other parties, and makes no guarantees, expressed or implied, about its quality, reliability, or any other characteristic.

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CPE Platforms

  • cpe:/a:redhat:openshift_container_platform:3.10
  • cpe:/a:redhat:openshift_container_platform:3.11

Revision History

Current version: 0.1.44

  • draft (as of 2019-05-03)

Table of Contents

  1. Remediation functions used by the SCAP Security Guide Project
  2. Introduction
    1. General Principles
    2. How to Use This Guide
  3. OpenShift Settings
    1. OpenShift - Kubernetes - Scheduler Settings
    2. OpenShift - General Security Practices
    3. Kubernetes Kubelet Settings
    4. OpenShift Controller Settings
    5. OpenShift etcd Settings
    6. Permissions
    7. OpenShift API Server


Group   Guide to the Secure Configuration of Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform 3
Group   Remediation functions used by the SCAP Security Guide Project

[ref]   XCCDF form of the various remediation functions as used by remediation scripts from the SCAP Security Guide Project.

Group   Introduction

[ref]   The purpose of this guidance is to provide security configuration recommendations and baselines for Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform 3. The guide is intended for system and/or application administrators. Readers are assumed to possess basic system administration skills for the application's operating systems, as well as some familiarity with the product's documentation and administration conventions. Some instructions within this guide are complex. All directions should be followed completely and with understanding of their effects in order to avoid serious adverse effects on the system and its security.

Group   General Principles

[ref]   The following general principles motivate much of the advice in this guide and should also influence any configuration decisions that are not explicitly covered.

Group   Least Privilege

[ref]   Grant the least privilege necessary for user accounts and software to perform tasks. For example, sudo can be implemented to limit authorization to super user accounts on the system only to designated personnel. Another example is to limit logins on server systems to only those administrators who need to log into them in order to perform administration tasks.

Group   Configure Security Tools to Improve System Robustness

[ref]   Several tools exist which can be effectively used to improve a system's resistance to and detection of unknown attacks. These tools can improve robustness against attack at the cost of relatively little configuration effort.

Group   Run Different Network Services on Separate Systems

[ref]   Whenever possible, a server should be dedicated to serving exactly one network service. This limits the number of other services that can be compromised in the event that an attacker is able to successfully exploit a software flaw in one network service.

Group   Encrypt Transmitted Data Whenever Possible

[ref]   Data transmitted over a network, whether wired or wireless, is susceptible to passive monitoring. Whenever practical solutions for encrypting such data exist, they should be applied. Even if data is expected to be transmitted only over a local network, it should still be encrypted. Encrypting authentication data, such as passwords, is particularly important. Networks of Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform 3 machines can and should be configured so that no unencrypted authentication data is ever transmitted between machines.

Group   How to Use This Guide

[ref]   Readers should heed the following points when using the guide.

Group   Formatting Conventions

[ref]   Commands intended for shell execution, as well as configuration file text, are featured in a monospace font. Italics are used to indicate instances where the system administrator must substitute the appropriate information into a command or configuration file.

Group   Test in Non-Production Environment

[ref]   This guidance should always be tested in a non-production environment before deployment. This test environment should simulate the setup in which the system will be deployed as closely as possible.

Group   Read Sections Completely and in Order

[ref]   Each section may build on information and recommendations discussed in prior sections. Each section should be read and understood completely; instructions should never be blindly applied. Relevant discussion may occur after instructions for an action.

Group   Root Shell Environment Assumed

[ref]   Most of the actions listed in this document are written with the assumption that they will be executed by the root user running the /bin/bash shell. Commands preceded with a hash mark (#) assume that the administrator will execute the commands as root, i.e. apply the command via sudo whenever possible, or use su to gain root privileges if sudo cannot be used. Commands which can be executed as a non-root user are are preceded by a dollar sign ($) prompt.

Group   Reboot Required

[ref]   A system or service reboot is implicitly required after some actions in order to complete the reconfiguration of the system. In many cases, the changes will not take effect until a reboot is performed. In order to ensure that changes are applied properly and to test functionality, always reboot the system after applying a set of recommendations from this guide.

Group   OpenShift Settings

[ref]   Each section of this configuration guide includes information about the default configuration of an OpenShift cluster and a set of recommendations for hardening the configuration. For each hardening recommendation, information on how to implement the control and/or how to verify or audit the control is provided. In some cases, remediation information is also provided. Many of the settings in the hardening guide are in place by default. The audit information for these settings is provided in order to verify that the cluster admininstrator has not made changes that would be less secure than the OpenShift defaults. A small number of items require configuration. Finally, there are some recommendations that require decisions by the system operator, such as audit log size, retention, and related settings.

Group   OpenShift - Kubernetes - Scheduler Settings

[ref]   Contains evaluations for kube-scheduler configuration settings.

Group   OpenShift - General Security Practices

[ref]   Contains evaluations for general security practices for operating an OpenShift environment.

Group   Kubernetes Kubelet Settings

[ref]   The Kubernetes Kubelet is an agent that runs on each node in the cluster. It makes sure that containers are running in a pod. The kubelet takes a set of PodSpecs that are provided through various mechanisms and ensures that the containers described in those PodSpecs are running and healthy. The kubelet doesn’t manage containers which were not created by Kubernetes.

Group   OpenShift Controller Settings

[ref]   This section contains recommendations for the kube-controller-manager configuration

Group   OpenShift etcd Settings

[ref]   Contains rules that check correct OpenShift etcd settings.

Group   Permissions

[ref]   Traditional security relies heavily on file and directory permissions to prevent unauthorized users from reading or modifying files to which they should not have access.

Group   Verify Permissions on Important Files and Directories

[ref]   Permissions for many files on a system must be set restrictively to ensure sensitive information is properly protected. This section discusses important permission restrictions which can be verified to ensure that no harmful discrepancies have arisen.

Group   OpenShift API Server

[ref]   This section contains recommendations for kube-apiserver configuration.

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