Docker container security: demystifying FIPS-enabled containers with Ubuntu Pro


In today’s rapidly changing digital environment, the significance of robust Docker container security measures cannot be overstated. Even the containerised layer is subject to compliance standards, which raise security concerns and compliance requirements.

Docker container security measures entail safeguarding our lightweight, appliance-type containers –each encapsulating code and its dependencies– from threats and vulnerabilities.

For sectors like public health relying on handling sensitive personal data, compliance standards –like FIPS– complement security measures by providing a structured approach to protect against potential breaches, preserve customer trust, and avoid liabilities.

This can range from robust access control configuration, such as entirely removing the use of the root user, to comprehensive vulnerability management practices, from decreasing the attack surface to properly and rapidly handling inevitable CVEs.

Elevating Docker container security: enabling FIPS in containers

As discussed in a previous blog post, Ubuntu Pro tooling has simplified the process of enabling FIPS in Docker containers. With the use of build-time secrets –introduced with Docker buildkit–, this once-difficult task is now straightforward.

We just made available technical documentation to make it easier for you to create and deploy FIPS-enabled Ubuntu containers across various cloud platforms:

  • Building FIPS-enabled Ubuntu container images
  • Deploying FIPS containers with Ubuntu Pro on EKS, AKS, GCP, and any Kubernetes

The Ubuntu Pro advantage

To build these FIPS-enabled Ubuntu containers, the first step is subscribing to Ubuntu Pro. While the built content cannot be redistributed, running it mandates that all hosts, including cluster worker nodes, are covered with Ubuntu Pro subscriptions.

Ubuntu Pro is your all-access pass to a world of open source software security, and enhanced Docker container security and compliance. Enjoy the convenience of quick and extended security updates, 10-year maintenance, and security compliance, all under a single subscription plan.

Future plans: Chisel and chiselled Ubuntu container images

Last August, we unveiled “chiselled Ubuntu containers”. These container images combine the advantages of Distroless and (distro-full) Ubuntu, designed to deliver a seamless developer and ops experience, from development to production.

Chiselled Ubuntu containers are crafted with the use of the “Chisel” tool, a from-scratch package manager reusing upstream Ubuntu content and package knowledge, with an overlay of knowledge to help developers build appliance-type, Distroless, containers without overthinking them and without the maintenance burden.

Get ready for FIPS support coming soon to Chisel and chiselled Ubuntu container images!

Join our upcoming webinar

Join us for our upcoming webinar on June 13th to learn more about FIPS-enabled containers, Ubuntu Pro, and the future of customised ua-small container images as Docker container security continues to advance. Don’t miss an opportunity to ask Canonical experts questions in real-time during the live Q&A session.

See you there!

  • Contact us here!
  • Learn more about what we do around FIPS compliance here!