Kubei : A Flexible Kubernetes Runtime Scanner

Kubei : A Flexible Kubernetes Runtime Scanner

Kubei is a vulnerabilities scanning tool that allows users to get an accurate and immediate risk assessment of their kubernetes clusters. Kubei scans all images that are being used in a Kubernetes cluster, including images of application pods and system pods. It doesn’t scan the entire image registries and doesn’t require preliminary integration with CI/CD pipelines.

It is a configurable tool which allows users to define the scope of the scan (target namespaces), the speed, and the vulnerabilities level of interest.

It provides a graphical UI which allows the viewer to identify where and what should be replaced, in order to mitigate the discovered vulnerabilities.


  • A Kubernetes cluster is ready, and kubeconfig ( ~/.kube/config) is properly configured for the target cluster.

Required Permissions

  • Read secrets in cluster scope. This is required for getting image pull secrets for scanning private image repositories.
  • List pods in cluster scope. This is required for calculating the target pods that need to be scanned.
  • Create jobs in cluster scope. This is required for creating the jobs that will scan the target pods in their namespaces.


The file deploy/kubei.yaml is used to deploy and configure Kubei on your cluster.

  1. Set the scan scope. Set the IGNORE_NAMESPACES env variable to ignore specific namespaces. Set TARGET_NAMESPACE to scan a specific namespace, or leave empty to scan all namespaces.
  2. Set the scan speed. Expedite scanning by running parallel scanners. Set the MAX_PARALLELISM env variable for the maximum number of simultaneous scanners.
  3. Set severity level threshold. Vulnerabilities with severity level higher than or equal to SEVERITY_THRESHOLD threshold will be reported. Supported levels are Unknown, Negligible, Low, Medium, High, Critical, Defcon1. Default is Medium.
  4. Set the delete job policy. Set the DELETE_JOB_POLICY env variable to define whether or not to delete completed scanner jobs. Supported values are:
    • All – All jobs will be deleted.
    • Successful – Only successful jobs will be deleted (default).
    • Never – Jobs will never be deleted.


  • Run the following command to deploy Kubei on the cluster: kubectl apply -f https://raw.githubusercontent.com/Portshift/kubei/master/deploy/kubei.yaml
  • Run the following command to verify that Kubei is up and running: kubectl -n kubei get pod -lapp=kubei
  • Then, port forwarding into the Kubei webapp via the following command: kubectl -n kubei port-forward $(kubectl -n kubei get pods -lapp=kubei -o jsonpath='{.items[0].metadata.name}') 8080
  • In your browser, navigate to http://localhost:8080/view/ , and then click ‘GO’ to run a scan.
  • To check the state of Kubei, and the progress of ongoing scans, run the following command: kubectl -n kubei logs $(kubectl -n kubei get pods -lapp=kubei -o jsonpath='{.items[0].metadata.name}')
  • Refresh the page (http://localhost:8080/view/) to update the results.

Running Kubei with an external HTTP/HTTPS proxy

Uncomment and configure the proxy env variables for the Clair and Kubei deployments in deploy/kubei.yaml.

Amazon ECR support

Create an AWS IAM user with AmazonEC2ContainerRegistryFullAccess permissions.

Use the user credentials (AWS_ACCESS_KEY_ID, AWS_SECRET_ACCESS_KEY, AWS_DEFAULT_REGION) to create the following secret:

cat <<EOF | kubectl apply -f -
apiVersion: v1
kind: Secret
  name: ecr-sa
  namespace: kubei
type: Opaque
  AWS_ACCESS_KEY_ID: $(echo -n 'XXXX'| base64 -w0)
  AWS_SECRET_ACCESS_KEY: $(echo -n 'XXXX'| base64 -w0)
  AWS_DEFAULT_REGION: $(echo -n 'XXXX'| base64 -w0)


  • Secret name must be ecr-sa
  • Secret data keys must be set to AWS_ACCESS_KEY_ID, AWS_SECRET_ACCESS_KEY and AWS_DEFAULT_REGION

Google GCR Support

Create a Google service account with Artifact Registry Reader permissions.

Use the service account json file to create the following secret

kubectl -n kubei create secret generic –from-file=sa.json gcr-sa


  • Secret name must be gcr-sa
  • sa.json must be the name of the service account json file when generating the secret
  • Kubei is using application default credentials. These only work when running Kubei from GCP.