Policies

Version history
On self-managed GitLab, by default this feature is available. To hide the feature, ask an administrator to disable the security_orchestration_policies_configuration flag. On GitLab.com, this feature is available.

Policies in GitLab provide security teams a way to require scans of their choice to be run whenever a project pipeline runs according to the configuration specified. Security teams can therefore be confident that the scans they set up have not been changed, altered, or disabled. You can access these by navigating to your project’s Security & Compliance > Policies page.

GitLab supports the following security policies:

Policy management

The Policies page displays deployed policies for all available environments. You can check a policy’s information (for example description, enforcement status, etc.), and create and edit deployed policies:

  1. On the top bar, select Menu > Projects and find your project.
  2. On the left sidebar, select Security & Compliance > Policies.

Policies List Page

Network policies are fetched directly from the selected environment’s deployment platform while other policies are fetched from the project’s security policy project. Changes performed outside of this tab are reflected upon refresh.

By default, the policy list contains predefined network policies in a disabled state. Once enabled, a predefined policy deploys to the selected environment’s deployment platform and you can manage it like the regular policies.

Note that if you’re using Auto DevOps and change a policy in this section, your auto-deploy-values.yaml file doesn’t update. Auto DevOps users must make changes by following the Container Network Policy documentation.

Policy editor

You can use the policy editor to create, edit, and delete policies:

  1. On the top bar, select Menu > Projects and find your group.
  2. On the left sidebar, select Security & Compliance > Policies.
    • To create a new policy, select New policy which is located in the Policies page’s header.
    • To edit an existing policy, select Edit policy in the selected policy drawer.

The policy editor has two modes:

  • The visual Rule mode allows you to construct and preview policy rules using rule blocks and related controls.

    Policy Editor Rule Mode

  • YAML mode allows you to enter a policy definition in .yaml format and is aimed at expert users and cases that the Rule mode doesn’t support.

    Policy Editor YAML Mode

You can use both modes interchangeably and switch between them at any time. If a YAML resource is incorrect or contains data not supported by the Rule mode, Rule mode is automatically disabled. If the YAML is incorrect, you must use YAML mode to fix your policy before Rule mode is available again.

Container Network Policy

The Container Network Policy section provides packet flow metrics for your application’s Kubernetes namespace. This section has the following prerequisites:

If you’re using custom Helm values for Cilium, you must enable Hubble with flow metrics for each namespace by adding the following lines to your Cilium values:

hubble:
  enabled: true
  metrics:
    enabled:
      - 'flow:sourceContext=namespace;destinationContext=namespace'

The Container Network Policy section displays the following information about your packet flow:

  • The total amount of the inbound and outbound packets
  • The proportion of packets dropped according to the configured policies
  • The per-second average rate of the forwarded and dropped packets accumulated over time window for the requested time interval

If a significant percentage of packets is dropped, you should investigate it for potential threats by examining the Cilium logs:

kubectl -n gitlab-managed-apps logs -l k8s-app=cilium -c cilium-monitor

Change the enforcement status

To change a network policy’s enforcement status:

  • Select the network policy you want to update.
  • Select Edit policy.
  • Select the Policy status toggle to update the selected policy.
  • Select Save changes to deploy network policy changes.

Disabled network policies have the network-policy.gitlab.com/disabled_by: gitlab selector inside the podSelector block. This narrows the scope of such a policy and as a result it doesn’t affect any pods. The policy itself is still deployed to the corresponding deployment namespace.

Container Network Policy editor

The policy editor only supports the CiliumNetworkPolicy specification. Regular Kubernetes NetworkPolicy resources aren’t supported.

Rule mode supports the following rule types:

Once your policy is complete, save it by selecting Save policy at the bottom of the editor. Existing policies can also be removed from the editor interface by selecting Delete policy at the bottom of the editor.

Configure a Network Policy Alert

Version history

You can use policy alerts to track your policy’s impact. Alerts are only available if you’ve installed and configured a Kubernetes Agent for this project.

There are two ways to create policy alerts:

  • In the policy editor UI, by clicking Add alert.
  • In the policy editor’s YAML mode, through the metadata.annotations property:

    metadata:
      annotations:
        app.gitlab.com/alert: 'true'
    

Once added, the UI updates and displays a warning about the dangers of too many alerts.

Security Policies project

note
We recommend using the Security Policies project exclusively for managing policies for the project. Do not add your application’s source code to such projects.

The Security Policies feature is a repository to store policies. All security policies are stored as the .gitlab/security-policies/policy.yml YAML file with this format:

---
scan_execution_policy:
- name: Enforce DAST in every pipeline
  description: This policy enforces pipeline configuration to have a job with DAST scan
  enabled: true
  rules:
  - type: pipeline
    branches:
    - master
  actions:
  - scan: dast
    scanner_profile: Scanner Profile A
    site_profile: Site Profile B
- name: Enforce DAST in every pipeline in main branch
  description: This policy enforces pipeline configuration to have a job with DAST scan for main branch
  enabled: true
  rules:
  - type: pipeline
    branches:
    - main
  actions:
  - scan: dast
    scanner_profile: Scanner Profile C
    site_profile: Site Profile D

Security Policy project selection

note
Only project Owners have the permissions to select Security Policy Project.

When the Security Policy project is created and policies are created within that repository, you must create an association between that project and the project you want to apply policies to:

  1. On the top bar, select Menu > Projects and find your project.
  2. On the left sidebar, select Security & Compliance > Policies.
  3. Select Edit Policy Project, and search for and select the project you would like to link from the dropdown menu.
  4. Select Save.

    Security Policy Project

Scan Execution Policy editor

note
Only project Owners have the permissions to select Security Policy Project.

Once your policy is complete, save it by selecting Create merge request at the bottom of the editor. You will be redirected to the merge request on the project’s configured security policy project. If one does not link to your project, a security policy project will be automatically created. Existing policies can also be removed from the editor interface by selecting Delete policy at the bottom of the editor.

Scan Execution Policy Editor YAML Mode

The policy editor currently only supports the YAML mode. The Rule mode is tracked in the Allow Users to Edit Rule-mode Scan Execution Policies in the Policy UI epic.

Scan Execution Policies Schema

The YAML file with Scan Execution Policies consists of an array of objects matching Scan Execution Policy Schema nested under the scan_execution_policy key. You can configure a maximum of 5 policies under the scan_execution_policy key.

Field Type Possible values Description
scan_execution_policy array of Scan Execution Policy   List of scan execution policies (maximum 5)

Scan Execution Policy Schema

Field Type Possible values Description
name string   Name of the policy.
description (optional) string   Description of the policy.
enabled boolean true, false Flag to enable (true) or disable (false) the policy.
rules array of rules   List of rules that the policy applies.
actions array of actions   List of actions that the policy enforces.

pipeline rule type

This rule enforces the defined actions whenever the pipeline runs for a selected branch.

Field Type Possible values Description
type string pipeline The rule’s type.
branches array of string * or the branch’s name The branch the given policy applies to (supports wildcard).

schedule rule type

This rule enforces the defined actions and schedules a scan on the provided date/time.

Field Type Possible values Description
type string schedule The rule’s type.
branches array of string * or the branch’s name The branch the given policy applies to (supports wildcard).
cadence string CRON expression (for example, 0 0 * * *) A whitespace-separated string containing five fields that represents the scheduled time.
clusters object   The cluster where the given policy will enforce running selected scans (only for container_scanning/cluster_image_scanning scans). The key of the object is the name of the Kubernetes cluster configured for your project in GitLab. In the optionally provided value of the object, you can precisely select Kubernetes resources that will be scanned.

cluster schema

Field Type Possible values Description
containers array of string   The container name that will be scanned (only the first value is currently supported).
resources array of string   The resource name that will be scanned (only the first value is currently supported).
namespaces array of string   The namespace that will be scanned (only the first value is currently supported).
kinds array of string deployment/daemonset The resource kind that should be scanned (only the first value is currently supported).

scan action type

This action executes the selected scan with additional parameters when conditions for at least one rule in the defined policy are met.

Field Type Possible values Description
scan string dast, secret_detection The action’s type.
site_profile string Name of the selected DAST site profile. The DAST site profile to execute the DAST scan. This field should only be set if scan type is dast.
scanner_profile string or null Name of the selected DAST scanner profile. The DAST scanner profile to execute the DAST scan. This field should only be set if scan type is dast.

Note the following:

  • You must create the site profile and scanner profile with selected names for each project that is assigned to the selected Security Policy Project. Otherwise, the policy is not applied and a job with an error message is created instead.
  • Once you associate the site profile and scanner profile by name in the policy, it is not possible to modify or delete them. If you want to modify them, you must first disable the policy by setting the active flag to false.
  • When configuring policies with a scheduled DAST scan, the author of the commit in the security policy project’s repository must have access to the scanner and site profiles. Otherwise, the scan is not scheduled successfully.
  • For a secret detection scan, only rules with the default ruleset are supported. Custom rulesets are not supported.
  • A secret detection scan runs in normal mode when executed as part of a pipeline, and in historic mode when executed as part of a scheduled scan.
  • A container scanning and cluster image scanning scans configured for the pipeline rule type will ignore the cluster defined in the clusters object. They will use predefined CI/CD variables defined for your project. Cluster selection with the clusters object is supported for the schedule rule type. Cluster with name provided in clusters object must be created and configured for the project. To be able to successfully perform the container_scanning/cluster_image_scanning scans for the cluster you must follow instructions for the Cluster Image Scanning feature.

Here’s an example:

---
scan_execution_policy:
- name: Enforce DAST in every release pipeline
  description: This policy enforces pipeline configuration to have a job with DAST scan for release branches
  enabled: true
  rules:
  - type: pipeline
    branches:
    - release/*
  actions:
  - scan: dast
    scanner_profile: Scanner Profile A
    site_profile: Site Profile B
- name: Enforce DAST and secret detection scans every 10 minutes
  description: This policy enforces DAST and secret detection scans to run every 10 minutes
  enabled: true
  rules:
  - type: schedule
    branches:
    - main
    cadence: */10 * * * *
  actions:
  - scan: dast
    scanner_profile: Scanner Profile C
    site_profile: Site Profile D
  - scan: secret_detection
- name: Enforce Secret Detection and Container Scanning in every default branch pipeline
  description: This policy enforces pipeline configuration to have a job with Secret Detection and Container Scanning scans for the default branch
  enabled: true
  rules:
  - type: pipeline
    branches:
    - main
  actions:
  - scan: secret_detection
  - scan: container_scanning
- name: Enforce Cluster Image Scanning on production-cluster every 24h
  description: This policy enforces Cluster Image Scanning scan to run every 24 hours
  enabled: true
  rules:
  - type: schedule
    cadence: '15 3 * * *'
    clusters:
      production-cluster:
        containers:
        - database
        resources:
        - production-application
        namespaces:
        - production-namespace
        kinds:
        - deployment
  actions:
  - scan: cluster_image_scanning

In this example:

  • For every pipeline executed on branches that match the release/* wildcard (for example, branch release/v1.2.1), DAST scans run with Scanner Profile A and Site Profile B.
  • DAST and secret detection scans run every 10 minutes. The DAST scan runs with Scanner Profile C and Site Profile D.
  • Secret detection and container scanning scans run for every pipeline executed on the main branch.
  • Cluster Image Scanning scan runs every 24h. The scan runs on the production-cluster cluster and fetches vulnerabilities from the container with the name database configured for deployment with the name production-application in the production-namespace namespace.

Roadmap

See the Category Direction page for more information on the product direction of Container Network Security.