Container Scanning

Version history
  • Improved support for FIPS introduced in GitLab 13.6 by upgrading CS_MAJOR_VERSION from 2 to 3.
  • Integration with Trivy introduced in GitLab 13.9 by upgrading CS_MAJOR_VERSION from 3 to 4.
  • Integration with Clair deprecated in GitLab 13.9.
  • Default container scanning with Trivy introduced in GitLab 14.0.
  • Integration with Grype as an alternative scanner introduced in GitLab 14.0.
  • Changed the major analyzer version from 4 to 5 in GitLab 15.0.
  • Moved from GitLab Ultimate to GitLab Free in 15.0.
  • Container Scanning variables that reference Docker renamed in GitLab 15.4.

Your application’s Docker image may itself be based on Docker images that contain known vulnerabilities. By including an extra Container Scanning job in your pipeline that scans for those vulnerabilities and displays them in a merge request, you can use GitLab to audit your Docker-based apps.

Container Scanning is often considered part of Software Composition Analysis (SCA). SCA can contain aspects of inspecting the items your code uses. These items typically include application and system dependencies that are almost always imported from external sources, rather than sourced from items you wrote yourself.

GitLab offers both Container Scanning and Dependency Scanning to ensure coverage for all of these dependency types. To cover as much of your risk area as possible, we encourage you to use all of our security scanners.


GitLab integrates with open-source tools for vulnerability static analysis in containers:

To integrate GitLab with security scanners other than those listed here, see Security scanner integration.

You can enable container scanning by doing one of the following:

GitLab compares the found vulnerabilities between the source and target branches, and shows the information directly in the merge request.

Container Scanning Widget


CapabilityIn FreeIn Ultimate
Configure ScannersYesYes
Customize Settings (Variables, Overriding, offline environment support, etc)YesYes
View JSON Report as a CI job artifactYesYes
Generation of a JSON report of dependencies as a CI job artifactYesYes
Ability to enable container scanning via an MR in the GitLab UIYesYes
UBI Image SupportYesYes
Support for TrivyYesYes
Support for GrypeYesYes
Inclusion of GitLab Advisory DatabaseLimited to the time-delayed content from GitLab advisories-communities projectYes - all the latest content from Gemnasium DB
Presentation of Report data in Merge Request and Security tab of the CI pipeline jobNoYes
Interaction with Vulnerabilities such as merge request approvalsNoYes
Solutions for vulnerabilities (auto-remediation)NoYes
Support for the vulnerability allow list NoYes
Access to Security Dashboard pageNoYes
Access to Dependency List pageNoYes


To enable container scanning in your pipeline, you need the following:

  • GitLab CI/CD pipeline must include the test stage, which is available unless overridden with the stages keyword.
  • GitLab Runner with the docker or kubernetes executor on Linux/amd64.
  • Docker 18.09.03 or higher installed on the same computer as the runner. If you’re using the shared runners on, then this is already the case.
  • An image matching the supported distributions.
  • Build and push the Docker image to your project’s container registry.
  • If you’re using a third-party container registry, you might need to provide authentication credentials through the CS_REGISTRY_USER and CS_REGISTRY_PASSWORD configuration variables. For more details on how to use these variables, see authenticate to a remote registry.


To enable container scanning, add the Container-Scanning.gitlab-ci.yml template to your .gitlab-ci.yml file:

  - template: Security/Container-Scanning.gitlab-ci.yml

The included template:

  • Creates a container_scanning job in your CI/CD pipeline.
  • Pulls the built Docker image from your project’s container registry (see requirements) and scans it for possible vulnerabilities.

GitLab saves the results as a Container Scanning report artifact that you can download and analyze later. When downloading, you always receive the most-recent artifact. If dependency scan is enabled, a Dependency Scanning report artifact is also created.

The following is a sample .gitlab-ci.yml that builds your Docker image, pushes it to the container registry, and scans the image:

  - template: Jobs/Build.gitlab-ci.yml
  - template: Security/Container-Scanning.gitlab-ci.yml


Setting CS_DEFAULT_BRANCH_IMAGE avoids duplicate vulnerability findings when an image name differs across branches. The value of CS_DEFAULT_BRANCH_IMAGE indicates the name of the scanned image as it appears on the default branch. For more details on how this deduplication is achieved, see Setting the default branch image.

Customizing the container scanning settings

There may be cases where you want to customize how GitLab scans your containers. For example, you may want to enable more verbose output, access a Docker registry that requires authentication, and more. To change such settings, use the variables parameter in your .gitlab-ci.yml to set CI/CD variables. The variables you set in your .gitlab-ci.yml overwrite those in Container-Scanning.gitlab-ci.yml.

This example includes the container scanning template and enables verbose output for the analyzer:

  - template: Security/Container-Scanning.gitlab-ci.yml

    SECURE_LOG_LEVEL: 'debug'

Scan an image in a remote registry

To scan images located in a registry other than the project’s, use the following .gitlab-ci.yml:

  - template: Security/Container-Scanning.gitlab-ci.yml

Authenticate to a remote registry

Scanning an image in a private registry requires authentication. Provide the username in the CS_REGISTRY_USER variable, and the password in the CS_REGISTRY_PASSWORD configuration variable.

For example, to scan an image from AWS Elastic Container Registry:

    - ruby -r open-uri -e "IO.copy_stream(''), '')"
    - unzip
    - ./aws/install
    - aws --version
    - export AWS_ECR_PASSWORD=$(aws ecr get-login-password --region region)

  - template: Security/Container-Scanning.gitlab-ci.yml
    CS_IMAGE: <aws_account_id>.dkr.ecr.<region><image>:<tag>

Authenticating to a remote registry is not supported when FIPS mode is enabled.

Dependency list

Introduced in GitLab 14.6.

The CS_DISABLE_DEPENDENCY_LIST CI/CD variable controls whether the scan creates a Dependency List report. This variable is currently only supported when the trivy analyzer is used. The variable’s default setting of "false" causes the scan to create the report. To disable the report, set the variable to "true":

For example:

  - template: Security/Container-Scanning.gitlab-ci.yml


Report language-specific findings

Introduced in GitLab 14.6.

The CS_DISABLE_LANGUAGE_VULNERABILITY_SCAN CI/CD variable controls whether the scan reports findings related to programming languages. The languages supported depend on the scanner used:

By default, the report only includes packages managed by the Operating System (OS) package manager (for example, yum, apt, apk, tdnf). To report security findings in non-OS packages, set CS_DISABLE_LANGUAGE_VULNERABILITY_SCAN to "false":

  - template: Security/Container-Scanning.gitlab-ci.yml


When you enable this feature, you may see duplicate findings in the Vulnerability Report if Dependency Scanning is enabled for your project. This happens because GitLab can’t automatically deduplicate findings across different types of scanning tools. Please reference this comparison between GitLab Dependency Scanning and Container Scanning for more details on which types of dependencies are likely to be duplicated.

Available CI/CD variables

You can configure analyzers by using the following CI/CD variables.

All customization of GitLab security scanning tools should be tested in a merge request before merging these changes to the default branch. Failure to do so can give unexpected results, including a large number of false positives.
CI/CD VariableDefaultDescriptionScanner
ADDITIONAL_CA_CERT_BUNDLE""Bundle of CA certs that you want to trust. See Using a custom SSL CA certificate authority for more details.All
CI_APPLICATION_REPOSITORY$CI_REGISTRY_IMAGE/$CI_COMMIT_REF_SLUGDocker repository URL for the image to be scanned.All
CI_APPLICATION_TAG$CI_COMMIT_SHADocker repository tag for the image to be scanned.All image of the analyzer.All
CS_DEFAULT_BRANCH_IMAGE""The name of the CS_IMAGE on the default branch. See Setting the default branch image for more details. Introduced in GitLab 14.5.All
CS_DISABLE_DEPENDENCY_LIST"false"Disable Dependency Scanning for packages installed in the scanned image. Introduced in GitLab 14.6.All
CS_DISABLE_LANGUAGE_VULNERABILITY_SCAN"true"Disable scanning for language-specific packages installed in the scanned image. Introduced in GitLab 14.6.All
CS_DOCKER_INSECURE"false"Allow access to secure Docker registries using HTTPS without validating the certificates.All
CS_IMAGE_SUFFIX""Suffix added to CS_ANALYZER_IMAGE. If set to -fips, FIPS-enabled image is used for scan. See FIPS-enabled images for more details. Introduced in GitLab 14.10.All
CS_IGNORE_UNFIXED"false"Ignore vulnerabilities that are not fixed.All
CS_REGISTRY_INSECURE"false"Allow access to insecure registries (HTTP only). Should only be set to true when testing the image locally. Works with all scanners, but the registry must listen on port 80/tcp for Trivy to work.All
CS_SEVERITY_THRESHOLDUNKNOWNSeverity level threshold. The scanner outputs vulnerabilities with severity level higher than or equal to this threshold. Supported levels are Unknown, Low, Medium, High, and Critical.Trivy
DOCKER_IMAGE $CI_APPLICATION_REPOSITORY:$CI_APPLICATION_TAG Deprecated will be removed in GitLab 16.0. Replaced by CS_IMAGE. The Docker image to be scanned. If set, this variable overrides the $CI_APPLICATION_REPOSITORY and $CI_APPLICATION_TAG variables.All
DOCKER_PASSWORD$CI_REGISTRY_PASSWORD Deprecated will be removed in GitLab 16.0. Replaced by CS_REGISTRY_PASSWORD. Password for accessing a Docker registry requiring authentication. The default is only set if $DOCKER_IMAGE resides at $CI_REGISTRY. Not supported when FIPS mode is enabled.All
DOCKER_USER$CI_REGISTRY_USER Deprecated will be removed in GitLab 16.0. Replaced by CS_REGISTRY_USER. Username for accessing a Docker registry requiring authentication. The default is only set if $DOCKER_IMAGE resides at $CI_REGISTRY. Not supported when FIPS mode is enabled.All
DOCKERFILE_PATHDockerfile Deprecated will be removed in GitLab 16.0. Replaced by CS_DOCKERFILE_PATH. The path to the Dockerfile to use for generating remediations. By default, the scanner looks for a file named Dockerfile in the root directory of the project. You should configure this variable only if your Dockerfile is in a non-standard location, such as a subdirectory. See Solutions for vulnerabilities for more details.All
CS_IMAGE$CI_APPLICATION_REPOSITORY:$CI_APPLICATION_TAGThe Docker image to be scanned. If set, this variable overrides the $CI_APPLICATION_REPOSITORY and $CI_APPLICATION_TAG variables.All
CS_REGISTRY_PASSWORD$CI_REGISTRY_PASSWORDPassword for accessing a Docker registry requiring authentication. The default is only set if $CS_IMAGE resides at $CI_REGISTRY. Not supported when FIPS mode is enabled.All
CS_REGISTRY_USER$CI_REGISTRY_USERUsername for accessing a Docker registry requiring authentication. The default is only set if $CS_IMAGE resides at $CI_REGISTRY. Not supported when FIPS mode is enabled.All
CS_DOCKERFILE_PATHDockerfileThe path to the Dockerfile to use for generating remediations. By default, the scanner looks for a file named Dockerfile in the root directory of the project. You should configure this variable only if your Dockerfile is in a non-standard location, such as a subdirectory. See Solutions for vulnerabilities for more details.All
SECURE_LOG_LEVELinfoSet the minimum logging level. Messages of this logging level or higher are output. From highest to lowest severity, the logging levels are: fatal, error, warn, info, debug. Introduced in GitLab 13.1.All

Supported distributions

Support depends on which scanner is used:

Alma Linux 
Alpine Linux
Amazon Linux
Oracle Linux
Photon OS 
Red Hat (RHEL)
Rocky Linux 

FIPS-enabled images

Introduced in GitLab 14.1.

GitLab also offers FIPS-enabled Red Hat UBI versions of the container-scanning images. You can therefore replace standard images with FIPS-enabled images. To configure the images, set the CS_IMAGE_SUFFIX to -fips or modify the CS_ANALYZER_IMAGE variable to the standard tag plus the -fips extension.

Default (Trivy)
Prior to GitLab 15.0, the -ubi image extension is also available. GitLab 15.0 and later only support -fips.

Starting with GitLab 14.10, -fips is automatically added to CS_ANALYZER_IMAGE when FIPS mode is enabled in the GitLab instance.

Container scanning of images in authenticated registries is not supported when FIPS mode is enabled. When CI_GITLAB_FIPS_MODE is "true", and CS_REGISTRY_USER or CS_REGISTRY_PASSWORD is set, the analyzer exits with an error and does not perform the scan.

Enable Container Scanning through an automatic merge request

Introduced in GitLab 14.9.

To enable Container Scanning in a project, create a merge request from the Security Configuration page:

  1. In the project where you want to enable Container Scanning, go to Security & Compliance > Configuration.
  2. In the Container Scanning row, select Configure with a merge request.

This automatically creates a merge request with the changes necessary to enable Container Scanning. To complete the configuration, review and merge this merge request.

The configuration tool works best with no existing .gitlab-ci.yml file, or with a minimal configuration file. If you have a complex GitLab configuration file, it may not be parsed successfully and an error may occur.

Overriding the container scanning template

If you want to override the job definition (for example, to change properties like variables), you must declare and override a job after the template inclusion, and then specify any additional keys.

This example sets GIT_STRATEGY to fetch:

  - template: Security/Container-Scanning.gitlab-ci.yml

    GIT_STRATEGY: fetch

Change scanners

The container-scanning analyzer can use different scanners, depending on the value of the CS_ANALYZER_IMAGE configuration variable.

The following options are available:

Default (Trivy)

If you’re migrating from a GitLab 13.x release to a GitLab 14.x release and have customized the container_scanning job or its CI variables, you might need to perform these migration steps in your CI file:

  1. Remove these variables:

  2. Review the CS_ANALYZER_IMAGE variable. It no longer depends on the variables above and its new default value is If you have an offline environment, see Running container scanning in an offline environment.

  3. If present, remove the .cs_common and container_scanning_new configuration sections.

  4. If the container_scanning section is present, it’s safer to create one from scratch based on the new version of the Container-Scanning.gitlab-ci.yml template. Once finished, it should not have any variables that are only applicable to Klar or Clair. For a complete list of supported variables, see available variables.

  5. Make any necessary customizations to the chosen scanner. We recommend that you minimize such customizations, as they might require changes in future GitLab major releases.

  6. Trigger a new run of a pipeline that includes the container_scanning job. Inspect the job output and ensure that the log messages do not mention Clair.

Prior to the GitLab 14.0 release, any variable defined under the scope container_scanning is not considered for scanners other than Clair. In GitLab 14.0 and later, all variables can be defined either as a global variable or under container_scanning.

Setting the default branch image

Introduced in GitLab 14.5.

By default, container scanning assumes that the image naming convention stores any branch-specific identifiers in the image tag rather than the image name. When the image name differs between the default branch and the non-default branch, previously-detected vulnerabilities show up as newly detected in merge requests.

When the same image has different names on the default branch and a non-default branch, you can use the CS_DEFAULT_BRANCH_IMAGE variable to indicate what that image’s name is on the default branch. GitLab then correctly determines if a vulnerability already exists when running scans on non-default branches.

As an example, suppose the following:

  • Non-default branches publish images with the naming convention $CI_REGISTRY_IMAGE/$CI_COMMIT_BRANCH:$CI_COMMIT_SHA.
  • The default branch publishes images with the naming convention $CI_REGISTRY_IMAGE:$CI_COMMIT_SHA.

In this example, you can use the following CI/CD configuration to ensure that vulnerabilities aren’t duplicated:

  - template: Security/Container-Scanning.gitlab-ci.yml

    - |
      if [ "$CI_COMMIT_BRANCH" == "$CI_DEFAULT_BRANCH" ]; then

CS_DEFAULT_BRANCH_IMAGE should remain the same for a given CS_IMAGE. If it changes, then a duplicate set of vulnerabilities are created, which must be manually dismissed.


Using a custom SSL CA certificate authority

You can use the ADDITIONAL_CA_CERT_BUNDLE CI/CD variable to configure a custom SSL CA certificate authority, which is used to verify the peer when fetching Docker images from a registry which uses HTTPS. The ADDITIONAL_CA_CERT_BUNDLE value should contain the text representation of the X.509 PEM public-key certificate. For example, to configure this value in the .gitlab-ci.yml file, use the following:

        -----BEGIN CERTIFICATE-----
        -----END CERTIFICATE-----

The ADDITIONAL_CA_CERT_BUNDLE value can also be configured as a custom variable in the UI, either as a file, which requires the path to the certificate, or as a variable, which requires the text representation of the certificate.

Vulnerability allowlisting

To allowlist specific vulnerabilities, follow these steps:

  1. Set GIT_STRATEGY: fetch in your .gitlab-ci.yml file by following the instructions in overriding the container scanning template.
  2. Define the allowlisted vulnerabilities in a YAML file named vulnerability-allowlist.yml. This must use the format described in vulnerability-allowlist.yml data format.
  3. Add the vulnerability-allowlist.yml file to the root folder of your project’s Git repository.

vulnerability-allowlist.yml data format

The vulnerability-allowlist.yml file is a YAML file that specifies a list of CVE IDs of vulnerabilities that are allowed to exist, because they’re false positives, or they’re not applicable.

If a matching entry is found in the vulnerability-allowlist.yml file, the following happens:

  • The vulnerability is not included when the analyzer generates the gl-container-scanning-report.json file.
  • The Security tab of the pipeline does not show the vulnerability. It is not included in the JSON file, which is the source of truth for the Security tab.

Example vulnerability-allowlist.yml file:

  CVE-2014-8166: cups
    CVE-2015-1419: libxml2

This example excludes from gl-container-scanning-report.json:

  1. All vulnerabilities with CVE IDs: CVE-2019-8696, CVE-2014-8166, CVE-2017-18248.
  2. All vulnerabilities found in the container image with CVE ID CVE-2018-4180.
  3. All vulnerabilities found in your.private.registry:5000/centos container with CVE IDs CVE-2015-1419, CVE-2015-1447.
File format
  • generalallowlist block allows you to specify CVE IDs globally. All vulnerabilities with matching CVE IDs are excluded from the scan report.

  • images block allows you to specify CVE IDs for each container image independently. All vulnerabilities from the given image with matching CVE IDs are excluded from the scan report. The image name is retrieved from one of the environment variables used to specify the Docker image to be scanned, such as $CI_APPLICATION_REPOSITORY:$CI_APPLICATION_TAG or CS_IMAGE. The image provided in this block must match this value and must not include the tag value. For example, if you specify the image to be scanned using CS_IMAGE=alpine:3.7, then you would use alpine in the images block, but you cannot use alpine:3.7.

    You can specify container image in multiple ways:

    • as image name only (such as centos).
    • as full image name with registry hostname (such as your.private.registry:5000/centos).
    • as full image name with registry hostname and sha256 label (such as
The string after CVE ID (cups and libxml2 in the previous example) is an optional comment format. It has no impact on the handling of vulnerabilities. You can include comments to describe the vulnerability.
Container scanning job log format

You can verify the results of your scan and the correctness of your vulnerability-allowlist.yml file by looking at the logs that are produced by the container scanning analyzer in container_scanning job details.

The log contains a list of found vulnerabilities as a table, for example:

|   STATUS   |      CVE SEVERITY       |      PACKAGE NAME      |    PACKAGE VERSION    |                            CVE DESCRIPTION                             |
|  Approved  |   High CVE-2019-3462    |          apt           |         1.4.8         | Incorrect sanitation of the 302 redirect field in HTTP transport metho |
|            |                         |                        |                       | d of apt versions 1.4.8 and earlier can lead to content injection by a |
|            |                         |                        |                       |  MITM attacker, potentially leading to remote code execution on the ta |
|            |                         |                        |                       |                             rget machine.                              |
| Unapproved |  Medium CVE-2020-27350  |          apt           |         1.4.8         | APT had several integer overflows and underflows while parsing .deb pa |
|            |                         |                        |                       | ckages, aka GHSL-2020-168 GHSL-2020-169, in files apt-pkg/contrib/extr |
|            |                         |                        |                       |, apt-pkg/deb/, and apt-pkg/contrib/ This |
|            |                         |                        |                       |  issue affects: apt 1.2.32ubuntu0 versions prior to 1.2.32ubuntu0.2; 1 |
|            |                         |                        |                       | .6.12ubuntu0 versions prior to 1.6.12ubuntu0.2; 2.0.2ubuntu0 versions  |
|            |                         |                        |                       | prior to 2.0.2ubuntu0.2; 2.1.10ubuntu0 versions prior to 2.1.10ubuntu0 |
|            |                         |                        |                       |                                  .1;                                   |
| Unapproved |  Medium CVE-2020-3810   |          apt           |         1.4.8         | Missing input validation in the ar/tar implementations of APT before v |
|            |                         |                        |                       | ersion 2.1.2 could result in denial of service when processing special |
|            |                         |                        |                       |                         ly crafted deb files.                          |

Vulnerabilities in the log are marked as Approved when the corresponding CVE ID is added to the vulnerability-allowlist.yml file.

Running container scanning in an offline environment

For self-managed GitLab instances in an environment with limited, restricted, or intermittent access to external resources through the internet, some adjustments are required for the container scanning job to successfully run. For more information, see Offline environments.

Requirements for offline container Scanning

To use container scanning in an offline environment, you need:

  • GitLab Runner with the docker or kubernetes executor.
  • To configure a local Docker container registry with copies of the container scanning images. You can find these images in their respective registries:
GitLab AnalyzerContainer Registry
Container-ScanningContainer-Scanning container registry

Note that GitLab Runner has a default pull policy of always, meaning the runner tries to pull Docker images from the GitLab container registry even if a local copy is available. The GitLab Runner pull_policy can be set to if-not-present in an offline environment if you prefer using only locally available Docker images. However, we recommend keeping the pull policy setting to always if not in an offline environment, as this enables the use of updated scanners in your CI/CD pipelines.

Support for Custom Certificate Authorities

Support for custom certificate authorities was introduced in the following versions:


Make GitLab container scanning analyzer images available inside your Docker registry

For container scanning, import the following images from into your local Docker container registry:

The process for importing Docker images into a local offline Docker registry depends on your network security policy. Please consult your IT staff to find an accepted and approved process by which you can import or temporarily access external resources. These scanners are periodically updated, and you may be able to make occasional updates on your own.

For more information, see the specific steps on how to update an image with a pipeline.

For details on saving and transporting Docker images as a file, see Docker’s documentation on docker save, docker load, docker export, and docker import.

Set container scanning CI/CD variables to use local container scanner analyzers

  1. Override the container scanning template in your .gitlab-ci.yml file to refer to the Docker images hosted on your local Docker container registry:

      - template: Security/Container-Scanning.gitlab-ci.yml
      image: $CI_REGISTRY/namespace/gitlab-container-scanning
  2. If your local Docker container registry is running securely over HTTPS, but you’re using a self-signed certificate, then you must set CS_DOCKER_INSECURE: "true" in the above container_scanning section of your .gitlab-ci.yml.

Automating container scanning vulnerability database updates with a pipeline

We recommend that you set up a scheduled pipeline to fetch the latest vulnerabilities database on a preset schedule. Automating this with a pipeline means you do not have to do it manually each time. You can use the following .gitlab-ci.yml example as a template.

  TARGET_IMAGE: $CI_REGISTRY/namespace/gitlab-container-scanning

image: docker:stable

    - docker:dind
    - docker pull $SOURCE_IMAGE
    - docker tag $SOURCE_IMAGE $TARGET_IMAGE
    - echo "$CI_REGISTRY_PASSWORD" | docker login $CI_REGISTRY --username $CI_REGISTRY_USER --password-stdin
    - docker push $TARGET_IMAGE

The above template works for a GitLab Docker registry running on a local installation. However, if you’re using a non-GitLab Docker registry, you must change the $CI_REGISTRY value and the docker login credentials to match your local registry’s details.

Scan images in external private registries

To scan an image in an external private registry, you must configure access credentials so the container scanning analyzer can authenticate itself before attempting to access the image to scan.

If you use the GitLab Container Registry, the CS_REGISTRY_USER and CS_REGISTRY_PASSWORD configuration variables are set automatically and you can skip this configuration.

This example shows the configuration needed to scan images in a private Google Container Registry:

  - template: Security/Container-Scanning.gitlab-ci.yml

    CS_REGISTRY_USER: _json_key
    CS_IMAGE: ""

Before you commit this configuration, add a CI/CD variable for GCP_CREDENTIALS containing the JSON key, as described in the Google Cloud Platform Container Registry documentation. Also:

  • The value of the variable may not fit the masking requirements for the Mask variable option, so the value could be exposed in the job logs.
  • Scans may not run in unprotected feature branches if you select the Protect variable option.
  • Consider creating credentials with read-only permissions and rotating them regularly if the options aren’t selected.

Scanning images in external private registries is not supported when FIPS mode is enabled.

Running the standalone container scanning tool

It’s possible to run the GitLab container scanning tool against a Docker container without needing to run it within the context of a CI job. To scan an image directly, follow these steps:

  1. Run Docker Desktop or Docker Machine.

  2. Run the analyzer’s Docker image, passing the image and tag you want to analyze in the CI_APPLICATION_REPOSITORY and CI_APPLICATION_TAG variables:

    docker run \
      --interactive --rm \
      --volume "$PWD":/tmp/app \
      -e CI_PROJECT_DIR=/tmp/app \
      -e \
      -e CI_APPLICATION_TAG=bc09fe2e0721dfaeee79364115aeedf2174cce0947b9ae5fe7c33312ee019a4e \

The results are stored in gl-container-scanning-report.json.

Reports JSON format

The container scanning tool emits JSON reports which the GitLab Runner recognizes through the artifacts:reports keyword in the CI configuration file.

Once the CI job finishes, the Runner uploads these reports to GitLab, which are then available in the CI Job artifacts. In GitLab Ultimate, these reports can be viewed in the corresponding pipeline and become part of the Vulnerability Report.

These reports must follow a format defined in the security report schemas. See:

For more information, see Security scanner integration.

Security Dashboard

The Security Dashboard shows you an overview of all the security vulnerabilities in your groups, projects and pipelines.

Vulnerabilities database

All analyzer images are updated daily.

The images use data from upstream advisory databases depending on which scanner is used:

Data SourceTrivyGrype
AlmaLinux Security Advisory
Amazon Linux Security Center
Arch Linux Security Tracker 
CWE Advisories 
Debian Security Bug Tracker
GitHub Security Advisory
Go Vulnerability Database 
CBL-Mariner Vulnerability Data 
Red Hat OVAL v2
Red Hat Security Data API
Photon Security Advisories 
Rocky Linux UpdateInfo 
Ubuntu CVE Tracker (only data sources from mid 2021 and later)

In addition to the sources provided by these scanners, GitLab maintains the following vulnerability databases:

In the GitLab Ultimate tier, the data from the GitLab Advisory Database is merged in to augment the data from the external sources. In the GitLab Premium and Free tiers, the data from the GitLab Advisory Database (Open Source Edition) is merged in to augment the data from the external sources. This augmentation currently only applies to the analyzer images for the Trivy scanner.

Database update information for other analyzers is available in the maintenance table.

Interacting with the vulnerabilities

After a vulnerability is found, you can address it.

Solutions for vulnerabilities (auto-remediation)

Some vulnerabilities can be fixed by applying the solution that GitLab automatically generates.

To enable remediation support, the scanning tool must have access to the Dockerfile specified by the CS_DOCKERFILE_PATH CI/CD variable. To ensure that the scanning tool has access to this file, it’s necessary to set GIT_STRATEGY: fetch in your .gitlab-ci.yml file by following the instructions described in this document’s overriding the container scanning template section.

Read more about the solutions for vulnerabilities.


docker: Error response from daemon: failed to copy xattrs

When the runner uses the docker executor and NFS is used (for example, /var/lib/docker is on an NFS mount), container scanning might fail with an error like the following:

docker: Error response from daemon: failed to copy xattrs: failed to set xattr "security.selinux" on /path/to/file: operation not supported.

This is a result of a bug in Docker which is now fixed. To prevent the error, ensure the Docker version that the runner is using is 18.09.03 or higher. For more information, see issue #10241.

Getting warning message gl-container-scanning-report.json: no matching files

For information on this, see the general Application Security troubleshooting section.


Changes to the container scanning analyzer can be found in the project’s changelog.