Container Scanning

Tier: Free, Premium, Ultimate Offering: GitLab.com, Self-managed, GitLab Dedicated
History
  • 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.
  • Container Scanning template moved from Security/Container-Scanning.gitlab-ci.yml to Jobs/Container-Scanning.gitlab-ci.yml in GitLab 15.6.

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 these dependency types. To cover as much of your risk area as possible, we encourage you to use all the security scanners. For a comparison of these features, see Dependency Scanning compared to Container Scanning.

GitLab integrates with the Trivy security scanner to perform vulnerability static analysis in containers.

caution
The Grype analyzer is no longer maintained, except for limited fixes as explained in our statement of support. The existing current major version for the Grype analyzer image will continue to be updated with the latest advisory database, and operating system packages until GitLab 19.0, at which point the analyzer will stop working.

GitLab compares the found vulnerabilities between the source and target branches, then:

Container Scanning Widget

Features

Features In Free and Premium In Ultimate
Customize Settings (Variables, Overriding, offline environment support, etc) Yes Yes
View JSON Report as a CI job artifact Yes Yes
Generate a CycloneDX SBOM JSON report as a CI job artifact Yes Yes
Ability to enable container scanning via an MR in the GitLab UI Yes Yes
UBI Image Support Yes Yes
Support for Trivy Yes Yes
Inclusion of GitLab Advisory Database Limited to the time-delayed content from GitLab advisories-communities project Yes - all the latest content from Gemnasium DB
Presentation of Report data in Merge Request and Security tab of the CI pipeline job No Yes
Interaction with Vulnerabilities such as merge request approvals No Yes
Solutions for vulnerabilities (auto-remediation) No Yes
Support for the vulnerability allow list No Yes
Access to Security Dashboard page No Yes
Access to Dependency List page No Yes

Configuration

Enable the Container Scanning analyzer in your CI/CD pipeline. When a pipeline runs, the images your application depends on are scanned for vulnerabilities. You can customize Container Scanning by using CI/CD variables.

Enabling the analyzer

Prerequisites:

  • The test stage is required in the .gitlab-ci.yml file.
  • With self-managed runners you need a GitLab Runner with the docker or kubernetes executor on Linux/amd64. If you’re using the instance runners on GitLab.com, this is enabled by default.
  • 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 the analyzer, either:

  • Enable Auto DevOps, which includes dependency scanning.
  • Use a preconfigured merge request.
  • Create a scan execution policy that enforces container scanning.
  • Edit the .gitlab-ci.yml file manually.

Use a preconfigured merge request

This method automatically prepares a merge request that includes the container scanning template in the .gitlab-ci.yml file. You then merge the merge request to enable dependency scanning.

note
This method works best with no existing .gitlab-ci.yml file, or with a minimal configuration file. If you have a complex GitLab configuration file it might not be parsed successfully, and an error might occur. In that case, use the manual method instead.

To enable Container Scanning:

  1. On the left sidebar, select Search or go to and find your project.
  2. Select Secure > Security configuration.
  3. In the Container Scanning row, select Configure with a merge request.
  4. Select Create merge request.
  5. Review the merge request, then select Merge.

Pipelines now include a Container Scanning job.

Edit the .gitlab-ci.yml file manually

This method requires you to manually edit the existing .gitlab-ci.yml file. Use this method if your GitLab CI/CD configuration file is complex or you need to use non-default options.

To enable Container Scanning:

  1. On the left sidebar, select Search or go to and find your project.
  2. Select Build > Pipeline editor.
  3. If no .gitlab-ci.yml file exists, select Configure pipeline, then delete the example content.
  4. Copy and paste the following to the bottom of the .gitlab-ci.yml file. If an include line already exists, add only the template line below it.

    include:
      - template: Jobs/Container-Scanning.gitlab-ci.yml
    
  5. Select the Validate tab, then select Validate pipeline.

    The message Simulation completed successfully confirms the file is valid.

  6. Select the Edit tab.
  7. Complete the fields. Do not use the default branch for the Branch field.
  8. Select the Start a new merge request with these changes checkbox, then select Commit changes.
  9. Complete the fields according to your standard workflow, then select Create merge request.
  10. Review and edit the merge request according to your standard workflow, wait until the pipeline passes, then select Merge.

Pipelines now include a Container Scanning job.

Customizing analyzer behavior

To customize Container Scanning, use CI/CD variables.

Enable verbose output

Enable verbose output when you need to see in detail what the Dependency Scanning job does, for example when troubleshooting.

In the following example, the Container Scanning template is included and verbose output is enabled.

include:
  - template: Jobs/Container-Scanning.gitlab-ci.yml

variables:
    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:

include:
  - template: Jobs/Container-Scanning.gitlab-ci.yml

container_scanning:
  variables:
    CS_IMAGE: example.com/user/image:tag
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:

container_scanning:
  before_script:
    - ruby -r open-uri -e "IO.copy_stream(URI.open('https://awscli.amazonaws.com/awscli-exe-linux-x86_64.zip'), 'awscliv2.zip')"
    - unzip awscliv2.zip
    - sudo ./aws/install
    - aws --version
    - export AWS_ECR_PASSWORD=$(aws ecr get-login-password --region region)

include:
  - template: Jobs/Container-Scanning.gitlab-ci.yml

variables:
    CS_IMAGE: <aws_account_id>.dkr.ecr.<region>.amazonaws.com/<image>:<tag>
    CS_REGISTRY_USER: AWS
    CS_REGISTRY_PASSWORD: "$AWS_ECR_PASSWORD"
    AWS_DEFAULT_REGION: <region>

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

Report language-specific findings

The CS_DISABLE_LANGUAGE_VULNERABILITY_SCAN CI/CD variable controls whether the scan reports findings related to programming languages. For more information about the supported languages, see Language-specific Packages in the Trivy documentation.

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":

include:
  - template: Jobs/Container-Scanning.gitlab-ci.yml

container_scanning:
  variables:
    CS_DISABLE_LANGUAGE_VULNERABILITY_SCAN: "false"

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. To understand which types of dependencies are likely to be duplicated, see Dependency Scanning compared to Container Scanning.

Running jobs in merge request pipelines

See Use security scanning tools with merge request pipelines.

Available CI/CD variables

To customize Container Scanning, use CI/CD variables. The following table lists CI/CD variables specific to Container Scanning. You can also use any of the predefined CI/CD variables.

caution
Test customization of GitLab analyzers 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 Variable Default Description
ADDITIONAL_CA_CERT_BUNDLE "" Bundle of CA certs that you want to trust. See Using a custom SSL CA certificate authority for more details.
CI_APPLICATION_REPOSITORY $CI_REGISTRY_IMAGE/$CI_COMMIT_REF_SLUG Docker repository URL for the image to be scanned.
CI_APPLICATION_TAG $CI_COMMIT_SHA Docker repository tag for the image to be scanned.
CS_ANALYZER_IMAGE registry.gitlab.com/security-products/container-scanning:7 Docker image of the analyzer. Do not use the :latest tag with analyzer images provided by GitLab.
CS_DEFAULT_BRANCH_IMAGE "" The name of the CS_IMAGE on the default branch. See Setting the default branch image for more details.
CS_DISABLE_DEPENDENCY_LIST "false" caution Removed in GitLab 17.0.
CS_DISABLE_LANGUAGE_VULNERABILITY_SCAN "true" Disable scanning for language-specific packages installed in the scanned image.
CS_DOCKER_INSECURE "false" Allow access to secure Docker registries using HTTPS without validating the certificates.
CS_DOCKERFILE_PATH Dockerfile 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.
CS_IGNORE_STATUSES "" Force the analyzer to ignore vulnerability findings with specified statuses in a comma-delimited list. For trivy, the following values are allowed: unknown,not_affected,affected,fixed,under_investigation,will_not_fix,fix_deferred,end_of_life. 1
CS_IGNORE_UNFIXED "false" Ignore vulnerabilities that are not fixed.
CS_IMAGE $CI_APPLICATION_REPOSITORY:$CI_APPLICATION_TAG The Docker image to be scanned. If set, this variable overrides the $CI_APPLICATION_REPOSITORY and $CI_APPLICATION_TAG variables.
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.
CS_QUIET "" If set, this variable disables output of the vulnerabilities table in the job log. Introduced in GitLab 15.1.
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.
CS_REGISTRY_PASSWORD $CI_REGISTRY_PASSWORD Password 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.
CS_REGISTRY_USER $CI_REGISTRY_USER Username 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.
CS_SEVERITY_THRESHOLD UNKNOWN Severity 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.
CS_TRIVY_JAVA_DB "ghcr.io/aquasecurity/trivy-java-db" Specify an alternate location for the trivy-java-db vulnerability database.
SECURE_LOG_LEVEL info Set 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.
TRIVY_TIMEOUT 5m0s Set the timeout for the scan.

Footnotes:

  1. Fix status information is highly dependent on accurate fix availability data from the software vendor and container image operating system package metadata. It is also subject to interpretation by individual container scanners. In cases where a container scanner misreports the availability of a fixed package for a vulnerability, using CS_IGNORE_STATUSES can lead to false positive or false negative filtering of findings when this setting is enabled.

Supported distributions

The following Linux distributions are supported:

  • Alma Linux
  • Alpine Linux
  • Amazon Linux
  • CentOS
  • CBL-Mariner
  • Debian
  • Distroless
  • Oracle Linux
  • Photon OS
  • Red Hat (RHEL)
  • Rocky Linux
  • SUSE
  • Ubuntu

FIPS-enabled images

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.

note
The -fips flag 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.

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:

include:
  - template: Jobs/Container-Scanning.gitlab-ci.yml

container_scanning:
  variables:
    GIT_STRATEGY: fetch

Setting the default branch image

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:

include:
  - template: Jobs/Container-Scanning.gitlab-ci.yml

container_scanning:
  variables:
    CS_DEFAULT_BRANCH_IMAGE: $CI_REGISTRY_IMAGE:$CI_COMMIT_SHA
  before_script:
    - export CS_IMAGE="$CI_REGISTRY_IMAGE/$CI_COMMIT_BRANCH:$CI_COMMIT_SHA"
    - |
      if [ "$CI_COMMIT_BRANCH" == "$CI_DEFAULT_BRANCH" ]; then
        export CS_IMAGE="$CI_REGISTRY_IMAGE:$CI_COMMIT_SHA"
      fi

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.

When using Auto DevOps, CS_DEFAULT_BRANCH_IMAGE is automatically set to $CI_REGISTRY_IMAGE/$CI_DEFAULT_BRANCH:$CI_APPLICATION_TAG.

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:

container_scanning:
  variables:
    ADDITIONAL_CA_CERT_BUNDLE: |
        -----BEGIN CERTIFICATE-----
        MIIGqTCCBJGgAwIBAgIQI7AVxxVwg2kch4d56XNdDjANBgkqhkiG9w0BAQsFADCB
        ...
        jWgmPqF3vUbZE0EyScetPJquRFRKIesyJuBFMAs=
        -----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

Tier: Ultimate Offering: GitLab.com, Self-managed, GitLab Dedicated

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:

generalallowlist:
  CVE-2019-8696:
  CVE-2014-8166: cups
  CVE-2017-18248:
images:
  registry.gitlab.com/gitlab-org/security-products/dast/webgoat-8.0@sha256:
    CVE-2018-4180:
  your.private.registry:5000/centos:
    CVE-2015-1419: libxml2
    CVE-2015-1447:

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 registry.gitlab.com/gitlab-org/security-products/dast/webgoat-8.0@sha256 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 registry.gitlab.com/gitlab-org/security-products/dast/webgoat-8.0@sha256).
note
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 |
|            |                         |                        |                       | acttar.cc, apt-pkg/deb/debfile.cc, and apt-pkg/contrib/arfile.cc. 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 Analyzer Container registry
Container-Scanning Container-Scanning container registry

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 for Trivy was introduced in version 4.0.0.

Make GitLab container scanning analyzer images available inside your Docker registry

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

registry.gitlab.com/security-products/container-scanning:7
registry.gitlab.com/security-products/container-scanning/trivy:7

The process for importing Docker images into a local offline Docker registry depends on your network security policy. 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 the Docker 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:

    include:
      - template: Jobs/Container-Scanning.gitlab-ci.yml
    
    container_scanning:
      image: $CI_REGISTRY/namespace/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.

variables:
  SOURCE_IMAGE: registry.gitlab.com/security-products/container-scanning:7
  TARGET_IMAGE: $CI_REGISTRY/namespace/container-scanning

image: docker:latest

update-scanner-image:
  services:
    - docker:dind
  script:
    - 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:

include:
  - template: Jobs/Container-Scanning.gitlab-ci.yml

container_scanning:
  variables:
    CS_REGISTRY_USER: _json_key
    CS_REGISTRY_PASSWORD: "$GCP_CREDENTIALS"
    CS_IMAGE: "gcr.io/path-to-you-registry/image:tag"

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.

Create and use a Trivy Java database mirror

When the trivy scanner is used and a jar file is encountered in a container image being scanned, trivy downloads an additional trivy-java-db vulnerability database. By default, the trivy-java-db database is hosted as an OCI artifact at ghcr.io/aquasecurity/trivy-java-db:1. If this registry is not accessible, for example in a network-isolated offline GitLab instance, one solution is to mirror the trivy-java-db to a container registry that can be accessed in the offline instance:

mirror trivy java db:
  image:
    name: ghcr.io/oras-project/oras:v1.1.0
    entrypoint: [""]
  script:
    - oras login -u $CI_REGISTRY_USER -p $CI_REGISTRY_PASSWORD $CI_REGISTRY
    - oras pull ghcr.io/aquasecurity/trivy-java-db:1
    - oras push $CI_REGISTRY_IMAGE:1 --config /dev/null:application/vnd.aquasec.trivy.config.v1+json javadb.tar.gz:application/vnd.aquasec.trivy.javadb.layer.v1.tar+gzip

The vulnerability database is not a regular Docker image, so it is not possible to pull it by using docker pull. The image shows an error if you go to it in the GitLab UI.

If the above container registry is gitlab.example.com/trivy-java-db-mirror, then the container scanning job should be configured in the following way. Do not add the tag :1 at the end, it is added by trivy:

include:
  - template: Jobs/Container-Scanning.gitlab-ci.yml

container_scanning:
  variables:
    CS_TRIVY_JAVA_DB: gitlab.example.com/trivy-java-db-mirror

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 CI_APPLICATION_REPOSITORY=registry.gitlab.com/gitlab-org/security-products/dast/webgoat-8.0@sha256 \
      -e CI_APPLICATION_TAG=bc09fe2e0721dfaeee79364115aeedf2174cce0947b9ae5fe7c33312ee019a4e \
      registry.gitlab.com/security-products/container-scanning
    

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.

CycloneDX Software Bill of Materials

History

In addition to the JSON report file, the Container Scanning tool outputs a CycloneDX Software Bill of Materials (SBOM) for the scanned image. This CycloneDX SBOM is named gl-sbom-report.cdx.json and is saved in the same directory as the JSON report file. This feature is only supported when the Trivy analyzer is used.

This report can be viewed in the Dependency List.

You can download CycloneDX SBOMs the same way as other job artifacts.

Container Scanning for Registry

Tier: Ultimate Offering: GitLab.com, Self-managed, GitLab Dedicated
History

When a container image is pushed with the latest tag, a container scanning job is automatically triggered in a new pipeline against the default branch.

Unlike regular container scanning, the scan results do not include a security report. Instead, Container Scanning for Registry relies on Continuous Vulnerability Scanning to inspect the components detected by the scan.

When security findings are identified, GitLab populates the Vulnerability Report with these findings. Vulnerabilities can be viewed under the Container registry vulnerabilities tab of the Vulnerability Report page.

note
Container Scanning for Registry populates the Vulnerability Report only when a new advisory is published to the GitLab Advisory Database. Support for populating the Vulnerability Report with all present advisory data, instead of only newly-detected data, is proposed in epic 8026.

Prerequisites

  • You must have at least the Maintainer role in a project to enable Container Scanning for Registry.
  • The project being used must not be empty. If you are utilizing an empty project solely for storing container images, this feature won’t function as intended. As a workaround, ensure the project contains an initial commit on the default branch.
  • By default there is a limit of 50 scans per project per day.

Enabling Container Scanning for Registry

To enable container scanning for the GitLab Container Registry:

  1. On the left sidebar, select Search or go to and find your project.
  2. Select Secure > Security configuration.
  3. Scroll down to the Container Scanning For Registry section and turn on the toggle.

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:

  • AlmaLinux Security Advisory
  • Amazon Linux Security Center
  • Arch Linux Security Tracker
  • SUSE CVRF
  • CWE Advisories
  • Debian Security Bug Tracker
  • GitHub Security Advisory
  • Go Vulnerability Database
  • CBL-Mariner Vulnerability Data
  • NVD
  • OSV
  • 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)

Tier: Ultimate Offering: GitLab.com, Self-managed, GitLab Dedicated

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.

Troubleshooting

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.

unexpected status code 401 Unauthorized: Not Authorized when scanning an image from AWS ECR

This might happen when AWS region is not configured and the scanner cannot retrieve an authorization token. When you set SECURE_LOG_LEVEL to debug you will see a log message like below:

[35mDEBUG[0m failed to get authorization token: MissingRegion: could not find region configuration

To resolve this, add the AWS_DEFAULT_REGION to your CI/CD variables:

variables:
  AWS_DEFAULT_REGION: <AWS_REGION_FOR_ECR>

unable to open a file: open /home/gitlab/.cache/trivy/ee/db/metadata.json: no such file or directory

The compressed Trivy database is stored in the /tmp folder of the container and it is extracted to /home/gitlab/.cache/trivy/{ee|ce}/db at runtime. This error can happen if you have a volume mount for /tmp directory in your runner configuration.

To resolve this, instead of binding the /tmp folder, bind specific files or folders in /tmp (for example /tmp/myfile.txt).

Resolving context deadline exceeded error

This error means a timeout occurred. To resolve it, add the TRIVY_TIMEOUT environment variable to the container_scanning job with a sufficiently long duration.

Changes

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