About AppArmor

AppArmor is a Mandatory Access Control (MAC) system built on Linux’s LSM (Linux Security Modules) interface. In practice, the kernel queries AppArmor before each system call to know whether the process is authorized to do the given operation. Through this mechanism, AppArmor confines programs to a limited set of resources.

AppArmor helps administrators in running a more secure kubernetes deployment by restricting what containers/pods are allowed to do, and/or provide better auditing through system logs. The access needed by a container/pod is configured through profiles tuned to allow access such as Linux capabilities, network access, file permissions, etc.

AppArmor applies a set of rules (known as a “profile”) on each program. The profile applied by the kernel depends on the installation path of the program being executed, the rules applied do not depend on the user. All users face the same set of rules when they are executing the same program, but traditional user permissions still apply and might result in different behavior.

AppArmor profiles contain a list of access control rules on resources that each program can make use of. Each profile can be loaded either in enforcing or complaining mode. The former enforces the policy and reports violation attempts, while the latter does not enforce the policy but still logs the system calls that would have been denied.

In order to apply a profile to a particular pod, the profile needs to be available to the host machine where the pod is launched. Security Profile Operator (SPO, https://github.com/kubernetes-sigs/security-profiles-operator) provides AppArmor profile management (i.e. loading/unloading) across Kubernetes nodes. SPO defines an AppArmor Profile CRD, such that end users can define AppArmor profiles for SPO to manage. Once an AppArmor profile is loaded to the Kubernetes nodes, it can be applied to a particular pod using annotations on the pod specification.

For example:


For more information, refer to Restrict a Container’s Access to Resources with AppArmor: Example.